Update, June 1, 2018
The QuietComfort 35 II reviewed here was released in September 2017, and it remains one of our top picks for wireless noise-canceling headphones. While the Sony WH-1000XM2 arguably sounds a tad better and is more feature rich, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II is lighter and more comfortable to wear. The price for the Beats Studio3 Wireless has dropped (you can get it for less than $225 online), so it’s become a more attractive option in this category.
The original review of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II follows, having bee first published Oct. 2, 2017 and otherwise mostly unchanged since Dec. 1, 2017, when we raised the design rating from 9 to 10 having reviewed its direct competitors.
Bose’s QuietComfort 35 II ($350, £330, AU$500) wireless noise-canceing headphone looks, sounds and performs just like the original except for one key feature: There’s a new “Action” button on the left ear cup that allows you to connect to your Google Assistant without having to touch your phone. And that makes the QC35 II — available in black or silver — the first headphone to integrate Google Assistant.
Similar to Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, Google Assistant is available for Android and iOS devices. Instead of talking to your phone to access Google Assistant (you have to download the free app), you just press and hold the Action button on the QC35 II and issue commands such as “Tell me the latest news,”http://www.cnet.com/”call Mom” and “What are some good Indian restaurants nearby?” You can also use your voice to control your music playback and compatible smart devices in your home.
The new “Action” button is in the left ear cup.
Here’s the better news: You don’t have to use the Action button for Google Assistant. Using the Bose Connect app, you can choose instead to map the Action button to noise-cancellation levels, toggling between Low, High and Off with each button press. You can also adjust the noise-canceling settings in the app, an important feature for those who may be sensitive to the feeling of light pressure that can be the by-product of active noise-cancellation.
Aside from that new button, nothing else has changed. The QC35 has the same comfy fit, same top-notch noise canceling, identical controls on the right ear cup — yes, you can access Siri on iPhones — and the same battery life at up to 20 hours in wireless mode with noise canceling on. If the battery runs out, you can still use the headphone in passive mode (it sounds good not great) and you get a cord for plugging in when you need to.