Bose, the folks who have been winning accolades for noise cancelling headphones for years, will win over users again with its new Noise Cancelling Headphones 700.
The sleek looking headphones are so easy on the eyes that you would quickly forgive the audio company for coming up with such a clunky name. What’s wrong with QuietComfort 35, after all?
Fortunately, the design of the new headphones is a big plus. You adjust the fit by sliding the ear cups along the base of the head band, sans any hinges or joints. Very neat.
The headphones are also small and compact enough to be packed into the included carrier that will fit into your travel bag for a long flight. Perhaps more importantly, the fit is just right – not compressing too much on the ears but still snug enough.
There isn’t the obligatory stitching on of leather, faux or real. However, practically speaking, the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (let’s call them the Bose 700 from here) do the job so well nonetheless.
The most important improvement is in the noise cancelling. Here, Bose shows that it is still tops in the industry. With the Bose 700, most of the daily commute noise or the chatter at a busy Starbucks is easily kept out.
You can even customise the level of noise cancelling – 0 to 10 – though I think the differences are fine and only clearly audible when you are out and about at a noisy place.
Nonetheless, a bit of tune-out time is possible with the Bose 700 even in crowded places in an urban jungle like Singapore. It helps to have Bluetooth, of course, so the cables don’t get tangled with the next guy’s bag on the train.
To control the volume, simply slide your finger on the right ear cup. The touch controls are pretty responsive and a great feature to have in tight spaces like a train or in a plane.
So far, so good. What about music quality? Well, I think the Bose 700 does a good job, on the whole. There is no lack of control, for starters, and generally, you’d say it is a pair of well-behaved and likable headphones.
Firing up Coldplay’s Sunrise, for example, you can’t miss the mournful opening to the band’s new album from the lead violin. Not lacking in clarity or detail, Bose’s presentation is impressive here.
The rest of the band’s album play as impressively as well with the Bose headphones. The treble sparkles without being brittle, the mids are clearly defined and the bass isn’t overly enthusiastic.
Actually, I like it that Bose hasn’t tuned up the bass like what some manufacturers do to sell a “street” sound. Okay, it may miss out on some slam, say, when you’re watching The Mandalorian TV series, but I’d likely be using the headphones more for music.
That’s not saying that the Bose 700 aren’t good for movies. On a plane, the noise cancelling will come in handy when you’re catching up on action movies.
One thing to note about the Bose 700’s sound is that it is a little forward. That is, it can come across as too upfront to some listeners who prefer a more laid-back presentation. I’m not one, so I’m cool with the sound.
How do the S$599 Bose 700 headphones compare with the Sony WH-1000XM3, which cost S$50 less? Well, both are mass-appeal headphones with a lot to offer in terms of audio quality and noise cancelling.
I like the Bose 700 a little more because of the sleeker look that seems more modern. Plus, the sound seems a little closer to neutral than Sony, so the Bose 700 has the edge for me.