Once known as the industry leaders in Active Noise Cancelling, Bose had recently fallen behind headphones from famous manufacturer Sony and the latest company to the block — in terms of audio devices — Microsoft. Bose’s QuietComfort series had become just a pair of headphones which received minor upgrades with each new variant, something which did not differentiate them from the others in the crowd and was driving sales away from them.
This new iteration the ‘Smart Noise Cancelling Headphones 700’ by Bose, introduces with it a unique design and features that are more up-to-date in comparison with Sony and Microsoft’s offerings and with better audio quality, and a new feature that the company touts as ‘Bose AR’ for an unmatched music listening experience.
We will now see how the 700’s compare against Sony’s WH-1000XM3, which have given Bose a run for their money in recent times.
The design of a pair of headphones speaks volumes for it. This time around Bose has taken a different approach when compared to their headphones from the past, with a more simplified design, unlike Sony, and unique control implementations — which on the other hand are similar to Sony’s to a certain extent.
The new pair have defining lines across their build and pretty much none of them is broken — signifying the beginning of a new segment. On the other hand, with Sony’s headphones, one can see a clear distinction between the hinges and other joints. Overall the Sony’s have a more industrial look that we have been used to whereas the 700’s bring a new clean and more minimalistic approach.
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Coming to the controls of the device, Bose has now done away with most physical buttons, with only three being present — one for power and pairing, a dedicated button for voice assistants and another one to adjust the level of noise cancellation. The right cup of the headphones also has a touch-sensitive surface where users can use specific gestures to control the volume, switch up tracks or play/pause.
Sony’s pair was the first to implement gesture control in the market. They also allow the user to fast forward/reverse within the same track, a button to power the device on and a button that functions as an assistant button or a noise cancellation level button is also present. Its function must be decided by the user from within the support application.
The implementation of gesture-controlled headphones has not shaken up the industry in any way. Sony also had an issue with their right cup being unresponsive in cold weather, and only time will tell if the same happens with the 700’s. The lack of multiple buttons on the WH-1000XM3 can also be a turn off factor for some.
With the 700’s being extremely new a detailed sound comparison is still out of the question, but Bose has said that the headphones, while not being a step up over the QC 35 II’s, are definitely ‘slightly better’ at everything that it did. A lot of reviewers had pointed out that the WH 1000MX3’s sounded better than the QC’s so these upgrades will more or less even out the performance.
Another important thing to note is that Bose is set to sell these alongside the QuietComfort series, they will not replace them, as the 700’s are trying to tackle an entirely different problem that headphones have faced while improving upon everything that the 35 II’s offered.
The issue being tackled here is one regarding microphone and audio quality during calls. A new microphone array has been implemented that adds two more mics to the pre-existing six-mic set up for noise cancelling.
Out of the total of eight, four (two on each cup) are used for calls, and these make a significant difference, according to Chris Welch of The Verge.
The Bose 700’s can pair with two devices at once, whereas Sony’s can only pair with one. Both headphones also have a mini-jack on them for wired connections, but, the Bose has 2.5mm jack, whereas Sony’s have the traditional 3.5mm.
Which one should you pick up?
Now coming to the question about which one should you pick up? Well, the WH-1000XM3 has been out in the market for about six months now and are tried and tested. A lot of people love them for what they are and if you can make do with the issues that the touch controls have posed for people they are a viable choice mainly because of their affordability.
But if you prefer the sound profile of the Bose and want the latest and greatest noise cancelling tech out there and want to have a great calling experience, Bose 700 is the way to go.