Best buy bose 700 headphones

Best buy bose 700 headphones DEFAULT

Bose Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones 700


Bose Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones 700 are everything you demand from wireless noise cancelling headphones — amplified. High-fidelity audio, world-class active noise cancelling, and situational awareness for when you want to let the world in. These voice activated wireless headphones have unrivaled voice pickup that adapts to noisy and windy environments so your calls are crystal clear. And with adjustable noise cancelling, you can control how much — or how little — of the outside world you hear. The sophisticated design features ear cushions made from plush protein leather and a streamlined headband for enhanced comfort. Capacitive touch sensors let you manage volume, calls, and music just by tapping or swiping the earcup surface on these Bluetooth headphones. You can tap into Google Assistant with the single touch of a button, or access the world of Amazon just by saying, “Alexa.” Use the Bose Music app to access all your content, adjust EQ, manage your devices, check your battery life, and more. Keep your music playing with up to 20 hours of battery life per charge. Available in Triple Black or Luxe Silver.


Designed without wires or cables and uses waves to carry the signal over part or all of the communication path

Noise Canceling

Reduces unwanted sounds using active noise control.

Built-In Microphone

Comes with a microphone that is used for recording


Product is able to resist the penetration of water to some degree.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 UC

Speak confidently and be heard clearly on conference calls — an adaptive four-microphone system isolates your voice from surrounding noise, eliminating the mute/unmute shuffle and “… are you there?” struggle

Personalize your work environmentwith 11 levels of noise cancellation, from virtual silence — for times of focus — to open and ambient, so you can hear what’s going on around you

Stay reliably connected and easily switch between audio sources — the included, pre-paired Bose USB Link Bluetooth® module provides a dedicated wireless connection to your computer

Enhance the audio experience with third-party cloud services such as Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Zoom, and more

Minimize interruptions with up to 20 hours of wireless battery life and time-based power information

Keep focused for hours with a comfortable, lightweight design, stainless-steel headband, and angled earcups

Collaborate in person instantlywith Conversation Mode, which allows you to hear people and your surroundings clearly without removing your headphones

Enjoy a better listening experience with active equalization technology that provides rich, immersive audio

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How we pick & test

Why you should trust us

Wirecutter senior staff writer and headphone reviewer Lauren Dragan researched the models for this article, collected the test samples, and did her own extensive testing of all the headphones we received. In her work at Wirecutter and previously at Sound & Vision, Lauren has probably evaluated more headphones than anyone else on earth.

Senior staff writer Brent Butterworth also tested all of the finalists and performed the noise-cancelling measurements. Brent has been reviewing audio gear professionally since 1990. He previously worked as an editor or writer for Sound & Vision,, Home Theater Magazine, and numerous other publications. Brent is one of the extremely small number of audio journalists (maybe two or three total) who own laboratory-grade headphone test equipment, which he used for part of our testing here. In the past eight years, he has evaluated and measured more than 350 headphones and done more in-depth analysis of noise-cancelling headphones than any other journalist.

John Higgins (Lauren’s spouse), a professional musician and composer who has written for Wirecutter, Sound & Vision, and Home Theater, also lent us his ears for this project. And Wirecutter editor-at-large Geoffrey Morrison, a frequent world traveler and veteran audio/video writer, had great influence on our work here through his many previous updates to this article.

How noise-cancelling headphones work

Noise-cancelling headphones are designed to reduce low-pitched humming and droning sounds, which you encounter in an airplane cabin and, to a lesser extent, on buses and trains (and probably on boats, too, although we haven’t tried that). They can also reduce sounds from some machinery, such as loud air conditioners. A decent set of headphones with active noise cancelling (ANC) can make airplane travel much more enjoyable because the feature allows you to hear movies, music, and in-flight entertainment clearly without having to turn the volume way up. You can also use these headphones even when you’re not listening to anything, just to make the cabin noise less annoying; some people use noise-cancelling headphones to help themselves fall asleep on long flights.

Noise-cancelling headphones work by using microphones to capture the noise around you and then feed an opposite (or phase-reversed) version of that sound into the tiny speakers (or drivers) built into the headphones. The technology never works perfectly, but it can work well enough in certain environments to make listening more enjoyable. The best noise-cancelling headphones combine this “active” noise cancelling with passive noise cancelling—that is, physical barriers and dampers built into the headphones that help block or absorb noise.

It’s a popular misconception that ANC headphones cancel out all noises equally. They don’t. Active noise cancellation is generally more effective on lower frequencies of sound, like the hum of a jet engine or an air conditioner. It’s not as effective with human voices and other higher frequencies. If you want to learn more about how ANC works and what sounds it works on, check out “What Your Noise-Cancelling Headphones Can and Can’t Do.”

Who should get these

If you travel on airplanes a lot or you commute every day on a bus or subway, you’ll benefit from having a set of ANC headphones. If, on the other hand, you just want something that reduces street sounds or the chatter of your office colleagues or fellow Starbucks patrons, conventional headphones will probably do about as good a job as noise-cancelling headphones—and they’ll often cost less.

We know that the choice between in-ear and over-ear headphones is a personal one, so we’ve included picks for both types of noise-cancelling headphones. How do you decide between headphones and earbuds? Earbuds are more compact and easier to travel with, and they can sound just as good and cancel noise just as well as over-ear and on-ear models. They may also work better if you wear glasses, because a thick set of glasses frames may prevent over-ear and on-ear headphones from making a good seal against your ears and cheeks. The downside to earbuds is that you have to stick them into your ear canals, which some people find uncomfortable; the battery life is often much shorter than that of over-ear headphones, too.

How we picked

The four main things to consider in a set of noise-cancelling headphones are:

  • efficacy of the noise cancelling
  • sound quality
  • battery life (in wireless models)
  • overall comfort

Since we first published this guide, we’ve tested more than 150 active-noise-cancelling headphones and considered dozens more. Although we have tested wired-only models in the past, most new noise-cancelling headphones feature Bluetooth wireless technology, which is now available at very affordable prices. However, many of these wireless headphones also support a wired connection, which is important if you want to connect to an in-flight entertainment system or if you want to conserve battery life.

We set no lower or upper price limits because this guide covers the entire range of noise-cancelling headphone models.

How we tested

A pair of headphones clamped over the GRAS 43AG at Brent Butterworth's workstation.

To judge the sound quality, we listened to the headphones with noise cancelling on and off—because some headphones sound great in one mode and not so great in the other. We used the test music of the panelists’ choice, sourced from various smartphones.

Testing the noise cancelling was more complicated. We did this both by ear and by using test equipment. To test the noise cancelling by ear, Lauren and John played noise at a loud level through a JBL L16 wireless speaker and then tried each of the headphones to see which ones best cancelled the noise. Brent did his test in his audio lab, using a mix of cabin noise recorded in four different airliners, fed through four speakers and a subwoofer at a level of 80 decibels, which is about the level you’d experience in the fairly loud cabin of an older jet such as a Boeing 737 or a McDonnell Douglas MD-80. Brent followed up by testing the best models during rides on Los Angeles’s Metro transit system, which includes buses and subways.

A pair of headphones nested into the fake ear of the GRAS 43AG at Brent Butterworth's workstation.

Brent then performed lab tests, measuring the degree to which the headphones blocked different frequencies of sound. To do this, he placed each set of over-ear headphones on his GRAS 43AG ear-and-cheek simulator connected through an M-Audio USB interface to a Windows laptop, played pink noise through the same speaker system described above, and used TrueRTA audio-spectrum analyzer software to see how much sound was leaking through the headphones.

To do noise-cancelling earbud tests, Brent placed the right-channel earpiece of each set of in-ear headphones into a GRAS KB5000 anthropometric pinna mounted on the GRAS 43AG ear-and-cheek simulator fitted with a GRAS RA0402 high-resolution ear simulator. He connected this fixture through an M-Audio USB interface to a Windows laptop, played pink noise through the same speaker system, and used the TrueRTA audio-spectrum analyzer software to see how much sound was leaking through the earbud. For details, read Brent’s more in-depth description of the process.

You can see the results from our picks and other notable competitors in the charts below.

A line graph showing earbud ANC measurements for five of the models tested in this review.

To provide a simpler way of looking at these measurements, Brent calculated the average amount of noise (in decibels) that the headphones cancelled in the 100 to 1200 Hz frequency band, which is where more airplane-cabin noise occurs, based on his analysis of four recordings he made in the cabins of different airliners. The higher the number, the greater the average noise reduction.

Headphone modelAverage NC (in dB; more is better)
Apple AirPods Max29.4
1More Dual Driver ANC Pro24.5
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 70022.5
Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II21.6
Anker Soundcore Life Q2018.7
1More True Wireless ANC18.2
Jabra Elite 75t17.6
Bose QuietControl 3016.9
Sony WH-1000XM416.2
Jabra Elite 85h14.7
Final E400011.4
Sony MDR-75063.2

The best wireless noise-cancelling headphones: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

The Bose 700 noise-cancelling headphones we recommend.

