Beats Solo Pro vs Bose QC 35 vs Bose 700 vs Sony WH-1000XM3

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Noise-canceling headphones have become a sought-after gadget in recent years, thanks to their ability to filter surrounding noise and provide a more intimate listening experience. For a long time, the Bose QC35’s were the king of this domain. However, a number of new players have now hit the market, and it is time to see who really rules the roost.

Are the QC35’s still the top option from Bose? Or, do we now have a new leader entirely in the noise-cancellation space. It’s time to find out.

Design

ModelEarcupsArmsHeadband
Beats Solo ProStyle: On-ear
Cup: plastic
PlasticLeather
Bose QC35 iiStyle: Over-ear
Cup: plastic
PlasticLeather
Bose 700Style: Over-ear
Cup: plastic
MetalLeather
Sony WH-1000XM3Style: Over-ear
Cup: plastic
PlasticLeather

Headphones have come a long way in the style department, which is mostly due to brands such as Beats marketing their products almost as fashion statements as well as just headphones. This has forced its competitors to adopt a similar approach when it comes to design, with companies such as Bose and Sony now producing a number of stylish yet functional options that excel in this department.

Beats Solo Pro

Style is, of course, a rather subjective aspect of a product, and for this reason, we are not going to tell you which model is best in terms of appearance. However, it is important to know that certain design choices can affect the performance of a pair of headphones, and it is this aspect we are going to discuss in this section.

The Beats Solo Pro are on-ear headphones, which means the cushions on the earcups sit on your ears rather than around them. This on-ear design has always been a common element of the Beats’ Solo range, and it is a great option if you are looking to get a sound that is focused directly into your ears.

Sony WH1000XM3

The other options in this guide feature an over-ear design, which means that the cushions on the earcups encircle the ears. This design is usually preferred from a sound perspective, as it provides a more expansive listening experience. However, the larger ear cups can impact the overall size of the headphones.

In terms of construction, the Bose 700 are the clear winners. The product’s metal arms provide more durability than the plastic variants being used on the others, and the plush leather headband offers plenty of comfort and flexibility. This isn’t to say that the other headphones are in any way flimsy, but at the same time, they don’t offer the same premium quality being boasted by the Bose 700’s.

Bose 700: +1

Tech Specs

ModelDriver SizePortsNoise Cancellation
Beats Solo Pro40mm1 x Audio Jack
1 x Lightning Port
Active Noise Cancellation
Bose QC35 iiNot Specified1 x Audio Jack
1 x MicroUSB
Active Noise Cancellation
Bose 700Not Specified1 x Audio Jack (2.5mm)
1 x USB-C
Active Noise Cancellation
Sony WH-1000XM340mm1 x Audio Jack
1 x USB-C
Active Noise Cancellation

Each of the headphones in this guide come equipped with active noise cancellation. This technology works by producing a wave that is 180 degrees out of phase with the ambient noise from your surroundings. In doing so, a cancellation effect is created, allowing you to listen to music without any other audible distractions.

Bose 700

The feature is arguably the main selling point of each of these products. However, there is a clear difference in performance across the board for each of these devices, with the top performers being the Bose 700’s. The quality on offer form these headphones compared to the competition is simply unrivaled right now. However, the Sony WH1000 -XM3’s earn a worthy second place.

In terms of audio quality, the Sony’s are the top dogs. Their sound signature is quite simply beautiful to listen to out of the box, and it offers a striking mix of high and lows, that you just don’t get from the other options in this guide.

The most disappointing headphones from an audio perspective are the Bose 700’s. Given their price tag, we were surprised to find that these headphones sound a little flat compared to their competition. If you aren’t much of an audio head, this probably won’t be too much of an issue for you, but we were expecting a lot more from a polished brand such as Bose.

If you’re more of a bass head, you will probably prefer the Beats Solo Pros. These headphones aren’t as impressive in terms of overall quality, but Beats have managed to make some strides in the audio department, without sacrificing the iconic bass its headphones are known for.

