Bose QuietComfort 35 – almost perfect

BoseQC35 Recently I’ve fallen in love with noise cancelling Bose headphones that I’ve encountered on an exhibition of one of the big have-it-all shops around Westfield. The initial impressions weren’t too great, as a demo version of headphones have (for whatever reason) blocked navigation buttons and I was unable to start/stop playback or rewind. However, after being handed another pair those problems (mostly) went away.

Noise Canceling

Or noise muffling as some might want to call it is sufficient. I’m still able to pick that somebody is speaking to me, and if music/podcast isn’t too loud I’m able to hear and understand another person. It helps quite a lot when you’re in a plane, tube (metro) or on the street, as it will muffle irritating loud high-pitch noise made by trains and emergency vehicles, but you will still be able to hear it. Car engines, however, are very hard to hear, and that might be a little cause for concern, but you can’t have everything.

Battery life

Is awesome. There isn’t really much more to tell. In 6 months that I’ve been using them I’ve run out of power once, and despite not being able to use them and charge them at the same time I could use provided jack cable to connect headphones as passive cable ones (without active noise cancellation). Bose writes on the instruction that it lasts for about 20 hours and I’m inclined to really believe them. A good idea is to set (on your Bose app) sleep timeout for headphones. After selected time period elapses with no sound sent to headphones they will shutdown conserving power.

Quality

boseqc35case2The plastic feels a bit cheap considering the price, but that is really neat picking at this point. They fold nicely and you can put them in provided hard case that significantly improves survivability of QC 35.

Usability

This is where problems actually start. On the bright side, I love it being able to connect to 2 Bluetooth devices at the same time and switch between active one (no mixing of sound inputs though. You will use one device as long as it outputs audio signal when it stops and other is providing the audio signal the switch is immediate, if both output some kind of audio signal, headphones will stick with current one). It was really the killer feature since I have 4 devices that I’m able to pair with headphones and effortlessly switch between them on my way from home to work.

However, Bose QC35 have a very annoying habit of retrying several times to connect to last used device before trying others. It takes them about 6 seconds of constant connecting to the last device to switch to another. More round-robin queue would be better suited for people who might not have that device lying around.

When outdoors wind has a very bad influence on headphones if blowing from behind you. For whatever reason, if the wind is in your back the microphones will pick it up and amplify making it really annoying. It might be possible to put some tape over microphones but that would defeat noise-cancelling. I haven’t actually used disable noise-cancelling in those conditions because I find Bose App to be quite cumbersome to launch.

Yet another problem that I’ve found is very annoying forward/ backwards navigation. There aren’t any dedicated buttons for that purpose (which is hard to understand when you look at the size of headphones), but you have to double and triple click the ‘multifunction button’. So it’s one click to answer/stop call/play/pause, double-click to skip forward, triple click to skip backwards, double-click and long click to fast forward, triple click and long click to fast backwards. And you have to be pretty fast with those clicks as well. When I double click I usually end up with just stopping podcast. I haven’t had such issues with Sennheiser MM-100 headphones since they have dedicated forward/backward buttons.

Pros:

  • Awesome battery life
  • Two active bluetooth connections at a time
  • Powerful configuration options available through smartphone app
  • Very good noise canceling
  • Very good music/sound quality

Cons:

  • Multifunction button utterly suck. Very hard to use headset navigation for anything.
  • Annoying sounds go through noise-canceling during harsh winds
  • No dedicated USB connector
  • Smartphone app takes ~10 seconds to start and connect
  • Stubborn reconnecting to last connected device after power-up. Be patient.

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