Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £349.95 
  • Black and silver finishes
  • 11 levels of active noise cancellation
  • Bluetooth 5
  • Built-in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
  • Bose AR

Bose’s latest set of headphones are the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (Bose NC 700). Though comparable with the existing QuietComfort 35 IIs, the 700s most impressive feature is definitely its active noise cancellation qualities

With 11 levels (including Conversation Mode and two-way noise cancellation), support for voice assistants and the introduction of Bose AR, these headphones from Bose are certainly ones to watch out for.

Related: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 to go on sale

Design – Bose NC 700

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (or Bose NC 700 for short) differentiate themselves from the QuietComfort 35 IIs from the moment you see them. They just look sleeker.

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Bose NC 700

Where the headband on the QC 35 IIs is flexible, able to twist around themselves to fit into a compact case, the 700s feature one seamless stainless steel bar.

It’s still fully adjustable, but the screws and joints are hidden away to leave you with a clean-looking pair of headphones that can fit snugly on a variety of heads. The headphones fold away flat at the earcups allowing them to stay compact without the need for a more complex folding mechanism.

Touch controls on the earpad mean the headphones aren’t crowded with fiddly physical buttons. Lift your hand to the right earcup and you can fiddle with the volume controls or pause, play and skip a track with a swipe or tap of your finger. There’s also separate buttons for the noise cancelling presets and turning on Bluetooth.

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Sound – Bose NC 700

The headphones sounded really good. The music came across as dynamic, with great tonal balance and a vivid stereo image conjured up the Bose NC 700s.

Bose NC 700

This wasn’t a huge surprise as Bose explained the sound quality was pretty comparable to that of the QC 35 IIs. In fact, the real standout when it came to sound was the noise isolation. The music was crisp and distinct, picking up no trace of the roadworks going on outside.

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Features – Bose NC 700

There are two features worth discussing on the Bose NC 700s  ANC and Bose AR.

The Bose NC 700s feature 11 levels of noise cancellation and all are distinct from one another. The number of noise cancellation options makes the experience of switching between them feel smoother and less like you’re being jolted back to the outside world.

You can cycle through all 11 in the Bose app or you can pick your top three settings and save them as presets with a dedicated button on the left earcup.

Level zero is also known as Conversation Mode. This feature allows you to take in the sounds around you without lifting your earcups, ideal for listening to a train announcement or having a quick conversation with a friend on the street.

Related: Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones 2019

Bose NC 700

Perhaps the most impressive part was hearing how the noise cancellation technology goes both ways. The headphones tackle noise cancellation using an eight-mic system planted in the earcups – four mics are angled toward your mouth to pick up and isolate the voice, while two of those mics team up with four others to monitor the sound around you and reject it using noise suppression algorithms.

This means that not only are the headphones able to cancel outside noise for the wearer, they are also able to cancel out noise for anyone listening on the other side. We saw someone walk into a busy hotel restaurant via video feed and the switch in audio quality from the built-in mic smartphone mic to the Bose headphones was excellent. The clattering of cutlery and conversation was cut out in favour of a clearly defined voice. 

The 700s compatibility with Bose AR is more of a prospective feature right now but it is certainly an exciting one. Built into the headphones is an accelerometer to monitor how fast you move your head, a gyroscope to track the rotation of where you’re looking and a magnetometer to track your absolute location in real space.

This info can be used by apps to enhance your experience when you wear the 700s. Bose think of it as an audio augmented reality. If you walk past a restaurant an app could give you information about opening times and menu. Bose even have ideas to add an audio pin function so you can go on a hike and leave a message for your friends in a specific location, or walk up to a historic monument and hear an old speech come to life. 

Related: What is Bluetooth 5? Everything you need to know

Bose NC 700 first impressions

The Bose NC 700 headphones are looking to be a good choice if you’re after a pair of headphones to communicate with on the go. The noise cancellation features are where the headphones really shine, but it’d be interesting to listen to the audio performance when it isn’t showing off its noise cancelling capabilities.

A ’hands on review’ is our first impression of a product only – it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it’s like to use. We call these ‘hands on reviews’ to make them visible in search. However these are always unscored and don’t give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.

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