Till some time back, anyone would discourage you from buying or using wireless headphones for the simple reason that the technology in terms of Bluetooth connectivity and ambient noise cancellation wasn’t that great. But that is now a thing of the past. Fortunately, now we are residing in an era of wireless technology. Thanks to the advancement in Bluetooth technology, the wireless headphones today are able to stay connected in every situation, and they can give you a remarkable sound experience.

Today I am going to talk about two such headphones which are pioneers in the field. I am talking about the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 ii and the Beats Studio 3. We are going to look at each of these sound monsters with respect to their features, what’s good and what’s not so good and will try to give you an unbiased outlook.

Build quality

Starting with the physical features, the Beats Studio 3 has a great exterior and a premium finish to it. The entire body of this Bluetooth headphone is made from plastic, with the headband having a cushion as headline for better hold on the head. Available in variety of colors such as red, blue, rose gold, etc. Beats Studio 3 is flamboyant and cheerful in the appearance.

Bose QC 35 ii seems to be classically premium, with most of its features doing complete justice to its overall look. However, being sober compared to a flamboyant looking on-ear headphone does not mean it looks bad; in fact, the QC 35 ii has an aura of its own. Bose comes in limited colors but the there is an option for color customization (limited to some location only across the globe) at an additional $50.

Comfort

Both headphones are equipped with adjustable headbands and foldable cups. However, the Bose QC 35 ii has a 90-degree swivel, compared to Beats Studio 3 that makes storage easier in the included carry case as well as prevents the headphones from rolling on its oval curvature when placed on a table.

The QC 35 ii feels more comfortable and breathable with deep earcups. Beats Studio 3 is however, a tad ‘difficult’ when you talk of a seamless experience. What I mean is, that the Beats Studio 3 gets warmer with long use (as long as 2 hours) and ears begin to sweat a little. With the QC 35 ii, you can use the headphones without any of this fatigue even for 6 hours of continuous use.

The QC 35 ii weighs only 232 grams while the Beats Studio 3 weighs 260 grams. Hence, QC 35 ii here is a clear winner as far as comfort and lightness is concerned.

Active Noise Cancellation

This is a no brainer. Bose QC 35 ii is quite improvised in this area and though the Beats Studio 3 gives you instant background noise isolation (since the ear cups touch the inside of the ears and seals off the external ambience completely), there is a noticeable difference in the noise cancelling area. Bose QC 35 ii lives up to its name for the quiet and comfort and if you test this headphone first, then you may not opt for the Beats Studio 3. Bagging a slight advantage, turning Pure ANC off for low-power mode on the Studio 3 provides up to 40 hours of playback without sacrificing audio quality.

Controls

Beats Studio 3 has all the volume controls cleverly built-in to the right earcup on the outside. The Beats logo functions as the play/pause/ skip track/virtual assistant button, while the circumference can help you moderate the volume level too. You need to use this a couple of times to get a hang of it. There is a power ON/OFF / Pairing and ANC ON/OFF button on the right ear cup with a micro USB port for charging. If you double tap the power button, you can experience adaptive noise cancellation.

With the QC 35 ii, its old school volume up and down buttons with a multifunction button in the middle on the left ear cup and a dedicated virtual assistant button on the right ear cup.

Virtual Assistants and mic

Siri and Google Assistant are available on the Beats Studio 3 wireless headphone, while Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are available on the Bose QC 35 ii. Both headphones have good mic, which is loud clear, and audible while attending calls; however, the microphones are sensitive enough to pick up the ambient sound – Bose QC 35 ii being more sensitive of the two.

Connectivity

Technologically and technically, the Beats Studio 3 takes away the title here in terms of connectivity. These headphones have the revolutionary W1 chip for Apple devices that gives you a Bluetooth range of 100 ft., which is a whopping number in terms of range. Then again, is it just a gimmick because it leaves me wondering that why would anyone leave their device at such a distance while listening to music or watching a video? In terms of quality, this piece of tech does give you a strong and clear Bluetooth pairing experience without distortion, breaking out on signal and consistency even when the battery is low.

I did not feel any such difference in clarity between the Beats and Bose QC 35 ii when it was played in its 9 ft. radius limit. The signal strength was good and consistent too. Please do not think that a long range means a stronger connection. Whatever the case maybe, I feel both brands remain committed to their claims when it comes to connectivity.

What gives me satisfaction in this aspect is the power management and improved battery life that the W1 chip gives the Beats Studio 3 headphones.

Battery life

Beats Studio 3 has a 22 hour range on one single charge. However, while listening to music on a consistently 50% range of the volume, I managed to get a 23+ hour battery life with ANC on.  The quick charge feature gives 3 hours of charge with a mere 10 min of charging time.

The Bose QC 35 ii needs to push the envelope a little further in this particular aspect in order to stay in the competition in future. Currently, the headphones give a 20-hour battery life but with consistent usage, I had found that it manages to cross the 15-hour mark but never reaches the 20 hour milepost. In addition, a quick charge of 15 min gives you 2.5 hours of charging; a super convenient thing for ‘lazy’ or ‘too busy’  users who find ‘absolutely little time’ to charge their headphones even once during the day.

Audio delivery

Finally, we are the juiciest part of the comparison – the sound delivery. The Beats tend to be a bit ‘bass’-y compared to the Bose QC 35 ii. This would be the first noticeable difference that anyone would find. Diving in further, you will find that the Beats Studio 3 does hit slightly hard on the bass-dominant EDM and Pop genres and the resonant boom is slightly higher. However, sometimes it lacks the warmth that comes with the QC 35 ii.

The mid-range frequency is where clarity and detailing of the different musical instruments are heard; this is where the vocals reside and a slight muddiness is evident with the Studio 3 headphones. Last but not the least; the overall performance is bass-centric, punchy and the selection of a pair of headphones between these two will be entirely relative.

For the picky users – the mids are not as bright and forward as expected from Beats, but hey, it still gives an amazing sound quality and delightful experience in the overall scheme of things.

For the QC 35 ii, I would say – No distortion, no muddiness, warm bass and neutral soundstage. I prefer this to the other – my personal preference.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of both:

Brand Beats Bose
Model Studio 3 Quiet  Comfort 35 ii
Price
Build quality Premium and heavy Premium, strong, lightweight
Earcups Clampy (feels like air cabin pressure) Airy  and breathable, more cushion
Gross Weight 260 grams 232 grams
Type Wireless Wireless
Controls Buttons on the earcup built into the log and peripheral area Press buttons on the earcups
Noise Cancellation Technology Active and comes with Adaptive Sound control app Active and comes with Customizable Sound control app
ANC Performance Average Excellent
Quick charging 10 min of fast charge gives 3 hours of playback time 15 min of fast charge gives 2.5 hours of playback time
Battery (usage time) 22+ hours depending on overall usage 20 hours max.
Equalizer NA Volume Optimized EQ
Mic Sensitive More penetrating and sensitive
Dedicated Bluetooth Chip Apple W1 chip NA
Bluetooth Version 4.1 4.1
Bluetooth Range 100 ft., (30 m approx.) 30 ft. (9 m)
Built –in Virtual Assistant Siri and Google Assistant Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
Included in the box Carry case Carry Case
Sound Quality Bass-centric, punchy, muddy at certain areas of the sound spectrum and at time annoyingly too sharp and loud. Wide soundstage, balanced frequency range and warm sound.

 

I would choose the Bose QC 35 ii any day over the Beats Studio 3. The performance is incredible and I prefer the warm natural soundstage, which seems to be a great pleasure to all genres of music.

Stay tuned for more comparative updates and be sure to check out my previous posts here.