Bose 700 Headphones – Review

Fair warning: This is coming from my only previous experience of ANC headphones – Pantronic £25 ones. 

Mea culpa! Yes, I am guilty of proclaiming that folks wandering around in their own world of ANC in London should be publically birched. 

But that was then.

For reasons known only to myself – probably flicking through Flipboard one evening, potentially with a small libation in me – I decided to pre-order the Bose 700 Headphones. On the face of it an absolutely insane thing to do. After all, these things are £350! Yes. £350. You could add up all the Airpods I’ve ever bought, and the above Plantronics and still not hit that figure. 

Still though, in my new found life as bon viveur, some “decent”(tm) Cans were the only thing missing. 

Fast forward last week and I’m frantically reading other online reviews. Have I wasted my money? Are there any reported problems? (Release date was 11th July – and I’d taken the 12th to work from home as there was no way I was going to let some half-wit delivery driver lob these over my garden fence).

I followed their progress on the DHL tracker and, true to promise, the parcel arrived at lunchtime on the 12th. 

Unpacking ensued – only real comment is that the packing is very good quality (he could have lobbed them over the fence with no worries) and that the case the 700s come in is a real piece of work. There’s a little magnetically sealed comparement for the USB-C (thank you!) and 2mm headphone cable. 

Charged and ready to go, the set-up was simple. Download and install the Bose Music app, turn on the 700s and connect. (This is using an iPhone XS Max). 

The default setting was 10 on the ANC and it was a staggering experience. I didn’t have any music playing but her Ladyship was hovering in the room next door. Popped on the 700s and ……. total isolation. Not even a hint of the hoover. Wow!

Next test, pair them with my Surface Book 2 as well – as they can be paired with two devices at once – and enable spatial sound in the sound settings of Windows 10. ANC set to 5 and fire up Destiny 2. Double wow! It was like I was standing in the game itself. 

Fast forward to today and my first commute into the City as an official ANC-zombie. And what a revelation it has been.

ANC on 5 on the walk to the station with BBC Radio 4 Today playing provided a gentle cocoon without any danger of getting knocked down crossing the road. 

On the assumption that the flaky Three Mobile signal on the train to London wouldn’t improve had me turning to the SpaceMusic Podcast by TC for the rest of the journey. Oh the richness of the sound! Absolutely incredible. Vibrant music across the range, the volume on the iPhone bearly ticking over. Really comfortable fit of the 700s meant that I barely knew that I was wearing them. Crickey. 

Going past Hayes and Harlington the window opposite me blew open and couldn’t be closed, so I could now begin to hear trains racing past the opposite way. No matter, a click of the left button (two actually – 5, 0, 10) and back in peace and quiet. In fact, as a first time real use of full ANC, it was almost un-nerving. I could _see_ the world happening around me, I could hear the relaxing SpaceMusic but that was all. Not an ounce of any other sound intruded into my world. Absolutely uncanny. 

At Paddington I switched back to 5 for the walk to Queensway. Very gentle traffic noise (enough to not get run over) but nothing else. Again, for a busy area of London, incredible performance. 

So though, to the ultimate test. A jam-packed tube train on the Central line from Queensway to Liverpool Street. (Cue some kind of Jaws-type music). 

For those that don’t get to experience this delight on a daily basis, the Central Line is very old, very hot, very crammed (think Mexican bus) and deafeningly loud. Clearly, this was a case for 10. 

I’m still getting over the result. Honestly. 

All I could hear was SpaceMusic and – occasionally, when going round a tight turn – a very muted squealing of wheels. Other than that, I was again cocooned. 

Lord alone knows what kind of sorcery lies within these things. Clearly a by-product of Unicorn’s horn and Fairy’s tears or something. How it is possible to make that tube journey enjoyable is beyond me. 

I switched back to 5 at Liverpool Street and then, as I arrived outside the office on Bishopsgate, switched off the 700s and slipped them round my neck. 

I can only liken that experience to being re-born. Suddenly, the hustle and bustle of London City on a Monday morning returned. If I had teleported straight there from the quiet hills of the Chilterns where I live, the experience wouldn’t have been any different. 

So. Worth £350? Absolutely.

ANC-zombie? Absolutely. 

Bottom line. These things are utterly life-changing. 

ANC-zombie? Absolutely. 

Bottom line. These things are utterly life-changing. 

Escape is useless

I went back to Apple.

After all the effort of going Samsung, it’s just not as good as the Apple experience. So ….

Gear Fit Pro 2 – turned into a 44mm Apple Watch 4.

Tab 4 – turned into an iPad Mini 5 (to be fair, I always promised myself that – when Apple released a Mini that you could write on, then I’d be first in line)

Galaxy Note 9 – turned into an XS Max

Am I proud of myself?

Hell yeah.

(Kept the Surface Book 2 though – it’s bloody amazing)

Oh yes!

I’m in the only sane pub in the wasteland of Brentford (twinned with the Gaza Strip)

Overheard:

“How did you get on in Antarctica Bunny? Did you get decent food?”

I’ll leave that there.

I can be calm (ish)

Wandered back from the England game – as we’re clearly going to win it.

Three lads lined up on the top of Gainsborough Hill ready to skateboard down.

One clipped me on the pavement, the other two decided to use the road and scatter cars.

End of. And only using my voice (and height, and slightly deranged appearance) They meekly apologised.

Very politely.

Job done.