If it’s Bose you know it’s going to be the best. A pioneer in audio equipment, Bose unveiled its flagship Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 following the QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II. The headphones come with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology and adaptive microphone system. The headphones can be purchased in Black, Silver and limited-edition Soapstone colour for Rs 34,500.
The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 comes with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa virtual assistants, and customised sound management via Bose Music app. They are shipped with a travel pouch that also has an Aux cable and a USB Type C charging cable. While the product has been in the market for a while, we were able to get one review unit delivered last month. We have been using it for quite some time now, and here’s what we think of it.
Just like most of its products, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 comes with a minimalistic and elegant design. Thanks to the sturdy ABS plastic ear cups and aluminum frame, the hearables are lightweight and flexible. There is little cushioning on the top and bottom of the frame that adds to the high-quality finish of the product.
The cushioning of the ear cups is made of synthetic protein leather, which I found breathable enough to not to sweat during prolonged usage sessions. The headband and ear cups are connected via a slide mechanism that is unlikely present in any other headphones in the market. This mechanism can be used to adjust the headphones and get the perfect fit for your ear. It also adds a character to the overall design.
Further, the ear cups have a total of three pill-shaped buttons, two LEDs, touch controls and a 3.5mm jack. On the right ear cup, there are two buttons and LEDs. The button present on the centre of the ear cup rim can be pressed once to enable Bluetooth and pairing the device with a tablet, smartphone or laptop. The second button on the ear cup invokes the virtual assistant on your phone.
In addition to these buttons, the surface of the right ear cup is touch sensitive and programmed for gestures. A single tap on the cup plays/pauses the sound, swipe up & swipe down can be used to increase & decrease volume respectively, and a simple swipe forward (on the Bose branding) plays the next track & a swipe back plays the previous song. The left ear cup has a 3.5mm port and a single button to toggle between levels of the ANC.
The headphones have the same Bose signature balanced tuning as the other products in the company’s ANC hearables line-up. The sound is balanced, refined with crisp lows and the headphones deliver accurate reproduction of the instruments. The bass is succinct and, unlike most of the headphones available in the market, does not shadow the lows and lower-mids. Having said that, regular customers who prefer to listen to high bass are unlikely to prefer these while purists and audiophiles would love these.
The Bose Noise Cancellation Headphones 700 sounds brilliantly at fairly high volumes, however, we hear overlapping sounds at 90 per cent volume. We could listen to a little distortion during the sections in the song Mirror by Serhat Durmus have prolonged high bass music. The bass is subtle and the punch comes in softly that it doesn’t kill the mids and lows in the song.
While listening to Return to Oz (ARTBAT Remix) by Monolink, we could listen to low beats quite clearly and follow them all the way till they became the main drop of the song. The headphones remarkably handled the Psychedelic Trance genre music that has various sounds playing simultaneously and in quick succession. While listening to Anjuna by Liquid Soul, we noticed that a low beat was boosted well as compared to several other headphones I’ve used till now.
The Xylophone-like music in the Kygo Remix of Electric Feel by Henry Green is studio quality, and the softly sung lyrics in High for This by Ellie Goulding (Kygo Remix) were clearly audible and Aura by Avoure sounds almost perfect.
As mentioned, the left ear cup of the headphone has an ANC button. You can quickly toggle between three levels of ANC -- 0,5 and 10. However, if you want precise ANC levels, you can do it with the Bose Music App. The same button, when pressed long, activates the Conversation Mode that completely kills the music and lets in almost all ambient noise. A real world example would be in the metro where you can quickly activate the Conversation Mode if someone needs help regarding directions.
As far as the performance at the different levels of ANC is concerned, the sound almost killed off at level 5 if you are travelling in a metro. In extreme noisy areas like busy metro stations, level 10 is fully effective. If you are listening in your office, which is comparatively quieter than a metro, level 0 can be used. We missed equalizer customisations in the app. When used while watching a movie, the sound of explosions were not harsh on ears.
The headphone has a four-microphone system to pick voice in noisy environments. During our metro ride, we called to talk to a colleague and both of us talked perfectly. The other person, however, could listen to little chatter in the background.
The Bose Noise Cancellation Headphones 700 can be connected to a smartphone, laptop or tablet via the usual Bluetooth method, connecting the hearables with Bose Music App gives us a wider control over the music. As mentioned, we can minutely control the ANC levels, and also switch between input sources.
The headphone comes with a USB Type C port for charging the headphones, which take about 2 hours to fully juice up. Bose claims that a quick 15 minute charge can deliver up to 3.5 hours of run time, and fully charged headphones would work up to 20 hours before the battery dies. We intermittently used the headphones, like while traveling in the metro & watching movie clips, and charged the headphones after five-and-a-half days of use with the maximum level of ANC enabled.
Conclusion: The Bose Noise Cancellation Headphones 700 is one of the best choices for audio enthusiasts and artists. It caters to the niche audience that prefers clarity over bass and its long battery life is beneficial for frequent travellers. The Google Assistant & Amazon Alexa integration, gesture controls and wide options in dedicated app makes it a tough competitor to beat.
Pros: Neutral sound pitch, clarity and micro level ANC controls
Con: No in-app Equaliser