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Review: Bose 700 – a Mixed Bag

Kazi Mahbub Mutakabbir

Bose’s flagship Bluetooth noise canceling headphones struggle to stand out amidst fierce competition.

Score Breakdown

For more information, click on each category.

General Usage

  • Battery 55.0
  • Connectivity 97.5
  • Waterproof 0.0
  • Design 67.5
  • Software 50.0
  • Overall good ANC performance
  • Easy to use and reliable touch controls
  • Good microphone performance
  • Good midrange tuning for a V-shaped signature
  • Mostly inoffensive treble
  • Good imaging
  • Bose Music app allows some basic tweaks via EQ
  • Analog input sounds surprisingly decent
  • Plastic build
  • No IP rating
  • No wear detection
  • Middling battery life
  • Slightly higher clamp force might cause discomfort for larger heads
  • Max volume might not be enough for loud listeners
  • ANC performance falls behind category leaders
  • MSRP is not competitive given the lack of certain features

Where to Buy

Introduction.

A couple of years ago, Bose had a commendable lead in the Active Noise Canceling (ANC) Bluetooth headphones niche, given the sheer lack of competition. Fast forward to 2022, and the scene has changed dramatically.

Sony now boasts the “best ANC” crown, while Apple is hot on their heels with their debut wireless ANC full-size headphones. Established players like Beyerdynamic and Focal also offer cutting-edge tech in the ANC department.

As such, Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 (Bose 700 from hereon) face unique challenges. They have to retain exceptional ANC performance while providing great sound and other perks consumers have come to expect.

Do the Bose 700 rise to the occasion, or do they fall by the wayside? Let’s find out.

Bose went for an environmentally sound approach with zero plastic, which I appreciate. The result is a bland-but-functional package.

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 come in an envrionment-friendly, recyclable package.

  • Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700
  • 3.5mm to 3.5mm analog interconnect cable
  • USB-C to USB-A charging cable
  • Carrying case

The carrying case has a nifty pouch inside to store the cables. It doesn’t offer a lot of protection, though.

The carrying case is practical and offers decent protection.

  • Battery Life: 20 hrs
  • Charge Time (15 mins): up to 210 mins playback time

At around 20 hrs, the battery life of the Bose 700 is merely average. I needed to charge the headphones at least once a week, or twice if I had too many meetings. It also drains the battery slightly when powered off, which is frustrating.

Fortunately, the quick charge function is as good as the competition, if not better.

3 mins of charge can get you up to 3.5 hours of playback, provided you have a suitable USB-PD adapter and cable.

Various functions can be controlled via the touch panel and physical buttons.

  • Control Mechanism: Mechanical + Touch
  • Touch Accuracy: Good
  • Control Symmetry on both ear-cups: No
  • Mono Use: No
  • Right ear-cup hosts touch controls, including swipe gestures

Bose has completely revamped the control scheme compared to their QC series of headphones – there are both physical buttons and a touch-sensitive surface. I do wish the entire right earcup allowed touch gestures, as currently, only the half with the Bose logo allows gestures. But, overall, the gestures work well.

A short rundown of the available touch gestures:

  • Double tap: Play/pause audio, answer/end a call.
  • Tap and hold for one second: Remaining battery, decline a call.
  • Swipe forward: Skips forward the current track.
  • Swipe backward: Skips backward the current track.
  • Swipe up: Increases volume by a step.
  • Swipe down: Decreases volume by a step.

One annoyance I have is with the bottom button on the right earcup. I accidentally press it when picking the headphones up. I have to adjust my grip when holding the headphones to avoid unwanted button presses.

The area with the Bose logo can be used for gesture controls.

The right side also houses the type-C port (with fast-charging support) and the power/pair button. You must briefly press the power button to turn the headphones on or off. Holding it down starts pairing mode.

The Bluetooth pairing button also acts as power on/off button.

The left side ear-cup also has the ANC control button that toggles between maximum ANC, medium ANC, and no ANC. It also has a 2.5mm analog input, which sounds surprisingly decent and can be used in a pinch (low or empty battery).

The type-C port and the 2.5mm analog input are at the bottom.

  • Profile: Over-ear
  • Material: ABS plastic
  • Fit and Comfort: Good.

The entire construction is plastic. This has two advantages: light weight and RF transparency. The earpad and headband are padded with pleather, with soft memory foam underneath.

Unfortunately, the feel in hand is less premium than the price tag would suggest.

The plastic headband is another odd decision, as a metal headband would be far more robust. Moreover, the plastic edge of the headband is somewhat sharp. Not enough to hurt you, but enough to annoy.

The swivel mechanism allows adequate rotation for a good seal.

The adjustments are made by sliding the earcups up or down. There is no hard stop or clicks when adjusting the earcups. This is another pet peeve of mine, as it’s difficult to determine the exact headband position.

The headband could use metal for better structural rigidity.

The hinge mechanism allows for a 90-degree rotation of the earcups. It also helps move the earcups across the Y-axis to better seal against the user’s face.

The PU leather earpads are comfortable but can get sweaty on summer days.

The earpads look and feel comfortable, but two issues arise when wearing them. First up – the clamp can exert extra pressure if you have a large head. Secondly, they can get sweaty on summer days.

  • Noise Cancellation: Outstanding
  • Voice Pick-up: Outstanding

There are eight different microphones placed around both earcups. They pick up audio in noisy environments, allowing the user to speak at a normal volume.

Another function the microphones serve is picking up the frequencies that need to be attenuated via ANC.

These mics form the basis of the Bose 700’s great noise-cancellation performance.

They manage to drown out the low hum of engine noises really well. It’s the high-pitched sounds that do not get as attenuated. On the plus side, the Bose 700 do not exhibit the “vacuum” effect of the Sony WH-1000XM5 when no music is running with ANC set to max.

The array of noise-cancelling mics around the earcups aid in filtering out low and mid frequencies.

  • bose 700nc - quiet
  • bose 700nc - noisy
  • Driver : Details unavailable.
  • Sound Signature: Warm
  • Treble: Average
  • Soundstage: Average
  • Imaging: Good
  • Dynamics: Average
The general sound signature of the Bose 700 is warm, with some recession in the lower mids and a noticeable lower-treble peak.

Some minor adjustments can be made via the app to reduce the sub-bass or some of the lower-treble, but the EQ isn’t comprehensive enough to make minute changes.

Stock tuning of the Bose 700 has a controlled bass boost, with the sub-bass boosted by +5dB over the lower midrange. The boost occurs below 300Hz, so the bass bloat does not encroach much into the mids.

Bass is not the tightest, definitely not as tight as some wired planar-magnetic headphones you can get in this price range. Bass texture is lacking, and deep, rumbling bass sounds “one-note” -ish. In fast bass sections, notes tend to smear into each other.

