Here’s whether you should buy the new $400 Bose wireless headphones or the $350 old version in just 27 words

The Bose QC 35 II, left, and the Bose NC 700.

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The Bose QC 35 II, left, and the Bose NC 700.
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Bose

There are only 27 words you need to read when it comes to deciding whether you should spend $400 on the new Bose NC 700 headphones, or $350 for the older Bose QC 35 II (which routinely drop down to $300 or less on various stores online):

Buy the new Bose NC 700 headphones if you take a lot of phone calls in noisy places.

If you don’t, buy the Bose QC 35 II.

That’s the short of it.

Read on if you want to know why the new Bose NC 700 are so good for taking phone calls in noisy places, and why others will be just fine with the Bose QC 35 II.


For phone calls, the new Bose NC 700 do an amazing job of cancelling out the ambient noise for you, as well as the person you’re talking to.

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

Most headphones I’ve tried simply don’t do well with phone calls when I’m in a noisy place, like New York City. I can usually hear the other person just fine, especially if the headphones I’m using have noise cancelling. But the problem is that the other person can’t hear my voice. Instead, they hear the city streets, and some of the people I’ve spoken to say “It sounds like you’re in a washing machine,” or “Are you in a hurricane?”

That’s when the headphones come off my ears, and I switch the call to the phone itself rather than the headphones.

With the NC 700, Bose has managed to cancel out a large portion of the noise around me for the person I’m talking to. In especially noisy places like the Financial District in NYC, the noise cancellation isn’t total, but the person I’m speaking with can at least hear my voice clearly over the din.

Even in noisy open office spaces, the chatter of nearby colleagues barely transmits over to the person I talk to during a phone call. I took a call with someone else who wore the Bose NC 700 in the crowded Miami Airport, and it sounded like he was in a living room with maybe a couple people on the other side having a politely quiet conversation instead of an airport full of people and loud announcements.

This is why you’d want the Bose NC 700: if you want a better experience of taking phone calls without taking off your headphones. Otherwise, if that doesn’t matter too much to you, you’ll be fine with the QC 35 II.


The Bose QC 35 II are still some of the most comfortable headphones you can buy, maybe even more so than the new Bose NC 700.

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The trusty Bose QC 35 II headphones.
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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

The older Bose QC 35 II headphones are mostly made of plastic, which can be a bit of a downer, but they’re lighter and arguably more comfortable than the heavier, metal-laden Bose NC 700.

The pads on the Bose QC 35 II are also incredibly soft, and there’s plenty of room for your ears inside the cups.


The new Bose NC 700 headphones don’t sound significantly better than the older Bose QC 35 II.

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The new and flashy Bose NC 700 headphones.
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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

The new Bose NC 700 might technically sound better, but after trying both headphones, there wasn’t that much of a difference.


The noise cancelling on the new Bose NC 700 headphones isn’t that much better than the Bose QC 35 II.

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The Bose QC 35 II.
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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

Bose improved the noise cancelling in the NC 700 headphones over the QC 35 II. But, again, it wasn’t a revelatory experience. The QC 35 II made commutes and noisy open offices just as comfortable as the NC 700.


And finally, the battery life on both headphones is almost identical.

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The Bose NC 700.
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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

Bose rates both these headphones at 20 hours of battery life. I wasn’t tracking exactly how long I had both headphones turned on and playing music, but I never felt like I was constantly charging them. Both have great battery life.