Over-ear headphones are now as much a fashion statement as they are a functional audio item. But if you want something that not only looks good, but sounds great, plus has a heap of additional functionality, then the Bose NC 700 headphones are super active noise-cancelling cans.
We've been wearing the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 - that's the full and official name! - over the course of many months. Here are five reasons why Bose still makes our headphones of choice.
1. Comfort & Controls
- Touch controls (vol/skip/pause/play)
- Black / Silver finishes available
- Voice assistant support
Over-ears can be a bit of a problem by pinching to excess. Not so the Bose, which slip deftly overhead, don't feel too tight, yet create the relevant seal for sonic superiority to the ears.
As these headphones don't fold, there's no mucking about with hinges to get them into their right position either; that makes for a seamless looking design - almost as if a single piece of material has been used.
Comfort is top-drawer thanks to the soft materials used and the intelligent fit, plus the touch-based controls actually work a treat: tapping and swiping on the right earcup will pause/play and skip tracks as you desire, without the need for excessive unsightly buttons.
2. Awesome ANC
- 10 levels of active noise-cancellation (ANC)
- Additional 'Level 0' for Transparency mode
- 8 microphones system for isolation
- Beam-form voice isolation system
But the big reason to buy the Bose is for the active noise-cancelling technology on board (that's where the NC part of the name comes into play). Not only does this do a superb job of sealing away the world around you, blocking out much of the hustle and bustle, it's also adjustable.
There's no binary off/on system here: instead you can cycle through three presets using the button on the earcup; presets which can be assigned within the app from 0 (off/transparent) through to 10 (maximum ANC).
At max level the ANC is strong, really helping to blot out sound, but it doesn't feel like you're stuck in a vacuum - so sound quality still feels roomy. If you want a little less - perhaps you're going for a run and want to hear some traffic, but not have total removal from your music - then dial it down as you please.
The ANC can also be used for the microphones when you're placing a call. Bose uses beam-forming technology to isolate your voice, so anyone you're in conversation will hear you as if they're also wearing noise-cancelling headphones themselves. Smart.
3. Bosh out the bass
All that wouldn't mean so much if the sound quality wasn't up to scratch. But it most certainly is. Bose is renowned for outing quality sound, here with oodles of bass presence, but not to the point that it's too loose or muddy.
We've spent hundreds of hours listening to all kinds of genres of music and have never felt let down by the NC 700's ability to handle rumbling bass, soaring vocals, or more nuanced dynamics.
4. Battery life lasts
- 2.5-3.5mm cable for when battery depletes
- USB-C charging (cable included)
- 20 hours battery per charge
Active noise-cancellation requires power, hence "active", which is where the 700's battery comes into play. One charge delivers 20 hours at a decent output volume.
Or, if you don't want to listen to music but just want to use the ANC when, say, sleeping on a train or plane, you can do that too. It's like being locked in a personal cocoon of wonderment.
5. Super carry-case
- Headphones measure: 203 x 165 x 51mm / Weigh: 250g
- Case measures: 218 x 179 x 62mm
While the NC 700 isn't designed to fold, that makes the overall profile of these headphones relatively flat. The included carry-case, at just over 6cm thick, is therefore easy to slide into a bag no problems.
The case also includes a little compartment for holding the included 2.5-to-3.5mm cable, which is handy to use when the battery has run down, or if that's just your preferred method (we've sometimes used it on live translations, where the provided headphone hasn't been of optimum quality).