Bose is one of the pioneers and most successful suppliers of noise-cancelling headphones. The Headphones 700 model marks the latest version of this technology, which now comes in an updated, tasteful and functional design. The housing is matt black or silver, with silicone on the side of the earpiece and imitation leather on the earcups. The inside of the earpiece is made of stainless steel and is rounded off to form the ear cups. These are height-adjustable and can also be rotated to fit into the transport case supplied.
The Headphones 700 looks slimmer and more elegant than the still-available model QuietComfort 35 II but, in my opinion, also steals the show from competitors Sony and Sennheiser.
Convincing wearing comfort
The pleasantly light ear cups sit securely and pressure-free when in position. Only the artificial leather upholstery could be an issue as it can cause sweating at high temperatures. The dynamic drivers with pressure equalization openings are mounted in the ear cups at a slight angle. These have a printed fabric cover that explicitly identifies the stereo channels.
The Headphones 700 works with Bluetooth 5.0 or via the supplied cable. In practice, the Bluetooth radio link allows sound to be reproduced intact over several rooms and allows simultaneous connection to two devices. For example, you could watch a movie on a tablet and still receive calls on your smartphone. The “Bose Music” app, available free of charge for iOS and Android, can even manage a potential eight paired devices.
According to the manufacturer, the battery life is 20 hours and is therefore comparable to model QC 35 II. This impressive claim is confirmed in practice, even when noise cancelling is switched on, and is supported by automatic and controllable power-saving mechanisms. However, Sony’s WH-1000XM3 actually provides even more battery power. The charging time is 2.5 hours although, unfortunately, it deactivates the electronics when in process. Nevertheless, with just 15 minutes of charging, the Headphones 700 is ready to play again for 3.5 hours.
Operation is carried out via a combination of three buttons, touch functionality and an app. The button on the left auricle switches through three preset noise-cancelling intensities. If the button is held down longer, the call mode is activated. The audio playback is stopped and a good speech intelligibility for conversations – or better awareness of your environment – is possible.
On the right side, a button is used for switching on and off as well as for pairing, while the second button calls language assistants. The focus is on Google Assistant, but Amazon Alexa and corresponding functions in the smartphone are also supported. With swiping movements at the right auricle, you can control the volume and jump between titles. Double-clicking starts and pauses playback, and additional functions for the completion of telephone calls includes muting and charge status information.
In my opinion, the practical operation is good. The touch function reacts well and is clearly superior to the jerky operation of some competitors. However, the touch area is limited to only one half of the right auricle. Particularly in terms of ensuring a fast awareness of the surrounding environment, I would have hoped for a corresponding touch function on the left auricle.
The Headphones 700 provides a slightly improved noise cancelling compared to the QC 35 II. Even the passive outside attenuation is good but is still significantly improved by the active electronics. According to the manufacturer, six microphones are now used inside and outside the ear cups.
One of the innovations is the possible situational and taste-inspired adaptation of background noise suppression. The pleasant low-noise noise cancelling can be adjusted in ten stages via the app. There is no automatic switchover based on air pressure measurements and motion detection, however.
The Headphones 700 does not reach the maximum isolation of the Sony WH-1000XM3, but the results are still appealing. The Headphones 700 makes it possible – whether on journeys, using public transport, on a plane, or when in a music-free workplace environment – to create a virtual relaxation room. For audiophile use, noise cancelling can also be completely deactivated.
The Headphones 700 also delivers good sound performance. The overall tuning is balanced, powerful and rich in detail. In the bass range, the listener is not overly superficial. Instead, it achieves the desired combination of sound volume and definition while taking dynamics and tonality into account. The reproduction extends down to the low bass, where the driver overloads can only be detected at high levels when the material is pronounced.
In the middle, the Headphones 700 draws a clear picture of voices and solo instruments, while at the same time laying the foundations for making rock music sound powerful. The high frequencies provide enough detailed information and transparency for an open sound image with characteristic transients. Information on the depth of the room is also identifiable. However, I feel the listeners are tuned a bit too hard in the treble range. In borderline mixed sound sources, the Bose misses the mark. The stereo panorama and associated movements are clearly understandable, although not very wide-ranging.
The overall impression is therefore positive, making the Bose suitable for intimate jazz and acoustic recordings, from classical to pop, EDM and rock, across all genres.
Noise cancelling supports the intimacy of the listening experience in most situations by improving the signal-to-noise ratio. For a headphone designed to focus on mobile use, this is an attractive performance that is on a par with the competition in this product category. Compared to audiophile cabled open designs, however, the Headphones 700 sits at the rear.
Slightly disappointing is the codec support, which is not mentioned in the manual. In fact, the Headphones 700 works with SBC and AAC, but does not offer aptX codecs or even LDAC. In my opinion, this should be expected at this price range.
I really like the good speech quality of the Bose. Convincing in practice, two dedicated microphones are used for telephoning and in combination with the noise-cancelling electronics so that the other party to the conversation also benefits from a higher signal-to-noise ratio.
The headphones 700 can be operated both actively and passively via the supplied cable. In purely passive mode, however, the sound quality is significantly reduced and nasal, which does not necessarily speak for the quality of the drivers used.
The Headphones 700 supports the in-house augmented reality system “Bose AR”. The prepared audio files create a sound panorama of up to 360 degrees. Correspondingly prepared audio files produce a sound panorama of up to 360 degrees. The headphones can detect head movements by means of acceleration sensors and reorient the sound image fluently. This combination of immersive audio and headtracking is easy to understand with some audio samples using the Bose Radar app. However, it is now up to Bose and third-party vendors to follow up this technical possibility with practical applications. Here, conversions of existing surround recordings would be conceivable, as well as interactive applications such as games from an ego perspective, but also navigation aids and more.
Top dog Bose offers the Headphones 700, a new over-ear model with noise cancelling and yes, the overall impression is extremely positive. The headphone is well processed, offers a tasteful, elegant exterior and convinces with balanced sound as well as cutting-edge construction. The clear disadvantage is the lack of high-resolution codecs, which definitely belong to this approximately 400-Euro price range. Nevertheless, for me, the Headphones 700 is the most convincing Bose headphones in the noise-cancelling range to date.
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Weight without cable250 g
- Cable length106 cm
What's in the box
- Cable with mini jack
- USB-C charging cable
- Transport case
- BT version: 5.0
- BT range: up to 10 m
- Battery life: up to 2.5 hours
- Quick charge time: 15 min. for 3.5 hours playback
- Battery life: up to 20 hours