From my point of view, the best noise-cancelling headphones you can buy right now is the Sony WH-1000XM3. Although they are not the best in anything, they behave very well in all aspects and as they have already released the new version, the XM4, the XM3 are greatly reduced.
As I say they do not have the best noise cancellation, but the difference with the best is very small. They are not the most comfortable either, but I spend hours and hours with them without problems. Which is not bad because they have a range of 30 hours.
In sound, they have a bassist signature, but it does not saturate too much and is very pleasant for long sessions, since it is quite permissive with bad recordings and reduces listening fatigue a lot.
Its biggest weak point is the hands-free, which is not very good. It should also be noted that they do not have multipoint. But, if you can live without those features and find them at a good price, the XM3s are the best buy right now.
The Bose 700 launch a new design much more modern and futuristic than the Quiet Comfort range. The headband is now thinner and slimmer. But what I like the most is that, even so, they are quite discreet once put in the head. We will not be attracting attention on the street.
Of course, they weigh about 20 grams more than the QC35 II, fortunately, those extra grams do not negatively influence comfort and are one of the most comfortable headphones on the market.
ANC – How it works and what types of ANC exist
They have a typical Bose sound – fairly balanced with a bit of an emphasis on the bass. The sound is very warm, but a higher level of definition is missing. Even so, they are very comfortable headphones to listen for hours and hours without mentally tiring us. Of course, the sound profile of the Bose 700 has changed a bit compared to the QC35.
In the case of the Bose 700s, the bass has good body, although a little less emphasis on the lower frequencies. The mids are quite similar and the highs are more colored and have better resolution and soundstage.
When it comes to ANC, the Bose 700s are the best headphones around. You will hardly hear anything from the outside. Even the highs, which the QC35s weren’t able to mute, are now barely heard. For example, voices are now much less heard.
The microphones for the ANC are also used for hands-free which, by the way, sounds quite good.
The biggest weak point of the Bose 700 is its autonomy of 20 hours, quite far from the 30 or 38 hours of other rivals. Even so, 20 hours go a long way….
The Sony WH-1000MX4 are the best wireless noise canceling headphones on the market. In this version, the fourth iteration of the model, Sony has improved the design and has managed to fix the few problems that the XM3 had.
They have multipoint Bluetooth, we can use the LDAC codec (high quality codec) even when we use the equalizer, the touch touchpad is more accurate, there is now an acoustic notification when using the touch commands, better finishes on the materials, slightly larger pads, better hands-free and sensor to pause the music when we remove the headphones.
The sound has an eminently bassist signature, although the mids are very present and pleasant. The highs on the other hand are a bit delayed, although they are of great quality, they do not produce wheezing and they reach quite high.
The soundstage is typical of closed headphones, not too large from left to right and practically non-existent from front to back. Still, the instrument separation is excellent for such a small scene, which is quite impressive for headphones of this type.
On the whole, the XM4s have a type of sound that I love for long sessions, as it is quite forgiving of bad recordings and reduces listening fatigue quite a bit.
Another outstanding feature is its ANC or Active Noise Cancellation function. The XM4s have impressive noise cancellation, not only in the low frequencies like the Bose QC35 II, but also in the high ones, something that until now no manufacturer has achieved.
It’s amazing. You put your headphones on, turn on the noise cancellation, and 90% of the noise is gone in an instant. It is something to be experienced and enjoyed. The first time people try it, they are “freaking out.”
I use them at all hours. On public transport, at work, in the library … it seems that the world around us is disappearing. They give me a lot of serenity and allow me to concentrate better.
In addition, they also have the quick attention mode (Quick Attention), with which, keeping the palm of the hand on the right glass, we will lower the volume of the music to be able to listen to the ambient noise.
The MU6 Space 2 are very interesting headphones that saw the light in an Indiegogo campaign and are capable of offering a performance comparable to the rest of the models in this comparison for a significantly lower price.
The Mu6 Space 2 headphones feature an aluminum skeleton covered by a good quality ABS plastic. The cups of the Space 2 are huge, both in diameter and depth. Thanks to that, your ears, unless you’re Dumbo, won’t touch anything. An interesting point because with the Space 2 my ears sweat less than with other headphones.
However, this larger size has a drawback, the MU6 Space 2 weighs a bit more than its closest rivals. The Space 2s reach 295 grams, while the Bose QC35 II weigh 236 grams and the Sony WH-1000XM3 weigh 253 grams.
Regarding connectivity, they use Bluetooth 5.0 and are compatible with aptX HD, aptX LL, ACC and SBC codecs. The most important for me is aptX LL, which will ensure a lag-free experience when using it with a compatible device.
In terms of sound quality, the Mu6 have 40 mm dynamic drivers that achieve spectacular sound. The basses of the Space 2 have the power of the Sony, but are much more defined and precise. The mids have impressive strength and sharpness. The instrument separation is great, as is the spatiality. The highs have impressive clarity and sharpness. The sounds are pure and not harsh.
Active noise cancellation is also very good at low frequencies, on a par with the Bose and Sony. But it is somewhat worse in the high frequencies.
To finish the summary, the hands-free is quite good and the autonomy is 20 hours with ANC activated.
If we want a slightly cheaper option, we have the Tronsmart Apollo Q10. These are active noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones that typically cost less than $ 50. Of course, they are at a lower level when it comes to the ANC’s level of effectiveness, however, they are tremendously complete for what they cost.
For starters, they have a build quality far superior to other headphones in their range. In addition, they are extremely light and comfortable. On my scale they have weighed 232 grams so they are the lightest headphones in this comparison and also one of the most comfortable.
The audio quality is very well used. Although you can see that the drivers are not somewhat limited, they produce a very clean and natural sound. It lacks the details of more expensive headphones, but they sound really good.
The ANC works relatively well at low frequencies and does not introduce hiss. Only with those two points they already position themselves as one of the best headphones in the low range. Of course, they fall far short of the cancellation level of more expensive headphones, but they do serve to eliminate a bit of noise.
In terms of autonomy, the Apollo Q10s play in a different league. They have 100 hours of autonomy at medium volume with the ANC off … Something impressive. They are by far the longest-lasting Bluetooth headphones I’ve ever tried.
In short, the Apollo Q10 have their limitations, but for what they cost there are no better headphones.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are TWS headphones that offer outstanding sound quality, are very comfortable and also have the best active noise cancellation on the market. However, they are large and bulky and the touch controls are not the most practical (at least for now, it is expected that with a firmware update it will be fixed as it happened with the Sport Earbuds).
I’m not going to beat around the bush, the TWS Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are huge. Placed in the ear they bulge almost the same as two normal headphones and in a way they remind me of Cyberpunk 2077 characters with implants in place …
That said, the headphones are available in beige and black, and while they are bulky, they are quite light. The fit uses double ear cushions that have a tip that goes into the ear and a kind of hook that is placed on the inside of the ear. The result is that the headphones are very comfortable and do not move or give the impression that they are going to fall even when we are playing sports or running.
They use Bluetooth 5.1 and support AAC and SBC codecs. Nothing too flashy. However, they do produce exceptionally good sound. I already expected a lot from these headphones and they still pleasantly surprised me. Bass response is rich and full; and the clarity of the highs coupled with the strength of the mids make for a round sound that sounds good in all genres of music. Of course, the sound is a bit colored so it is not a sound signature for audio purists.