Distortion in the bass region is one of my pet peeves with most BT headphones and earphones. The Bose 700 combats this by limiting the max volume. Not a bad solution, but loud listeners will find the volume levels inadequate.

The upper-midrange is well-controlled and does not sound shouty or shrill.

The tonality of the mids is mostly correct, as the upper-mids peak near 2.5kHz, and there is no abrupt bump between 1-3kHz. I wish the lower mids were lifted by a few dBs between 500Hz – 1kHz, as baritone vocals sometimes lack body and presence.

Bose got the midrange tuning right, with a good balance between the low-end and vocal fundamentals.

Treble is the weakest aspect of the Bose 700, with the distracting lower-treble peak around 5kHz causing tonal aberrations.

This peak also makes the leading edge of acoustic guitars sound over-sharpened, as is noticeable on the guitar strums of Damien Rice’s Canonball .

Cymbal hits do not have their characteristic resonance, and the sense of air is absent in tracks. I tried to EQ in extra treble via the app, but it didn’t help much.

Due to some codec-related compression and a lack of treble extension, macrodynamic punch lacks a sense of grandeur. Microdynamics (subtle shifts in volume) are also less distinct than other top offerings.

The soundstage has decent depth, though the width is average. Given the context of closed-back BT headphones, the Bose 700 perform average or above average in this aspect.

Imaging is surprisingly solid, with good left and right delineation. Ordinal imaging (top-left, bottom-right) is a weak spot, and so is center imaging. Again, this is good performance for a pair of BT headphones, even though nothing special in the larger scheme of things.

Active noise cancellation

With the ANC turned on, the sound signature of the Bose 700 barely changes. The ANC also allows listening to the headphones at lower-than-required volumes. However, the Bose 700 do not offer any Equal Loudness feature.

I recommend keeping ANC on in most cases.

Connectivity

  • Audio Codec : SBC, AAC
  • Bluetooth Version: 5.0
  • Auto-connect when: After turning on
  • Average drop-outs in an hour: 0 – 2 times
  • Multi-point connection: Yes

The connection is rock-solid, and pairing is fairly simple once the headphones are put in pairing mode. Bluetooth multi-point function works seamlessly too, as you can connect to multiple devices simultaneously and easily switch between them.

  • IP Rating: Not rated.

No official IP rating here, which is a bummer.

  • Available on: iOS , Android
  • 4 preset EQs
  • Ability to save and import profiles across devices
  • Auto Pause: not available.

The lack of wear detection or auto-pause is another huge bummer.

The Bose Music app offers some basic adjustment of ANC and a four-band EQ.

Comparisons

Bose 700 vs. sony wh-1000xm5.

Sony’s WH-1000XM5 are class leaders in terms of ANC performance. The Bose 700NC struggle to compete here. The build is identical, albeit I find the Sonys to have less clamp.

As for the sound, in stock form, the WH-1000XM5 sound bassier and smoother. You can easily control the amount of bass via the app and make them sound cleaner and clearer. The Bose 700 fall behind in this aspect.

The Sonys do not exhibit the lower-treble peak of the Bose 700, which can lead to some tonal aberration. Imaging is similar between them, but staging is wider and deeper on the WH-1000XM5. Dynamics are less compressed as well.

The Sony headphones also have other nifty features like wear detection, DSP effects, and better gesture control.

The extra price premium for the WH-1000XM5 over the Bose 700 is worth it.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 have superior Active Noise Cancelling than the Bose 700;

Bose 700 Vs. Apple Airpods Max

Apple’s flagship Airpods are unlike any other BT headphones in the market.

Aluminium vs. plastic – I know which one I am gonna pick. From a build quality perspective, they blow the Bose 700 away. The RF antenna on the Airpods Max is etched onto the aluminum chassis, so the signal remains strong despite a metal build.

In terms of sound, it’s somewhat strange that the Airpods Max sound better when connected to iPhones/Macbooks than to an Android phone (my Pixel 4XL in this case). The mid-treble peak near 9kHz becomes more prominent on non-Apple devices, so make of that what you will.

The bass on the Airpods Max is less prominent, and they focus more on midrange clarity than outright bass punch. The treble is also more extended, though the 9kHz peak rears its head every now and then, causing fatigue.

Imaging is somewhat similar on both these headphones, even if Airpods Max tend to sound wider. None of these headphones support high-bitrate codecs. Airpods Max have official water and dust resistance, unlike the Bose 700.

ANC is better on the Airpods Max as well, along with a better implementation of the “transparency” mode (where you can hear the sound around you through the headphones).

Overall, the Airpods Max are all-around superior to the Bose 700, but the much higher price tag may be a tough pill to swallow.

The Apple Airpods Max look and feel substantially more premium than the Bose 700.

Bose 700 is the very definition of a mixed bag.

They have good ANC, are comfortable, and offer decent all-around performance. The sound quality is largely inoffensive as well.

Too bad that the competition matches or exceeds Bose in every single parameter. There is not a single aspect where the Bose 700 offer class-leading performance. They are adequate, but being adequate is not good enough anymore.

Couple all that with the premium price tag, and Bose is treading dangerous waters. At or near full MSRP, I cannot recommend the Bose 700. If you can find a pair around USD$200, however, give them a shot.

💬 Conversation: 3 comments

I tried 3 Sonys (including XM5s) and 3 Bose (including 700s) at the store, and settled on the 700s. ANC on the Sonys seemed to be nothing more than increased bass and they were noticeably hotter on my head. I’m happy with my purchase. Your review suggests you’re a Sony shill.

Also the nc 700 are nearly 4 years old. Of course there will be better anc headphones.

Sony 1000XM5 ear pads tend to get hot, and that is explicitly mentioned in this review already (check last paragraph of “Comfort” section).

The Bose 700 are good, and I tend to use them in the summer a lot. But they’re old and showing their age now.

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Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review

The bose noise cancelling headphones 700 offer vastly improved noise cancelling for both music and calls along with a slick new design.

Hero image for Bose noise cancelling headphones 700

Tom's Guide Verdict

Buy the Bose 700 headphones if you want the ultimate in active noise-cancelling cans that offers superior performance for music and calls.

Slick, attractive design

Excellent noise cancelling on calls and music

Precise, balanced audio

Intuitive buttons and touch controls

Black version shows up sticky finger prints

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

Price: $379 Type:  Over-ear Battery life:  Up to 20 hrs Weight:  8.96 ounces Cable length:  42 inches (audio cable) 20 inches (USB-C) Bluetooth version: 5.0 Bluetooth range:  Up to 33 ft (10m) ANC: Yes

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 represents a big step forward for Bose. You get 11 levels of adjustable noise cancellation, so you decide how much of the outside world to let in, and the noise cancellation now works a lot better for making calls.

