Mention the Bose QC 35 II to any person and among the first things that comes to their minds is their price. But take our word for it, if you travel a fair bit and value high-quality sound, then these are perhaps the best headphones you can get. No, they do not come cheap, but then just consider what they deliver:
Terrific design and fit
These being over the ear headphones, the Bose QC 35 II are obviously not super lightweight or svelte. But they are incredibly comfortable. And we use that adjective deliberately. The headphones fit very snugly over our ears and this is important – they FELT good. Bose tells us that the headphone cups are cushioned in synthetic protein leather and the headband (which can sometimes be stiff) is wrapped in a material called Alcantara. The result is a pair of headphones that are very comfortable to wear even while being light enough to drape around your neck, when not in use. We have used other headphones and they sometimes tend to squeeze our heads a bit. Not these. The buttons on the headphone (for volume, ANC and so on) take a bit of getting used to, but work smoothly and are solidly built. What’s more, they come with a solid, well-designed case, in the box, which makes it convenient to take them along on your trips.
Well, what did you expect? The QC 35 II are a Bose product. Which means that they are going to deliver fantastic audio. No, it might not come with the sort of sharpness that audiophiles like, or satisfy the bassheads who want thundering thumps, but it certainly is going to make almost every other person smile at the sheer balanced and slightly soft overall tone. The clarity of sound shines through and what you are assured of is a very comfortable, very pleasant hearing experience. Never mind what the pundits say – these are the kind of headphones that make you fall in love with sound. No matter where you are travelling, these are the kind of headphones that will make you lose yourself in the sound that comes from them. And also keep external sounds out, which brings us to the next point!
Even greater sound cancelling
This is perhaps where the travel angle really comes in. There are plenty of headphones out there that deliver very good sound. So why are we singling out the QC 35 II? Well, simply because it’s Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is on a different level altogether. You can read a detailed explanation of what ANC is and why it is important here (http://kunzum.com/2019/11/anc-active-noise-cancellation-need/), but in simple terms, ANC helps block out external sounds by emitting waves that cancel them out. Now, there are plenty of brands that offer ANC, but the level of cancelling we have seen on the QC 35 II is almost unreal. We have moved to different levels of noise and seen the headphones actually handle them equally well. You can put these on in a crowded cafe or in an aircraft and totally lose yourself to the sound of music, or well, even silence – we sometimes just hit the ANC button to blot out sound! And you can even use the Alexa and Google Assistant button to switch between three levels of ANC. Of course, you can totally turn ANC off also to listen to ambient sound too when the need arises.
The Bose QC35 II last about twenty hours on a single charge. Yes, we know there are headphones that last longer than that, but that really covers the time taken for most long distance flights and the most time you will be away from a charging outlet. The headphones come with a fast charge feature that will give you about two and a half hours of play time from 15 minutes of charging. They take slightly more than two hours to charge fully but that is not too inconvenient.
Works even without Bluetooth
This is something that is underestimated. The Nose QC 35 II are Bluetooth wireless headphones but they can work even when connected to a device through a dubious cable. What’s more, even the ANC will work. The headphones can work for up to forty hours when connected through an audio cable. You can even use them when the battery runs out in this mode but obviously, ANC will not work. These headphones do not stop working!
Good call quality
We will be honest – the Bose QC 35 II will not stun you with their call quality, but they pair smoothly with most smartphones and generally deliver a better calling experience than you would get from the phone itself in most cases. The fact that they are so comfortable to use also means that you can use them for long phone calls. We think Jabra deliver slightly better call quality, but all things said and done, the QC 35 II are reliable enough for calls.
Expensive, not weather proof…not perfect but the best!
This is not to say that the QC35 II do not have their problems. The one thing that will annoy most travellers is the fact that they are not water or dust resistant – they will not get harmed by a slight drizzle, but a thorough soaking will mess them up. Then there is the matter of price – at close to Rs 30,000, these are not exactly inexpensive. But hey, cast a look at what they deliver (and we have deliberately not spoken of Alexa and Google Assistant because we do not think they matter that much) and you will be hard pressed to find too many alternatives that deliver on as many fronts as these do!