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In this post, we are going to compare the two best noise cancellation wireless headphones in the market, none other than the Bose QC35 ii and the Sony WH-1000XM3. Bose is a privately held American company, based in Framingham, Massachusetts and Sony is a Japanese multinational company headquartered in Kōnan, Minato, Tokyo. Both are the best-known names in consumer electronics.
The Bose QC35 ii is launched in the year 2017, and it is the follow-up of the Bose QC35. Bose QC35 is wired but QC35 ii is wireless by connecting easily to the devices with Bluetooth, and NFC pairing and voice prompts walk you through the connection. They are the best noise cancellation headphone and offers excellent audio quality. They have added virtual assistant support to the headphone. The multi-function button provides access to the phone’s default virtual assistant, like Siri for iOS and Google assistant for Android.
After the release of Bose QC35 ii, Sony suddenly launched the updated version of Sony WH-1000XM2, WH-1000XM3 on October 2018. Both are wireless but WH-1000XM3 brings with a new QN1 chip for advanced noise cancellation such as Adaptive Sound Control, and the convenience of smart features including quick attention, voice assistant compatibility and touch control.
So let us examine the similarities and differences between these two headphones and find the better among them.
Bose QC35 ii has great strange packaging. The outer packaging is with a black and white beautiful rectangular sturdy sliding box covered with plastic. The box has a retail tag on it. Inside this box, there comes the clamshell pack contains the headphone which can be used as a carrying case. There is a mesh pocket on one side of the carry case, where we can put our phones and other stuff.
The carry case has a good quality zipper and a hanging tag to hang the case wherever we want. Also, there is one little pocket inside the rigid clamshell to store the cable. The headphone is beautifully tucked inside the pouch. It really shows just how flexible these headphones are.
The packaging consisted of Headphone, Carry Case, USB Cable, Audio Cable, Instruction Manual, Reference Guide, Warranty information. But there’s no airline adapter like the one that came with the original model.
The packaging of the Sony WH-1000XM3 is very similar to the packaging of Bose QC35 ii. The outer box is sturdy and sliding. Inside the packaging, there is a carry pouch with a mesh pocket on one side, good quality zipper, and a hanging tag. The carry pouch consists of Headphone, 3.5mm Aux Cable, USB Cable, In-Flight Adaptor, Operating Instruction, Instruction Manual, Reference Guide.
Design And Features
Bose QC35 ii
The Bose QC35 ii looks somewhat identical to the original. The main differences of QC35 ii are that it is wireless and it has an action button. The headband is made up of Alcantara, and the ear cushions are made up of synthetic protein leather. The framework of the headphone is made of matte plastic. These type of premium materials makes QC35 ii lightweight, comfortable and durable.
The outer portions of the ear cups use stainless steel. The headband has padding and a metal lining on the inside; it is good to support the ear cups. The earcups are oval shaped. We can wear them for hours without any fatigue.
The action buttons are placed on the outer left ear cup. There are also multifunction buttons used to raise or reduce the volume as well as a power/pairing button on the outer right ear cup. We can charge the headphone via micro USB on the bottom of right earcup and even have an additional 3.5mm input on the left ear cup to hardwire them to our device. The drivers feature volume-optimized EQ for even better performance.
We can twist and bent the headphone in different ways, and I didn’t feel any kinda cracks and creaks in the plastics after a stress test. The total weight is 236 g. They are available in 3 colours: Black, Midnight, Silver. The design and build quality are fantastic.
The headline feature of Bose QC35 ii is Virtual Assistant which can be summoned by the action button. The action button can also be used to change the different levels of noise cancellation, depending on what you choose in the Bose Connect app. Since I am using an android phone, I can use Google Assistant. The speed and accuracy and the receiving ability of Google Assistant are superb. It can identify the voice even in a crowded noisy place.
Before we switch on the headphone for the very first time, we have to download the Bose Connect app for our phone. Because this app is required for enabling features like switching noise cancellation, updating the firmware, remapping the Google Assistant and many more. By using the connect app, pairing is faster and reliable.
There are also two different methods for pairing: via Bluetooth and using NFC by tapping the compatible phone against the right ear cup. Using Google Assistant with the Bose QC35 ii we can ask to read headlines, to add reminders, they will read the notifications and can ask countless questions. There is also Alexa integration in it.
The headphone automatically pauses the music or audio when we take off it. If we place our hand over the earcup then the volume reduces, so that we can hear the things going around us or for instant conversation.
The overall shape and look of Sony WH-1000XM3 are the same as that of the previous 1000XM2 and the 1000X. The ear cups are softer. The headband is made up of good quality plastic and provided more padding as well. The headphones are extremely comfortable and lightweight. The ear cups are oval. The materials used in this headphone offers a matte look for it.
Touch-sensitive controls are arranged in the outer part of the right ear cup. There are no buttons for the controls. We can swipe forward or backwards in order to change the music track, up or down for volume control, and tap the centre for play/pause/call management, or hold your finger to summon voice assistance. The controls are quite handy.
The outer portion of the left ear cup is an NFC pairing zone for compatible phones, and at the bottom, there is a charging port. A built-in amplifier integrated into HD noise-cancelling processor QN1 realises the best signal-to-noise ratio and low distortion for portable devices and delivers exceptional sound quality.
The powerful 1.57-inch drivers with Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) diaphragms make the headphones perfect for handling heavy beats and can reproduce a full range of 4Hz-40kHz frequencies. The total weight of the headphone is 254 g. They are available in 2 colours: Black and Silver.
There are two physical buttons on the left ear cup, one to switch the noise cancellation modes and a power button. Noise cancellation button can also be used to call the virtual assistant.
