Bose’s Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are a perfect example of why competition is a great benefit to consumers. After years of practicing with the only sound-absorbing headphones worth buying. The new Bose headphones stand out with a smooth redesign, with lots of useful features and improvements in noise cancellation (for demand and music) and audio quality. All things considered (including their compelling price), the 700’s are a definite improvement over the Bose 35 II Quiet Headphones and the best noise-canceling Bose Headphones you can buy today. This is our Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 Review.
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 Review – Design
With slim cylindrical arms and a matte black, unobtrusive casing, the Bose 700 look like a futuristic invention you’d see in a science fiction film. I hope that the clean exterior of the headphones, emphasized by the soft finish and subtle, sexy curves, will be a role model for future headphones. I didn’t appreciate how compact the 700s were until I placed them next to Sony’s WH-1000XM3s. Sony’s critically acclaimed noise-canceling headphones look downright clumsy alongside Bose’s latest offerings. The Bose 700s have a certain sophistication that not everyone will like, but I would still claim that the Bose 700s are the most stylish over-ear headphones there are.
Bose 700s get high marks for form, but it drops a few letter grades for function. The 700s earpieces rotate at 700s, but the new hinge design is rigid, so the headphones don’t fold up. As a result, the Bose 700’s enclosure is slightly wider and higher than that of the foldable WH-1000XM3 headphones. I’m also surprised that the 700’s ear cups rotate outwards. Yes, it helps them fit in, but when you wear the headphones around your neck, you want to press them flat, soft earplugs against your collarbone, not the hard plastic exterior of the headphones. To make things worse, I accidentally pressed the touch controls and turned on my audio every time I wore the headphones with the earcups facing outwards.
To adjust the fit of the headphones, slide the earcups up and down over the immobile band. A groove in the earcups grips the band securely when you raise it to the desired height. It’s a unique mechanism, although I don’t find it better than a traditional strap extension. The palatial aesthetics of the 700 do just so much justice to the subtle luxury that Bose has added to its latest range. Once you get your hands on Bose 700s, you’ll understand why they’re so expensive.
On top of the slim strap is a soft, soft pad that reflects the soft plastic underneath. Leather ear cushions provide excellent comfort (see below), while the large L and R indicators on the inner part of the ear cups leave no doubt as to how to wear them.
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 Review – Comfort
The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 has a feather-light frame and soft leather ear pads and are incredibly comfortable. I’ve been listening to them regularly for the past 4 hours and don’t feel any irritation or distortion. Instead of warmth around my ears or pressure on my head, the first signs of uncomfortable headphones, I forget that the Bose 700 headphones are there during long listening sessions.
This is due in significant part to the super-soft foam that Bose uses in the auricles and the underside of the soft-touch headband. The ear cushions are also large enough so that most people’s ears won’t wipe against the edges of the earcups. As comfortable as the 700s are, Bose had to make some compromises to make such a streamlined pair of headphones. Compared to the WH-1000XM3, the WH-1000XM3’s 700 ear cups give your ears less room to breathe.
Controls and Connectivity
You can operate the 700s both by physical operation and by touch. On the back of the right earcup, and on/off/ Bluetooth pairing button is located above a voice assistant button, while an adjustable noise cancellation button is placed on the left side. The buttons are slightly raised and easy to press, but perhaps a little too easy, as I accidentally adjusted the noise cancellation levels when I removed the headphones. It’s a small thing, but I like that the 700’s are switched off at the push of a button, not at the push of a button like the Sonys.
A touch screen on the front half of the right earcup makes it easy to adjust the media, volume, and call functions. The touch screen is very sensitive, and as a result, I have never had to repeat a gesture to complete an action. Double-tapping quickly paused and played the sound, while swipe left and right smoothly moved the song forwards or backward. I was even able to adjust the volume of the song I was listening to on the laptop by swiping up and down.
Many people aren’t fans of touch-sensitive buttons, but I love what Bose did with the 700s, where Bose cleverly assigns the frequently used music play buttons to touch gestures while giving large, but less often used, functions their physical buttons.
Bose ruled as the king of noise reduction until Sony invaded with its WH-1000X headphones with its WH-1000X headphones in 2016. With improvements in both noise reduction and voice isolation, the 700’s help Bose regain its place at the top.
The noise reduction on the 700s is adjustable on a scale from 0 to 10. The noise reduction on the 700s is adjustable on a range from 0 to 10. At level 10, the 700s block out all ambient noise and most other sounds. I could slightly hear the screams of the aging F-train and the voices of about two dozen passengers in my metro line from Brooklyn to Manhattan, but the ambient sounds were drowned out, allowing me to read the sci-fi novel Wool in almost complete silence.
I couldn’t fully appreciate the 700 adept noise-canceling capabilities of the 700 until I took off the headphones and was greeted by the piercing screams of train wheels against rails, which were desperately in need of repair. The effect was shocking. My walk from nearby coffee shops to work was also more relaxed than I ever thought possible. The exclamation of enthusiastic tourists in the morning was reduced to a barely audible silence, as I listened comfortably to acoustic music at 50% volume.
