Bose gets flack from audiophiles for being a little pricey for what you get, but for many people the QuietComfort 25 and QuietComfort 20 headphones are still the undisputed noise-cancelling kings. With the QC35 and QC30, Bose brings that same quiet-time fun, with no strings attached.
The QC35 and QC30 (that’s over-ear and in-ear, respectively) probably aren’t going to make your music soar, but that’s not really what they’re for in the first place. They’re for getting rid of the kinds of low-frequency, ambient noises that you experience on a plane or a train, or if you sit near a low-pitched hummer at work. They won’t cancel out a shriek or a beep or anything in the upper register, but for frequent travelers, they’re an earsaver.
Previously, Bose’s noise-cancelling magic has only been available in wired form, in the QC25 and QC20. No wires means more convenience, though, which is especially important in a device that exists mostly to facilitate naps in fast-moving modes of transit. Just pop them on or in your ears, and enjoy the silence. Or decent music. They rely on Bluetooth for connectivity, which means you can expect some loss in sound quality when streaming tunes from your phone or laptop to the headsets, but the noise cancellation shouldn’t be affected. They also come with NFC chops, meaning all you need to do to pair them is hold your smartphone up to your right earcup.
You’ll get a listed 20 hours of battery life out of the over-ear QC35, and about half that on the buds. The latter, by the way, have adopted the increasingly popular wrap-around, skinny-neck-brace form, while the over-ears look like the Bose you’re already familiar with. They’re both joined for the first time by an app (because wireless) that lets you modify the noise cancellation levels. Voice prompts control caller ID, and dual-mics in each headset should make for clearer hands-free phone calls.
Then again, if you’ve got noise-cancelling headphones on in the first place, you’re probably not picking up the phone! You’re snoozing past the constant whirr of life’s murmured annoyances. The QC35 are available now for $350, a $50 premium over their wired counterparts, while the QC30 will show up in September for $300, which is what you’ll pay for the QC20s. If the sound you care about most is silence, they’re worth a look.