Everyone struggles to get their own awesome pair of noise cancelling headphones. It’s exceptionally hard when you don’t have all the information in one place for a thorough comparison. To make it easier for you we gathered reviews for 3 competitively best noise cancelling headphones in the same price range – Bose vs Sony vs Bowers & Wilkins PX. 

Sony WH-1000XM3

  • Type: Over-ear
  • Noise cancellation: Active
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Battery life: 30 hours
  • Price: $349.99
  • Release date: August 2018
sony wh-1000xm3

Source: sony.com

Ease of use: 5/5

The Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones have a USB-C, can pair with phones through an NFC chip and are fully controllable with swipes for playback and volume right on the earcup. Headphones are integrated with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and built-in assistant of the paired phone.

Design: 5/5

The earcup material is soft and pleasant to touch. Earcups are deeper than the previous XM2 version and the headphones are quite lightweight. There are 4 microphones in total (2 on each earcup) for noise cancellation. The current design is fairly comfortable and does not look bulky on the head. There are two buttons controlling the Power, Bluetooth and Noise cancellation (On/Off; Ambient).

Noise Cancellation: 5/5

XM3 has Quick Attention Mode that allows you to tune back to the world noise without taking off the headphones. Another useful mode is Ambient mode that lets some specific noises like conversations reach to you. The new acquisition of HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 chip, the noise cancellation has improved to remove not only low-frequency but mid to high frequency noises as well.

Sound Quality: 4/5

These headphones provide the relative best quality at 660 kbps, even though LDAC allows high resolution audio streaming up to 990kbps. The sound quality works great for any devices since it has aptX and aptX HD support but they are exceptionally good with LDAC codec supporting devices.

The bass is heavy to the point where headphones can vibrate on your head. To tune down the bass or generally equalize the sound you will have to switch to SBC. The sound will still be decent in case of flat EQ.

The call quality isn’t phenomenal given the fact that you can sometimes hear yourself because of the built-in microphones piping audio back to the headphones. The voice sounds less accentuated and clear with the mic.

Little tip: If you are to have frequent calls with your laptop while wearing noise cancelling headphones you can get the Krisp – a noise cancellation application to remove background noise from both sides of the call. It can help you get rid of your and other speaking party’s noise with one click and will solve any call quality issues.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

  • Type: Over-ear
  • Noise cancellation: Active
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Battery life: 20 hours
  • Price: $349.95
  • Release date: October 2017
bose quietcomfort35 II

Source: bose.com

Ease of use: 4/5

Bose QuietComfort 35 II pair to your phone quickly and the connection strength works for up to 30 feet but can still get interrupted in a few meters once in a while. You can use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa with one press of a button and there is a remapping option of Action button through the Bose Connect app. You can use it both for the voice assistant or noise cancellation control (High/Low, Off).

Design: 5/5

The headphones can be folded and are durable for carrying around. The seal is tight but doesn’t pressure your head. Despite all the buttons and the headphone jack, the only new thing that differs from the previous QuietComfort 35 version is the Google Assistant button. Overall, the look is quite minimalistic but has a plasticy feel.

Noise cancellation: 5/5

Bose QuietComfort 35 II offers almost as good noise cancellation as Sony WH-1000XM3, however it doesn’t have an instant mute or auto pause feature to help you get back to the world noises. You will have to physically remove the headphones to be able to hear the surroundings. Noise cancellation doesn’t remove every sound like conversations nearby you, but still provides you with smooth noiseless experience.

Sound quality: 4/5

Bose QuietComfort 35 II supports only AAC and SBC. This can be a drawback for Android users since Android supports LDAC, aptX and aptX HD. The bass is overly boosted, but the mid levels are clean. Overall there is fair amount of depths and details for music lovers but nothing more than that. Call quality is fair and is not affected by the Bluetooth connection strength.

Bowers & Wilkins PX

  • Type: Over-ear
  • Noise cancellation: Active
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Battery life: 22 hours
  • Price: $399.99
  • Release date: October 2017
Bowers&Wilkins PX

Source: bowerswilkins.com

Design: 5/5

These headphones are prominent with their expensive leather design with relatively less padding. The headband lacks a bit of padding for more comfortable wear, however the overall look is quite subtle and the metal sides give a solid feel to the headphones. It will be easier to have short breaks after wearing the headphones for up to 2 hours to prevent recurring headaches.  

Ease of use: 5/5

All the controls are on the right earcup including the power and volume controls and the Environment filter. These headphones have USB-C and the Bluetooth connection strength is fair. However, to be able to utilize all the features for the headphones you will have to download the application and enable your location.

Noise cancellation: 4/5

There are 2 noise cancelling features available in the application: Environmental filter(Office, City, Flight) and Voice Pass-through (Amplified, Natural, Default and Off). However these headphones don’t offer the best noise cancellation. Low frequency sounds are cancelled much easier than conversations happening around you.

 

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There is an auto pause feature which can be triggered with a sensor as soon as your headphones move. You can choose the sensitivity through the headphone application.

Sound quality: 4/5

This is the only pair that isn’t very bass heavy. However it’s hard to distinguish any specific instrument in songs. Mid levels are relatively more audible and clear than high levels. Overall sound is warm and the headphones support aptX HD.

Final thoughts

All these noise cancelling headphones in the same price range excel in different features. So which one is it – Bose vs Sony vs Bowers & Wilkins?

  • If you prefer comfortable long time wear, plain design with fair noise cancellation pick Bose QuietComfort 35 II.
  • If you want exceptional sound quality and noise cancellation with easy intuitive controls and instant muting – Sony WH-1000XM3 is your pick.
  • If your top priority is luxurious but subtle design with relatively less importance over sound quality and noise cancellation then go for Bowers & Wilkins PX.

If you struggle with your choice options our ultimate noise cancellation headphones guide is here for you.

 

Good luck on your journey of choosing noise cancelling headphones! 🙂