Plus, you get a sexy new design and balanced, precise audio performance. Other highlights include 20 hours of battery life and support for both Alexa and Google Assistant.

Keep reading our full Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review to find out why they're so high up our best wireless headphones and best headsets and headphones for working from home lists.

Recent updates

Since our review, the Bose 700 have been superseded by the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones , an all-new flagship noise-canceler.

Bose 700 headphones review: Price and availability

The $379 price might give some music lovers pause. Still, that's a lot cheaper than the $549 AirPods Max , and the pros far outweigh the cons anyway. The new Bose QuietComfort 45 is another option, and we've created a full Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700 face-off to help you choose between them. 

For this review, I rocked the black Bose 700 headphones, but the cans are also available in what Bose calls Luxe Silver. Each pair costs $399.95/£349.95, or $50/£50 more than the Bose QC35 II headphones, which remain in our ranking of the best Bose headphones . 

Bose 700 headphones review: What's in the Box?

The Bose 700s ship in a hard carry case in which the ear cups lie flat, ready for transport. A not-so-secret compartment hidden by a removable flap reveals a charging cord, an audio cable and an airplane adapter. 

Bose 700 headphones review: Design

Past models of Bose headphones, like the QuietComfort 35 II , were handsome, but in a dad sort of way. Available in black or silver, the 700s are definitely DILF-ware. The headband is made of sturdy stainless steel that bisects the middle of the plastic ear cups. The top and bottom of the band are made of a soft-touch plastic that houses a bit of Bose's proprietary foam. 

The headband is designed to evenly distribute weight, which makes for a more comfortable fit. Speaking of fit, if you need to adjust the cans, you simply slide the ear cups up or down instead of manipulating the band. This takes a bit of getting used to, but the overall movement is seamless.

Several buttons located along the ear cups help alleviate the need to touch your connected device. The left cup has the adjustable noise-cancellation button, while the right cup has toggles for Power/Bluetooth and launching digital assistants.

In case blindly fumbling around for buttons isn't your thing, Bose has included a capacitive-touch panel on the right ear cup. A double tap will play/pause or answer/ignore calls, while a swipe up or down will raise or lower the volume. A swipe forward or back will skip forward or backward on a track. The right ear cup also houses the USB Type-C charging port, a clear sign that Bose is fully embracing the 21st century.

Bose 700 headphones review: Comfort

I've worn the 700s for a week now, and I have found them to be immensely comfortable. Weighing in at 9 ounces, the 700s are lighter than the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones (9.7 ounces) but heavier than their predecessors (8.3 ounces).

The underside of the headband adds a nice cushion, and this ensured that I never felt any uncomfortable pressure, even after wearing the cans for 2 hours straight. I even fell asleep in them several times during trips home to New Jersey.

The ear pads, made of memory foam and wrapped in black leatherette, are just as comfortable. The oval shape encapsulates the ears and creates a fairly tight seal to help keep unwelcome noise out. My only gripe about the headphones is the sweat that gathers around the leather during a hot summer day. But that's a rather small quibble.

Bose 700 headphones review: Controls

Bose didn't load the 700 up with a ton of buttons, which I appreciate. The buttons that are present are slim, slightly raised and positioned along the back of the ear cups. Along the right ear cup, you have the Power / Pairing button and the digital assistant button, while the left has the noise-cancellation / conversation-mode buttons. The three buttons have a nice click when pressed and are easy to find when you're out and about.

But Bose didn't stop at buttons. That'd be rather pedestrian in this day and age. The company also added a touch-control panel discreetly hidden in the right ear cup and controlled with a series of swipes. A quick upward swipe raises the volume, while a downward slash lowers that setting. To skip tracks forward or backward, swipe forward or backward, respectively. To play or pause, quickly double-tap the cup. Aside from getting the tap cadence down pat, the touch controls are easy to master, and they made sure that I rarely had to touch my smartphone.

Bose 700 headphones review: Bose Music App

Just like the hardware in these headphones, the Bose Music app has a clean, sleek appearance. The app is packed with features and settings, which you can use to adjust the noise-cancellation level, choose between digital assistants and pick how much of your own voice you can hear on a call.

You can also control your music via the app, including changing tracks and adjusting volume. The app additionally allows you to customize your noise-cancellation favorites from the default 10, 5 and Off. There's also a product tour and FAQ in case you need to do a bit of troubleshooting.

As smooth as using the app is, I'd like to see the company add two features: a find-my-headphones function and a few equalizer presets for people who prefer to tune their own listening experience. 

Bose 700 headphones review: Noise cancelling

Providing a ton of control, the Bose 700 headphones give quiet-seekers 11 levels to choose from via the Bose app. Press the ANC button, and you can toggle between three of those settings on the fly: High, Medium and Full Transparency. High is definitely impressive, especially when paired with music, as it effectively drowned out the typical noises of New York City.

An argument between two frustrated straphangers on the A train transformed into little more than muffled mumbles with the ANC at maximum. At the halfway mark of the noise-cancelling settings, I could make out that the disagreement was about how close the two passengers were standing to each other. Once I disabled noise cancelling, I discovered that they were also arguing about whether one had pushed each other on this obviously crowded train. Rolling my eyes, I returned the ANC to 10 and listened to music. 

The 700's ANC is a big step up from what you get on the QC line. While the former had some of the best ANC in the business, negative noise always insinuated itself into your listening experience. For me, it sounded like an invisible wall sat between me and the music, making it sound cold and distant. With the 700s, it's the complete opposite.

The bass guitar on VV Brown's "Bottles" was warm and inviting on the 700s. With plenty of soundstage available, the delicate violin could shine alongside the drums, cymbals and the vocal. And that was at half-volume. When I switched to the QC35 headphones, I actually had to crank the volume to maximum to match what the 700s produced. Even then, that aural wall was front and center, dulling the guitar and the drums. The violin still sounded sweet, but it was quieter. 

Sans music, the Bose 700s still have the upper hand. When I used them in my seminoisy office, they blocked out my co-workers' chatter more effectively than the QC 35 II cans did. And that's without the vacuum of their predecessor. True, the 700s don't block out every single sound, but I'd say they cancel out about 85%, which ain't too shabby.

But the star of the show, at least for me, is Full Transparency mode. It essentially sounds like you're not wearing headphones; so when I talked, I sounded like myself instead of being muffled. That means that in those moments when I break into song while riding the subway or walking around, I can hear myself, so I won't be too off-key (I hope). But outside of impromptu performances, if you like to keep your headphones on during work, this is ideal. You'll be able to clearly hear everyone without having to remove the cans. 