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 over-ear set has the most versatile active noise cancellation we’ve ever tested. With 10 levels of noise reduction to choose from, everyone should be able to find a setting that meets their needs. Although these noise-cancelling headphones don’t sound as good as the best over-ear headphones we’ve tried, in our tests they had a fairly neutral sound with no major flaws. Plus, they’re lightweight and comfortable, and the controls are easy to use. The 20-hour battery life, while not the best we’ve seen, is more than sufficient to get you to most destinations.

Technically speaking, the Bose 700 doesn’t reduce the most noise of any pair of over-ear headphones we’ve tested—that honor goes to the Apple AirPods Max for lower frequencies and the Sony WH-1000XM4 for higher frequencies—but the 700 is still very effective when set to its maximum ANC level. What distinguishes the Bose 700’s ANC is the amount of adjustability it gives you. Most noise-cancelling headphones offer controls for only on/off or maybe high/low/off, but here you can set the ANC level from 0 to 10, so you have more flexibility to dial in the ideal setting for your comfort or for a given activity. This feature is especially helpful for people who suffer from “eardrum suck,” since you can adjust the ANC intensity down in small steps until you no longer experience the problem. Through the Bose Music app, you can choose three ANC levels to assign as favorites, after which you can toggle between them using the button on the left earcup.

If you’re a fan of Bose’s signature sound, you won’t be disappointed with the Bose 700 set. These headphones are quintessential Bose: In our tests, they had a smidgen of extra bass, a little roll-off in the high-frequency range, and forward-sounding upper-mids. As a result, male vocals and basslines were a little more prominent in the mix than snare-rim clicks and consonants in words. Audiophile critics might say that the Bose 700 lacks crispness and detail, while other folks may actually prefer this lack of high-end intensity. In a recent update, the Bose Music app added EQ settings that enable you to adjust the bass, mids, and treble regions. The changes apply a little broadly, but they allow for some personalization of the overall sound profile.

Bose has done a fantastic job of ensuring that the sound quality remains nearly the same no matter what setting or method you use to listen: Bluetooth, cable, noise cancelling on or off, low or high. This is impressive stuff, as most headphones have mild to very noticeable sound-quality differences across their listening methods.

The Bose 700’s battery life isn’t industry-leading, but at 20 hours it’s more than sufficient. Of course, this number will vary based on whether you leave the noise cancellation on all the time, whether you choose the “always listening” option for your digital assistant, or whether you take frequent and long phone calls. But even when your headphones run out of power, it won’t be too long before they’re back up and running: The quick-charge feature gives you two and a half hours of battery life after 15 minutes of charging time.

The controls are easy to learn and use by feel. Bose employs a combination of physical buttons and touchpads: You handle noise cancellation, digital-assistant activation, power on/off, and Bluetooth pairing by pressing buttons, and you trigger volume and track changes by swiping and tapping on the right earcup. The Bose 700 is compatible with Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa, and you can program the system (via the app) to be always listening for the wake word associated with your favorite voice assistant. For quick conversations, you can hold the ANC toggle button on the left earcup to turn off the active noise cancellation, pause your music, and turn on the microphones to hear your surroundings better.

A closeup on the controls of the Bose 700 noise-cancelling headphones we recommend.

These wireless noise-cancelling headphones are especially comfortable to wear: lightweight, with super-soft memory-foam padding on the earcups and headband. Covering the padding on the underside of the headband is an unusual silicone-esque material that’s softer than solid plastic or metal yet feels as though it would be less likely to degrade over time in comparison with the fabric or leatherette material covering the headbands on much of the competition. The earpads are made of protein leather (higher-quality fake leather), and they’re replaceable and spacious enough to accommodate larger ear sizes. The earpad foam is pliable enough to work well with most glasses, though wider arms may cause some gaps that result in sound leakage. The fit felt secure on our heads, and most of our panelists thought the clamping force wasn’t too tight, though Brent said that the Bose QC35 Series II headphones felt looser and less restrictive on his larger skull.

The microphones sounded clear over our calls and video chats, but they did pick up some room noise. The microphone sound feeds into the noise-cancelling headphones themselves, so you get your own vocal feedback; this effect is helpful in reducing the instinct to yell when your ears are covered, but it can be distracting if you’re taking a call in a busy office and the mics pick up some chatter or keyboard clicks from your surroundings. If you prefer to reduce the amount of yourself that you hear, or if you want to turn this effect off completely, you can do so in the Bose Music app.

Although over-ear noise-cancelling headphones can’t compete with earbuds in portability, the Bose 700’s case does a decent job of minimizing the space these headphones take up in a bag. The headphones themselves fold flat, and the semi-firm case uses the gap between the headband and the earcups for cable storage. At about 2½ inches thick, the case will slip easily into a briefcase or a plane’s seat-back pocket.

Over-ear pick: Flaws but not dealbreakers

Although we love a lot about the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, this set does have some drawbacks. The biggest issue is the Bose Music app. Ordinarily, we don’t worry too much about buggy apps. However, for these headphones, the Bose Music app is required to do a whole lot of things, including altering which digital assistant you use, turning on the always-listening wake word for your digital assistant, changing the assigned ANC preferences, adjusting how much of yourself you hear during calls, and setting the auto-off timer.

We have a couple of concerns regarding the app. For starters, it can be downright annoying to get the app to recognize your headphones. Both Lauren and Brent had difficulty pairing them, and after speaking with Bose representatives, we can offer the following tips. When you first power on the headphones, if they don’t show up in your Bluetooth list, there are two possible things you can do. First, if you use a VPN, turn it off; once the initial pairing is complete, you can turn your VPN back on again. Second, you may need to reduce the number of Bluetooth devices that are in your device’s paired-items list. Remove or “forget” as many unnecessary gadgets as possible, and then try the setup again.

On top of that, to use the app, you’re required to create a Bose account, which privacy advocates may find troublesome. You can use a throwaway email address for the account, but we know that some folks would prefer not to need an account just to use their listening gear.

Bose emphasizes the 700’s augmented-reality capabilities on its website, but as of now this feature is mostly potential. There are only a handful of apps that you can install, and a few work solely in specific cities, so the usefulness is limited.

Another thing to consider: If you are prone to eardrum suck, the Bose 700 will likely be problematic for you at the higher-intensity noise-cancellation settings. This physical reaction is common enough that it has kept us from naming previous Bose headphones such as the QuietComfort 35 Series II as top picks. Brent and Lauren, who are both sensitive to eardrum suck, found the 5 and 6 settings on the Bose 700 to be the sweet spot, where the reduction was effective yet not headache-inducing. At that level, though, the amount of noise cancellation wasn’t much better than that of lower-priced noise-cancelling headphones we’ve tested. So if you know for certain that you won’t be using the higher levels of ANC, you may want to save money and choose a lower-priced option.

The digital assistant “always listening” feature is nifty, but keep in mind that other devices may also pick up your wake word when you’re talking to the headphones. Apple seems to have found a way to prevent duplicate Siri replies, but Google and Amazon devices may all answer you at once if you’re in range of them. This isn’t a Bose problem; it’s an OS problem.

And lastly, if you need to listen via a wired connection, keep in mind that the Bose 700 has a 2.5 mm input. A 2.5 mm–to–3.5 mm audio cable is included, but it has no remote or mic. Depending on your device, you may have trouble taking phone calls when you’re tethered via the cord.

Our noise-cancelling earbuds pick: 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro

The 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro noise cancelling headphones.

The 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro collar-style Bluetooth noise-cancelling earbuds are a fantastic choice for frequent travelers. Not only are they the most effective noise-cancelling earbuds we’ve ever measured, but they’re affordable, too. They can connect to your device wirelessly or via an included cable, and the noise cancellation works through both methods, which is not always the case among the competition. Plus, they’re lightweight, they coil up for easy storage in a shoulder bag or carry-on, the fit is comfortable, and the controls are simple to use by feel.

Impressively, these earbuds offered better noise reduction than even the Bose 700 headphones in the “airplane band” of frequencies, so they will effectively reduce engine noise, sounds from air conditioners, the woosh of traffic, and humming from fans. If you dislike the feeling of aggressive noise cancelling, the Dual Driver ANC Pro offers two settings (moderate and high) in addition to off. Our panelists who are sensitive to eardrum suck found the moderate setting completely comfortable; both Brent and Lauren felt some discomfort at the high setting.

When you need situational awareness, a button press activates pass-through mode, so you won’t need to take your earbuds out every time you have a conversation. And if you live in a windy locale (or tend to zone out in a Lyft with the windows down), the Dual Driver ANC Pro features a “wind noise reduction mode” that assists in reducing the fluttering sound of air swooping across your earbuds. It’s effective on a mild to moderate breeze but unlikely to keep up with the noise from serious gusts or other higher-speed winds (if you’re on a motorcycle, for example).

