Gadgets for humans

Bose’s new $399 headphones boast Siri support and adjustable noise cancellation

And the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700's four microphones promise even better noise cancellation.

Price $ 399,95 ProductNoise Cancelling Headphones 700 by Bose

Bose today announced the latest edition to its premium headphone lineup. The new model is called the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. When it goes on sale later next month, it’ll retail for $399.

That’s quite the pricetag. The Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 represent a push towards the ultra-premium segment of the headphone market for Bose. Rather than replacing existing models in the company’s portfolio, like the venerable Bose QuietComfort II 35, it’ll compliment them by adding new features, and presumably offering a richer listening experience.

And… at least by the mediocre standards of over-ear headphones, they’re gorgeous. Bose’s latest effort is unapologetically modern and sleek.

So, what’s new? One welcome change is the inclusion of USB-C, which offers a faster throughput of power than microUSB. The adoption of the new USB standard also means that you should be able to charge your pricey cans with the same cord as your phone (assuming you’re using a recent Android phone).

Bose says that punters should be able to squeeze 20 hours of “full-featured” playback from their headphones. I’d assume this means with noise cancelling enabled. For context, that’s the same as what the QuietComfort II 35 is rated for.

I’m not disappointed by the lack of progress in battery endurance. For starters, it’s unlikely you’re going to be using the headphones for 20 continuous hours. Even the longest flight in the world, from London’s Heathrow Airport to the capital of Western Australia, Perth, only takes around 17 hours.

Secondly, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 comes with four distinct microphones, all of which require powering. This represents a dramatic leap in capability over the QuietComfort II 35’s dual-microphone setup. Although this setup will inevitably use more juice, it should offer an improved noise-cancelling experience, as well as clearer phone conversations.

On that note, I should add that the headphones will offer eleven adjustable degrees of noise cancellation. That’s handy. If you’re walking down the street, you’d probably want to use a lower setting, in order to remain aware of your surroundings. However, if you were on a long-distance flight, you’d almost certainly crank it up in order to drown out the blare of the jet’s engines.

Voice assistants sit at the heart of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (having typed that three times already, I’m wondering why Bose’s branding team didn’t go with a snappier name), which promises hands-free access to Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri. It also offers support for the company’s Bose AR technology, which allow apps to use the headphones to give relevant, context-driven information to users in real-time.

You’ll also be able to control the cans through the included touch controls. Like Vlad Savov at The Verge, I’m skeptical of this. You can’t really replace physical buttons when it comes to accuracy and responsiveness. From an ergonomic perspective, they’re just better.

If you’ve got deep pockets, you can pre-order the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (make that four times) from today. The cans are available in black and white, and have an expected delivery date of June 30, 2019.

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Published May 29, 2019 — 17:26 UTC

Price $ 399,95 ProductNoise Cancelling Headphones 700 by Bose