Bose 700 headphones review: Smart assistants

The 700s have Alexa baked right into the interface. And depending on the connected device, you can access Siri or Google Assistant (see our guide to the best Google Assistant features and the best Alexa skills for a taste of what you'll be able to do). All you have to do is push the VPA button, and your default assistant will be there. 

People who use Alexa can trigger Amazon's assistant with the usual voice command. However, you'll have to press the VPA button to summon Siri or Google Assistant. Unfortunately, Samsung owners like myself will have to whip out our smartphones if we want to communicate with Bixby.

Still, this is one of the few headphones I would use regularly with a digital assistant. It was nice tapping a button and hearing notifications from Gmail, Facebook and Pokemon Go. And when I got bored with these notices, another quick press of the digital assistant button returned me to my jams. 

Bose 700 headphones review: Microphones

Let's be clear: Bose headphones have always delivered some of the best call quality available on a pair of headphones. With the 700s, the company's taking it up a notch. Hidden within the headphones' rather svelte frame are eight individual microphones. Six of those block incoming noise. Two of them pull double duty and work with another two to amplify your voice when you're on a call or cueing up a digital assistant. 

The result is a sort of audio-rejection beam that blocks the louder ambient noise in the environment, while the mics that are focused on your voice create proper separation. 

I'm happy to report that the 700s delivered in real-life scenarios. I've taken several calls on these headphones and was frankly taken aback at how well I could hear the person on the other end of the line and how well they could hear me, without me having to raise my voice. In fact, there were instances in which I couldn't raise my voice, but my callers still heard me loud and clear. 

MORE: The best cheap noise-canceling headphones (under $200)

My editor-in-chief, who's been wearing the QC 35 IIs for a couple of years, is also impressed with the clarity of the talk feature on the 700s. After a while, he stopped using the QC 35 IIs for calls, as it was hard to hear and be heard. Instead, he'd just use his smartphone. But with the 700s, his phone stays in his pocket.

Bose 700 headphones review: Audio Quality

The noise cancelling is good on the Bose 700s, great even. But what about the actual audio quality? Compared to competing headphones, the Bose aren't as loud, but they are more precise, delivering a wide soundstage, with balanced highs, mids and lows.

The trumpet was front and center on Jay-Z's "Bam," but not so much that I couldn't hear the snare, synthesizer and keyboard over the Sister Nancy sample and Jay's bombastic vocal. However, the Sony WH-1000xm3 headphones were louder, although I had the volume on the same level for both sets of cans. But louder doesn't necessarily mean better, as the bass sounded diffused compared to what the Bose produced. That floatiness hid some of the more delicate elements of the track, like the rain effect at the beginning.

When I listened to Isaac Hayes' "Walk on By" on the 700s, I was taken with how clean the violins sounded compared to the melancholy electric guitar. Hayes' silky baritone was blanketed by a swell of strings, buoyed by a generous soundstage. On the Sonys, the electric guitar was more forward, as the violins were slightly muted by the muddy lows.

The floaty lows actually worked in the Sony headphones' favor on Estelle's "Better," giving the track a more ethereal quality. However, this sound did take away from the singer's seductive vocal a tad. The 700s gave a cleaner presentation, keeping the bass in check, so I could notice the bells and snaps layered throughout the track. 

Bose 700 headphones review: Battery life, USB-C charging and Bluetooth

In addition to their updated looks, the 700s ditched the micro USB port for a more-current USB Type-C. The new port affords the headphones a measure of quick charging, delivering an estimated 3.5 hours of charge in 15 minutes. That's pretty good, since the company estimates you'll be able to squeeze 20 hours out of the 700s.

Wearing the 700s for over a week, listening at about 75% volume with at least 2 hours of listening a day, I didn't have to charge the headphones until eight days had passed. However, at 20% battery life, the Bose assistant informed me that I had 3 hours of power left, which is pretty good. Keep in mind that you need to turn off the headphones when they're not in use. The few times when I didn't, it ate up a decent chunk of battery life by the time I did start using the cans again. 

If you're forgetful like me, you might be better off tweaking the Auto-Off feature in the Bose Music app. I ended up setting my headphones to automatically shut off after 5 minutes of inactivity.

The 700s utilize Bluetooth 5.0, which gives listeners a range of up to 33 feet. I managed to walk 50 feet away and maintain a signal. When I walked farther than that, the signal sputtered and then cut out completely. At home, I left my phone upstairs while I went downstairs to put together a gaming chair, and I there was no hint of stutter. 

Bose 700 headphones review: Verdict

Our overall Bose 700 review verdict? These headphones aren't your daddy's Bose. The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 have raised the bar for active noise-cancelling headphones. The eight mics effectively silence outside noise while simultaneously allowing you to clearly be heard, whether you're talking to someone on the phone or cueing up a digital assistant.

The 700s don't skimp on audio quality either, offering clean, balanced sound with some impressive, intuitive tech flourishes. The adjustable noise cancellation keeps things quiet without adding distortion to your music, and the Full Transparency mode is similarly impressive. 

The Sony WH-1000XM4 is an excellent alternative with a cheaper starting price and a better app and longer battery life. But if you want the best in noise-cancelling headphones, the Bose 700 headphones are the only choice. 

  • More: Bose 700 vs. Sony WH-1000XM3 : Which noise-cancelling headphones win?

Sherri L. Smith

Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.

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  • Color Black
  • Type Charging Case
  • Wireless Technology Bluetooth
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Great pair of headphones!

Lightweight, comfortable clamping force, and great mic quality! Wouldn’t connect to bluetooth out the box but updating the drivers fixed the issue.

Love at the first sight

Impressively stylish, very comfortable and amazing sound. The Bose 700 are perfect for those who want to take their music experience to another level. 100% recommended.

How to charge any Bose wireless headphones in 4 simple steps

  • You can charge your Bose headphones by connecting their USB cable from the headphones to a power source like a computer, wall charger, or power bank.
  • Bose headphones have their power jack on the right side of the headphones, and most use a Micro USB cable — the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 use a USB-C cable .
  • It will take about two and a half hours to fully charge your Bose headphones. 
  • Visit Business Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories .

All wireless Bose headphones have a few things in common, like an integrated Lithium-ion battery and the need to stay charged. A Bose with a dead battery might still play if you plug it in with a physical AUX cable, but it won't be able to connect to Bluetooth, and its noise cancelling features won't work.

Whether you own Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones II, or even QuietControl 30 Wireless Headphones, they're all charged in the same way.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

Bose 700 headphones (from $339.00 at best buy), cable matters retractable micro usb charge & sync cable (from $7.99 at amazon) , spater adaptive fast charging wall charger kit w/ usb-c (from $8.99 at amazon), how to charge bose headphones.