Fans of in-flight entertainment systems will be happy to know that the 1More earbuds work both wirelessly and wired. If the battery runs out, you can choose to listen corded, with the ANC powered off. Plus, unlike with most of the earbud competition, this pair’s active noise cancellation still functions in wired mode—as long as the earbuds have some battery life. 1More claims a 20-hour battery life with the ANC off, and 16 hours with it on. Those figures were very close to what we got in our testing, but your results could be different depending on the resolution of the audio you’re streaming, the volume, and the number of phone calls you take. Those numbers are the same as what you can get from the over-ear Bose 700 pair, and more than enough for a day of travel. If you do run out of juice, just plug in the 1More headphones and take a short break: The Dual Driver ANC Pro’s battery features a quick-charge mode that provides three hours of use from just a 10-minute charge.

In our tests, the sound quality was quite good, especially for a pair in the $150 price range. Although they don’t offer the detail and control on attack and decay as on our favorite wired earbuds, they do give you the convenience of Bluetooth and the addition of noise cancelling for around the same price. In our experience, a boost in the upper high-frequency range occasionally made consonants sound too intense and added a harsh edge to cymbal and snare sounds. And the very low lows (below 80 Hz, Brent noted) were a touch too loud, so bass-guitar notes seemed a little more recessed in the mix than usual, or as though the kick drum had been miked inside but not outside. Overall, though, the sound was pleasant to listen to, with a nice level of clarity and sense of space. The tuning was pretty consistent across all the Bluetooth modes; the sound quality didn’t change much when we switched between ANC levels or turned it off. However, when we listened via cable, the treble intensity diminished somewhat.

In addition to their noise-reducing capabilities, the Dual Driver ANC Pro earbuds stand out for their comfort and ease of use: They’re lightweight, with unobtrusive cables and a flexible collar coated with a smooth silicone-style material that allows you to turn your head without the pieces’ snagging or tugging. 1More includes four different sizes of ear tips and one set of “ear secure” winglets, so every member of our panel was able to get a snug fit despite our wide array of ear sizes and shapes. We found the controls on the neckband easy to feel and use without looking, and even the included audio cable is thoughtfully wrapped in fabric, which helps to reduce tangles.

During phone calls, our voices sounded clear, though a bit compressed, to callers. The Dual Driver ANC Pro picked up background noises a bit, but no more than the majority of tested earbuds did.

Earbuds pick: Flaws but not dealbreakers

The 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro earbuds are mostly wonderful flight companions, but we encountered a few bumps of turbulence. First of all, these aren’t the snazziest-looking earbuds, but we think their effectiveness, comfort, and ease of use will matter more on your next long journey.

As we mentioned above, the sound quality has an increase in intensity in the consonant range. The boosted high frequencies could be fatiguing for listeners who are sensitive to high-pitched sounds. The bump isn’t enough to ruin the overall listening experience, however, and in light of the Dual Driver ANC Pro’s other virtues, we gave it a pass on this drawback.

Another bummer: The mic is located on the collar, so scarves, jackets, and high shirt collars can block or rub it and hinder call quality. Just make sure the mic is not covered when you’re making or taking phone calls.

Lastly, the included carrying bag is made of the saddest, cheapest material. But since it’s really there just to keep your cables nearby and to keep dust off the headphones, we were able to overlook this.

Best budget noise-cancelling headphones under $100: Anker Soundcore Life Q20

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 noise cancelling headphones.

Generally, when wireless noise-cancelling headphones dip below $100, they make some serious concessions in sound, build quality, or the effectiveness of their active noise cancellation. So we were pleasantly surprised to discover that the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 does all of those things pretty well for around 60 bucks. Although its noise cancelling and sound quality can’t match the standards set by the much pricier Bose 700, the Life Q20 is a fantastic affordable option.

As you can see in the chart above, the Life Q20’s active noise cancellation isn’t as effective as that of our other picks, but it is effective enough to make a noticable difference on sounds such as airplane noise and the hum of air conditioners. On this pair we measured an average reduction of 18.7 dB, which is impressive for headphones at this price and will help take the edge off loud hums so you can listen to your podcasts at a reasonable volume.

If you like a lot of bass, the tuning of the Life Q20 will appeal to you—this pair is definitely low-frequency heavy. With hip-hop, the bass will likely be a bit much for the audiophile set. Although in our tests the sound was not nearly as balanced as that of the Bose 700, it had enough high-end detail to keep us from losing track of lyrics.

Comfort is important even for budget noise-cancelling headphones, and the Life Q20 punches above its weight class in this respect, with notably soft memory-foam earpads. The overall weight on the head is moderate, and the headband stays secure without squeezing. Folks with very small craniums may find (as Lauren did) that the length of the headband is a bit big and the earcups can hang a little lower than perfectly centered around the ear. That said, most adults will find the amount of adjustability to be perfectly suitable.

The Life Q20 headphones are primarily made of plastic, but they don’t have the creaky or brittle feel of many similarly priced competitors. The control buttons are the one exception; in our tests they felt a bit cheap and clicked in our ears when we pressed them. But since you press the buttons only occasionally to change tracks or take a call, we don’t think this annoyance is enough to ruin the Life Q20’s appeal. Plus, the controls are easy to use by feel, and folks who don’t care for touch-based controls will enjoy having physical buttons.

Anker claims a 30-hour battery life with Bluetooth and noise cancelling on. In our tests, we got even more than that—the Life Q20 lasted 38 hours at about 70 percent volume and the ANC on (we also took about 20 minutes of phone calls). Just remember that more phone calls or louder volume may affect your personal experience. The battery’s quick-charge feature will power the headphones for four hours of use from just five minutes plugged in. The Life Q20’s Bluetooth range was over 120 feet line-of-sight in our testing, and we were able to go several rooms away without signal drop, which is great.

A close up of the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 noise cancelling headphones.

If you want to listen wired, a 3.5 mm cable is included, but you’ll need to have the headphones powered on to take a call. In our tests, call quality was passable, not great. The mic sounded fantastic in a quiet room (our tester said it sounded as though we were calling from the phone itself) but also picked up a good bit of wind noise and human voices, so you may want to walk to a quieter place to take important calls.

The Life Q20 headphones fold flat but don’t come with a hard carrying case. The included fabric bag will do the trick to keep them clean but won’t protect them from impacts.

The best true wireless noise-cancelling earbuds: 1More True Wireless ANC

The 1More True Wireless ANC earbuds sitting in the charging case.

In our experience so far, true wireless earbuds aren’t the best choice for travelers and commuters who want noise-cancelling headphones. They don’t provide the best active noise cancellation, their battery life is shorter, and you can’t connect via a cord when necessary. But if your heart is set on true wireless, we think the 1More True Wireless ANC earbuds offer the best combination of performance and features for the money.

Unlike many of the true wireless ANC options available, this 1More pair offers decent noise reduction in the airplane band, averaging 18.2 dB on the high setting and 7.2 dB on the median setting. That’s more than enough to be useful on a plane or subway, and better than what we got from more expensive true wireless designs like the AirPods Pro (which sat at around 8 dB of reduction) and the Bose Quiet Comfort Earbuds. Still, it’s not as effective as what you’ll get from the 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro earbuds, which average a reduction of 24.5 dB.

The moderate earbud size and the inclusion of six sets of silicone tips, plus three sets of wings, will help ensure a secure fit for a variety of ear sizes and shapes. Through physical buttons on the earbuds, you can control track skip, play/pause, volume, and voice assistant, and music will pause automatically when you take the earbuds out of your ears. By tapping the earbuds themselves, you can control the hear-through mode (if you want to hear your surroundings or have a conversation) and toggle through the three levels of noise cancellation. It’s all easy to do once you’ve learned what sequence elicits what response.

The sound quality is a touch on the sibilant side, but folks who prefer an extra boost in the consonant range may not mind that too much. There’s also a good amount of bass, which Lauren wished she could reduce a bit, but it’s not distractingly boomy or overwhelming to male vocals. The microphones use environmental noise cancelling to ensure that you sound clear to callers, even if there is a little background noise.

A close-up of a single 1More True Wireless ANC earbud.

Fans of wireless charging will like that the case is Qi compatible. However, these 1More earbuds have a shorter battery life per charge compared with traditional Bluetooth earbuds that are tethered by a cable: five hours with ANC on and six with it off (in contrast to the approximate 16 hours on and 20 hours off that the 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro achieved). These earbuds will charge quickly in the case (15 minutes of charging nets you two hours of use), but they won’t work corded when the battery dies, and you won’t be able to use in-flight entertainment that requires a cord. They also aren’t water resistant, nor do they have wind-resistant mics, which limits the conditions in which you can take calls. If those omissions are dealbreakers for you, our pick for the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds, the Jabra Elite 75t, has both of those features, but milder (yet still useful enough) noise cancellation.

Why does active noise cancellation give some people a headache?

More noise cancelling doesn’t necessarily lead to a better experience, especially with over-ear noise-cancelling headphones. We say this due to a phenomenon we refer to as “eardrum suck,” which seems to produce the same uncomfortable reduction of pressure on the eardrums as you’d experience when riding a high-speed elevator in a very tall building. And this sensation can lead to headaches. Typically, the more effective the noise-cancelling circuitry is in a pair of headphones, the more eardrum suck it produces. You can read more about this phenomenon in the blog post we wrote.

