Perhaps Bose won't ever truly win over the obsessive audiophile crowd, but the company sure has built a loyal following thanks to its best-in-class noise cancellation technology. And today, those top-notch headphones are going wireless. Bose has introduced the QuietComfort 35 headphones, priced at $350 and available starting right now. The QC35s feature the same around-ear design as Bose's previous wired QuietComfort offerings, and you can expect a very similar listening experience to what you'd get from the QC25s or the more recent (but not noise-cancelling) SoundLink IIs. If you've put on a pair of Bose's high-end headphones in the last couple years, you'll have a good idea of what these will sound like.
But the selling point is that this time, the QuietComforts are wireless. The QC35s promise up to 20 hours of battery life on a charge and will go even longer if you plug them in with the included cable, since that shuts off Bluetooth and focuses the battery solely on tuning out the noise surrounding you.
And as you'd reasonably expect from a $350 gadget, these headphones do a great job of making it feel like you're alone with whatever's playing through them. Bose demonstrated typical everyday ambient noise — subway stations, busy city streets, and so on — and the QC35s did an admirable job of shutting all of those distractions down to a whisper. The QuietComfort 35 headphones are available in either black or silver.
If you prefer something smaller, Bose also has an all-new pair of noise-cancelling
earbuds neckbuds announced today as well. The QuietControl 30s sit comfortably in your ears, with a black plastic band that wraps around the back of your neck. They're called QuietControl (as opposed to QuietComfort) because Bose lets you adjust the level of noise cancellation using either an app on your phone or physical controls on the earbuds themselves.
You can see how that might be useful if you're riding a bike or doing any other activity where you need some hint as to what's going on around you. To my ears, and probably owing to the deeper seal that in-ears offer, these are even better at muting the surrounding world when you crank up the noise cancellation all the way. But they aren't cheap, either; they'll cost $300 when they hit retail in September. Bose says the QuietControl 30s are good for up to 10 hours of battery life.
You can dial up the level of noise cancellation with these controls or by using the app.
Bose has also done a lot of work on the other microphones in both of these products: the ones that you use when answering a call on your smartphone. Each has a dual-mic setup that, according to the company, does a better job of making your voice come through clearly without any background noise interrupting your conversations.
And lastly, Bose is introducing two models of new Bluetooth earbuds — the SoundSport Wireless and SoundSport Wireless Pulse — aimed at the sport and fitness audience. They're water and sweat resistant and come in a variety of bright colors (or black, naturally). These come with a newly-designed set of tips that should remain snug in your ear no matter how intense your workout gets, or at least that's what Bose claims.
Plus, the SoundSport Pulse version includes a built-in heart rate monitor right inside the earbuds, a move that we've recently seen from Samsung and others. These don't have any of the noise-cancelling tech as the other stuff announced today, but are instead meant to compete with Jaybird and a swell of other companies trying to lock down the fitness headphone market. The SoundSport earbuds are available now for $149, but the Pulse version is shipping a little later (sometime in late summer or fall) for $199.