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I love having noise-cancelling bluetooth headphones! I have owned them for a few years now. They are amazing for travel, especially on airplanes to ease the noise from engines (and fellow passengers). Whatever headphones I get, I need them to be the best headphones for travel.
Noise-cancelling headphones also make for more peaceful working conditions while sharing a workspace with others. As of this writing, we are in the midst of social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak. My husband is now working from home and sharing an office with me. Our two teens are also home, about to embark on distance learning. Needless to say, I need noise cancelling daily!
Sadly, this summer, my original noise cancelling bluetooth headphones (read more about my review of my Sony Premium Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones) broke near one of the earpieces and could not be fixed. Because I had a flight to Chicago coming up in a couple days, I splurged on a new pair as an early Christmas gift.
I thought I’d share what I like about my new headphones, as well as how they compare to my old pair. For more of World is Wide’s travel gear recommendations, look here.
Best Headphones for Travel: Bose QuietComfort 35 II
As much as I liked my Sony headphones, the fact that they broke made me a little gun shy to get another pair. My husband has been using comparable Bose headphones for awhile, so the choice to switch to the Bose QuietComfort 35 II was pretty easy for me.
Aren’t they pretty? They also come in black or white. The rose gold color choice was pretty easy for me. I am not a huge pink lover, but I didn’t want black, and my husband has silver already. I’m really liking the subtle statement this color makes.
What I Love About My Bose QuietComfort 35 II Headphones
After using my Bose QuietComfort 35 II almost daily for over six months, here are the features I really like about them. I am not an audiophile, so you will be getting my amateur observations as a consumer of lots of audio.
Fit and Comfort
I do think the Bose QuietComfort 35 II have a slight edge over my old Sony Premium headphones in terms of how they feel when you wear them. The cushions on the ear pieces are buttery soft. They feel great on my ears.
Sound and Noise Cancelling
I primarily use my headphones to listen to audiobooks and podcasts, so admittedly I don’t need super high sound quality from my headphones. Both headphones I’ve used have been more than adequate on that front.
However, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II does seem to have an edge over my old Sony headphones for noise canceling quality. In fairness, I have not really done a proper side-by-side test to confirm this. However, anecdotally I have found it is much harder for people to get my attention through these headphones than when I was wearing the Sony headphones. And after taking the Bose headphones on three round-trip flights in the past six month, I can say that they definitely helped keep my sanity amidst the engine noise and screaming toddlers while on the plane.
Simple Hinges Near the Ear Pieces
As I mentioned earlier, my Sony headphones ended up breaking at the hinge near the earpiece. I don’t think I was particularly rough with them, but they broke nonetheless. After some research, it seems that it is pretty common for the Sony headphones to break in that area. The Bose headphones seem to have a little simpler design for the hinge near the earpiece, so I am hopeful I won’t break these. (Fingers crossed!)
Features I Miss From My Sony Premium Headphones
Overall, I am extremely satisfied with my new Bose headphones. They are easy to use, look nice, and feel great. Most importantly, during all of my recent travels and now our family’s “togetherness” during the COVID-19 outbreak, the noise cancelling feature has been helpful in keeping my sanity.
That said, I do miss a couple of the functions that my old Sony headphones had.
The Sony headphones didn’t make you search for a button to adjust volume, play/pause and skipping tracks. You can adjust all of these functions by simple swipes or taps on the right earpiece. It’s not perfect, but it works pretty darn well.
On the Bose headphones I have to find the button for play/pause and volume. To skip back and forth on tracks, you have to push the play/pause button quickly twice (to go forward a track) or three times (to go back a track). Not nearly as simple as a swipe.
My old headphones were a “grey/beige” color. I would describe them as tan with gold metallic highlights. I liked that the color was different yet subtle.
While I like the rose gold color of my new Bose headphones, I worry that the white accents on the headband and earpieces is going to get dull or dirty over time.
Other Headphones for Travel
There are definitely other options out there for noise-cancelling headphones that will cost less. Our kids both have Beats Studio headphones. They were less expensive, and I think they work well enough (though I will say that the first pair we ordered our son, which arrived just in time for his birthday, were completely dead on arrival, so we had to re-order). I feel personally that Beats headphones on a forty-something adult might look funny. I don’t know why I feel that way. I have no evidence to support it.
All of this is to say that you should definitely shop around to get the ones that meet your needs.
I hope this post has helped give you a non-techie perspective on some high-quality noise cancelling headphone options. I love mine and use almost daily. I like the look and feel. And I cannot imagine taking another long flight without them. The bluetooth noise-cancelling headphones I have reviewed truly are the best headphones for travel out there. Happy travels (with a LOT less background noise)!
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