Fortunately, you don’t need extreme levels of noise cancelling to have a pleasant experience with noise-cancelling headphones. In our testing, we’ve found that about 10 decibels of average noise reduction in the “airplane-cabin band” between 100 and 1200 Hz is plenty to allow for music listening at a comfortable level.

Security and privacy

Wirecutter takes security and privacy issues seriously and investigates, as much as possible, how the companies we recommend deal with customer data. Since a growing number of wireless Bluetooth headphones require the use of an app for setup and (sometimes) daily operation, we reached out to the companies that produce our top picks and asked them to provide information that we think is of primary concern for any potential buyer. Here’s what we learned:

How our picks compare

What user data does the app collect?

  • Bose: We reached out to Bose multiple times but have yet to receive a response. In the meantime, below is some information from Bose’s Privacy Policy.
    • Technical data: such as mobile device ID (including operating system and version), IP address, internet service provider, browser type, and domain name.
    • Usage data: such as whether and when you update the app and your connected Bose products, date and time of use, time spent in different portions of the app, content accessed or downloaded (including stations played, playlists, artists, albums, songs, or podcasts), and list of systems and software applications.
    • Diagnostic data: such as battery life, Wi-Fi quality and connection, and error logs.
    • Environmental data: such as noise level and audio frequencies
  • 1More: Location, music (if played through the EQ option in the app), and user data (register number, gender, and age)
  • Anker Soundcore: Not applicable, no app.
  • TaoTronics: Not applicable, no app.

What permissions does the app ask for?

  • Bose: Bluetooth, location, access to music apps such as Deezer and Spotify, and digital assistants
  • 1More: Bluetooth and location

Are you required to create an account?

  • Bose: Yes (to use the app)
  • 1More: No

Can the headphones be used without the app, and what do you lose by doing so?

  • Bose: Yes. You lose access to the ability to add new features, customize controls, to use non-device-native digital assistants (such as Google on an iPhone), and to update firmware.
  • 1More: Yes. You lose the ability to update firmware.

Is data collected in the app shared with third parties for marketing purposes?

  • Bose: Bose may use your precise geolocation information to provide customized services, content, promotional offers, and other information that may be of interest to you.
  • 1More: No

Are you able to opt out of sharing some or all of your data, and if so, how?

  • Bose: Yes. You can opt out of the collection of diagnostic and usage data by visiting the Privacy Policy & Settings menu in the Bose Connect app. You can also disable the location features on your device to prevent Bose and its service providers from collecting and using GPS location information. If you wish to opt out of cross-device tracking for purposes of interest-based advertising, you may do so through your Android or Apple device-based settings.
  • 1More: Yes. You can allow or deny access to some of your data via your 1More Music app permissions.

Other good noise-cancelling headphones

If you work in an open office or from home, we like the Sony WH-1000XM4 over-ear headphones because they’re great at blocking out voices around you, and they have an adjustable speak-to-chat feature that automatically turns on the awareness mode and pauses your music when you talk. The sound quality isn’t the best right out of the box, but if you’re willing to put some effort into adjusting the EQ in the app, the XM4 can sound even better than the Bose NC700. These headphones are an also-great pick in our guide to the best Bluetooth wireless headphones, but they aren’t a noise-cancelling pick because although this pair does a very good job at reducing noise in the vocal range, it’s not as effective in the airplane band as the Bose NC700. We also prefer the Bose’s smooth range of adjustable noise cancellation, which is helpful for times when you don’t need as much reduction or if you are prone to eardrum suck.

As is true of their over-ear counterpart above, the Sony WF-1000XM4 true wireless earbuds have many things we like a lot. The active noise cancelling is effective enough to be useful on a plane, though it’s not the best we’ve tested. However, the earbuds have superlative noise isolation, which means that they’ll block distracting high-pitched sounds like voices, baby cries, and dog barks better than the competition. The beam-forming microphones made our voices sound perfectly clear over phone calls, and the wind-noise reduction software performed better than that of most other earbuds we’ve tried. With some minor tweaks in the EQ, the sound quality is excellent, with detailed highs and deep bass that isn’t blurry or muddy—a true delight. (Our testers really didn’t like the effects of Sony’s proprietary DSEE algorithm when enabled, so we’d recommend turning it off.) The Qi-charging capability is a nice bonus, and the eight-hour battery life (with active noise cancellation enabled) is a solid listening time for true wireless earbuds. The speak-to-activate awareness mode is incredibly helpful for office workers or parents who need to have brief conversations and don’t have a free hand to tap a button. Downsides include the limited controls on the earbuds, the large earbud size (which will be a tight fit for small ears), and the lack of XL ear tips (which can cause seal problems for very large ears). And although there are a lot of nifty-sounding features packed into the Sony app, we found the app cumbersome to navigate and most of the options—like the automatic location-based listening mode adjustment—wonky in use. But if these issues don’t affect you, and you don’t mind the higher price tag, the WF-1000XM4 is an excellent pair of earbuds that may be worth the investment.

If you’re willing to pay more to get the absolute best active noise cancellation and a more luxurious design, Apple’s AirPods Max over-ear headphones have a sleek, distinctive look, and their H1 chip pairs to Apple products effortlessly, which is a large part of the appeal. This pair provides the best noise cancellation in the airplane band that we’ve ever tested, with an average of 29.4 dB. (You can view Brent’s measurements of the AirPods Max here.) However, these headphones don’t work as well as the Sony WH-1000XM4 in blocking higher frequency sounds like baby cries or people talking.

The downside of the Max’s excellent low-frequency noise reduction is that they can lead to eardrum suck, and the Max offers no adjustability in the ANC, aside from on and off. This pressure is compounded by the Max’s heft and snug clamping force. So for folks who like to wear their headphones all day, the added weight and pinch may be a literal pain.

Call quality is excellent, and the multiple microphones reduce wind noise exceptionally well. However, when walking near a busy street, the transparency mode becomes a cacophonous mess, and it isn’t adjustable.

These headphones sound great, creating a decent sense of spatial depth despite the closed-back design. However, the Max does not include a 3.5 mm cable. (You can buy the Lightning-to-analog adapter cable for an additional $35.) For those who are looking to take advantage of Apple Music’s lossless audio or another high-resolution audio service, Apple has said that the AirPods Max are incompatible. However, they are compatible with Dolby Atmos and Apple’s spatial audio—a feature that has potential but we haven’t seen implemented meaningfully just yet.

The case for the AirPods Max is a truly baffling design choice, as it’s more of an earcup slipcover. It doesn't protect the headband, nor will it keep dust and debris out of the earcups, as there are large portholes cut in the case’s bottom. And you can’t simply swap it for an inexpensive third-party case because you need it to put the headphones into low-power standby mode (though refrigerator magnets will work too). This is problematic because, if the battery dies, you can’t listen in wired mode. The AirPods Max must have some charge to function at all, even corded.

One differentiator we did find truly compelling is that the AirPods Max has a replaceable battery. You’ll need to pay Apple $79 for the swap, but we love the idea of more sustainable wireless headphones, especially pricier ones.

If you wear glasses and find that over-ear headphones don’t fit you properly, the Beats Solo Pro on-ear headphones are worth considering. Because of its on-ear design, the Solo Pro pair won’t rest on the arms of your spectacles and pinch your noggin. The fit is very comfortable, and thanks to the inclusion of Apple’s H1 chip, the user experience is intuitive, especially for Apple fans who are already familiar with the AirPods’ pairing process: Unfold the headphones to power them on, and a Solo Pro pop-up appears on your iPhone. The Solo Pro’s transparency mode is helpful for situational awareness when you need to have a conversation, and the result isn’t brash or tinny-sounding as on many other pass-through audio interfaces we’ve tested. Although these headphones aren’t as good at noise cancelling as the Bose 700 pair, the Solo Pro’s adaptive ANC does a respectable job of reducing the most significant airplane hums, so you can enjoy your music at lower volumes. The sound quality in our tests was pretty great, though we did detect extra bass intensity that was a little less refined than we typically prefer.

If you want a good all-purpose pair of over-ear headphones that costs less than the Bose, the Jabra Elite 85h is the top pick in our best Bluetooth wireless headphones guide. This over-ear pair may not have the best active noise cancellation, but otherwise it delivers everything you could want in a pair of Bluetooth headphones. These headphones sounded fantastic out of the box, and we found them more intuitive to set up and use than most competitors thanks to the automatic Bluetooth pairing process and the large, easy-to-access controls. The battery life, rated at 36 hours (with active noise cancellation engaged), is also longer than that of many competitors, and the battery charges quickly, providing five hours of use after only 15 minutes of plug-in time. The Elite 85h works with the Amazon, Apple, and Google digital assistants, and the microphone quality was especially clear on our phone calls. The Elite 85h is water resistant, too, and protected by a two-year warranty against damage from rain. The active noise cancellation wasn’t as effective as that of the Bose 700, but it did reduce enough noise to be useful.

