Bose QuietComfort 35 II Vs Sony WH-1000MX2: Battle Of Wireless Headphones [Opinion]

Bose and Sony have just released higher-end Bluetooth wireless headphones. Bose’s QuietComfort 35 II are the upgrade from Bose’s first noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones from 2016. Many complained that even though the noise cancellation worked very well, the original QC35s didn’t have the option to turn noise cancellation lower or even off when walking or exercising outdoors. The new QC35s have fixed that issue.

Sony just upgraded their highly-acclaimed MDR-1000X wireless headphones that an Inquisitr review said were the best overall over-the-ear headphones in 2016. The WH-1000MX2 headphones adds even better noise cancellation and slightly more sculpted sound. Are they better than the Bose QC35 II headphones? Let’s find out.

Design

The new QC35 headphones have the same exact build as the previous version — one that is simple, light, and plush. The faux leather soothes your ears, but the plastic build could make the headphones quite creaky after several hours of use.

Sony’s headphones are also mostly made of plastic, but there is more thought put into them as the ear cups now have a grainy finish that makes it easier to operate motion controls with your finger. The synthetic leather can get quite hot (and drippy from sweat) if you use these during intense workouts. Although the WH-1000MX2 can start to make creaking sounds after several days use, it’s not as bad as it is on the Bose QC35 II headphones.

Noise Cancellation

Both of these headphones offer top-of-the-notch cancellation. Bose has always been the leader in noise cancellation technology, and the QC35 II cans offer the same level of scary (you could miss a car heading towards you outdoors) cancellation as their 2016 headphones. However, this time you can choose low noise cancellation or completely turn it off if you need to hear traffic or other necessary things when you are exercising.

Sony’s headphones offer slightly (barely noticeable) better noise cancellation than Bose’s new cans, but one can feel pressure between the ears more. Sometimes, there is also a little hissing. Bose’s noise cancellation feels more natural. Still, Sony’s is still excellent and some may not care about the pressure that exists when the noise cancellation is fully activated.

Sony also allows you to control the amount of ambient noise heard when noise cancellation is activated. There is also an Adaptive Sound Control mode that supposedly adjusts the amount of ambient noise depending on what you are doing. It’s more of a gimmick than a helpful feature.

Sound

Sony's latest headphones beat Bose in sound quality. [Image by Daryl Deino]

Bose has always been good at providing a smooth sound quality, and these new cans continue on that tradition. There is prominent bass, but it’s not tight. The treble is good when it needs to be. If you like Bose’s signature sound, you’ll love these. But Sony easily wins in the sound department here.

The WH-1000MX2 has the same sound stage as all of Sony’s recent headphones — heavy (but not too domineering) bass, emphasized highs, and present mids. The only time I heard any slight distortion (in the lows) was when listening to “Candy Shop” by 50 Cent. Still, listening to the the song was an ear-kicking delight.

Phone Quality

One certainly doesn’t buy expensive over-the-ear headphones solely for the purpose of making phone calls, but it’s important that one can at least make or receive a phone call while using the headphones. Bose knows this. The phone quality on the QC35 II cans is quite good, even as good as talking on the phone speaker itself. In fact, listeners won’t realize you are using over-the-ear headphones to talk to them.

Sony’s WH-1000MX2 headphones are above average when it comes to making calls. They are certainly much better than Sony’s previous over-the-ear-cans, which didn’t cancel enough outside noise when making calls. The only time Sony’s new cans failed at testing was when making a call in a very loud Starbucks, where the listener told this author that his voice kept going in and out. This is an extreme situation in which one would probably just go outside to make a call.

Conclusion

The Bose QC35 IIs and the Sony WH-1000WMX2 headphones both retail at $349. However, only the latter are really worth the price. If you are stuck in the Bose ecosystem, you will definitely appreciate the QC35 II cans. But if you want the best combination of comfort, sound quality, design, and features, Sony’s latest wireless headphones should be the obvious choice.

[Featured Image by Daryl Deino]