Audio’s big boy just entered the wireless arena. But can Bose do Bluetooth without compromising on quality and noise-cancellation?
At a glance: Wireless on-ear headphones, USB charging, active noise-cancellation
USP: Premium design and finish, patented noise-cancellation technology, lightweight
Best buy: Rs 29,363 on amazon.in
If there is one conversation that’s dominated the audio space this year, it’s Bluetooth. Even before Apple ditched the 3.5mm jack, manufacturers were already putting wireless audio out there: from in-ear to good old cans.
Bose, an undoubted leader in the mass audio market, has been late to this game. The QC35 (QuietComfort) is its first offering. And, with its serious looks — our silver review unit had a matte metal body, and premium faux leather — claims of solid battery life (20 hours on a charge) and patented noise-cancellation, this one’s a serious contender to reign on Bluetooth Hill.
WHAT’S GOOD: A premium device is as much about the packaging and the finish as it is about the audio output. If you’ve decided to drop Rs 29,000 on a pair of headphones, you want them to look great. The metal finish is elegant, the faux leather that make contact with your ears is incredibly soft. It comes in a smart little case, and has an airplane adapter. Yes, you have a wire option too, if and when you run out of juice.
The headphones sit snug over your ears. The active noise cancellation tunes out work-bay conversations effectively. And the audio output is crisp, and the treble comes through with a thump.
Pairing the device is simple enough. And the noise cancellation made our phone calls sound crisper than usual. The battery delivers as promised. Ours managed to run over a week on a single charge.
WHAT’S NOT: A standard flip-side to most noise cancellation cans is a sort of pressure on your ears. With the QC35, it can be a bit overwhelming initially (there’s no option to turn off cancellation). So much so that we had a mild headache post our first prolonged use. Also, while the faux leather is great for cool weather, and air-conditioned offices, it leaves your ears sweaty on muggy Mumbai roads. Also, and this can be make or break: it doesn’t sit too well if your head is small. It won’t fall off, but it will feel a little loose.
The volume buttons, while sturdy, take some getting used to. We’re big fans of the more intuitive rotating volume dials, and wish Bose would consider using them.
The audio, while right up there compared to other Bluetooth headphones, doesn’t match up in clarity to high-end wired headphones. This is especially evident with softer sounds.
VERDICT: If you’re a Bose loyalist, the ear pressure won’t bother you as much. It might not after some time, even if you’re new to the brand. Bluetooth is no longer the future, it’s the present. But we have a feeling there is room for improvement yet.