Jabra recently added active noise cancellation to our favorite Bluetooth earbuds, the Jabra Elite 75t. The active cancellation is not as powerful as that of the 1More True Wireless ANC, nor is it as adjustable as that of the Jabra Elite 85t, but it’s still effective enough to be helpful, as you can see in the measurements in How we tested. The ANC is a drain on battery life, however, so we wouldn’t recommend this pair for someone who needs noise cancellation every single day.

What to look forward to

Samsung announced the Galaxy Buds2 true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation, background-noise-reducing microphones for calls, and compatibility with Samsung’s Auto Switch feature. They are IPX2-rated, have five hours of playtime per full charge with an additional 15 hours in the case, and come in four colors: white, black, lavender, and green. The Galaxy Buds2 have arrived in stores and cost $150. We have a pair and will be checking in here with the results of our testing.

The Cleer Roam NC budget true wireless ANC earbuds come with IPX4 water resistance and five hours of battery life per charge, with 10 more hours of power in the case. The Rome NC is slated to be available for $60.

Jabra has announced two new true wireless, noise-cancelling earbuds. The Elite 7 Pro and Elite 7 Active seem to be upgrades of the Elite 75t and Elite Active 75t. Both models feature adjustable active noise cancellation, a hear-through mode, nine hours of battery life with ANC activated (26 additional hours in the case), quick-charge capabilities that provide 1.2 hours of listening time after only five minutes in the case, and a dust/water resistance rating of IP57. Both models have Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant (when connected to an Android phone) built in.

The Elite 7 Active (which, like the Elite Active 75t, is geared toward gym use) additionally features what Jabra calls “shake grip” coating. Jabra says this will keep the Elite 7 Active in your ears more securely during sweaty, high-impact moves. The Elite 7 also has mesh covering the microphone to help reduce wind noise when jogging or training outdoors.

The Elite 7 Pro (which is more similar to the Jabra Elite 75t or 85t and geared toward office use) differentiates itself by call clarity. This pair will use bone conduction in conjunction with microphones and software to reduce background noise and increase vocal clarity on your calls. The 7 Pro also has a case with Qi wireless charging.

The Elite 7 Active will cost $180, the Elite 7 Pro $200. Both models are due out October 1. We plan to test both models and update you as soon as we have thoroughly evaluated them.

Bose announced the QuietComfort 45 wireless over-ear noise-cancelling headphones, which are the update to Bose’s popular QuietComfort 35 II. In addition to ANC, the QC45 offer an awareness mode, beam-form background-noise-reducing microphones for calls, 24 hours of battery life, and quick-charge abilities. If you happen to have a Bose soundbar, the QC45 headphones are compatible with SimpleSync, which allows you to pair to your Bose soundbar and use the QC45 as wireless TV headphones. The QC45 pair is available for preorder now for $330. We’ll test them and update you as soon as possible.

The competition

Bose 700 Headphones in 2021: Should YOU Buy?

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review: Top noise-canceling headphones take it up just a notch

They also won't like the new, higher price: The Bose 700 is $400 (£350 or about AU$570), which is $50 more than the QC35 II and the Sony WH-1000XM3, CNET's current top-rated noise-canceling headphone. (The latter has recently sold for $300 or less, in fact.) But leaving aside the debate over the new design and higher price tag for a moment, I'll say this: The Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 sound and perform better than their predecessor, and shine as a headset for making calls.    

To be clear, this really is a new headphone, both on the outside and the inside, with new drivers and a total of eight microphones to help enable Bose's "evolved noise-canceling functionality." One of the biggest external changes is to the headband. The QuietComfort 35 II has a high-tech resin (read: plastic) headband, while the Headphones 700's headband incorporates a single, seamless piece of stainless steel that seemingly makes it a little sturdier. However, as a result of the new design, there's no hinge, so they don't fold up, just flat, and you simply lay them into their protective carrying case, which is larger than the QuietComfort 35 II's case.

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Some will like that you don't have to bother folding the headphones while others will prefer the predecessor's smaller case. I did like that there's a little compartment in the case -- its door closes magnetically -- for storing the USB-C charging cable and the short cable for wired listening. It's worth noting that the port on the headphone is the smaller 2.5mm variety so, bizarrely, it's a 2.5mm to 3.5mm cable.

Read more: Bose Earbuds 500 are the AirPods killers worth waiting for

In the past, Bose has tried to shave weight off its headphones, but at 254g this model is actually about half an ounce heavier than the QuietComfort 35 II, which will remain in the line. You can feel the weight difference. Personally, I didn't find the headphone any less or more comfortable than the QuietComfort 35 II; it just felt a little different (I don't have a large head). But some other editors in our office thought the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 clamped down on their heads a little more forcefully than the Quiet Comfort 35 II, creating slightly more pressure. 

The material on the inside of the headband is also different. The Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 have a soft-to-the-touch rubberized inside band that's filled with air for extra cushioning while the Quiet Comfort 35 II relies on foam padding covered in a fancy cloth material for its cushioning. The rubber doesn't absorb sweat, which is good, but some people will prefer the cloth and padding on the Quiet Comfort 35 II.

The long and short of it is the Noise Cancelling Headphones are comfortable, but the Quiet Comfort 35 II and the Sony WH-1000XM3 arguably feel slightly better. On the other hand, the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 seems slightly more durable. That said, it's a good idea to store the headphones in their protective carrying case. The finish on the metal part of the band is a little susceptible to getting scratched up if they rub up against metal objects in a bag or backpack.          

Built to communicate

Bose is touting the headphone's voice communication features. While the overall sound quality is a relatively small step up from the QuietComfort 35 II -- more on that in a minute -- the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 perform significantly better as a headset for making calls. The new microphones are designed to pick up your voice better (some of them are beam-forming mics) and reduce noise around you so people can hear you better in noisier environments. That goes for voice assistants as well -- the headphone supports Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa, all of which should better understand what you're saying in noisier environments.

I made some calls from the noisy streets of New York and people could hear me even when I was standing next to a trash truck that was compacting old furniture outside our office building. The headphones do a really good job filtering out background noise. Not all of it, but a lot of it. When you're not talking, the headphones greatly reduce the ambient noise around you. However, when you speak, the headphones do let some background noise in because the microphones, even beamed into your voice, pick up some outside noise. Needless to say, the headphones' computer chips are doing a fair amount of sound processing.   

There's also an adjustable sidetone feature that allows you to hear your voice in the headphones (which prevents you from talking too loudly when on a call). The QuietComfort 35 II has some light sidetone that not everybody notices, but you can really sense it in this new model. 

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In Bose's Music companion app for iOS and Android, you designate which assistant you want to use and then access that assistant with a button push like you do on the QuietComfort 35 II. If you choose Alexa, you can activate Amazon's voice assistant by simply saying the wake word "Alexa." That makes this one of the few headphones to offer always-on Alexa and it performs about as well as the AirPods and Beats Powerbeats Pro do with always-on Siri. The Jabra Elite 85h, another headphone that's great for making calls and is equipped with lots of microphones, was supposed to have this feature but Jabra ended up leaving it off after it discovered that it had too great an impact on battery life.

Read more: Best headphones for 2019

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I asked a Bose rep about the possible adverse impact on battery life when using always-on Alexa because the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700's 20 hours of battery life is shorter than that of a lot of its competitors (a quick-charge feature does allow you to get 3.5 hours of battery life from a 15-minute charge). The rep said that it did not have an impact on battery life and that the battery life was the same whether you had Bluetooth on or off, say, if you were in wired mode on a plane. To that end, it's also worth noting that you can use the headphone in wired mode if the battery dies. It doesn't sound quite as good unplugged -- yes, I tried it -- but it still sounds pretty decent (the bass isn't as strong) and the headphones passively muffle a fair amount noise simply by virtue of being an over-ear model.

New for Bose

This is the first Bose headphone equipped with touch controls. The touch area is on the right side of the right ear cup. I found that they worked well and that same Bose rep told me that Bose's engineers were aware of the problems that some Sony WH-1000XM3 users were having with that headphone's touch controls in cold weather and that the Noise Cancelling 700 Headphones had been tested in the cold. The touch controls supposedly work but we'll have to wait until winter to test it out ourselves.

Typically, Bose hasn't offered us much in the way of customizable settings, but that's changed a bit with the 700: You can adjust the level of noise canceling in the Bose Music app and there's a dedicated button on the headphone that allows you to toggle between low, high and a zero noise-canceling mode that Bose refers to as a true "transparency" mode.

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Impressively, when you're in that transparency mode you essentially hear the outside world as your ears normally would. It's hard to tell the difference between having the headphones on or off. Holding the noise-canceling button puts you right into transparency mode (your music pauses) so you can talk to someone while you're wearing the headphones -- to a flight attendant on a plane, for example. This is similar to Sony's Quick Attention feature except that you have to touch the noise-canceling button to unpause your music -- you can't just let go of the button for your audio to start playing again.

They're also enabled with Bose AR, the company's audio-augmented reality platform, and in the future, Bose says it will add new features -- the headphones are firmware upgradable -- including an equalizer for tweaking the sound to your liking, a Dynamic Transparency mode that allows you to hear the outside world but muffles loud noises such as sirens and a Noise Masking feature that creates white noise to help you block out the outside world and concentrate without listening to music. Bose lists those features as "coming soon."

