For years, Bose has dominated the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) market with its QuietComfort headset series. The Massachusetts-based manufacturer has essentially written the book on noise cancellation and has always seemed to have a head start on the competition. The new Bose Noise Cancelling 700 headset of $ 399.95 is the first model of the company to exist outside the QuietComfort / QuietControl range. They offer a modern, streamlined look, integrated support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, an enhanced microphone system for clear call communication, and the best noise suppression we've tested. All this is in addition to the choice of publishers for earmuffs.
Available in black or silver, the sleek and minimalistic Noise Cancelling 700 headphones feature an elegant headband connecting the generously cushioned circumaural ear cups. The fit is quite comfortable even during long listening sessions, and the faux leather ear pads passively block a lot of ambient noise, even if ANC is not activated. The outer surfaces of the ear cups and headband have an elegant finish similar to an eggshell.
The outer panel of the right headset contains a touch keypad, power / pairing buttons, a voice assistance button and a status light. Double-tap the control pad to play and pause music, slide your finger up or down to change the volume and slide your finger forward or backward to skip tracks. Tap and hold the panel to display a prompt about battery life. You can also customize this action to enable or disable the wakeup word for voice assist. For calls, press once to answer, press and hold, then press the voice assistant button during a call mute the microphone. It's one of the most intuitive and useful control buttons we've ever used with a wireless headset. It is easy to learn and use.
The left atrium contains the ANC button, as well as a connection for the supplied headphone cable. The audio cable can be used with the headset for passive listening when the power is off. When the headphones are turned on and the cable is connected, the Bluetooth functions are automatically disabled. The difference between passive and active wired audio performance is dramatic and some users may prefer that the emphasis of the passive sound signature be clearer on bass. Unplugging the cable while the unit is turned on will trigger automatic pairing with your mobile device. The cable is missing a remote or microphone online, which is disappointing because the wired mode disables the controls on the ear.
The supplied charging cable connects to a USB-C port located at the bottom of the right headset, and the other end of the cable is a standard USB-A jack for use with any port or compatible charger (although no charger is provided). The Noise Canceling 700 headset also comes with an extremely flat carrying case with zipper in which the headset folds flat, with an interior compartment for the cables provided.
Bose estimates that battery life can reach 20 hours, but your results will vary greatly depending on your volume and your use of ANC and other additional features.
Application and voice wizards
The Bose Music app (for Android and iOS) helps you pair headphones, name them and select the music services you want to access via the app (Amazon, Deezer and Pandora are a few options) . Once this is done, you can set up the voice assistant of your choice.
Setting up Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant is a simple process, but you need the corresponding app for each service (Amazon Alexa or Google Home) on your phone for it to work. The right headset voice assistant button defaults to Siri on an iPhone, but invokes the voice assistant of your choice once the setup of the application is complete. In addition, you can configure Alexa to always listen to her idle word if you wish, so you do not even have to press the button (Google Assistant does not work yet with a watchword , although Bose anticipates this feature to come.). The pickups are extremely sensitive and you can control Amazon Music in hands-free mode with voice commands, such as with a smart speaker.
The app also provides ANC control, allowing you to set noise cancellation levels between level 0 (none) and 10 (maximum). The ANC button on the left headset can scroll through your favorite ANC settings. The default values are 0, 5, and 10, but you can assign three values in the application to scroll when you press the button. By holding down the ANC button on the left headset, you put the headset into talk mode. The level automatically switches to 0 and allows you to clearly hear your environment.
You can disable voice prompts, change the language of prompts, and set more granular variables, such as adjusting the volume of your own voice that you can hear during phone calls through the app. A detailed state of battery life is also listed on the main screen.
Bose plans to introduce augmented reality applications that work with its products. So there is a Bose AR button in the application. This feature is currently a little disappointing, limited to a handful of applications that are basically interactive maps or activity discovery tools near your location. It might be cool, but we're still in the early stages of this feature.
What is missing in the application? EQ. Bose says that this will be included in a future update, but it is not there now.
Noise suppression and pickups
Bose avoids the pitfalls common to ANC wireless headsets: there is very little difference in audio performance between different noise suppression modes. The ANC has little or no impact on the sound of the headphones, which is often not the case. There is also no extra breath, which is not the case with many competing ANC models.
