Today, I have picked up two of the best contending brands in the wireless headphone category with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology. Today we compare the recently upgraded and newly improved Sony WH-1000XM3 against the legendary Bose QuietComfort 35 ii.
Before we take a plunge into the comparison about which wireless headphone is better, I would like to remind my readers that the differences are very minute and hard to put a finger on; the verdict for every user will be subjective (especially if you have a soft spot when it comes to brands). What I can personally assure is that these headphones are one of the best ANC headphones out there in the market and can stand toe to toe with each other and, definitely, deliver quality, both in form and function.
So, let’s just dive right into it.
Going over the physical build quality, honestly, it is going to be subjective and as to which one looks better. Besides, both of the headphones are built very well and being in the same price range, comparing to each other, the Sony WH-1000XM3 does seem to have slightly better faux leather feel and a gives a beefier construction to it. The Sony noise cancelling headphones do feel a bit solid.
Now when it comes to Bose QC35 ii, the built quality is great but it feels much lighter than its Sony counterpart does. This lightweight feel gives it a touch of a ‘space-age’ kind of a design instead of feeling heavy-ish. The reason for this being, Bose QC35 ii is the lightest ANC headphone I have tested until date. The QC35 ii weighs 232 grams and when you pick up the pair of headphone, you are going to notice the difference in the feel of it. Sony’s WH-1000XM3 comes at respectable 254 grams and the 22 grams, though not much does make its presence felt when you compare them side by side. And thus, Bose had been able to bag the title of the lightest pair of ANC wireless for quite a few years now.
The Bose QC35 ii are amazing to wear. Not only is it super light at the crown of the head, but the ear cups are fully open allowing them to breathe and the ears hardly touch the inside of the ear cup. The Sony WH-1000XM3 feels fine on the head but comparing the two, the XM3 has less of that light and airy feel. The ear cups feel ever so slightly more stuffy and the ear does touch the inside of the ear cup at times and this would mean a little perspiration in warmer environments. Here Bose seems to impart the feel good factor.
Sony WH-1000XM3 has amazing touch sensitivity – swiping up and down, left and right to adjust volume, skipping tracks and to go back and forth on songs. Placing the right hand over the ear cup turns on the microphone, letting in the surrounding sound, and lets you know what is happening outside.
Bose QC35 ii is not as hi-tech as Sony, but it a lot easier to identify with easy to reach buttons for volume, play, pause and skipping tracks. Both the headphones have a adjustable switch under the ear cup for different levels of Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). The same button can also summon the built-in Voice Assistant – Alexa and Google Assistant in Bose QC35 ii; the Sony WH-1000XM3 has Google Assistant only.
Both headphones offer headphone port to be used in the wired mode. Bose offers a 2.5mm headphone jack while Sony offers a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Bose QC35 ii uses a micro USB port for charging while the Sony WH-1000XM3 uses the latest C – type USB charging port.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 offers 30 hours of battery life in one single charge while the Bose QC35 ii gives 20 hours with ANC on. Both the headphones are available with quick charge features; Bose offers 2.5 hours of playback time with 15 min of charging while Sony gives a whopping 5 hours of usage time with just 10 min of charging. We had to give it to Sony for this class-leading battery technology, and in this segment, Sony is a clear winner.
Both the headphones use Bluetooth 4.1 to pair but the Bose QC35 ii can actively pair with two devices at the same time while Sony maintains its one-on-one old school wireless connection methodology. Sony however uses LDAC technology, which, in layman terms can translate to – the best and clearest wireless audio quality transmission at the moment. All Android 8.0 and higher version phones are compatible with this technology.
Sony has automatic active noise cancelling adjustments with its adaptive sound control app giving the best experience that you can garner while listening to your music. When we tested both the headphones, Sony beat the Bose and made the latter feel like an average performer. Sony blocks out more background noise from AC units, fans and other bothering noise that often hinders your experience of good music.
We would like to speak less on this because to compare both the headphones for sound quality is where many would fail miserably. The verdict will be subjective and does not feel much difference except Sony WH-1000XM3 has a much punchier bass inclination and a subsequent rumble. Rest of the variations in sound and notable aspects remain stellar and give an incredible, surreal and balanced sound experience. It may sound ironical, that excellent sound quality being the primary expectation from an “audio” device, here, the less said, the better it is. Both the headphones are champions in this department and deliver an amazingly great 3D experience that sound great.
For the sake of argument, the Sony was a bit clear, almost by a thin hairline (and we literally mean it, if we could measure it that way). However, this happens and the effect of all the factors like ambient sound, surrounding conditions and other factors dictates the mood for this verdict.
There you have it – Sony seems to lead considerably in the battery and ANC departments while Bose gives a comfortable and lightweight experience. However, at the core, both headphones have some unique features but do not compromise on the sound quality.
To make it easier here is a Pros/ Con or Difference chart to help you pick between the two.
|Model||Sony WH-1000XM3||Quiet Comfort 35 ii|
|Build quality||Robust and heavy||Strong yet lightweight|
|Feel||Thick ear cups / less airy||Airy and breathable|
|Gross Weight||254 grams||232 grams|
|Controls||Surface touch||Press buttons|
|Noise Cancellation||Active and comes with Adaptive(automatic) Sound Control App||Active and comes with Customizable Sound control app|
|Quick charging||10 min of fast charge gives 5 hours of playback time||15 min of fast charge gives 2.5 hours of playback time|
|Battery (usage time)||30 hours||20 hours|
|Type of USB||C type||Micro USB|
|Inputs||3.5 mm audio jack||2.5 mm audio jack|
|Equalizer||Customizable EQ||Volume Optimized EQ|
|Bluetooth Range||30 ft. (9 m)||30 ft. (9 m)|
|Built –in Virtual Assistant||Google Assistant||Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa|
|Included in the box||Carry case with cable||Carry Case|
|Sound Quality||Punchy bass, clear vocals, suitable for EDM and Pop||Wide soundstage, balanced frequency range and warm sound.|
Sony WH-1000XM3 sure stands out on the better side in this comparison. However, we can expect Bose to make a comeback as the brand has consistently given products that are long lasting and worth your money.
We will be back with more updates and news about exciting products in future and till then have a Happy 2019.