Sony WH-1000XM3 vs. Bose QC 35 II, which should you purchase?

If you’re buying groceries round for lively noise cancelling (ANC) headphones, you’ve most likely come throughout two manufacturers: Sony and Bose. Each logo is a family title and sits atop the record of the easiest noise cancelling headphones. While each are objectively robust performers, there are nuanced variations that topic to the cellular person. Today, we’re going to wreck down the ones variations and notice how the Sony WH-1000XM3 stack up in opposition to the Bose QC 35 II headphones.


Bose QuietComfort 35 II image on a grey couch arm.

The Bose QC 35 II headphones permit customers to remap the “motion” button at the left ear cup to regulate ANC ranges as a substitute.

Whether you’re commuting a couple of blocks or around the nation, each headphones are travel-friendly. The ear cups of each and every headset rotate and fold up for garage inside of their respective sporting circumstances. If you’re a one-bagger on the lookout for the lightest headset, imagine the QuietComfort 35 II. They’re lighter and championed by way of many for his or her relaxed qualities. That mentioned, SoundGuys Executive Editor Chris Thomas prefers the Sony WH-1000XM3, so personal tastes range right here.

The Bose QC 35 II use the archaic microUSB enter for charging, whilst Sony makes use of a modern USB-C charging enter. If you have an Android telephone and don’t wish to finagle more than one cable varieties into your bag, USB-C enter at the Sony cans could also be extra interesting.

Editor’s Pick

Additionally, each headsets have intuitive on-board controls. The Bose QC 35 II makes use of bodily buttons and a slider, while the Sony WH-1000XM3 makes use of the correct ear cup as a capacitive contact panel. You can use a slew of gestures to skip tracks, modify quantity, get right of entry to your voice assistant, or permit background noise in so you will have a handy guide a rough dialog with out taking out the headphones.

Sony makes use of extra future-proofed hardware than the older Bose QC 35 II.

Both the Sony and Bose noise-cancelling headphones manage to pay for greater than 24 hours of playback on a unmarried rate. They additionally each improve complete integration of Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. To iPhone customers’ dismay, neither improve Siri integration. If you need that, get the new AirPods or Beats Powerbeats Pro. That mentioned, each permit Siri get right of entry to by way of the multifunction button (Bose) or protecting the touchpad (Sony).

There isn’t a decisive winner for this class because it comes down to private desire.

Winner: draw.

Noise cancelling

A chart showing the active noise canceling performance of the Bose QC35 II.

It would possibly not block out numerous noise, however the Bose QC35 II does a just right activity within the low finish (crucial frequencies.

Just a couple of years in the past, Bose had a stranglehold at the ANC headphones marketplace, however Sony has clawed its means into turning into a worthy adversary.

The Quiet Comfort headphones successfully attenuate noises around the frequency spectrum. This efficiency is one of the numerous causes they’re liked by way of widespread flyers and subway riders alike. However, Sony outdoes Bose on this division as its WH-1000XM3 combats a lot more noise total.

A chart detailing the noise canceling performance of the Sony WH-1000XM3.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 make the arena soften away round you.

While the QC 35 II cancels extra sound beneath the 100Hz marker, Sony’s headphones do a a lot better activity at preventing noise above 100Hz. This approach conversations and rustling papers are hushed extra by way of Sony than Bose.

In all equity, if mitigating low rumbling noises or automotive engines is a best precedence, the Bose edges the Sony out.

Winner: Sony WH-1000XM3.

Sound high quality

A photo of a man wearing wireless headphones.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 function a soft-touch subject material and USB-C charging enter.

If you’ve visited SoundGuys, you know audio is each an function and subjective science. Sure, the frequency output of one thing is quantifiable, however non-public desire issues simply as neatly. Some might desire a bass-heavy sound whilst others swear by way of a “flat” reaction. Whatever you occur to desire is what’s proper for you.

A chart detailing the frequency response of the Bose QC35 II.

The Bose QC35 II have an excessively impartial frequency reaction, which is superb for tinkerers.

If you’re to pass judgement on sound high quality on which headset has essentially the most correct frequency reaction, Bose wins right here. Its headphones don’t grossly exaggerate any vary of notes, which makes it simple to EQ the sound with out operating into harmonic distortion. Bear in thoughts, although, those simplest improve SBC and AAC, which may just lead to compression artifacts with louder track. What’s extra, Android doesn’t play effectively with AAC because it’s a power-hungry codec, which Android has but to universally arrange. This approach AAC efficiency will range broadly relying on which smartphone you use. It’s a just right possibility for iPhone customers although.

