There are a lot of popular brands out there in the headphone industry. One of them happens to be Bose, as they started getting attention with their wireless and noise-canceling headphones. Just like other brands, Bose happens to have a wide variety of headphones available, ranging from noise-canceling headphones to sport earbuds.
This is not up for debate, Bose headphones are great, even if you compare them to Beats. In fact, if you mentioned noise-canceling a couple of years back, people you assumed you were talking about Bose. With that said, it doesn’t mean the company can’t go beyond that and explore other areas.
That’s exactly what we’re here for. We’ll be looking at some of the best Bose headphones in 2020. We’ll try to keep things diverse so all you Bose enthusiasts can find something that catches your eye.
The Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 is the perfect representation of competition driving things forward. Just as things started to heat up in the noise-canceling headphones region, Bose went back to the drawing board. This Bose 700s an incredible answer to all the rivals out there. Pair that with the award-winning noise isolation, and we have ourselves a winner.
The main upgrades are visible in the design language. These are vastly different from the QuietComfort series. They have gone for a more minimal approach this time around. There are no visible hinges and the adjustability for height is done by the smooth slider. They still have a bit of horizontal adjustability as well.
Bose is using high-quality padding on the ear cups, and they create a tight seal around the ear. They also finally have USB-C, they can pair with 2 devices at once, and the media controls are built into the touch surface on the right earcup. You can also use the mic to bring up Google Assistant.
Active noise cancellation is excellent, as you’d expect from Bose. You can take these on a flight to drown out the engine noise from the plane. It also has a tonne of adjustability, and you can select levels to determine the strength of ANC. If you want to use these headphones with a wired connection, you’ll have to use the proprietary 2.5mm to 3.5mm cable.
The headphones have a flat sound signature, but they remain enjoyable to listen to. If you like an accurate representation of music, you’ll love the Bose Headphones 700.
The Bose SoundSport Wireless headphones have been fairly successful since their launch. Even though Bose updated these with the SoundSport Pulse, the original Soundsport wireless is still the better option. While they are just as comfortable for casual use, you’ll appreciate them if you hit the gym a lot. These are the definitive sports headphones from Bose.
They are a bit bigger than you might expect, but that helps them with staying in the ears. Even though the exterior has exposed audio ports, the SoundSport headphones have an IPX4 rating so they are water and dust resistant. The right earphone has a power button and LEDs to indicate the connection and battery status.
The SoundSport Wireless uses a microUSB port for charging, which does feel a little dated. They have up to 6 hours of battery life, which is decent but not the best. Fortunately, the cord is thick and durable while still retaining flexibility. The cable never gets tangled, which is a good thing. These can take a lot of punishment.
The sound quality is excellent. The short wire doesn’t create any distortion, which is a common problem for sports earphones. Bose retains its clean sound signature which is neutral overall, and nothing sounds harsh or fatiguing. Bass is still punchy and accurate, which is always good for sports earphones.
Bose has a well-rounded package here. The only thing missing here is voice assistant support, but we can let that slide due to the amazing overall quality offered here.
3. Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Heaphones
- High-end noise cancelation
- Iconic design language
- Durable construction
- Best in class comfort
- Rivals sound better
- No auto play/pause
Design: Over-ear | Battery Life: 20 hours (with ANC) | Connection Type: Wired/Wireless | Weight: 235g
These are the headphones that come to mind for most people when they think of Bose. The QuietComfort series is the main reason Bose is largely relevant today. They were recommended by nearly everyone during the initial launch, so we saw them reviewed by nearly everyone. However, the QC 35 II might be an even better value today, since they’ve come down in price.
The QC 35 II features the iconic design we’ve come to expect from Bose. Everything from the packaging to the materials used is top-notch. We have the power and volume buttons on the left side, and an Amazon Alexa button on the right. The black color still looks the best, but you can get it in silver and rose gold as well.
Battery life is quite decent with 20 hours of play and that’s with ANC turned on. There is a reason these have the word comfort right in their name. The soft earcups and light clamping pressure create a very lightweight experience. Fatigue is not an issue with these headphones.
The sound quality is decent and what you’d expect from Bose. Mids are smooth, the bass rolls off nicely, and the highs aren’t sharp or all that bright. Sure, their main rival like Sony might sound better and more dynamic, but they’re also more expensive. You can find the QC 35 II for much cheaper these days than their initial price.
Active noise cancellation is excellent, as this is Bose we’re talking about. Sadly, it’s missing a few new features like auto play/pause and more modern design. Still, these are an excellent option even today.
Next up, let’s have a look at one of the few budget offerings from Bose. Bose isn’t well known for their cheaper headphones, but some are worth taking a look at. The Soundlink On-Ear Bluetooth headphones are a great example. While there are a few corners cut here and there, you can still get a good experience out of these.
The Soundlink On-Ear Bluetooth headphones are much smaller than any over-ear headphones offered by Bose. The ear cushions and top headband use memory foam padding, which adds a lot to the comfort. Since these are small and lightweight, they also end up being extremely comfortable.
Design-wise they can look a bit boring and bland. They’re not ugly by any means but they don’t stand out in a world filled with black headphones. Build quality is decent, but it’s not going to compare to other premium headphones offered by Bose and rivals. Still, they don’t feel like they would break easily, which is already a major win.
The SoundLink On-ear satisfy in delivering a decent audio experience but might fail to fully blow you away. They don’t sound bad by any means, but the competition has caught up. They are missing out on that dynamic feel, which rivals are offering for much cheaper these days.
Overall, these are good headphones for casual listening sessions. They are good enough for their price tag, but if your ears are tuned for high-fidelity audio, I’d look elsewhere.
5. Bose SoundSport Free Wireless Earbuds
Powerful Yet Convenient
- Impressive audio
- Stay in the ear while running
- Decent battery life
- Occasional connectivity issues
- No ANC
Design: In-ear | Battery Life: 5 hours (Added 10 hours with charging case) | Connection Type: Wireless | Weight: 8.5g (each earbud)
The Bose SoundSport Free is the truly wireless version of the SoundSport Wireless. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that TWS earbuds are gaining a lot of traction. They are a good pair for working out, but there are a few things we would like to see improved.
First off, these earbuds are huge in size. Be prepared for that if you are thinking of purchasing them. However, Bose wanted to make them durable and comfortable, so maybe it’s worth the tradeoff. The winged ear tips do a good job of staying in the ear, and they work for most people.
They do stick out about, to the point that they end up looking a bit funky. Still, all of that is entirely subjective. Bose offers a lot of color options which is nice. They have 5 hours of playtime, with an added 10 hours within the charging case. They lack active noise cancellation, which might be a dealbreaker for some, especially at this price.
Sound quality is exceptional for a pair of wireless earbuds. Bose did the right thing by making these sound enjoyable rather than flat or neutral. Since these are sports earbuds, athletic folks can enjoy their favorite music delivered with a lot of power.
Unfortunately, they can only connect to one device at a time. During calls, only the right earbud seems to work. There also have been issues when used with a laptop. The SoundSport Free are good earbuds, but not exactly the best in class.