One important note about the companion Bose Music app: During my initial testing, while my iPhone X paired fine with the headphones, I couldn't get the headphones to link with the app. They connected fine with the app on a Sony Android phone and an iPad. It's unclear what the issue is, but other people have reported having connection problems to the app on iOS devices. (That might account for the initial wave of unenthusiastic Amazon user reviews, too.) But as I was writing this review, Bose came up with a fix, and I was able to connect with the app on my iPhone X. I still think the app needs some work, and I expect we'll see some tweaks to improve its reliability and features in the coming months.  

The good news is the app isn't required to use the headphones. The main thing you need the app for is to set up Alexa or Google Assistant. It also lets you simultaneously pair two devices to the headphones and toggle between them. But aside from those two features, the rest of the settings aren't too vital and you can access the limited number of Bose AR apps from the App Store.  

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Bose noise cancellation vs. Sony noise cancellation

Bose and Sony have been battling it out for noise-cancelling supremacy over the last couple of years and Sony arguably pulled slightly ahead with its WH-1000XM3. The noise-cancelling features in the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones is slightly improved over the noise-cancelling in the QuietComfort 35 II, and its noise-cancelling performance is neck-and-neck with the Sony's. Depending on the type of noise you're encountering, you may find one a tad more effective than the other, but again, it's very close.

I have a fairly loud air conditioning system at home and I stood near a vent in the kitchen and swapped between the new Bose and the Sony. They both did an excellent job muffling the sound but the Sony was a hair better. I had the Bose at level 10 (the highest level) for noise-cancelling. If you're more sensitive to the pressure feeling of noise-cancellation technology, as noted, the Bose allows you to adjust the level of noise cancellation. The Sony also does, too -- via the app -- but you have you to turn off adaptive sound control in the companion app to get to the setting. 

I've used both headphones in an open office environment and the streets of New York (and in the subway) and they both work well, tamping down the noise around you in those environments. To declare one an absolute winner (from a noise-cancelling perspective) is difficult because I can't walk around swapping them on and off everywhere I go, but I don't think anybody will be disappointed with the Bose's updated noise-cancelling abilities.

Sound comparisons

Bose has made some improvements to the sound quality in its new model, too. The Noise Cancelling 700 Headphones sound a little better than the QuietComfort 35 II, with more overall clarity and bass definition. Listening to our test tracks, including Alt-J's 3WW, Rag'n'Bone Man's Human and Spoon's You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb, I came away thinking that the Sony's bass had more energy and a little more oomph to it but the Bose's bass sounded a little tighter. The Sony is the warmer headphone and is the better pick for hip-hop and electronic dance music. The brighter Bose will bring out more detail in jazz and classical material, with slightly better separation of instruments.  

CNET's home audio editor Ty Pendlebury, whose musical tastes skew toward rock, liked how the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 sounded. He thought they were well-balanced and clean sounding. Do they make you want to go back to listen to your whole library to hear it in a way you hadn't ever heard it before? Probably not if you've already been exposed to exceptional headphones. But these are very competent headphones with an appealing sound that's easy to listen to over long periods (with their warmer sound, the Sony headphones may be even better for long listening sessions). I wouldn't call them better or worse than the Sonys. Both sound excellent for noise-cancelling headphones, but if your tastes run toward beefier bass, you're going to dig the Sony more. If you prefer more detail, you may find yourself leaning toward the Bose. (Note: the Sony gets a slightly higher rating for sound partially because it delivers the quality of sound it does at a slightly lower price point).   

One other piece of good news on the Bose: I noticed no lip-sync issues with video when paired to an iPhone X.

Bose or Sony?

There are lots of good noise-cancelling headphones out there (check out our full list of best noise-cancelling headphones), but as soon as I got the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, people were asking me whether I thought it was better than the Sony WH-1000XM3. Unfortunately, it isn't a simple yes or no answer. In some ways it's better and in some ways it isn't. Here's a little scorecard that will hopefully inform your buying decision. 

Points in favor of Sony WH-1000XM3:

  • Lower price (the WH-1000XM3 seems to be frequently discounted to $300)
  • Slightly more comfortable
  • Better battery life (30 hours compared to the Bose's 20)
  • Meatier bass
  • Case is slightly smaller
  • We like the look of the Sony slightly better

Points in favor of Bose:

  • Sturdier headband
  • More detailed sound 
  • Always-on Alexa voice assistant is an option
  • A programmable button allows you to quickly toggle between 3 levels of noise cancellation of your choosing
  • Superior voice communication (cell phone calling)
  • Bose AR as an added feature

There are only two things that ultimately gnaw on me about the Bose: Its higher price tag and its incomplete app experience. It's an excellent noise-cancelling headphone with high-tech features and impressive overall performance, but I'd have liked to have seen Bose price it at $350 and lower the price of the QuietComfort 35 II to $300. It may shake out that way in due time. And while the updated app fixed my initial pairing problems, it still lacks all of the features Bose promises for the headphones. 

We'll update this review once Bose releases the updated software down the road. Until then the Sony, especially when it's discounted to $300 or less, is the better value. 

Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 specs

  • Weight: 254g
  • Over-ear design
  • New acoustic and electronics package with new digital signal processing

  • New eight-microphone system
  • 11 levels of noise cancellation
  • Adaptive voice system

  • Built-in voice assistants (one-touch access)
  • Low-power wake word (for Amazon Alexa voice assistant)
  • Conversation mode

  • Active EQ Sound Management (coming soon)

  • Touch controls
  • Over-the-air updates

  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Bluetooth range: Up to 33 ft. (10m)
  • Battery charging time: Up to 2.5 hours
  • Quick charge time: 15 min for 3.5 hours
  • Battery life: Up to 20 hours
  • USB-C charging
  • Supported codecs: SBC and AAC
  • Two color options: Black and silver

  • Price: $400 (£350)

Buy headphones 700 best bose

Bose 700 Headphones Wireless Headphones Review

The Bose Headphones 700 Wireless are comfortable, well-built noise cancelling over-ears. They have an outstanding ANC feature that can easily block out background noises like bus and plane engines, and their long continuous battery life is suitable for long days on-the-go. Unfortunately, their touch-sensitive control scheme isn't always the easiest to use. That said, their integrated microphone has a good recording quality that makes them a great choice for phone calls, too.

Our Verdict

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are decent for neutral sound. They have a slightly bass-heavy and warm sound profile since their treble is underemphasized. That said, they're still fairly well-balanced as they have a neutral mid-range, so vocals and lead instruments are clear and present. There's also a graphic EQ in their app so you can customize their sound to your liking.

  • Impressive imaging performance.

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are very good for commute and travel. They're comfortable and have a long battery life that's ideal for international flights and long days on-the-go. They can also block out the sound of bus and plane engines and chatter from other passengers. However, their bulky design isn't the most portable.

  • Outstanding noise isolation.

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are satisfactory for sports and fitness. They're decently stable, but they may not stay on your head during intense exercises. They're comfortable, but they're also a bit bulky and may make you sweat more than usual.

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are good for office use. Their over 20-hour continuous battery life is more than enough to get you through your workday, and they're comfortable enough to wear for long periods without a lot of fatigue. They can also block out typical office noises like voices and AC units, but unfortunately, they leak a bit of noise.

  • Outstanding noise isolation.

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are good for wired gaming. You can plug them into your Xbox One or PS4 controller, but you can only receive audio, so you can't communicate with your teammates. They're comfortable and have low latency, and their bass-heavy sound adds thump and punch to action-packed scenes.

  • Low latency over wired connection.
  • Can't use mic over wired connection.

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are great for phone calls. Their integrated microphone has a good recording quality, and it can separate speech from background noise even in crowded environments. They can also block out background noises so you can focus on your call.

  • Outstanding noise isolation.
  • Excellent noise handling.
  • 7.5Neutral Sound
  • 7.9Commute/Travel
  • 7.1Sports/Fitness
  • 7.9Office
  • 6.0Wireless Gaming
  • 7.6Wired Gaming
  • 7.8Phone Calls
  1. Updated Jun 29, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.5.
  2. Updated Feb 17, 2021: Updated App score now that it offers a graphic EQ.
  3. Updated Feb 05, 2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  4. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  5. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  6. Updated Aug 22, 2019: We've updated the Noise Isolation score and text.
  7. Updated Jul 19, 2019: Review published.
  8. Updated Jul 17, 2019: Early access published.


Tech Tips: How to connect Bose Headphones 700 to your phone.

Best cheap Bose 700 deals and sales for October 2021

Bose 700 Noise-Cancelling Headphones have excellent sound quality, exceptional noise cancelling, and a high quality microphone — these are the perfect headphones for both listening to music and taking and making phone calls. You pay a price for Bose quality and the $400 list price may give you pause. We scanned online retail outlets to find the best Bose 700 deals so you can save. Thankfully Black Friday deals have already started. You shouldn’t wait too long to jump in on the action. A lot of consumer tech will have major stock issues this year thanks to the microchip shortage. Check back frequently as we update the deals regularly.

