The 700 model of Bose noise-canceling headphones marked a little shift for the company. The NCH 700, which debuted between iterations of its renowned QuietComfort, featured a daring new look and a more complex method of controlling noise blocking, and as a result of these clever updates, they continue to be a team favorite at TechRadar.
They grab the top spot in our list of the best wireless headphones because they are consistent with Bose’s reputation for producing some of the best noise-cancelling headphones. Even if the more recent Bose QuietComfort 45 are available, they are still a fantastic option because they are typically much more affordable while maintaining a very high level of quality.
We enjoy the more contemporary style and we adore how controllable the noise canceling is through the app – more controllable than the QC45, weirdly. The competition for the Bose has only gotten tougher as Sony has consistently reduced the price of the XM3 over time (and, in fact, the newer and better Sony WH-1000XM4). However, they have always lagged slightly behind the Sony WH-1000XM3 in our estimation as the total package – balancing price, sound quality, and noise-stopping power. Nonetheless, if you can locate them for a price you like, we still recommend them, especially if you appreciate the Bose name. The complete review of the Bose 700 noise-canceling headphones is below.
What do you receive in exchange for the extra $50, then? The design of the QC 35 IIs and the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is one of the most obvious contrasts between them.
Bose has adopted a whole different design strategy with these wireless headphones, and altogether, the one-piece style looks extremely elegant indeed. Gone are the pleated earcups, visible hinges, and heavy hardware.
The black and silver headphones are built around a stainless steel headband. The headphones’ smooth transition from a flat to a cylindrical shape can be altered by simply moving the earcups up and down the headband, keeping the design’s clean lines intact.
The streamlined earcups further emphasize the seamless transition from headband to earcup by forgoing the pleated cloth utilized in the QuietComfort line.
We were pleased with how light the headphones felt while wearing them, and the plush earcups completely enclose our ears to give both physical noise cancellation and a pleasant fit.
This, together with the padded headband, makes them appropriate for extended listening sessions, and we can easily picture ourselves nodding asleep while wearing them on a lengthy journey.
The headphones certainly feel a touch less durable than their more robust counterparts, such as the Sony WH-1000XM3s, which may be a nice trait for some people with tired heads.
There are a few pre-programmed buttons on the outside of the earcups (more on those later), but the touch-sensitive outer casing on the right earcup can operate the majority of the Headphones 700’s features.
The Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700 fold flat and come with a sleek, zip-up carrying case, so they should be appropriate for use when commuting or stowing away in your backpack, unlike the headphones in the QuietComfort line that collapse inward for secure storage.
Features and battery life
Installing the Bose Music app, which is available for free on the Google Play Store and the App Store, is necessary before configuring the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700.
Once you’ve done this, simply adhere to the pairing instructions displayed on the screen.
The touch controls are rather simple to use; simply move your finger up and down on the right earcup to adjust the volume, press twice to pause/play music, and move it back and forth to navigate the track listing.
The Amazon virtual assistant, Alexa, is already integrated into the headphones, so all you have to do is say “Alexa” to call her up.
By pressing a special button on the right earcup, Google Assistant and Siri can also be activated. You can then use your voice to issue requests.
Bose claims that the battery lasts for 20 hours, which we found to be accurate. Nevertheless, depending on how loud you listen, you might discover that this number varies slightly. Generally speaking, listening at higher volumes causes the battery to deplete more quickly.
Although the battery life is somewhat smaller than the Sony WH-1000XM3 noise Wireless Headphones’ 30 hours, it’s still more than sufficient to last you through a few commutes or a lengthy journey.
Bose has truly excelled themselves with the Headphones 700; a significant component of its appeal is the advanced noise cancelling they provide.
Noise-cancelling headphones have traditionally been made to drown out background noise so you can hear your music more clearly (or catch some shut-eye on a noisy flight).
Especially if you’re listening to music, this may be very powerful. Yet, if you’re on a phone conversation, the person you’re talking to can still hear everything that is going on around you, whether you’re attempting to speak on a rumbling train or while standing on a busy street.