1. Find the USB port on your headphones, usually on the right earcup (on neckband-style headphones, it'll be on the right side of the neckband). It will be a Micro USB connector for most headphones, though the new Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 use USB-C. 

2. Connect one end of a USB cable to the port on the headphones. 

3. Plug the other end into a computer that's turned on, a USB power bank, or a USB wall charger.

4. Let the headphones charge until the power light on the headphones glows a steady color. 

It generally takes about two and a half hours to charge fully depleted headphones. 

A few Bose models have quick-charge capability. The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, for example, will give you 3.5 hours of power after just a 15-minute charge.

what is bose 700 charging case

Related coverage from  Tech Reference :

How to add spotify to your sonos speaker system, a guide to sonos, the wireless speaker system that lets you control music in every room of your house at once, 'what is sonos boost': a guide to sonos' wi-fi add-on, which creates an exclusive wireless network for your speakers, how to turn off any sonos speaker, even if it doesn't have a power button, how to play apple music on sonos speakers, and stream music in every room of your home.

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Watch: These $150 headphones made from trash sound better than AirPods

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

The successor to the QuietComfort 35 II cost $50 more and have an all-new design. We put them head to head with the Sony WH-1000XM3.

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The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, the long-awaited successor to its  QuietComfort 35 II  models, have a lot to live up to. The QuietComfort series is almost 20 years old and is essentially the gold standard for active noise-canceling headphones, beloved by airline travelers and open-office residents the world over for their ability to block out a good chunk of external distractions. Simply put, the QC35s are a hard act to follow, and some people aren't going to like all the changes that Bose has made in creating this new successor headphone. 

20-bose-noise-cancelling-headphones-700

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

The bottom line.

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.

 width=

The headband is reinforced with a seamless piece of stainless steel.

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

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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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The headphones fold flat into their case. There's a small compartment for storing the cables.

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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The headphones are slightly heavier than the QuietComfort 35 II but are just as comfortable.

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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The touch controls are on the right ear cup.

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)

Score Breakdown

All products featured are independently chosen by us. However, SoundGuys may receive a commission on orders placed through its retail links. See our ethics statement.

Neither the Shure Aonic 50 nor the Bose Headphones 700 (pictured, black) have folding hinges.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review

Bose noise cancelling headphones 700.

May 29, 2019

203 x 165 x 50 mm

794297-0100

Bose took active noise canceling (ANC) and made it mainstream but eventually, the market caught up. Sony has released consecutive ANC hard-hitters , with better features, better noise canceling, and better sound quality than the old Bose QuietComfort 35 II. Well, it seems like Bose was listening, because the Noise Canceling 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?

We spent two weeks with the Bose NCH 700 and have kept up with its updates to find out if this is the headset for you.

Editor’s note: this Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review was updated on June 20, 2023, to answer a FAQ and to update formatting.

Travelers who want to block out the sounds of planes and trains will enjoy the fantastic active noise canceling . While the headset is expensive, the ANC is top-notch, which suits the needs of students. If you’re tired of the noisy people in your library, these are the way to go. If you’re someone who wants the best, you can’t go wrong with the NCH 700.

What is the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 like?

In short: these headphones are a delight to use. There are a few issues but overall the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is a great and powerful headset. The NCH 700 is lightweight, easy to use, well-built, and gorgeous. The Bose QC 45 and the Sony WH-1000XM5 are newer and outperform the NCH 700 in various ways, but if you want a gorgeous package with great sound and ANC, you’ll fall in love with this expensive pair of Bluetooth headphones .

The ear cups of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 on top of a tree stump with grass in the background.

The ear cups rotate a full 90 degrees so you can rest the headphones around your neck, but Bose swapped out the notched adjustment mechanism ( still found on the QC 45 ) for one that lets you slide the headphones into place instead. There are no folding hinges, so you should use the included hardshell case when traveling. Unlike previous Bose headsets, the NCH 700 is made of more than just plastic. 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 the Bose 700 headphones aren’t nearly as comfortable as the older QC 35 II.

The main reason for this step backward is the change in materials used for the padding. While the ear pads still use comfortable padding, they’re stiffer than the QC35 II cushions. This is great when it comes to isolating outside noise, but wearing the NCH 700 at my local cafe for a few hours results in my ears getting pretty hot. It gets to the point that I’m sweating when I remove the headphones. On top of that, the padding on the top of the headband has been changed as well.

The Bose Noise Cancelling headphones 700 on a black surface resting against a globe.

However, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is 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 Beats ‘, but I have the same problem where the plastic occasionally pulls my hair. Again, it’s still comfortable but that level of comfort that’s always present with the Bose QC35 II and even the QC25 before it is missing here.

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

How do you control the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700?

The playback button and power button on the earcup of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700.

The minimal design is reflected all over the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. There are a total of three buttons on the headphones and two of them don’t have any icons or labels, 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.

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 function a double-tap, it ensures that the music won’t pause unless you want it to.

Below are the controls of the headphones, laid out in a table for easy reference.

Should you get the Bose Music app for the NCH 700?

Pictured are the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 on top of the keyboard of a Huawei Matebook

To get the most out of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 you should download the Bose Music app (iOS/Android). 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 renaming the headphones if you want.

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 and beats going 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 Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Siri if you’re on iOS .

Just like the QC35 II before them, there have been some complaints about a firmware update giving the newer Noise Canceling 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.

  • Turn off the headphones. It sounds simple, but just restarting the headphones can fix a lot of issues.
  • Plug the QC35 II into your wall charger for at least 5 seconds, then remove the cable
  • Connect the headphones to your computer via USB, and go here in a browser
  • Download and run the Bose Updater app on your computer
  • 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 bug fixes 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, you must tap and hold the right ear cup to quickly activate Spotify.

How do you connect the Bose NCH 700 to a phone?

The microphone grille of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 on a wooden surface.

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 connects to your iPhone or Android phone via Bluetooth 5.0 and supports just the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs . You can opt for wired listening with the 2.5-to-3.5mm aux cable when you need to enjoy some lossless audio playback.

Yes, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 offer  Bluetooth multipoint  support and can connect to three devices at a time.  Bose has a help page  regarding the process if you run into pairing issues.

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

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 placed on a tree stump with the headband and logo on the earcups visible.

When it comes to battery life, Bose remains on the conservative end of very good. While products like the Sony WH-XB910N can push upwards of 37 hours in our battery tests , Bose claims only 20 hours and we measured 21 hours, 25 minutes under these same standardized conditions. This is 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 this back on the USB-C charging cable.

No, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 battery is not user replaceable . As per Bose’s policy, the company will provide a customer with a discounted rate for a replacement pair. It doesn’t usually repair headphones. You can read more about it  here .

A plot showing the excellent active noise canceling performance of the Bose Noise cancelling headphones 700.

The Bose NCH 700 has very good noise canceling, however, it can’t compete with newer headsets from Sony . That said, it’s impressive just how much the NCH 700 does to affect frequencies from 20-300Hz as this is typically pretty hard to nail. This range of frequencies will sound anywhere from one-half to one-sixth as loud as they’d sound without the Noise Canceling Headphones 700.

Passive isolation is also quite good here and will take care of incidental, unpredictable sounds like the  clang of your roommate washing dishes or chatterboxes next to you at the cafe. 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.

A chart compares the noise canceling of the Bose NCH 700 and Sony WH-1000XM5 to show that the Sony has better attenuation across the frequency spectrum.

Yes, the Sony WH-1000XM5  has better noise canceling than the Bose NCH 700, and you can really see this in the 50-200Hz range. Here, the Sony WH-1000XM5 quiets these frequencies by up to 15dB more than the NCH 700. Passive isolation is also  much more impressive with Sony’s headphones. But if you don’t want to shell out $387 at Amazon for Sony’s latest and greatest, Bose’s headphones will still serve you well.

A chart compares the Sony WH-1000XM4 noise canceling to the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, and the two are similar up until 2kHz where Bose takes the lead.

Compared to the Sony WH-1000XM4, the Bose Headphones 700 has very good ANC and better passive isolation. However, the Sony WH-1000XM4 does a bit more to attenuate upper-bass and low-midrange frequencies, so you’ll notice a bigger difference when toggling ANC on/off on Sony’s headphones.

What do the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 sound like?

A chart shows the updated frequency response of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 with firmware 1.8.2.

Now we can talk sound quality because even though the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 doesn’t have aptX — it still sounds really good. Most listeners will find the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 to sound a little more pleasant than the Bose QC 35 II before it because the NCH 700 treble response more closely follows our Headphone Preference Curve . You can adjust the frequency emphasis in the Bose Music app through a basic equalizer. Some people find this a little too simple, so you may want to get a third-party EQ app .

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 Midnight 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.

A chart depicts the Bose QuietComfort 35 II (cyan) and Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 (yellow dash) frequency response to the SoundGuys Consumer Curve V2.0 (pink).

In comparison, the Bose QuietComfort 45 , on the other hand, has some high-end overemphasis. This means that the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 will sound better in most situations, as it won’t make cymbals and other sibilant sounds too painful or annoying. 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.

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 for best results. There are only sliders for bass, mids, and treble, with no indication of specific frequencies.

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.

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

The Bose microphone does a good job, and, 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 rumbles and noise.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Bose noise cancelling headphones 700 microphone demo (office conditions):, bose noise cancelling headphones 700 microphone demo (street conditions):, bose noise cancelling headphones 700 microphone demo (windy conditions):, how does the microphone sound to you, should you get the bose noise cancelling headphones 700.

The new design is stunning, and this headset is an upgrade in almost every way thanks to the finely controlled noise canceling, the ability to seamlessly switch between devices, USB-C charging, and the touch-sensitive control pad. The NCH 700 even sounds better than the QuietComfort 35 II (for $374 at Amazon ) and newer, QuietComfort 45 (for $279 at Amazon ). It’s the spec and design upgrade that Bose needed, and moving forward the 700s aren’t leaving my head.

If you only care about owning the headphones with the best active noise cancellation, then you should get the Sony WH-1000XM5 (or XM4) because they are technically better. The Sony WH-1000XM5 (which sells for $387 at Amazon ) also has better codec support for high-quality streaming and has a much better microphone setup. That said, at least to me, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is clearly the more desirable product.

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

iPhone owners unencumbered by budgets will reap the most benefit from a pair of AirPods Max headphones. Apple’s debut over-ear headset has some of the best noise canceling in town, yes, it even outperforms the Sony WH-1000XM5 . In lieu of sound customization, you get the H1 chip and Apple’s Adaptive EQ, the latter of which adjusts the sound on the fly depending on your environment. We think the AirPods Max sounds quite good and it hews closely to the  SoundGuys Consumer Curve.

A chart depicts the AirPods Max and Bose NCH 700 frequency responses overlaid atop each other with the AirPods Max having a more pleasing treble response.

The AirPods Max doesn’t have a standard audio jack though. Instead, you need a Lightning-to-3.5mm cable for wired playback. Even then, if you’re using the AirPods Max with a modern iPhone, you’ll need to grab a 3.5mm-to-Lightning dongle adapter. Those who are willing to overlook this cable/dongle chaos will get to take full advantage of seamless Bluetooth device switching between Apple devices and very solid build quality.

You can read all about how the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 and AirPods Max compare.

Apple AirPods Max

What are some less expensive options?

A handheld view of the Anker Soundcore Space Q45's ear cup.

While the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are great, there’s no denying that it costs a lot of money. Give Sony a shot if you’re not looking to spend that much. The (rather bassy) WH-XB910N (for $148 at Amazon ) and WH-CH710N (for $748 at Amazon ) headphones offer decent noise canceling, connectivity, and better battery life at significantly cheaper prices. Of course, you won’t have the same beautiful design or build quality, but you will still have a good chunk of change in your pocket.

If brand recognition rates as less important to you compared to functionality, check out the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 , which boasts Bluetooth 5.3 relayed over SBC, AAC, and LDAC codecs for merely $149 at Amazon . Its sound quality is okay, and the ANC is quite impressive. It may look rather pedestrian next to the Bose, but it performs quite well.

Frequently asked questions about the Bose Noise Cancelling 700 Headphones

You will be able to playback FLAC or other lossless files over the Bose 700 with no problems. However, if you’re using them wirelessly you won’t get the full benefit of the lossless file format as Bluetooth applies data compression to the audio stream. This will be the case with any Bluetooth device. To fully appreciate lossless files, you would need to use them with a wired connection .

Yes they ship with a standard 3.5mm jack for the device side.

Yes, you can connect them via Bluetooth, USB or 3.5mm jack.

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 have a 10-meter (33-foot) wireless range. Bluetooth connection stability is highly dependent on your environment, though, so you may not quite reach distance if layers of drywall separate your smartphone and the headset.

Yes, you may create a custom EQ in the Bose Connect app. This functionality was made available in May 2020, with firmware version 1.4.12.

The  Sony WH-1000XM4 has better active noise canceling than the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. The Sony cans are also a bit more comfortable and offers speak-to-chat functionality. Both sets of headphones support Bluetooth multipoint, have ambient sound passthrough, and have smart assistant integration.

