The Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Are A Lot Cheaper Today

Until the latest iteration of Sony's noise cancelling headphones, there was one set of cans you were guaranteed to see at every major airport around Australia: the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. You'll still see plenty of those these days, but there's also plenty of competition from Sony's WH-1000XM3's.

Best part for you? Both headphones are fantastic, and they've both gotten a handy discount.

Update: Even better - Sony's eBay online store are selling the WH-1000XM3B headphones for $319.20 as well, provided you use the PUPGRADE checkout code before February 25. Head here for the deal.

The QuietComfort (QC) line has been Bose's best noise cancelling headphones for ages, but the QC35's also ticked every other box you could want: battery life of approximately 20 hours, the ability to pair to two devices instead of just one, supremely comfortable, they're lightweight, and the noise cancelling works. There's a reason you see them around the international and domestic terminals so often.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Bluetooth Headphones: The Gizmodo Review

I've never loved Bose headphones. Out of the box, they always felt a bit flimsy, and on my head, the audio quality seemed subpar for the price. At least that's what I thought before I tried the new QuietComfort 35 Wireless cans. The noise cancellation is peerless, and the sound is terrific — for the most part.

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When they first launched, the QC35's would set you back $499. But if you want the second QC35 series, which come with Google Assistant support and better active noise cancellation that doesn't interfere with your music, they're available from Amazon Australia now for $319.20. (Here's the silver QC35's if that's your style.)

The QC35's generally retail for around $399 these days, and most good noise cancelling headphones will set you back $400 or more. The best can set you back closer to $600, and higher if you're a true audiophile - but for most people, and most people's budgets, the QC35's are a solid pick.

The only downside is that you'll have to pay extra for a 3.5mm cable - and if you need a set of cans that come with those, the latest Sony WH-1000XM3 cans have been discounted to $350. Given that they're supremely comfortable in their own right, charge via USB-C and normally retail for $499, that's a banger of a deal as well.

Sony's Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones: Six Months Later

I was really excited when Sony's 1000XM3 headphones showed up on my desk last year. I was a big fan of the M2s and was curious about what improvements could be made to such high quality cans, especially when the price on the previous gen were still consistently high.

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    I had a set of QC2s for 5 years. Replaced them with QC15s and they lasted 4 years of very hard use. I've had my wired QC25s for over 3 years so far and they're still going strong.

    There are better sounding headsets out there, but not for the price. There's no better noise cancelling as far as I can tell.

    Alex you're a LEGEND! I've wanted the Sony XM3's for a while and just grabbed them from Amazon. Keen to finally lose the apple wired earbuds as they only last about a month until they die on me

      Aaaaaaaaah. Maybe see if you can refund it - Sony's eBay store are doing them for $319.20 as well! I've updated the story above. It's not a huge saving, but it's something.

      Anyway, the XM3's are *fantastic*. Tegan's been using them for months and they're fantastic. If I wasn't already on the XM2's - and I prefer the sound of those to the QC35's - I would have snapped up the XM3B's immediately. Both sets of cans are top notch, though.

        You're making it awfully hard for me to resist the temptation to upgrade my (perfectly good) XM1s

        I got em from Amazon and TBH I got them yesterday night with same day delivery so I don't mind paying the extra :) Plus way cheaper than the 500 I was about to drop on them last week! I've used them all morning, I cannot believe I lived without noise cancelling. My early morning commute was incredibly more relaxing and I could read without losing focus

    Good article Alex. I've been considering both these models. My biggest concern is durability (i.e. build quality) as my head is very large. I've read that the Bose has a better build quality than the Sony, but I've also read that Bose has cheaper faux-leather on the ear cups, whereas if you go a bit pricier, like the B&O H9i you get real lambskin and extremely good comfort (which you'd expect, for that price). In addition, the H9i will allow you to swap out the battery when it inevitably dies, unlike the Sony or the Bose. It's a dilly of a pickle, I'll tell you...

    What's your opinion on the Bose build quality viz larger heads?

      My head is pretty bulbous. I never even get my Bose headset past halfway with size adjustment. Can't really speak for the Sony ones.

      One thing I really like about the Bose ones is the 90 degree swivel. When you take them off your head, you can sit them around your neck and the cups turn to sit flat so they don't get in the way.

        Cheers bro. Now, if it were only as easy to buy a baseball cap that fit me...

          I'm always disappointed when a hat I like is sold as "one size fits all", since it invariably means "too small". I've got a pair of first generation QC35s, and have a similar experience to @pokedad: I only extend the head band about half way.

          I haven't had any problems with the not-leather padding deteriorating, but it is worth noting that Bose sells replacements for $40. That seems over priced, but if you're paying a higher premium than that for real leather, it might not be a good deal.

    Remember Sony also sport the LDAC codec, which is really odd this is not mentioned.

    It is by a long way the best audio codec. And some of their sets also support HD calling so in the 21st century you are no longer talking 1990s style through a scratchy tunnel.

    It's really odd that reviews never mention codec support although this fundamentally defines the core function of these devices. To hear quality sound and not have to deal with painful crap quality calls.

      props for the LDAC call out. didnt know that previously. it pretty much makes the sony the only option since if youre spending that amount of money on headphones to use via bluetooth from a phone (or any source via bluetooth) then you could spend $50 and get the same quality as long as theyre iems.

    If I hadn't pulled the trigger and now waiting for them to ship on a set of Creative Super Xfi Air's, I'd have been all over the Sony's.

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