Headphones are some of the most significant accessories in audio tech today. Due to the plenty of noise that surrounds you, you need a great set of headphones that will help you immerse yourself in whatever you are doing aka noise cancelling headphones. Whether you are watching a movie, listening to music, playing a game, making a call, or carrying out any other task that involves audio, an exceptional headphone is crucial. Some of the best noise cancelling headphones available at the moment are the the Sony WH-1000XMm3 vs Bose QC35 II. This review will compare these two headsets and determine the ultimate winner in this epic tech battle.
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Sony WH-1000xm3 vs Bose QC35 II – Who’s got the better ANC headphones?
Sony WH-1000xm3 vs Bose QC35 II: Design & Comfort
The Bose QC 35 II* looks quite similar to the previous model, the QC35 and has a sturdy and robust build. The leather padded headband offers exceptional comfort and has an awesome fit while your listening to your favorite albums, watch a movie or simply do some work tasks. As always with Bose, the QC 35 II comes with a sleek looking Bose logo on each of the earcups. If you owned a pair of Bose headphones before, you will love the minimalistic and sleek design. They do look very much like a pair of premium headphones. In regards to colors: Bose offers a variety of colors (including Black and Silver – which we love!).
Noise-rejecting dual-microphone system for clear phone calls and voice access to your phone's default virtual assistant, like Siri
Industry-leading wireless headphones let you adjust the level of noise cancellation to suit your environment
Volume-optimized EQ makes your music always sounds its best, whether you turn it up on an airplane, or turn it down while at the office
Bluetooth and NFC pairing with voice prompts for hassle-free wireless connections
When it comes to the Sony WH-1000xm3* headphones, you can see that they went a different route. If you compare it to previous installments of Sony headphones, you quickly realize, that they replaced the faux leather earcups with a relatively dull plastic shell with silver and black finishing touches. We personally think, that this makes the headphones look a bit less “premium” compared to the QC 35 II – but everyone has their own preferences when it comes to design. Having said that, the ergonomics are simply awesome. You can wear the headphones for hours and hours while listening to music or watching movies without any discomfort
Smart listening by sense engine. Frequency Response-4Hz-40,000Hz
Quick attention mode for effortless conversations without taking your headphones off
In the box WH1000XM3 / Carry Case / Charging Cable USB-C / Audio Cable for Wired Connection
Industry-leading noise canceling brings only music nothing else. Volume Control Touch Sensor
Premium sound quality from 40mm liquid crystal polymer drivers
Both of these headphones are very comfortable to wear. The QuietComfort 35 II might be a bit more comfortable for longer sessions (3+ hrs), due to the lovely padding. In regards to the design, we think that the Bose QC 35 II comes out ahead of the wireless headphones by Sony. The premium design fits the price tag and offers a sturdy build and comfortable pads.
Winner: Bose QC35 II
Sony WH-1000xm3 vs Bose QC35 II: Connectivity & Apps
Both, the Bose QC35 II and the Sony WH-1000XM3 are super easy to set up.
The Bose Connect App is quite sleek and allows you to easily pair your headphone with any audio device that supports bluetooth 4.1. or 4.2 within a ~30 feet range. Furthermore, you can adjust the ANC level, unlock the Bose AR (for iPhone/iPad users only) and enable music sharing right from the app. You can also pair more than one device, so switching devices is a lot more convenient with the Bose QC35 II.
The Sony Connect App is also straight-forward and offers a bit more customization options. You can adjust the ANC levels to a finer level, use their adaptive sound control or the pretty cool EQ for some additional fine tuning. Pairing your devices is quite easy and the headphones support around 20-30 feet of range, depending on interference. Unfortunately, the wireless sony headphones don’t offer multi-pairing.
It’s not really possible to state a clear winner here, since both headphones have great connectivity, great range and sleek apps which have their advantages and disadvantages.
Winner: Draw. Sony for the EQ. Bose for the multi-pairing.
Sony WH-1000xm3 vs Bose QC35 II: Controls
The controls for the Bose QuietComfort 35 II are (as usual for Bose Heapdhones) on the right earcup. You will find three different buttons: Volume+, Volume- and the multi-function button, which is between the volume buttons. This multi function button can be used to play or pause music, to forward/rewind and even to take calls/decline calls. Please refer to the manual of the QC35 II to find out how exactly you can utilize its functions. You also find the Power/Bluetooth Switch button on the top of the right earcup to turn on/ turn off your headphones. On the left side you find a action button, which is a programmable button that allows you to either acces the Google Assistant (Alexa is supported) or adjust the noise cancelling settings.