Today’s Best Bose 700 Deals

These are some of the most popular noise-cancelling headphones on the market. With great sound, exceptional noise cancelling, and super clear microphone, these are the perfect headphones for work.more

Buy at Bose

Drown out distractions and revel in the goodness of your favorite music or podcast. This pair boasts 11 noise cancellation levels, crisp audio, and deep bass for a quality listening experience.more

Buy at Amazon

Are Bose 700 headphones worth the price?

If you travel for business or spend much of your time on the phone, the answer to this question is a resounding yes! The combination of Bose’s formidable noise-canceling technology and superlative voice quality on calls cannot be topped. The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones last up to 20 hours per charge with noise-canceling and up to 40 hours without noise canceling.

Surprisingly slim and lightweight, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are comfortable to wear and perfect for traveling when bulk and weight matter most. Unlike he earlier Bose QC 35 II noise-canceling headphones, the Bose 700 model connect with digital assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant — another application where the superior Bose voice quality adds value.

Best cheap Bose 700 headphone alternatives

If you’d love to sport a pair of Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 but just can’t swing the price, even when they are on sale, there are other notable alternatives headphone deals. Before jumping to other models and brands, seriously consider buying refurbished, renewed, or remanufactured Bose 700 headphones — you’ll pay substantially less than for new out-of-the-box merchandise, but, as always, refurbished electronics can be the best deals ever.

If you want to buy Bose but need more of a price break, consider the Bose QC 35 II noise-canceling headphones. The Digital Trends Bose QuietComfort 35 II review praised its noise canceling, sound quality for music and voice, and comfort. This predecessor to the 700 model helped Bose earn its reputation for noise cancellation and can still be found in new condition, often for $50 to $100 less than the newer version. Or go with remanufactured Bose QC 35 II headphones and double your savings.

The Bose 700’s strongest competitor comes from Sony. When you check Sony WH-1000XM4 headphone deals, you’ll see that the Sony’s $348 list price is about $50 lower then the Bose 700 $400 ticket. Anker’s Soundcore life Q30 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones may not have all the Bose’s bells and whistles, but at one-fifth the price the Q30’s are a much smaller investment.

The Jabra Elite 85h Noise Canceling Wireless Headphones are another favorite, especially due to the features in Jabra’s mobile app. If you don’t mind the Bose 700 price, but prefer to go with Apple products, the Apple AirPods Max Headphones with noise-cancellation and transparency mode are the perfect match for a suite of Apple devices.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.

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Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review

Bose took active noise cancelling and made it mainstream but eventually, the market caught up. Sony has released consecutive ANC hard-hitters, with better features, better noise cancelling, and better sound quality than the old Bose QC35 II. Well, it seems like Bose was listening, because the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is a complete redesign of its iconic product (and yes, that’s actually the name). The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 have a new design, improved sound quality, a touch-sensitive gesture pad for playback controls, and even USB-C charging, but should you get one of the best Bose headphones around?

Editor’s note: this post was updated on October 21, 2021 to discuss the release of the Bose QuietComfort 45.

Who are the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 for?

  • Travelers. If you want to block out the sounds of planes and trains, these have fantastic active noise cancelling.
  • Students. While they’re expensive, the ANC is top-notch. If you’re tired of the noisy people in your library, these are the way to go.
  • Anyone who wants the best. You can’t go wrong with either the Sony WH-1000XM4 or these. However, you choose to spend your money you’re getting a great pair of ANC headphones.

What are the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 like to use?

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 has been completely redesigned with a sleeker, all-metal headband.

In short: these headphones are a delight to use. There are a few issues that I found with these that I’ll get into, but overall my experience with the Bose Noise Cancelling headphones 700 has been great. They’re lightweight, easy to use, well-built, and I’d say are objectively gorgeous. The QC35 II and the Sony WH-1000XM4 are both relatively new, and I didn’t think they had a dated design until I held these. Whether or not you think they’re worth the $400, at least they’re a pretty pair of cans.

The design on these is objectively gorgeous.

The minimal design is reflected all over the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, and I’m here for it. There are a total of three buttons on the headphones and two of them don’t have any icons or labels of any kind, which I don’t mind since you can’t see labels when you’re wearing them anyway.  Only the power/Bluetooth pairing button on the right ear cup has a small Bluetooth logo so you can tell it apart from the other two when turning them on. You won’t find any playback buttons here as they’ve been replaced with a touch-sensitive gesture pad on the right ear cup similar to that of the Sony WH-1000XM4.

You can now slide the ear cups into place thanks to the new sliding adjustment which seems more intuitive than the clicky ones of previous models.

The ear cups still rotate a full 90 degrees so you can rest these around your neck when not in use, but the clicky adjustment mechanism has also been swapped out for one that lets you slide the ear cups into place instead. These don’t have hinges for folding, so expect to make use of the included hardshell referring case if you want to keep these safe. The headphones are also no longer made entirely from plastic. Now the headband has a metal construction that will make it much harder to accidentally break. But this is where the praise for the redesign ends because while the 700 headphones aren’t uncomfortable by any means, they’re definitely a step backward from the QC35 II.

Related: Shure AONIC 50 vs. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

The main reason for this step backward is the change in materials used for the padding. While the ear cups are still using a comfortable padding, they’re stiffer than the previous cushions found on the QC35 II. This is great when it comes to isolating outside noise, but wearing them at my local cafe for a few hours while typing this up (yeah, I’m that guy) resulted in my ears getting pretty hot. It got to the point where I noticed that I was sweating when I took them off. It’s not like the cafe didn’t have the air conditioning on either, but in any kind of warm conditions these are going to get really warm which isn’t something I noticed with the QC35 II. On top of that, the padding on the top of the headband has been changed as well. I was a huge fan of the padding on the QC35 II as it was wrapped in a soft microfiber cloth that just felt great to wear. The pressure at the crown of the head was almost non-existent.

A soft, rubber plastic replaces the microfiber-lined headband cushion of the QC35 II, and while it’s still comfortable it feels like a step backward. Plus, these no longer have folding hinges.

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, however, are now rocking a soft rubberized plastic similar to the one found on the Beats Studio3 headphones. Thankfully, the padding here is way more comfortable than those, but I had the same problem where the plastic occasionally pulled my hair. Again, it’s still comfortable and this is a huge nitpick but considering the high price tag, I should barely notice that I’m wearing these. That level of comfort was always present with the Bose QC35 II and even the QC25 before them, and I just feel like it’s missing here.

Are the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 waterproof?

Unfortunately, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are not waterproof. That said, they are water-resistant meaning that while they can withstand some sprays of water they can’t be submerged. According to this post on the Bose community forum, the headphones have an IPX4 rating.  This should keep you covered if you get caught in a light rain or even a heavy rain, but we still recommend using your best judgement as to when you should stash them in a dry place. Electronics and water tend not to mix very well and these aren’t cheap.

 Water-resistantWaterproofCan withstand
IPX0Not water-resistant
IPX1Dripping water (1 mm/min)
Limit: vertical drips only
IPX2Dripping water (3 mm/min)
Limit: Device max tilt of 15° from drips
Limit: Device max tilt of 60° from sprays
IPX4Splashes, omnidirectional
IPX5Water jets (12.5 L/min)
Example: Squirt guns
IPX6Strong water jets (100 L/min)
Example: Powerful water guns
IPX7Complete submersion
Limit: 1 m. for 30 min
IPX8Complete submersion
Limit: 3 m. for 30 min

How do you connect to the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700?

To get the most out of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 you should download the Bose Music app. It’ll walk you through the setup process and is surprisingly simple to use which is rare with headphone apps. If you’re on Android you’ll get a little drop-down card to quickly pair with and hook up the Google Assistant all in a few screens. Once connected, you can do everything from adjusting the level of active noise cancellation (1-11) to rename the headphones if you want.

These have three buttons in total, one of which is for pairing, another is for controlling the level of ANC. and a third which can activate the Google Assistant.

One thing I really like is the ability to switch between devices in the app. As long as you can create an account with Bose, you can then switch between saved devices if the headphones are having trouble figuring out which one you want to listen to. If you’re listening to music on your phone and want to instead start watching a video on your iPad, you can select the iPad in the app. It’s been seamless in my experience and beats having to go through the settings of your devices every time. In the app, you can also choose which Assistant you want to activate when you click the custom button. You can choose between the Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Siri if you’re on iOS.

Playback has also been moved into a touch-sensitive pad on the side of the right ear cup.

Playback has also been moved into a touch-sensitive pad on the side of the right ear cup. Swiping forward or backward skips between tracks, while swiping up or down adjusts the volume. Bose also made it so that pausing the music takes two taps on the touchpad, which is great. One of my biggest annoyances with touchpads is when the headphones accidentally register a touch and pause the music when you don’t want it to. By making the pause/play button a double-tap it ensures that the music won’t pause unless you want it to.

The microphones for the noise cancelling can be seen on the ear cups.