The WH-1000XM3 headphones are ideal for using long hours. The earpads are a bigger little bit and the headphone is bulkier. To pair the headphone to the device, download the Sony headphones Connect app. Then we can use smart listening by adaptive sound control, control your ambient sound settings and adjust the sound levels with the equalizer.
By simply pressing and holding the noise cancelling button, phone’s assistant will appear. The multiple mics can receive the commands so easily and clearly. By holding the button downwards, we can ask any questions to the assistant. They are always ready to help. In this headphone also we can communicate without taking our headphones off. Place your hand over the earpad to activate the ‘Quick Attention’ mode, which turns the volume down for instant conversation.
Here also we can pair the headphones in two other way: Bluetooth and NFC. I think these two methods were quite difficult for me to connect. We have to put extra effort into it.
Comparing both on the basis of design, Sony WH-1000XM3 headphone is more comfortable than the Bose QC35 ii headphone. As we can see Sony has gesture controls instead of switch control, it is involving very modern technology but it might not work perfectly as we expect. So I think the Bose headphone is easy to control in that case as it has button control.
In Bose QC35 ii headphone, the power button is also used as a pairing button. This design is not user-friendly. But in Sony WH-1000XM3, the power button is instinctive. The sony headphone is slightly heavier than the Bose headphone. According to design and my opinion, Sony WH-1000XM3 is more complex. The Sony is more comfortable and functional but better controls are on Bose.
Bose QC35 ii
Bose QC35 ii has the same audio quality of the original QC35. Nothing about the audio quality has changed. It provides a wide range of crisp sound. It can deliver powerful deep bass. They can also provide a good amount of sub mass.
The sharp kicking sound in songs with heavy bass is not there in this headphone. So that it won’t get too piercing the ears at high volumes. Highs were handled well. I will say the mids are just clean and distinguishable. But lows have a greater liking over the rest. I found a minute sound leakage which is negotiable.
Their leakage is in the mid-range, between 400Hz and 3KHz. But also the sound is not class leading. Low-frequency extension is at 10 Hz, which is great. Therefore the bass is excellent.
Bose has been the king of active noise cancellation technology. The ANC (active noise cancellation) of the Bose QC35 ii is remarkable. It is somewhat identical to its predecessor. They can reach more than 20 dB of isolation in the bass range and 35 dB in the treble range. So it can block deep sound actively and passively without compromising audio. They can even drown out the rumble of a train and aeroplane. But still, they won’t completely silence the world outside.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 became one of the best-sounding wireless headphones out there right now. Sony’s new QN1 processor brings a few enhancements to the WH-1000XM3. Sony has come up with a cleaner and firmer sound. They have an accurate and punchy bass. Smooth and excellently-balanced mid-range and an above-average treble.
Sony’s sound quality is really good which target consumer-friendly sound. Here also the low-frequency extension is at 10 Hz. The bass is little overpowering. The Sony WH-1000XM3 have a good leakage resistant performance.
The active noise cancelling is outstanding. We can adjust the amount of ANC using their connect app. In the bass range, it can reach up to 23 dB. In the mid-range, the noise cancellation is more than 27 dB. And at the treble range, it can reach up to 40 dB !!!
Its unbelievably provides an excellent noise cancelling throughout all ranges. Noise cancelling that cuts more outside sound than the previous models like XM2 and X. Escape the rumble of a train and aeroplane, deep sounds of the busy street with noise cancellation.
The noise-cancelling technology in the WH-1000XM3 headphones is Sony’s most advanced ever with close-fitting ear pads and HD noise-cancelling processor QN1. Now I doubt which is better, Bose or Sony? Let us check out.
If you are a heavy and punchy bass lover, You should choose Sony WH-1000XM3. The bass of sony is overpowering than the bass in Bose QC35 ii. So the people who love clean and clear neutral sounds and present vocals should go for Bose headphone. And when it comes to noise cancellation, Bose handover the throne to Sony.
The Sony has cracked the secret formula of ANC technology of the Bose headphones and done it in a better way. Sony has a good isolating design like an improved padded headband and large earpads that helps in passive noise-cancellation. They can even completely drown out the active noises like the rumble of a train and aeroplane. But also I cannot tell it has a huge difference in the ANC performance.
I won’t recommend Sony WH-1000XM3 on call quality. The Bose QC35 ii is doing a good job on calls. The voice capturing and noise blocking capability of QC35 ii’s built-in mic has no words to define. It produces clear vocals.
Bose is a better option as a hands-free headset. I have noticed that Sony WH-1000XM3’s mics are struggling. They sounded low making the calls nearly inaudible and has background interference.
Bose QC35 ii
The Bose QC35 ii has a better battery life than its predecessor. While the noise cancellation is high, I got 19.5 hours of usage on a single charging. While disabling the ANC, I got about 39 hrs. It takes about two hours to fully charge. They are suitable headphones for long travelling and they have an adaptable timer that helps prolong the battery life.
The Sony WH1000XM3 have an improved battery performance of 27 to 30 hours of continuous playtime with a high level of active noise cancellation. They take about 2.2 hours for a full charge. They can deliver up to 5 hours of playtime from a quick charge 10-15 minutes. It took me through a week with ease on an average for 4-5 hours of listening every day. They are also suitable for long travelling on flights and trains.
As we can see Sony WH1000XM3 has durable battery life than Bose headphone and also they are providing USB Type-C connector for excellent fast charging.
Verdict: Which Headphone Is Better?
I must say Sony WH1000XM3 has crowned this time. It doesn’t mean that Bose is bad. Sony WH1000XM3 is a strong opponent for the Bose QC35 ii.