Bose QuietComfort 35 Bluetooth headphones. Great but not perfect.

After exclusively using in-ear Bluetooth headphones for years, I finally decided to try a pair of over-the-ear headphones: the Bose QuietComfort 35 Bluetooth headphones. I figured I might as well get them now cuz my hearing ain’t gonna get any better. I’m happy to say all of the reviews are true and they sound incredible. The noise-cancelling is truly astounding. That said, they do have some issues and quirks.

Like a Scratched Record

The first quirk is that with both my iPad Pro 9.7 and iPhone 6S there are these random clicks that occur every so often. It sort of sounds like when a vinyl record has a scratch. My guess is it’s a problem with the encoding/decoding of the digital Bluetooth signal. It doesn’t happen all the time, but enough to be annoying sometimes. It’s interesting that my other Bluetooth headsets don’t exhibit this problem and I don’t hear the problem on my Windows PC using the QC35s.

I emailed the following to Bose techsupport: “I hear glitches every so often when listening to music. It sounds like a scratch on a vinyl record. Can anything be done?”

Their response:

“Sorry to hear about the glitchy sound. The first thing we should do is delete the connection we have now. On the Bose connect app, click on the Bluetooth icon and then click the “X” to the right of the iPad name. Now go into the Bluetooth settings of the iPad and forget the QC35s from that list. Now restart the iPad. Once you have established a new connection, this scratchiness should go away. If you continue to have an issue, please give us a call at 1-800-367-4008 so we can look into it further.”

I followed the instructions and could find no “X,” but I assume they meant the on//off slider switch. After re-pairing and re-connecting, low and behold, the issue did indeed go away. However, the solution didn’t last long and the problem soon returned. My description probably sounds worse than it really is and for me at least, it is not a deal breaker.

Erroneous Battery Levels

I’ve also noticed that once in a while the battery level announced when you power on the QC35s is wrong. It will sometimes say 100% after hours of use. Once, they just refused to power on, but that could possibly be because the erroneous battery level caused me to drain the battery dry. I charged it up and everything worked fine. I’ve used them many times since and the problem hasn’t happened again.

Switching Devices

The QC35s are interesting in that two Bluetooth devices can be connected; however, you cannot listen to the two simultaneously. You’ll need to pause one and then you can play the other.

BoseQC35-2
BoseQC35-1

Pairing the QC35s with my Windows 10 machine was easy, but there is no Windows app. If you already have two other devices connected, say an iPhone and iPad, you have to disconnect one of them first and then you can connect the PC. It’s easiest to do this using the iOS app which keeps entries for the previously connected devices. You can also re-connect from the Windows Action Center if you don’t already have two devices connected. Just click the Notification icon in the system tray, click Connect at the bottom of the window that slides in and click on the Bose QuietComfort 35 on the left panel that appears.

On a couple occasions the QC35s got confused and wouldn’t switch connected devices. The solution was to use the app to unselect the other device.

Conclusion

Despite these issues, I still love the QC35s. The sound quality and noise cancelling are unparalleled. The incredible comfort and battery life are just amazing. I appreciate the case that Bose provides too. It’s actually form fitting where most device cases seem like an afterthought. Also, despite the inherent bulkiness of over-the-ear headphones, the QC35 earpieces rotate and swivel which allow them to fold flat and compact–a very nice design. I think this may also be why they are so comfortable to wear for long periods. All in all, I highly recommend the Bose QuietComfort 35s.


UPDATE:

2017-02-12: I haven’t heard the glitch sound in a while. I’m thinking one of the various iOS updates fixed that problem.

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