As for ports, all of the headphones keep things fairly simple by offering an audio jack and a charging port. There are, however, a few things worth noting here that we aren’t particularly keen on.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

First of all, Bose has decided to include a 2.5mm audio jack on its 700’s, instead of the standard 3.5mm jack we are all familiar with. This isn’t too much of an issue, given that a cable is provided, but the smaller jack may be more prone to damage.

Also, on the Solo Pro, you will find a Lightning port, rather than USB-C. This makes sense given the company is owned by Apple, but a more universal port would have been preferred nonetheless.

We would have also preferred to see A USB-C port on the QC35 ii’s, but for some reason, Bose decided to stick with the MicroUSB port from the previous generation. Again, a cable for this port is provided in the box. However, we expected Bose to have moved to the more reliable USB-C port when this product was released.

Sony WH-1000XM3: +1
Bose 700: +1

Controls

ModelTouch GesturesPhysical Buttons
Beats Solo ProNoneMode Button
Volume Rockers
Track Controls
Call Controls
Power Button
Bose QC35 iiNoneAction Button
Volume Rockers
Power Button
Bose 700Volume Adjustment
Track Skipping
Play/Pause
Alexa Button
Power Button
Sony WH-1000XM3Volume Adjustment
Track Skipping
Play/Pause
Power Button

A lot of modern headphones are now including gesture controls rather than a traditional button setup, and so far, it’s been fair to say that some implementations have worked better than others. Fortunately, however, both Bose and Sony have hit the nail on the head with their gestures by keeping everything simple and intuitive.

Our personal favorite when it comes to gestures is the Sony WH-1000XM3, as they offer the ability to cup one headphone to temporarily reduce the volume. This allows you to quickly respond to people without needing to remove your headphones or adjust the ambient noise.

Sony WH-1000XM3: +1

Battery Life

ModelBattery LifeCharge Time
Beats Solo ProUp to 22 hours1 hour (10 minutes for 3 hours playback)
Bose QC35 iiUp to 20 hours2 hours 25 minutes (15 minutes for 2.5 hours)
Bose 700Up to 20 hours2 hours 30 minutes (15 minutes for 2.5 hours)
Sony WH-1000XM3Up to 30 hours3 hours (10 minutes for 5 hours)

In terms of battery life, there is only one winner, the Sony WH-1000XM3. Not only do these headphones last an impressive 30 hours on a single charge, but their ability to offer you 5 hours of playback time after a 10-minute charge is incredible.

When it comes to overall charge time, however, the Beats Solo Pro’s take the crown. Their 1-hour charge time is significantly faster than the other options in this guide, while the headphones also perform better than both of the Bose options in terms of battery life as well.

Sony WH-1000XM3: +1
Beats Solo Pro: +1

Price

ModelApproximate PriceCheck Price
Beats Solo Pro$300Check Price
Bose QC35 ii£300Check Price
Bose 700$400Check Price
Sony WH-1000XM3$350Check Price

Considering the technology involved and the overall quality of these headphones, it isn’t surprising to see them sitting firmly in the premium price range. However, despite the expensive price tags, there is one option that provides more value than the rest, the Sony WH-1000XM3’s.

These headphones might not be the cheapest, but they offer so much in terms of audio quality and user experience, that as an overall package, they tick the most boxes. Having said that, we don’t consider any of these headphones to be overpriced; it’s just that the Sony’s are going to give you the most bang for your buck.

Sony WH-1000XM3: +1

Total Score

ModelScore
Beats Solo Pro1
Bose QC35 ii0
Bose 7002
Sony WH-1000XM34

Winner: Sony WH-1000XM3
Runner Up: Bose 700

Verdict

As you can see, the Sony WH-1000XM3’s are the clear winners. These headphones have been a revelation since they debuted, and despite Bose’s best efforts to topple them with the 700’s, the Sony’s are still the best option all things considered.

The most disappointing headphones in this guide are the Bose QC35 ii’s. Despite being incredibly popular, these headphones leave a lot to be desired in the audio department, and next to the 700’s, their appearance is beginning to look a little dated.

As for the Beats Solo Pros, they are good but not great. Their battery performance is excellent, but they still lack enough audio quality to compete with the Sony’s.