The QuietComfort 35 II reviewed here premiered in September 2017, and it remains among our top picks for wireless noise-canceling headphones. As the Sony WH-1000XM2 arguably sounds a tad better and is more feature rich, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II is lighter and convenient to wear. The purchase price for the Beats Studio3 Wireless has dropped (you can find it for under $225 online), so it is become a more appealing option in this category.

Have a look at CNET’s best headphones to find out more on competitive products, and our quick comparison of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II vs. the Sony WH-1000XM2.

The original overview of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II follows, having bee first published Oct. 2, 2017 and otherwise mostly unchanged since Dec. 1, 2017, whenever we raised the look rating from 9 to 10 having reviewed its direct competitors.

Bose’s QuietComfort 35 II ($350, £330, AU$500) wireless noise-canceing headphone looks, sounds and performs similar to the original aside from one key feature: There’s a fresh “Action” button on the left ear cup which allows you to hook up to your Google Assistant and never have to touch your phone. And which makes the QC35 II — obtainable in black or silver — the first headphone to integrate Google Assistant.

Similar to Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, Google Assistant is designed for Android and iOS devices. Rather than speaking with your phone to gain access to Google Assistant (you should download the free app), you merely press and contain the Action button on the QC35 II and issue commands such as for example “Tell me the most recent news,” “call Mom” and “What exactly are the right Indian restaurants nearby?” You can even use your voice to regulate your music playback and compatible smart devices at home.

The brand new “Action” button is in the left ear cup.

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Here’s the better news: You don’t need to utilize the Action button for Google Assistant. Using the Bose Connect app, you can choose instead to map the Action button to noise-cancellation levels, toggling between Low, High and Off with each button press. You may also adapt the noise-canceling settings in the app, a significant feature for many who could be sensitive to the sensation of light pressure which can be the by-product of active noise-cancellation.

In addition to that new button, nothing else has changed. The QC35 gets the same comfy fit, same top-notch noise canceling, identical controls on the proper ear cup — yes, you can access Siri on iPhones — and the same battery life at up to 20 hours in wireless mode with noise canceling on. If the battery runs out, you can still utilize the headphone in passive mode (it sounds good not great) and you get yourself a cord for plugging in if you want to.

Not the very best sound, but one of the better
As I said in my own review of the initial QC35, this may well not be the best-sounding Bluetooth headphone out there, but it’s certainly included in this. During the past I’ve compared it to the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless, now called the HD1 Wireless Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation, noting that the Sennhesier sounded slightly better, with a lttle bit tighter bass, slightly better clarity and was overall more natural sounding.

Sony’s MDR-1000X, which includes now been updated to the WH-1000XM2, can be slightly ahead on the sound quality front. But how you are feeling about each headphone will be influenced by the recording quality of the tracks, this means it’ll vary according to the types of music you pay attention to and where you obtain it from.

The Bose is proficient at taking whatever’s thrown at it and making it smooth, pleasurable sound that’s generally well-balanced with a good amount of punch to the bass. It sounds comparatively excellent for a Bluetooth headphone. Having said that, CNET contributor Steve Guttenberg thought the Sony had a clearer, more open sound. “The Quiet Comfort 35 was no slouch,” he said. “Nonetheless it flattened dynamics and the sound seemed less alive. Bass definition was also less distinct than what I heard from the MDR-1000X.”

The same, nicely designed travel case that comes with the initial QC35 is included.

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I rated the Bose slightly greater than the older Sony (the MDR-1000X) as a result of other factors beyond the sound. While their noise-canceling was equally good (yes, Sony has swept up) I thought the Bose was convenient and more user-friendly. However, with the newer Sony WH-1000XM2 offering better battery life, slightly better construction and much more features — perhaps way too many — it’s very difficult to say which may be the better headphone. They now have identical ratings. As the Sony includes a slight edge using areas, this Bose remains convenient and increases results as a headset to make calls.

It’s worth noting that whenever used as a headset it muffles wind, crowd noise and other ambient sounds so callers can hear you better — and vice versa. Another nice feature: As long as you’re using the QC35 II as a headset you can hear your own voice in the headphones as you speak which means you won’t shout out.

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The Google Assistant factor
Just how much of game changer may be the direct link with Google Assistant? After using the headphones for weekly, I’m not sure. The brand new voice-assistant feature is among those things that some persons will appreciate and sometimes use but others may never work with it. It currently has its quirks and limitations, but like Amazon’s Alexa voice-assistant, it’s evolving and acquiring new skills and can get better as time passes.

In the event that you already own a set of the initial QC35s, I don’t believe it’s worth upgrading to the model for the integrated Google Assistant. But what the brand new feature does do is give an already excellent wireless noise-canceling headphone a bit more personality. And even though the performance and sound hasn’t changed, it can help Bose keep pace with Sony’s upgraded WH-1000XM2 and Beats’ improved Studio3 Wireless, both which also cost $350.