By applying noise cancellation to both music and phone calls, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 aim to fix this.
According to Bose, this is possible because of an eight-microphone system, six of which are capable of providing classic noise cancellation so that you may listen to your music undisturbed.
During phone calls, two of these microphones are coupled with two other microphones, and they work together to isolate your voice and block outside noise. With less background noise interfering with your communication, the person on the other end of the line will hear you more clearly.
We found the call quality to be extremely clear when using the headphones to make phone calls, even when moving along a busy London street.
Three of the 11 noise cancellation settings, which may be selected as presets and cycled through using the physical button on the earcup, can be managed via the Bose app (the QC35 II’s only have three).
When construction workers in our neighbor’s garden loudly chatted, drilled, and played their radio at full volume, we experimented with switching between 0 (very mild noise cancellation), 5, and 10 (complete noise cancellation).
With our music playing and the headphones on 10, the highest level, the noise was significantly muffled, and we were completely unaware of them.
These headphones may be preferable to their predecessors if you are sensitive to the pressure that noise-cancelation can feel like it exerts on the ears; Bose has managed to prevent that suction-like feeling that has been the downfall of many other noise-canceling models.
Complete transparency, referred to by Bose as “Conversation Mode,” fully disables noise cancellation and permits sound to travel through the earcups essentially unhindered, allowing you to carry on normal conversations while still wearing your headphones.
There is no denying the excellent sound quality of these headphones, which have a dynamic, vivid character and a balanced soundstage.
On the most recent Mark Ronson album, Late Night Emotions, we put them to the test. They effectively portrayed the bubbling sub bass as smokey vocals soar above the clattering industrial drum beats in Truth (ft. Alicia Keys and The Last Artful, Dodgr).
The bass booms as Miley Cyrus’ vocal, which has been significantly echoed, reverberates around the soundstage of Nothing Breaks Like a Heart. Sweeping violins swirl with the strong bass and snappy kick drums toward the end of the song, but these headphones never sound muddy.
When listening to Falls Creek Boys Chorus, the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 stun us away with their detail and clarity. We were swept away by harmonies and textures we had never noticed before.
While most of the time that detail is amazing, it might sound a little harsh if you’re listening to music with a lot of high frequency sound (like snares and hi-hats, for example). Over time, this can be pretty exhausting.
For a pair of noise-canceling headphones, which are infamous for producing a “closed-off” sound, the soundstage is surprisingly expansive. They don’t feel confining, but you won’t get the broad sound that a pair of high-end audiophile headphones like the Focal Stellia offer.
Oh Yeah by Dutch Uncles is a perfect song to demonstrate this expansive soundstage because as the staccato verses transition into the 80s synth choruses, the headphones really open out for an immersive audio experience.
With its pulsing beats and heart-stopping piano cascades, Everything Everything’s No Reptiles also sounds wonderful, and as the song builds to its climax, the vocal harmonies swell and blend into the chattering synths.
We don’t think the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones quite beat the Sony WH-1000XM3s in this regard, but they’re still extremely capable. They sound confident and aggressive overall.
The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are a particularly wonderful choice if you’re looking for a great pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
These headphones include industry-leading noise cancelling technology, making them perfect for use during noisy flights and busy commutes.
These sound excellent and are undoubtedly pleasurable to listen to, but we don’t believe they have quite the same agility as the Sony WH-1000XM3s.
While costing $50, £50, or $100 more than Sony headphones, the Bose model does outperform them in terms of style with its sleek, modern build. Nevertheless, the battery life is also 10 hours less than Sony headphones.
As the Sony WH-1000XM3s are less expensive and have a longer battery life than the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, we advise choosing these over the latter.
The Bose cans, however, sound fantastic, look lovely, and have unmatched noise-cancellation, so choosing them would not be a mistake (and we wouldn’t blame you if you did).