Bose QuietComfort 35 II VS Sony WH-1000XM2

The two top wireless noise-canceling headphones face off in this head-to-head comparison.

Affiliate Disclosure: CNET may get a commission from retail offers.
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.

Overview

The Good

The Sony WH-1000XM2 is an excellent-sounding, comfortable wireless headphone with effective noise canceling that measures up to Bose's for muffling ambient noise. Its battery life has been improved and it has some nifty extra features geared toward frequent travelers.

The Bad

It should perform a little better as a headset. Battery isn't replaceable.

The Bottom Line

Sony's WH-1000XM2 may not be quite as comfortable as Bose's QuietComfort 35 II, but in some respects it's a superior headphone.

Ratings

Design

The Bose gets the nod in the design department because it's a little lighter -- and slightly more comfortable. But the Sony also gets very high design marks. Both headphones fold flat into an included carrying case.

Features

Bose is still the gold standard for noise canceling but Sony's is equally impressive. The second-generation Bose QC35 adds a dedicated button for Google Assistant -- and it can be programmed for other functions, too. However, the Sony is the more feature-packed headphone overall, with touch controls and the ability to muffle your music and let the outside world in by simply holding your hand over the right ear cup. Both have companion apps that allow you to tweak settings.

Sound

While their sound ratings are equal, the Sony arguably sounds a tad better, with better bass definition and slightly more dynamic sound. However, we preferred how the Bose performed as a headset for making calls.

Value

The headphones have the same list price. That said, you're more likely to see the Sony discounted, with refurbished units selling for $100 less.

Overall

We rated this matchup a tie in the ratings for a reason: It's very hard to pick a winner. The Bose is slightly more comfortable and very user friendly. But the Sony arguably sounds slightly better and has some nifty extra features. Both feature excellent sound and noise-canceling capabilities. If you can, buy both, try them out for a week, then keep the one you like better and return the other.

Videos / Photos

model Silver
  • Bose QuietComfort 35 II (Black)
    Bose QuietComfort 35 II - Black qc35iibk $349

Specs / Prices

model Gold
  • Sony WH-1000XM2 (Black)
    Sony WH-1000XM2 - Black wh1000xm2b $348
$349
$300
General
1 Packaged Quantity 1
10.9 oz Weight 9.7 oz
silver Color gold
Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP), Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP), Hands-Free Profile (HFP) Bluetooth Profiles Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP), Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP), Hands-Free Profile (HFP), Headset Profile (HSP), Leadership Development and Advisory Council (LDAC)
Headphones
Circumaural Headphones Form Factor Circumaural
Wireless Connectivity Technology Wireless, wired
Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP), Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP), Hands-Free Profile (HFP) Bluetooth Profiles Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP), Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP), Hands-Free Profile (HFP), Headset Profile (HSP), Leadership Development and Advisory Council (LDAC)
Yes Active Noise Canceling Yes
Bluetooth 4.1 Bluetooth Version Bluetooth 4.1
Remote Control
next/previous track, play/pause, power on/off, skip track, voice assistant, volume Audio Controls volume
Volume, power on/off, play/pause, next/previous track, skip track, voice assistant Controls Volume
Connections
headphones Type headphones
mini-phone 3.5 mm 4-pole Connector Type mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm 4-pole
Miscellaneous
carrying case Included Accessories Carrying pouch
silver Color Category gold
Power
20 hour(s) Run Time (Up To) 38 hour(s)
Battery
rechargeable Rechargeable Battery rechargeable
lithium ion Technology lithium ion
2.25 hour(s) Recharge Time 4 hour(s)
Header
Bose Brand Sony
Bose QuietComfort Product Line Sony
35 II Model WH-1000XM2
1 Packaged Quantity 1
Battery / Power
20 hour(s) Run Time (Up To) 38 hour(s)
Dimensions & Weight
10.9 oz Weight 9.7 oz

More VS