Sony WH 1000 XM3 vs Bose QC 35 II: Clash of the Titans

There is no denying that from the list of markets that are saturated, headphone market is perhaps one of the most saturated ones. This only means that if you jump into the market to buy a new pair of headphones, you will find so many options that it will end up overwhelming you. However, today, we are not looking at the best headphones.

Today, we are looking at a head to head comparison of Sony’s WH-1000XM3 and Bose QC 35 II. Two of the most powerful wireless headphones available in the market at the moment. The idea of this comparison came to me when I was discussing it with my friend about the headphones that are better than Beats that we just reviewed to ensure that he does not end up buying the wrong headphones.

Obviously, having used both of these headphones and being aware of the iconic status they have, I had to give these a try to make the most of the situation. With that in mind, I am going to compare these headphones in terms of sound, comfort, price, features, noise canceling, and battery life.

So, let’s not waste time and have a look, shall we?

Sound

I will be honest, if a pair of headphones does not sound good, I would rather look somewhere else. Being a music enthusiast, one of the most important aspects that I look for is the sound. Having tried so many headphones, I want the headphones to sound as original as they possibly could so I can enjoy my music in its original state and not in some artificial state of sound.

As far as the sound is concerned, the sound on the Sony WH-1000XM3 is great. While it is not completely neutral; it is very close to it and gives you a very realistic experience of the music you are listening to it. there is an emphasis on bass every now and then but if you are expert with an equalizer, you can fine tune the sound to make it more natural.

On the other hand, we have the Bose QC 35 II. In theory, the headphone does not sound bad by any means, but the sound is underwhelming at best. It is something that you would expect from a good pair of headphones, but it does not have anything that will give you the wow factor.

As far as the sound is concerned, Sony has truly hit the home run as the WH-1000XM3 has one of the best sounds you could ask for in a pair of headphones.

Winner: Sony WH-1000XM3.

Comfort

If you have ever seen me in real life, you will realize that I wear headphones way too much. So much so that there is a time when I fall asleep while listening to music. So, keeping that in mind, comfort is definitely something that is important for me when it comes to the overall experience and if the headphones are not comfortable enough, I cannot live with them for long.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 are definitely comfortable; there is a good amount of cushioning available as well, and they do not come with an awful lot of clamping force either, which means that they are easier on the ears and your head. However, after wearing them for longer periods, you start noticing some amount of discomfort creep in. This can really be a problem for those who are looking to have an overall comfortable experience.

On the other hand, the Bose QC 35 II is by far the most comfortable pair of headphones I have used. I guess it is all in the name “Quiet Comfort”. Whether you are wearing it for one hour or for 5 hours, the comfort is going to be there throughout and it is a wonderful experience that you simply cannot miss.

Winner: Bose QC 35 II.

Price

Price is another important factor that most people are concerned about if they are looking to buy a good pair of headphones. Now the thing is that when it comes to price, companies like Sony and Bose like to place their products close to each other. This oligopoly system of pricing works best in such regards.

There is not much to say as far as the pricing is concerned; both the QC 35 II and WH-1000XM3 priced within the same neighborhood. They are often available on discounts and the discounted prices are the same, too.

Winner: Both.

Features

Features are among the most important aspects when it comes to a pair of good headphones. Your whole experience can be made or broken based on this aspect.

Looking at the Sony WH-1000XM3, we have to say one thing and that is that it does not shy away when it comes to features. It is one of the most featured packed pair of headphones available in the market, from the touch-sensitive ear cup that allows you to play, pause, stop, forward, rewind music and allows you to adjust the volume, and take calls, to the proximity sensor that turns down the volume and opens up the microphones so you can hear what’s going outside. The headphone is packed with features, and sometimes, you can get lost in the process, too.

On the other hand, the Bose QC 35 II is pretty disappointing when it comes to the features. This is the third iteration and the only evident change Bose has introduced is the assistant control. Yes, you can now call Siri or Google Assistant if wish to.

In terms of features, there is no way that the ball is in Bose’s court. Sony dominates the field in every aspect and provides you with countless features that are not just gimmicks but works really well.

Winner: Sony WH-1000XM3.

Noise Cancelling

Considering how both of these headphones are based around the fact that they are good when it comes to providing noise cancellation, it would have been wrong to exclude this part.

For the longest time, the noise cancellation on Bose was the best; the original QC 35 had the best noise cancellation at the time but it was quickly replaced by Sony’s MDR-1000X. The story has not changed all that much.

There is no denying that the noise cancellation on the QC 35 II is good, but when you compare it with the noise cancellation of the WH-1000XM3, there is a clear difference.

Sony simply owns the playground in terms of noise cancellation. So much so that at times, you might feel that it is too overwhelming. Needless to say, Sony wins once again.

Winner: Sony WH-1000XM3.

Battery Life

When it comes to battery life, things become a lot more important and serious, too. After all, we are talking about a wireless pair of headphones and if they do not offer good battery life, they will not be respected in the market as much as they should be.

The good news is that the battery life on the Sony WH-1000XM3 is rated at 38 hours with active noise cancellation off, and 30 hours with ANC on. This is actually one of the most impressive battery life we have seen in any pair of headphones. Sure, your real life mileage will probably vary, but not by a long shot.

On the other hand, the Bose QC 35 II does pose a solid battery life, but it is about 14 and 18 hours short of the mark offered by Sony. The QC 35 II offers 20 hours of battery life. Which in our opinion is simply not enough.

As far as the battery life is concerned, the Sony WH-1000XM3 wins hands down, making it one of the most desirable wireless pair of headphones.

Conclusion

We really do not think we need to write a conclusion here. After thoroughly testing both titans, we are sure that the Sony WH-1000XM3 is going to be known as the headphone that slain the Bose QC 35 II. Unless Bose comes with another contender, we are sure that Sony is dominating the market, and doing a great job at that, as well.

Bill Wilson


Bill is a certified Microsoft Professional providing assistance to over 500 remotely connected employees and managing Windows 2008 to 2016 servers.