Connection strength has also been positive. These have Bluetooth 5.0, so I’m not surprised that they hold a solid connection to my source device. But unfortunately: they don’t have support for aptX. We have an entire explainer on codecs, but in short, a codec allows two Bluetooth devices to share data with each other more efficiently. Besides the standard SBC codec that all Bluetooth devices default down to, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 only have AAC.

Represented is the max transfer rate (kbps) of each respective Bluetooth codec (greater is better). Each waveform depicts a transfer rate of 100 kbps.

The AAC codec isn’t bad, but our testing found it doesn’t play as well with Android devices as it does on iOS ones. Though to be fair, I experienced no issues here and you most likely won’t notice any either unless you have been training your ears to be superhuman. These also have the option to be hardwired thanks to the input on the bottom of the left ear cup, but it’s a weird 2.5mm input instead of the standard 3.5mm so try not to lose the included cable.

How long does the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 battery last?

Even with active noise cancelling on max, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 headphones still managed to pump out 21 hours of constant playback.

When it comes to battery life, Bose remains on the conservative end of great. While products like the Sony WH-XB900N and can push upwards of 35 hours of constant playback in our battery tests, Bose claims only 20 hours. I found this to be fairly accurate and managed to squeeze 21 hours and 25 minutes of constant playback. We test this by setting the volume of the headphones to a constant output of 75dB and then letting them run themselves dry. This was with active noise cancellation on the maximum setting too, so you might be able to squeeze some more if you lower the ANC. In the app, you can also set a timer to have the headphones automatically turn off after a pre-designated amount of time. So if you take advantage of that too, you should be able to go a long time before you need to throw these back on the charger which is, thankfully, USB-C this time around.

Are the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 better than the Sony WH-1000XM4?

Among the best in its class, the Sony WH-1000XM4 offers very good noise cancelation and isolation.
With the latest firmware, the maximum ANC performance is very good.

Before we dig into the sound quality of these headphones, we should address the main reason you’re probably interested in these. How is the active noise cancelling of the Bose Headphones 700 compared to the Sony WH-1000XM4? The team at Bose was clearly feeling the heat because they redesign the microphones in the headphones in order to better cancel outside noise. The effect is top-notch as you can hear from the clip below where I recorded the headphones on our test head with my air conditioner on and some music playing in the background.

Sony also does a great job with noise cancelling and for reference here’s a second clip of the exact same situation, but with the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones instead.

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Be sure to stay on top of software updates, because you’ll need the newest version to get the most out of your ANC with these headphones. The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 firmly secure their spot in the top three noise cancelling headphones when up to date, as their out-of-the-box performance leaves a bit to be desired.

Can you use the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 for phone calls?

The Bose microphone does a good job with the main parts of voices, but anyone with a deep voice will be slightly cut off as frequencies less than 200Hz won’t be nearly as loud.

Yes, the microphones here have clearly been given plenty of TLC by the engineers at Bose and they pick up voices nicely as well. The low-frequency attenuation is purposeful and reduces the proximity effect. This phenomenon is when a speaker is too close to the microphone and the low-frequency of their voice becomes distorted.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 microphone demo:

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What do the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 sound like?

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 headphones have a new design and sound even better than the QC35s before them, despite still lacking any high-quality streaming codecs.

Now we can talk sound quality because even though the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 don’t have any high-quality streaming codecs—they still sound really good. It should be pointed out, however, that you can adjust the note emphasis in the Bose Music app through a somewhat crude equalizer. This will allow you to tailor things to your liking beyond what our measurements show you, so don’t let the following discussion of sound deter you if you like everything else about these headphones; chances are near 100% you can fix it with a little homework.

I found the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 to be a little more pleasant than the Bose QC35 II before them because even though they still have a slight emphasis on lower notes (as you can see from the pink in the frequency response graph below), the emphasis is more evenly spread out over the notes that fall in the 110Hz range and below 1kHz.

The Bose QC 35 II (cyan) has a more accurate treble response and more closely follows our house curve (pink) than the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (yellow dash).
Bose QC 45 vs Bose 700 frequency chart
The QC 45 (cyan) has more presence in high frequencies than the 700 (dotted yellow) and our house curve (pink).

You can hear this nicely in the bassline throughout the song Sedona by Houndmouth which rumbles softly behind the vocals instead of overtaking them. Because of this, vocals in the mids sound great and are never eclipsed by what’s going on in the low end. The vocals in Mightnight Blues by UMI sounds great, and the highs are also handled nicely which you can hear from the bells playing behind her which never get harsh.

The slight dip around the 1kHz mark isn’t as big as an issue as it seems, and in fact, I find that vocals tend to sound a little smoother thanks them not being overly emphasized.

The Bose QuietComfort 45, on the other hand, has a huge high-end overemphasis. This means that the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 will sound better in almost every situation, as it won’t make cymbals and other sibilant sounds too painful or annoying in a mix. This may end up being addressed in a software update, so check back for an update down the road if you’re still trying to compare these headphones.

Can you EQ the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700?

Yes, but really: no. I know that’s not a good answer, but the truth of the matter is that while Bose has an EQ of sorts in the Bose Music app, it’s more or less only good for very ham-fisted adjustments, and not as granular as they’d need to be in order for best results. There’s only a bass, mids, and treble slider, with no indication of where the line is drawn.

This is especially frustrating because in order to get the headphones to reach certain profiles, you absolutely cannot move the emphasis in this way that wouldn’t cause an unpleasant swing in certain ranges.

Don’t move the mids or treble slider too much, or you’re going to have bizarre drops and peaks.

Our best suggestion is to use your music or operating system to equalize your headphones, as those apps will give you much better control over your results. The above chart is for software EQing only, and the vertical pink lines are the bounds of what most software EQs allow you to adjust.

A firmware update made my Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 worse, how do I fix it?

Just like the QC35 II before them, there have been some complaints about a firmware update giving the newer Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 some issues. While there haven’t been enough complaints to get a guaranteed fix, we figured it’d be a good idea to put the instructions that worked for most people last time in the hopes that it will similarly resolve this issue for most people as well. If none of these work, then at least you can tell Bose customer support that you’ve already done the “basic” fixes.

  1. Turn off the headphones. It sounds simple, but just restarting the headphones can fix a lot of issues.
  2. Plug the QC35 II into your wall charger for at least 5 seconds, then remove the cable
  3. Connect the headphones to your computer via USB, and go here in a browser
  4. Download and run the Bose Updater app on your computer
  5. Update the headphones using your computer to the latest firmware manually

However, it should be pointed out that despite their exhaustive efforts to recreate the problem, Bose was unable to rule out other factors like earpads coming undone, and poor fits. Ensure that your earpads are all the way clicked in before contacting Bose support.

Should you upgrade to firmware version 1.8.2?

According to Bose, the bugfixes added to firmware version 1.8.2 address a few small improvements to improve the overall quality of the product. You’ll get:

  • General improvements to the Bluetooth connection to make it more reliable and to provide better voice assistant responses.
  • Bug fixes to maximize the battery level.

While we generally take the view that you should wait and see what problems people have with firmware updates before making the leap yourself, this is an update that enables some helpful features that might be worth updating for.

Similarly, if you use an iOS device the company recently pushed an update to the Bose Music app that lets you add a Spotify shortcut to the headphones. If you toggle on the setting, all you need to do is tap and hold the right ear cup to quickly activate Spotify.

Should you get the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700?

If you only care about owning the headphones that have the best active noise cancellation, then you should just get the Sony WH-1000XM3 because technically, they are better. There are also the AKG N700NC headphones worth considering, which are the best at active noise cancelling that we’ve tested thus far. The Sony headphones also have better codec support for high-quality streaming and are slightly more portable considering they have hinges and can fold. That said, at least to me, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are clearly the more desirable product.

The new design is stunning and makes everything else seem ancient in comparison. Though I liked the comfort and the ANC of the Bose QC35 II, I was never really a huge fan and would mainly recommend Sony noise cancelers anytime someone asked me for a recommendation. That changes now thanks to the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. These are an upgrade in almost every way thanks to the finely controlled noise cancelling, the ability to seamlessly switch between devices, USB-C charging, and the touch-sensitive control pad. They even sound better. It’s the spec and design upgrade that Bose needed, and moving forward the 700s aren’t leaving my head.

Currently, you can snag these on sale for $300USD via Amazon’s Prime Day deals, but it’s conceivable this pair of headphones will go on sale again soon. Where it’s a tough call whether or not these headphones are worth your money at MSRP, at $300 it’s a much more palatable cost.

What are some less expensive options?

The headband doesn’t fold down due to the lack of hinges, but the ear cups do rotate 90 degrees to lie flat.

While the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are great, there’s no denying that $350 is a lot of money. If you’re not looking to spend that much then I’d recommend giving Sony a shot. Both the WH-XB900N and WH-CH710N headphones offer solid noise cancelling, great sound, and better battery life at around $200 which is significantly cheaper. Of course, you won’t have the same beautiful design or build quality but you will have a good chunk of change still in your pocket. Then there are also previous Bose headphones like the Bose QC25 headphones that still have great active noise cancelling and, if you can find them, have dropped in price since they’re not the newest offerings from the company.

Next: Best AirPods Max alternatives


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