As mentioned earlier, the ANC has various degrees of intensity, which are combined with ambient microphones that capture the outside world so that you can hear your environment whenever you want. We will discuss level 0 in a moment, but let's first talk about the maximum ANC, level 10: this is probably the most effective noise cancellation I've heard so far. This blocks much of my typing as I write this, as well as any indication of the relatively loud noise in my office. It also removes large areas of the low frequency rumors that you hear in planes and trains and greatly reduces chatter nearby.
Backing up to level 5 is actually very useful – you always block a lot of noise, but you can now hear a part of your environment without it being a distraction. I imagine that people will use these headphones between 5 and 10 because sometimes the maximum ANC can seem almost too quiet, especially if you do not play music.
Level 0 is what other ANC manufacturers often call the ambient or auditory listening mode, but this is a lot more natural than any other ambient mode we've tested. The pickups capture your environment very well and the levels are adjusted to match the reality to an impressive degree. This means that there is very little difference between what your environment sounds with the earphones turned on and in level 0 ANC and what they look like without the headphones. The other awesome feat here is the lack of delay – most ambient modes include a very slight slapback delay that is noticeable when you type (clicks happen later than they happen). or discuss with someone. Level 0 is therefore an impressive new height for ambient listening.
This means, however, that there is never a real ANC mode disabled for the 700 Noise Canceling Headphones. The 0 mode uses the ambient mics and the 1-9 modes correspond to varying degrees of darkness. ANC mixed with these pickups. At level 10, the ambient microphones are obviously not part of the composition. Anyway, the room microphones or the ANC are still active, and the only way to disable them completely is to turn off the headphones and use them in passive mode, which affects dramatically the audio performance.
Bose has developed a microphone array system that focuses on your voice and the rejection of ambient noise nearby, which not only allows for clearer phone calls, but also allows for more efficient voice communication from digital assistants. It also offers excellent intelligibility for calls: by using the Voice Memos application on an iPhone 8, we could understand each word recorded clearly and accurately. There are still traces of Bluetooth audio artifacts around the edges, but background noise is no longer a problem, even in windy or noisy environments.
On tracks with intense sub-bass content, such as The Knife's "Silent Shout", Noise Cancelling 700 Noise Canceling Heads deliver powerful bass depth while sculpting highs to balance effects. At the top, careless listening levels, the bass does not warp. This is not a sound signature for purists, but bass lovers will be thrilled.
Bill Callahan's "Drover", a track with much shallower bass, gives us a better idea of the overall sound signature of the Noise Canceling Headphones 700. The drums of this song sound almost like a thunder – it is not really exaggerated , but their presence in the bass is greater than accuracy. Fortunately, the bass is balanced with a clear presence of high and medium frequencies, leaving things clear and defined rather than confused by the richness of low and medium frequencies.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West's "No Church in the Wild," the bass drum loop gets a significant presence, allowing his attack to keep his punch, while vinyl cracks and whistles usually relegated to second place advancing into the mix. But the loop also sounds in the bass, and the sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the rhythm are delivered with extra depth. The vocal performances on this track are delivered cleanly and clearly, but with a little extra sibilance at times.
The orchestral tracks, like the opening scene of John Adams The Gospel according to the other Mary, tend to pack a little too much punch. It does not seem ridiculous, but the bass is pushed significantly in the mix, while the bass, strings and vocals keep their presence clear and bright despite the strengthening of the bass.
At $ 399.95, the Bose Noise Canceling 700 headphones meet the expectations of the QuietComfort series and add to the experience with excellent microphone clarity, enhanced voice assistance functionality and more granular ANC control. They are expensive, but worth it, and they easily deserve the choice of our publisher for their first-rate noise suppression.
For $ 50 less, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II remains one of the best ANC headsets on the market and your best option out of 700. In addition to the price, the main differences between the QC 35 II headphones and the 700 noise canceling headphones are completely different. . different physical construction, the lack of adjustable ANC, a different microphone system and the need to press a button to be able to use the voice assistant of your phone. If these differences do not bother you, go ahead and save $ 50.
And if your main concern is audio performance, with a very loud noise cancellation, Sony's $ 348 WH-1000XM3 headset is a great option with a lot of bass depth and high-frequency sharpness, as well as great sound quality. an equalizer function to satisfy the audiophiles a more balanced sound signature. In the meantime, if the prices are out of your budget, the Marshall Mid ANC headphones, more affordable, offer a sound sound at $ 279.99, although their noise reduction is not the same as those others models.