Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700: Terrific Audio Performance
PC Magazine|August 2019

For years, Bose has ruled the active-noise-cancellation (ANC) market with its QuietComfort series of headphones.

Tim Gideon

The manufacturer wrote the book on noise cancelation and has always seemed a step ahead of the competition. The new Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are the company’s first to exist outside the QuietComfort/QuietControl lineup. They offer a more streamlined, modern look; built-in support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant; an improved mic system for clearer communication on calls; and the best noise cancellation we’ve tested. All that adds up to an Editors’ Choice for noise-cancelling headphones.

DESIGN

Available in black or silver, the stylish, minimalist Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 feature a graceful headband connecting the generously cushioned circumaural (over-ear) earcups. The fit is comfortable even over long listening sessions, and the faux-leather earpads block out plenty of ambient noise even without ANC turned on. The outer surfaces on the earcups and headband have a sleek, eggshell-like finish.

The right earcup’s outer panel houses a touch-sensitive control pad, power/pairing buttons, a voice assistant button, and a status LED. Double-tapping the control pad plays and pauses music, swiping your finger up or down changes the volume, and swiping forward or backward skips tracks. Tapping and holding on the panel gives you a battery life prompt, or you can customize this action to enable or disable the wake word for voice assistants. For calls, tapping once answers, tapping and holding declines, and pressing the voice assistant button while on a call mutes the mic. This is one of the more intuitive and useful control pads we’ve operated on wireless headphones and is easy to learn and use.

The left earcup houses the ANC button and a port for the included headphone cable. The audio cable can be used with the headphones for passive listening with the power turned off. When the headphones are on and the cable is connected, Bluetooth functions turn off automatically. The difference between the audio performance in passive and active wired modes is dramatic, and some users may prefer the passive sound signature’s lighter emphasis on bass. Unplugging the cable when the power is on triggers auto-pairing with your mobile device. The cable lacks an inline remote or mic, which is a bummer, since wired mode disables the on-ear controls.

The included charging cable connects to a USB-C port on the bottom of the right earcup, and the other end of the cable is a standard USB-A plug to use with any compatible port or charger (no charger base is included). The Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 also ship with an impressively flat zip-up travel case that the headphones fold into; it has an interior compartment for the included cables.

Bose estimates battery life is up to 20 hours, but your results will vary based on volume levels and use of ANC and other extra features.

APP AND VOICE ASSISTANTS

The Bose Music app (for Android and iOS) walks you through pairing the headphones, naming them, and selecting the music services you want to access through the app (Amazon, Deezer, and Pandora are a few options). You can then set up the voice assistant of your choosing.

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