Basically, you just need to plug your wired Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 into one of these flight adapters . Conversely, there are wireless adapters for flights as well like the AirFly Pro $49 at Amazon .

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Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 with Charging Case

Sold from 2020 – 2022

Poor sound quality from product

If you experience distortion, crackling, static, noise or unexpected poor sound quality from your product:, determine if the problem is specifically related to bass performance., do you hear static or distorted audio while in noisy environments, reset your product., try a different app., reboot the bluetooth® device., check the eq settings on your bluetooth® device., your product may need service..

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Bose 700 Instructions Manual

  • User manual
  • Manual (49 pages)
  • Owner's manual (34 pages)
  • page of 21 Go / 21

Table of Contents

  • Warranty Information
  • Garantie-Informatie
  • Informations Relatives À la Garantie
  • Informazioni DI Garanzia
  • Informacje Dotyczące Gwarancji

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Summary of Contents for Bose 700

  • Page 1 Important Safety Instructions Vigtige sikkerhedsinstruktioner Wichtige Sicherheitshinweise Belangrijke veiligheidsinstructies Instrucciones importantes de seguridad Tärkeitä turvallisuusohjeita Instructions importantes relatives à la sécurité Importanti istruzioni di sicurezza Fontos biztonsági utasítások Viktige sikkerhetsinstruksjoner Ważne zalecenia dotyczące bezpieczeństwa Viktiga säkerhetsanvisningar ค� ำ แนะน� ำ ด้ ำ นควำมปลอดภั ย ที ่ ส � ำ คั ญ 중요...

Page 2: Warranty Information

  • Page 3 – Udsæt ikke opladningsetuiet for vand, regn, væsker eller sne. Importør i Mexico: Bose de México, S. de R.L. de C.V., Paseo de las Palmas 405-204, Lomas de – Anvendelse af en strømforsyning eller oplader, der ikke anbefales eller sælges af en Chapultepec, 11000 México, D.F.

Page 4: Garantie

Page 5: garantie-informatie.

  • Page 6 – No utilice el estuche de carga excediendo su clasificación de salida. Las salidas de Importador en México: Bose de México, S. de R.L. de C.V., Paseo de las Palmas 405-204, sobrecarga superiores a la clasificación pueden resultar en un riesgo de incendio o lesiones Lomas de Chapultepec, 11000 México, D.F.
  • Page 7 Taipei City 104, Taiwan Puhelin: +886-2-2514 7676 aiheuttaa tulipalon tai henkilövahinkojen vaaran. Maahantuoja Meksikossa: Bose de Mexico S. de R.L. de C.V., Paseo de las Palmas 405-204, – Älä ylitä latauskotelon nimellisantotehoa käytössä. Nimellisarvot ylittävä antoteho voi Lomas de Chapultepec, 11000 México, D.F. Puhelinnumero: +5255 (5202) 3545 aiheuttaa tulipalon tai henkilövahinkojen vaaran.

Page 8: Informations Relatives À La Garantie

Page 9: informazioni di garanzia.

  • Page 10 Taipei City 104, Tajvan. Telefonszám: +886-2-2514 7676 viselkedhetnek, és tüzet, robbanást vagy személyi sérülést okozhatnak. Mexikói importőr: Bose de México, S. de R.L. de C.V., Paseo de las Palmas 405-204, – Ne szerelje szét a beépített töltővel rendelkező hordtokot. A helytelen összeszerelés tüzet Lomas de Chapultepec, 11000 Mexikó, D.F.
  • Page 11 Taipei City 104, Taiwan Telefonnummer: +886-2-2514 7676 – Ikke utsett ladeetuiet for vann, regn, væsker eller snø. Importør for Mexico: Bose de México, S. de R.L. de C.V., Paseo de las Palmas 405-204, – Bruk av strømforsyning eller lader som ikke anbefales eller selges av Lomas de Chapultepec, 11000 México, D.F.

Page 12: Informacje Dotyczące Gwarancji

  • Page 13 Läs igenom och spara alla anvisningar om säkerhet och användning. Den här symbolen betyder att produkten inte ska kastas med hushållssoporna utan Läs mer i bruksamvisningen om ditt Headphones 700 Charging Case (inklusive tillbehör och återvinnas i enlighet med lokala bestämmelser. Rätt deponering och återvinning reservdelar) på...
  • Page 14 ท� ำ ควำมสะอำดด้ ว ยผ้ ำ แห้ ง เท่ ำ นั ้ น ผู ้ น � ำ เ้้ ำ ้องจี น : Bose Electronics (Shanghai) Company Limited, Part C, Plant 9, No. 353 North Riying Road, ค� ำ เือ อ นข้้ อ ควรระวั ง...
  • Page 15 전화 번호: +886-2-2514 7676 충전기를 사용하면 화재 또는 인체 상해 위험으로 이어질 수 있습니다. 멕시코 수입업체: Bose de México, S. de R.L. de C.V., Paseo de las Palmas 405-204, – 출력을 초과하여 충전 케이스를 사용하지 마십시오. 정격 이상의 과출력은 Lomas de Chapultepec, 11000 México, D.F. 전화 번호: +5255 (5202) 3545 화재...
  • Page 16 本 产 品 符 合 所 有 适 用 的 欧 盟 指 令 要 求。 符 合 声 明 全 文 载 于: www.Bose.com/compliance 请阅读并保留所有安全和使用说明。 有 关 Headphones 700 充 电 盒( 包 括 附 件 和 替 换 件 ) 的 更 多 信 息, 请 参 阅 此符号表示本产品不得作为生活垃圾丢弃,必须送至相关回收部门 worldwide.Bose.com/Support/HP700 上的用户指南或联系 Bose 客户服务处以获取纸...
  • Page 17 繁 體 中 文 本產品符合所有適用的歐盟指令要求。您可以從以下位置找到完整 的符合聲明:www.Bose.com/compliance 請閱讀並保管好所有安全和使用指示。 有 關 Headphones 700 充 電 盒(包 括 附 件 和 替 換 件)的 更 多 資 訊,請 參 閱 此符號表示本產品不得作為生活垃圾丟棄,必須送至相關回收部門 worldwide.Bose.com/Support/HP700 上的使用者指南或聯絡 Bose 客戶服務處以獲取 循環利用。適當的處理和回收有助於保護自然資源、人類健康以及 紙質副本。 自然環境。想了解更多有關本產品的處理和回收資訊,請與當地民 政部門、廢棄物處理服務機構或售出本產品的商店連絡 重要安全指示 請勿嘗試拆除產品內的可充電鋰電池。請連絡本地 Bose 零售商或其他具有資...
  • Page 18 Taipei City 104, Taiwan. Phone Number: +886-2-2514 7676 となり、怪我をする恐れがあります。 メ キ シ コ に お け る 輸 入 元 : Bose de México, S. de R.L. de C.V., Paseo de las Palmas – 充電ケースを分解しないでください。発火や怪我をする恐れがあります。 405-204, Lomas de Chapultepec, 11000 México, D.F. Phone Number: +5255 (5202) 3545 –...
  • Page 19 ‫وإعادة تدويره، تواصل مع البلدية المحلية أو خدمة التخلص من النفايات أو المتجر الذي اشتريت‬ ‫تعليمات مهمة للسالمة‬ ‫منه هذا المنتج‬ .‫اقرأ هذه التعليمات‬ ‫ المحلي أو‬Bose ‫ال تحاول إخراج بطارية الليثيوم أيون القابلة إلعادة الشحن من هذا المنتج. اتصل بموزع‬ .‫احتفظ بهذه التعليمات‬ .‫فني مؤهل آخر إلخراجها‬ .‫انتبه إلى جميع التحذيرات‬...
  • Page 20 X o s W global.Bose.com/warranty ©2019 Bose Corporation, 100 The Mountain Road, Framingham, MA 01701-9168 USA AM842501-0010 Rev. 00...

