When you think about high-quality headphones with a solid reputation for both build quality and sound fidelity, it’s possible the brand Bose would be one that would pop into mind. Bose is a brand that is synonymous with best in class noise cancelling and has a reputation for producing high-quality headphones.
My Bose QC35’s were not my first experience with the brand, as I’d picked up a set of
beautiful mint green/blue SoundTrue on-ear headphones a few Christmases ago. They were a set of headphones that I used them daily until they eventually succumbed to the inevitable pressure of time. I’d purchased them during a flash sale when I just happened to be in the shop at the right time.
Splintor was always someone who was obsessed with there QuietComfort Range. Even for someone who doesn’t have to travel regularly he always loved the idea of just getting lost in the silence or the beat of the music without consideration for the noise of the outside world. I’ve never had such longings; I’m a bit of a headphone snob, so I change them regularly once the nuance of a set of headphones loses its wonder. I also have tinnitus and other sorts of audio processing issues. So, the noise cancelling settings on the QC35’s always made my ears feel like they were going to explode. Which, as the Bose Reps assured me, is not meant to happen.
So why buy them? I’m not a noise-cancelling fan and if I go through headphones quite regularly, why bother dropping €375 on them?
Well, I received them as a gift for my wedding. Someone very generously gave the QC35’s as a gift, given how much travel I’ve had to do of late. So, there is no excuse not to give these headphones with a good run through and see what is what!
I wanted to like them, I did. But, I don’t. I’ve used these headphones on and off for the last six months, and I can’t convince myself to use them regularly or even at all. There are several reasons why, and part of me is curious about the fact that I may just have received a dodgy unit. However, in saying that, it hasn’t prompted me to try and return them. I don’t think even if I did that I’d be willing to give them a second chance.
I’m aware this is an unpopular opinion. There are plenty of my tech friends who do nothing but rave about these headphones. For a fun review of the more positive elements of these headphones, I’d encourage you to go and check out Mr Mobiles Review. Michael loved these headphones so much he bought them twice which is a testament to just how good these headphones can be with the proper appreciation.
I guess proper appreciation might be a little unfair to my overall opinion of them. I do however think that there is something for everyone and this may just not be for me. My main complaints can be summarised quite easily.
The Bluetooth connection was irregular at best, and that was a difference between moving from an LG G6 to a Samsung Galaxy Note 8. It would cut out randomly between songs depending on where I was. My daily commute to get in and out of town usually consists of a good 20 to 30-minute walk to get to my local bus stop then another hour on that bus to then have to walk for another 20 or 30 minutes to get to my final destination. I would have to resync the headphones regularly. Or they would randomly cut out mid-song. After a while, the process of just connecting and reconnecting would get annoying at best.
The battery life on the QC35 was great for the first week of commuting and then regularly after that the battery life would become equally as sporadic. Some weeks I’d get a regular commuting week out of them. Other weeks, I’d barely make it through a round trip before getting a low battery warning. While the QC35’s does come with a cable so that you can still use them wired to a standard 3.5 headphone jack, you lose that precious noise cancellation in the process, and that is where one of my biggest complaints would be.
The Noice Cancelation didn’t work consistently. Somedays it would be like the noise cancellation would either be on super low or would just cut in and out randomly throughout the day. This was causing me more usage issues than anything else, as I mentioned previously I don’t have a good history with the noise cancelling on the QuietComfort range not creating me some discomfort in the process of using them.
Now, before anyone mentions it in the comments; Yes, I did use the app, and I have done all of the firmware updates. But none of them made any considerable improvement in my overall experience and honestly I don’t know if there is much more to be said about it. I’ve had people who had bought them in a similar time frame to me who have had related issues and had had merely their headphones replaced. Something that is undoubtedly in Bose favour here is that their customer support team have always been steady and reliable, so I’ve no concerns about returning to them and getting a resolution to this issue.
However, I’m left with a sense of them that I don’t want to. Maybe the headphones aren’t the problem, but that it’s got more to do with me, perhaps these just aren’t my holy grail headphones. Ultimately, I think that’s ok with me too. They’ll find a home with Splintor for the time being until I can find a set of headphones to call my own.