I turned the noise reduction back to zero, or what Bose calls “full transparency mode” after I left the walking area and could hear my surroundings with almost as much clarity as if I hadn’t worn the headphones. This meant my ears were bombarded with the sound of honking taxis. Still, the ability to quickly suppress noise is useful in cities or the office when you switch between talking to colleagues and listening to music.
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 Review – Sound Performance
Look beyond all these features, and at the heart of the 700s is finely tuned audio with lots of detail and sharp centers. Please note that the 700s are tuned to the typical Bose model, which means that the bass will not hit you in the face, and the treble is rounded. That said, I no longer have the same appreciation for my 1000XM3 headphones when compared to the Bose 700s.
Rapper’s collaboration with Death Cab for Cutie, “Do You Remember,” sounded lighter on the Bose 700s than on the WH-1000XM3s, while the Sony gave the hip-hop track a fullness that brought out the pounding drum rhythm, but overshadowed Ben Gibbard’s delicate falsetto a little. I prefer the 700s for this song, but bass heads should choose the Sonys.
Coldplay’s “The Scientist” also played cleaner on the Bose, especially when the drums and bass guitar arrived halfway through the song, while their input almost overwhelmed the vocals on the Sony’s headphones.
The drums and cymbal hits were extremely clear when I listened to Thrice’s “A Better Bridge” on the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. Dustin Kensrue’s hoarse voice rose above the sharp electric guitar. Again, the 1000XM3s sounded great, but their loose low-end made the vocals sound muddy. This felt the soundstage on the Sonys had hidden too, while the song was wider on the Bose headphones.
Overall, the WH-1000XM3s offer a livelier, more substantial sound, but I prefer the clearer, more balanced presentation of the 700s.
As someone who has a long-distance relationship, the quality of the conversation is of the utmost importance to me, and that’s the only thing I hate most about my WH-1000XM3s. The 700’s don’t stop at the best Sony’s with excellent call quality. Instead, they set a new standard with vocal clarity that is much better than any headphones we’ve heard before. A good example: My friend has a glowing message of support when he first heard me speak through the 700 microphones: “You sound better than when you use your smartphone.”
He was right. When I called one of my colleagues, it sounded like he was talking to me in a soundproof room, not surrounded by colleagues. Bose achieves this with a four-microphone system that captures your voice and then isolates it by turning off the sounds around you. It’s a bit of excellence that will be appreciated by business users, people who love traveling or working remotely from the loud public space, such as a coffee shop.
Battery Life and Charging
The 700’s 20 hours of battery life is decent, but not great. You need to make it easy by spending several days at the office on a charge, but make sure you plug them in before you take the 700s on a long international flight. I didn’t need to charge the 700s for eight days after listening at least 2 hours a day through a week with a 75% volume. At 20% battery life, I was informed that the headphones had 3 hours of juice remaining time.
By comparison, the QC 35 II headphones get the same 20 hours runtime, while the MX1000XM3’s last 30 hours on a charge with noise-canceling enabled. An advantage of the 700s over the QC35 IIs is that they charge via a USB Type-C port at the bottom of the right auricle. Bose claims that the headphones are 100% charged in less than 2.5 hours and that fast charging can provide 3.5 hours of listening in just 15 minutes.
The Bose 700s use the Bluetooth 5.0 standard, which promises a range of around 3.5 meters. I’ve listened to music from the other side of the office, undisturbed. However, the signal started to cut out when I reversed a corner and placed a wall between 700s and my OnePlus 6. Eventually, the music became silent, and I got a beep from the headphones, which told me that I had completely lost the connection.
Price and Box Contents
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 cost $399, or $50 more than the QC35 II and the top competitor of Sony WH-1000XM3. You can pick up a few at most major U.S. retailers, including Best Buy and Amazon. Bose provides the 700 headphones with a leatherette carrying case that offers sufficient protection for these expensive headphones. An inner compartment concealed under a solenoid valve neatly accommodates a USB Type-A to USB Type-C charging cable and a 3.5 mm to 2.5 mm audio jack.
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 Review – Conclusion
The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is one of the best wireless noise-canceling headphones you can buy. Being improved in almost every way over its predecessor, the Bose 700s are worth the extra $50 you’ll spend on the QC35 IIs. The 700s’ exceptional noise reduction and voice calls are especially great for business users working from an airplane seat or coffee shop. Though few people will have complaints regarding the headphones’ clear, balanced audio.
The 700 headphones do have their peculiarities. For example, the Bose app lacks EQ controls. Also, the new design looks great, but it’s easy to accidentally press the touch-capacitive buttons when they’re around your neck because the earcups rotate outward. Then there’s the $400 price tag, which is higher than that of the competition, including the famous Sony WH-1000MX3s ($350). But overall, the Bose 700s more than justify their price and are one of the best noise-canceling headphones around for those who can afford them.
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 feature a streamlined design, excellent noise reduction, and the best-in-class voice calls in their class.
- Detailed, accurate sound
- Impressive noise cancellation
- Best-in-class voice calls
- Sleek, low-profile design
- Responsive touch controls
- No EQ controls
- Ear cups rotate outward