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Bose QuietComfort 35 II review:

The already excellent Bose QuietComfort 35 II gets a touch better

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The Good The Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphone adds a dedicated button for Google Assistant, but it can be programmed for other functions, too. Retains its predecessor's top-of-the-line active-noise canceling, excellent wireless Bluetooth sound and extra-comfortable design. Works in wired mode with included cord if battery dies.

The Bad Battery isn't replaceable; same apparent design and performance as previous model.

The Bottom Line Existing QC35 owners don't need to upgrade, but the addition of a dedicated Google Assistant button gives the already excellent wireless noise-cancelling headphone an extra bit of personality.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.8 Overall
  • Design 10.0
  • Features 9.0
  • Sound 9.0
  • Value 8.0

Review Sections

Bose's QuietComfort 35 II ($350, £330, AU$500) wireless noise-cancelling headphone looks, sounds and performs just like the original except for one key feature: There's a new "Action" button on the left ear cup that allows you to connect to your Google Assistant without having to touch your phone. And that makes the QC35 II -- available in black or silver -- the first headphone to integrate Google Assistant.

Similar to Amazon's Alexa voice assistant, Google Assistant is available for Android and iOS devices. Instead of talking to your phone to access Google Assistant (you have to download the free app), you just press and hold the Action button on the QC35 II and issue commands such as "Tell me the latest news," "call Mom" and "What are some good Indian restaurants nearby?" You can also use your voice to control your music playback and compatible smart devices in your home.

Update, Dec. 1: This review was originally published on Oct. 17 and has been updated to include more expansive comments about Sony's WH-1000XM2, a direct competitor. After reviewing other new premium noise-canceling headphones, including the Beats Studio3 Wireless and Bowers & Wilkins PX, we've raised the design rating on this Bose from a 9 to a 10.

The new "Action" button is in the left ear cup.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Here's the better news: You don't have to use the Action button for Google Assistant. Using the Bose Connect app, you can choose instead to map the Action button to noise-cancellation levels, toggling between Low, High and Off with each button press. You can also adjust the noise-cancelling settings in the app, an important feature for those who may be sensitive to the feeling of light pressure that can be the by-product of active noise-cancellation.   

Aside from that new button, nothing else has changed. The QC35 has the same comfy fit, same top-notch noise cancelling, identical controls on the right ear cup -- yes, you can access Siri on iPhones -- and the same battery life at up to 20 hours in wireless mode with noise cancelling on. If the battery runs out, you can still use the headphone in passive mode (it sounds good not great) and you get a cord for plugging in when you need to.

The QC35 II comes in silver or black.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Not the best sound, but among the best

As I said in my review of the original QC35, this may not be the best-sounding Bluetooth headphone out there, but it's certainly among them. In the past I've compared it to the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless, now called the HD1 Wireless Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation, noting that the Sennhesier sounded slightly better, with a bit tighter bass, slightly better clarity and was overall more natural sounding.

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