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Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports

Best Early Black Friday Deals on Headphones and Earbuds

Posted: November 8, 2023 | Last updated: November 8, 2023

We've already found tempting offers on popular models from Apple, Bose, and Sony

Early Black Friday 2023 deals are already here. Consumer Reports brings you the best headphone deals at the moment.

By Allen St. John

Headphones make great gifts and nothing beats a great gift at a great price, so you’ll be happy to know that we’re already spotting early Black Friday deals at places like Amazon, Best Buy, and Target.

And we’re not talking about just any model, but true crowd pleasers from Apple , Bose , and Sony .

To help you find the best offers around, we don’t look solely at the price tag; we also consider how well the model performed in Consumer Reports’ test results. For discounts on  TVs , laptops, and  other tech items , plus  home and kitchen  products , check out  CR’s Deals hub , as well.

For more information on headphones, visit CR’s buying guide and ratings chart , which features test results on more than 180 models.

Get discounts, product recommendations, and buying advice from the shopping experts at CR. Sign up for our ShopSmart newsletter .

Apple AirPods (3rd generation) with Lightning Charging Case

Thanks to a revamped design, updated drivers, and new software, these AirPods sound better than their predecessor. They offer the same easy compatibility with Apple devices, along with a few nice upgrades. The ear tips have pressure-sensitive squeeze controls, which are a bit easier to navigate than the older model’s tap controls. There’s also improved compatibility with Siri, plus new sensors that prevent the buds from playing when they’re not in your ears. The Target deal is only available through online purchase.

Noise-Canceling Headphones

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) with MagSafe Case (USB-C)

This is the latest and best incarnation of the company’s top noise-canceling true wireless earbuds. The AirPods Pro include a transparency mode that can pipe in outside sound when you want to hear what’s going on around you. (The adaptive transparency mode, designed to reduce loud outside noises, is less impressive, though.) And the new USB-C charging case means you can refuel the battery using the same cables you’d use for a Mac laptop or the iPhone 15. Note that the Target deal is only available through online purchase.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Bose has been the go-to brand for noise-canceling headphones for years, so it’s no surprise that the Bose Noise-Cancelling 700 is a strong performer. The model is also loaded with features. It has an integrated microphone, and touch-sensitive controls on the earcup for volume, track selection, and call functionality. It has 11 distinct noise-canceling levels, plus an easy way to toggle through your choice of three favorites. You can also summon your favorite digital assistant—Alexa, Google, or Siri.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3

The  Sennheiser Momentum 3  is a stylish true wireless noise-canceling headphone that’s aimed at the high-end market. Both the cloth-covered charger and the earbuds themselves exude elegance, and the model delivers sound that’s satisfying. On the feature front, it’s sweat-resistant and compatible with Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant.

Sony WF-1000XM5

These noise-canceling earbuds are a worthy successor to Sony’s popular WF-1000XM4 model. They’re smaller, lighter, sleeker, and come packed with plenty of features, including variable noise cancellation; an ambient sound mode to actively pipe in audio from your surroundings; and Speak-to-Chat, which can automatically pause your music when you start talking.

Sony WF-1000XM4

These noise-canceling earbuds have been replaced by Sony’s new WF-1000XM5 model, but performance-wise they’re very similar, so don’t be afraid to save a little extra money and go with the model that’s on its way out. You won’t likely notice a difference in the sound quality or noise-canceling tech. You may want to wait a little, though, to see if the price drops even further. We’ve seen this model listed at $180 to $200.

Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2023, Consumer Reports, Inc.

Best Early Black Friday Deals on Headphones and Earbuds

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COMMENTS

  1. Headphones 700 Charging Case

    Explore Bose support articles, troubleshooting tips, product guides, and accessories for your Headphones 700 Charging Case | Bose Support

  2. Review: Bose 700

    Headphone & Audio Reviews Headphones Review: Bose 700 - a Mixed Bag Kazi Mahbub Mutakabbir 💬 3 comments Updated on December 6, 2022 The Bose 700NC have a distinct design language. Bose's flagship Bluetooth noise canceling headphones struggle to stand out amidst fierce competition. General Usage 72.0 Audiophile Usage 65.6 Score Breakdown

  3. Smart Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

    The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are packed full of all the features you need for superior sound and premium quiet — including 11 customizable levels of noise cancellation with situational awareness for when you want to let the world in.

  4. Bose Headphones 700 Charging Case

    Headphones 700 Charging Case Overview This charging case protects your headphones and provides up to two full additional charges, so you can enjoy up to 40 additional hours of listening time. Compatible products Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 Bose Headphones 700 Charging Case: On-the-go charging. Built-in battery. Durable case.

  5. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review

    The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 offer vastly improved noise cancelling for both music and calls along with a slick new design By Sherri L. Smith last updated 24 October 2023 Comments (0)...

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    Product details What's in the Box What's in the Box Headphones 700 carry case Why buy from Bose Try it, love it. Test it out for 90 days to make sure it's right for you. Learn more Free 2-day shipping On in-stock orders of $49 or more. Every day.

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  10. Bose Headphones 700 Charging Case

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  16. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review

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  20. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review

    Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 While the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 can't beat the Sony WH-1000XM4 at active noise canceling, they still does a great job. These cans are exactly the upgrade that Bose needed to make, and their beautiful design and excellent sound quality will attract many music lovers. Release date May 29, 2019 Price

  21. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 with Charging Case

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