Bose QC35 ii or Sony WH-1000XM3

Hi there,

I am looking to purchase a nice pair of noise-canceling headphones as a gift, and need them within the next 10 days.

So far, I have narrowed my list down to the two above (basically, the market leaders), but I need some help:

  1. Which of the two is the better option, and more importantly
  2. Does anyone know of any ongoing promotions (eg. sales, cashback offers, or discounted gift cards) for either option.

My preference is to purchase from a brick and mortar store, and do not mind paying a little extra to do so.

Thanks in advance :)

EDIT: The purpose of this is mainly focused around finding a bargain on either model, rather than deciding which one is better (though, I'd appreciate feedback on that too). I know how to Google and read/watch reviews.


  • Just an FYI - Bose has released the 700s as the successor to the QC35IIs:

    In case you were after the very latest ones.

    • Thanks!

      I considered them, but not really after the latest and greatest.

      • They're very close.
        Although Linus isn't great (at anything really), he's still reliable to give unbiased recommendations or tech tips.

        Overall, the Bose is the better unit. I think in every category you can measure, the Bose is slightly ahead. The only place where the Sony wins is the USB-C port (instead of microUSB), slightly faster charging, and I would say it has the cleaner look. Also, a big plus for the Sony is showing others "I'm not an asshat" (like a BMW owner vs Toyota), but seriously, at the same price it doesn't matter much. But the Bose has a much tighter fit (for headbanging/jogging) and uses a higher quality padding for better comfort. Whilst, the Bose uses old-fashioned clicky buttons (which can get annoying as you're clicking a button into your ears), the touch/swipe navigation can also be annoying when repeating the same action many times. And some Sony headphones have been recalled because the navigation stops working in the cold.

        In short, the Bose is different but I think its strengths are better than the Sony's strengths. The way to upgrade the Bose would be to give it a better interface, add USB-C and fast charging. Also the microphones on both are horrible. That's exactly what they've done with the Bose700 but its double the price and not worth it. I think Sony is about the announce their XM4 soon/this year as competition against the new Bose700, but as before, they will come at the same price. I would only pay extra above the Bose QC35 II for something like the Sony XM4 if they fix the microphone, navigation, padding and make it fit tighter. Maybe both companies can steal some ideas from the Microsoft Headset for great interface ideas.

    • There is an issue with the Bose NCH 700’s where they turn off automatically after 10 mins of ‘no motion’ (which exists to turn itself off if you forget). A option to control this feature in the App may come in a firmware update, but currently you are stuck with it always on.

      Also when turning the headphones off, apparently they are just silent. So it is difficult to tell if they actually are ‘off’. A lot of flops with design here.

      “Another MAJOR issue with these. Those headphones will turn off after 10 minutes regardless of the settings in the app if they detect that they are stationary. This is horrible, as if you are dozing with them or trying to use them on a plane and trying to sleep, a loud chime comes on to ensure it wakes you up, and then they turn off. Bose say its a feature that we cannot change. silly engineering, and very shortsighted.”

      • This is horrible, as if you are dozing with them or trying to use them on a plane and trying to sleep, a loud chime comes on to ensure it wakes you up, and then they turn off.

        That is f'n hilarious. It basically goes "F U to your sleep!" and turns off!

        Christ, who at Bose thought this was a good idea and completely forgot about people trying to sleep on flights as a major use-case?!

        • And the fact it is silent when switching off manually (it says ‘on’ or something similar when turning on like the XM3 but it’s silent when manually turning off).
          One reviewer claimed they actually have trouble telling if they actually are turned off.
          Almost makes you think they did that intentionally to justify the motion-sensing auto-off feature.
          Combined with the reduced ANC experiences on the QC35ii firmware update, it’s a mess really.

    • Thank you :)

      Though the information there is useful, I still need help finding a bargain.

      • Here is some help finding a bargain.
        Since you know how to google, Type ‘eBay ozbargain’ in google, the top link should take you to the page with all the eBay codes.
        Find the 20% off codes, there is one for 214 sellers ATM & one for Myer valid Tomorrow.
        May be worth looking at the 15% off code for eligible items as well.
        Click the ‘ozbargain’ link at the end of the line for the code.
        On the 20% off 214 sellers page there should be search links somewhere in the post or comments which look like this:
        A - G
        H - T
        U - Z

        Each one will take you to a search of all the sellers, just type in Bose QC35 or Sony XM3 and find the cheapest one, then calculate the minus the 20% off.
        Depending on the listing some will be free delivery, and some will charge extra for postage.

        In my experience the eBay stores which stock Sony XM3 / Bose QC35ii usually have physical stores.

  • Type this in YouTube:

    Bose QC35 ii or Sony WH-1000XM3

  • I have both. Bose can connect to two devices at the same time. So for example you can listen to the laptop and still receive mobile calls.
    Sony offers arguably better comfort and noise cancelling (nothing in it really) but the touch controls are a pain and lack of dual connectivity sees the Sony spending more time in the case then the Bose I use everyday.

    • Agreed on the Sony not having multi-device support being a big downside, but it's also use-case dependent. I use mine on commutes so I basically don't mind the lack.

      I also like Sony's touch controls better than Bose' buttons - buttons I feel move the headphones around more than the touch controls, though sometimes the touch controls are more finicky. I also don't really notice much difference between the two in terms of noise cancellation or sound quality, but I'm hardly an audiophile.

  • Bose is better in comfort, but the nch700 is unnecessarily expensive without a sale so no need to stretch that far. Sony is good but I’d only tell you to get a Bose.

    Unless the gift is to someone who has USB c everything, then get the Sony or nch700

  • i went to DJ's and tested both before i ended up with the QC 35ii.
    the reason was that the Sony touched my ears and would make my ears hot after a bit.
    the bose had a little more room and felt slightly more comfortable on.
    the noise cancelling was pretty much the same for both of them in my view.

    videopro ebay has 20% off with coupon code "PSPRUNG" which makes them about $338 which isnt the best price ever but its pretty good

  • Only have the Bose so can't compare for you. If I were choosing now i would go with the Sonys based on USB-C, newer tech leading to better audio and noise cancelling. Got the Bose early so didn't have the option.

    The positives for the Bose, they are extremely comfortable for long periods. If you are going to be wearing them for long periods, I would suggest trying them both on and feeling what you like.

    E.g. Wore mine for 15 or so hours of a 20 hour flight and sometimes forgot I even had them on.

  • Sony's easily unless you'll be regularly making/receiving calls while wearing them and/or need to often connect to two devices at the same time. In that case would be best to go with the Bose. Also the Bose 700s are not much of an upgrade so you'll probably be better off going with the QC35 IIs given the price difference.

  • I'm anxiously waiting for a Bose 700 deal.

    Anyone else refreshing/checking Ozbargain constantly even though they've already set an alert in place? :)

  • For bricks and mortar try Costco for Sony. Membership required. You can also cancel membership and get a refund in a certain period. Sony the best NC to date. QC for comfort. By the way your price range in store is probably not going to be great for Sony's $380 - 400 Best on deals $318 if you can get them. Cheaper again in corporate. You can try just going in Jb mid week when its quiet, as for best price to buy now. They will probably say $350. Try $318 cash. Make sure you have the cash though. Can they check with manager best deal. Worth a go.

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