A chart showing the frequency response of the Sony WH-1000X M3.

The Sony headphones’ frequency reaction will sound extra acquainted to reasonable shoppers.

Alternatively, the Sony WH-1000XM3 spice up bass notes and but this refined emphasis isn’t overdone. Since quite a few well-liked headphones emphasize low notes, this provides the Sony cans a extra acquainted, consumer-friendly sound. You can EQ the sound signature by way of Sony’s app however doing so drops streaming right down to SBC, rendering top quality codec improve null. If you don’t tinker with the sound, you get the additional advantage of aptX, aptX HD, and LDAC Bluetooth codec improve, which means it’ll have the ability to improve higher-quality track streaming. That’s a large merit over Bose’s QC35 II.

Additionally, a couple of wi-fi headphones is simplest as just right as its connection high quality. It’s tricky to get a deep figuring out of this except you’ve had direct revel in with a product or have taken the time to learn complete opinions. When it involves specs, Bose’s Bluetooth codec improve is restricted to SBC and AAC. On the opposite hand, Sony helps five formats: SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, and LDAC. Android customers who worth audio high quality should stick with Sony.

Winner: Sony WH-1000X M3.

Microphone high quality

A demonstration of using the built-in NFC chip to connect the Sony wh-1000x-m3 headphones to your smartphone.

You can pair the Sony WH-1000XM3 on your telephone with NFC pairing; this selection may be supported by way of the QC 35 II.

This is essentially the most uncomplicated class. The Sony WH-1000XM3 have a greater microphone array than the Bose QC 35 II. Here are a couple of guidelines to raised perceive the charts: the nearer the road is to 0, the easier. Also, the charts were restricted to the voice band, seeing as you’re not going to make use of the mics for the rest outdoor of telephone calls and the occasional voice memo.

A frequency response chart for the Sony WH-1000XM3's microphone performance in the voice range.

It’s too unhealthy the headphones overuse dynamic compression to pick out up quiet sounds, as a result of another way the microphone at the Sone WH-1000XM3 is stellar.

Voices obtain minimum alteration with the Sony ANC headphones. Vocals are relayed obviously and the mic has no downside registering voices for hands-free instructions, too. This is a superb microphone for voice high quality. The simplest problem is it additionally choices up exterior noise, which will also be distracting if you’re talking from a crowded house.

A chart showing the microphone performance of the Bose QC35 II in the voice band.

The Bose QC35 II handles the voice band rather well, but when you have a deep voice you may just to find some problems together with your name high quality.

Bose’s efficiency leaves so much to be desired. The QuietComfort 35 II battle with sounds beneath 200Hz, which is the place many of us’s vocal registers lie, or a minimum of the basic frequencies in their voices. Low-pitched voices are relayed anyplace from part to one-quarter as loud all through calls as a result of the ones decrease notes aren’t emphasised on the identical stage as sounds above 200Hz.

Winner: Sony WH-1000X M3.

Should you purchase the Sony WH-1000XM3 or the Bose QC35 II?

There’s no unsuitable selection right here. As with the rest, each and every pair of headphones has its execs and cons. While each initially retailed for $349, it’s simple to seek out both on sale at any given time. As of publishing this text, Sony’s headset is to be had for $50 off whilst the Bose QuietComfort 35 II is to be had for the complete $349. For the ones bearing in mind the Bose, this marked priced distinction could also be sufficient to sway you towards Sony.

Objectively, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is the clean winner: it helps extra top quality Bluetooth formats, has higher mic high quality, and extra fashionable hardware. However, if you call for tactile controls and impartial frequency reaction, Bose will make extra sense for you. If you’re affected person, you may choose to stay up for the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, which purport to get to the bottom of probably the most QC35 II problems. If you wish to future-proof your funding now, and it will be a vital monetary funding, get the Sony WH-1000XM3.

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Published by Marshmallow

Marshmallow Android is BT Ireland’s Head of Sales for Republic of Ireland domestic multi-site companies, indigenous MNCs and public sector accounts. He is responsible for the direction and control of all sales activity in the region. He has over 10 years management experience from high growth start-ups to more established businesses. He’s led teams in Ireland, India and China across various industries (ICT, On-Line Recruitment, Corporate Training and International Education).