The Sony pair has a more innovative approach to the controls. Instead of just buttons, they integrated a very responsive touch sensor panel, which can be used with any bluetooth device that supports the operating function (AVRCP). You can use swiping motions to play/pause, skip forward or rewind, skip tracks or increase volume/lower volume. In addition to this awesome awesome panel, Sony has added two buttons. One is the NC/Ambient button, which is for the noise-cancelling settings. The other is the power button. Furthermore, the Sony WH1000XM3 also has built in support for Alexa.
You guess it: The winner here is the Sony WH1000XM3. The innovative touch panel is incredible and makes using the headphones super easy. This is modern technology at its best.
Winner: Sony WH-1000XM3
Sony WH-1000xm3 vs Bose QC35 II: Sound Quality
This is where things get interesting. Let us start by saying that both the Bose and the Sony WH1000XM3 have incredible sound quality. You have to be a real audiophile to make out the differences. And after all, sound preference are very subjective. We suggest you go into one of your closest hardware stores and give both pairs a thorough trial.
The Bose QC35 II supports AAC, which is usually sufficient for most audiophiles, but lacks the support for LDAC. Having said that, the sound quality is absolutely brilliant. It is bright, clear and quite perfect on the bass. If you enjoy classical music, classic rock or not “too bass heavy” albums/movies, then the bright sound of the QC35 II will be right up your alley.
The Sony headphones support LDAC, which is a step above the QC35II. The sound is super clear, but overall quite bass heavy. So if you enjoy your bass, then the Sony might be just for you. Otherwise we would recommend the QC35 II. In addition, Sony offers an EQ to customize the sound settings a bit further to your liking, but unfortuantely it seems that it can only be used with a paired smartphone.
There is an insanely well-made video by JimReviewRoom on the overall soundstage of both headphones that you can check out on Youtube:
Overall, we agree with it and think that the sound quality of the Bose QC35 II is a teeny-tiny bit better than the Sony. Clear, crisp, bright sound with concise mid-high ranges and just the right amount of bass. Perfect for (almost) any type of music. We like the EQ option on the Sony, but the fact that it can only be used with a smartphones is a bit of a downer.
Winner: Bose QC35 II
Sony WH-1000xm3 vs Bose QC35 II: Noise Cancellation (ANC)
This is the main question in the battle of Sony WH-1000xm3 vs Bose QC35 II? After all, these are the creme de la creme of wireless ANC headphones. So, who wins the ANC battle?
Let’s start with the QC35 II. The ANC on the Bose QC35 II is quite strong. Once you put them on, you are in your own world. They are perfect for long flights, subway rides, long work sessions or extensive movie/music binges. You can switch between two different noise cancelling modes: High or Low. We recommend to use the high mode, since it blocks out almost all the noise, while delivering the lovely audio that Bose is known for. Although the low mode might be good for office tasks (in case someone is calling you).
The ANC on the Sony pair is incredibly good, too. Sony really made a looot of improvements in this area. Once you turn the ANC on, the surrounding sounds are bombed out of existence. It is perfect for flights, subways, work sessions or otherwise crowded areas. Sony also lets you control the level of ANC on a more wider range than the QC35 II, which is nice.
Overall, both headphones offer incredible ANC. It is really hard to make out a clear winner. They both do a wonderful job.
Winner: Draw. Both offer incredible ANC.
Sony WH-1000xm3 vs Bose QC35 II: Battery & Weight
The Bose QC35 II comes in at 235 grams and has an estimated battery life of 20 hours (with active noise cancellation turned on) or 40 hours (with active noise cancellation turned off). A bit of a negative: The QC35 II only supports charging via microUSB. We would’ve liked USB-C support here.
The Sony 1000XM3 comes in at 254 grams, so it is a bit heavier than the QC35II. Having said that, the battery life of the Wh1000XM3 is absolutely incredible. Sony claims up to 30 hours of battery life. But that’s not all. Their “quick-charge” feature gives you 5 hours of playback with only 10 minutes of charging. On top of all that, they support USB-C charging. Can it get better than this? We don’t think so.
Winner: Sony WH-1000XM3
So, who’s the winner of this battle of Sony WH-1000xm3 vs bose QC35 II? It depends. The better headphone is the one that has won the most parameters among the five that are reviewed on this list.
While the Bose QC35 II has a more premium looking design, incredible ANC and an easy to follow setup, it only comes with microUSB ports and a smaller battery.
The Sony WH-1000XM3, on the other hand, has very innovative controls, stunning ANC and a great battery life. Having said that, the bass heavy soundstage and the design can’t compete with the Bose QC35 II.
We recommend to try both of these awesome headphones and find your own winner in the showdown between Sony WH-1000xm3 vs bose QC35 II.