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Bose QuietComfort 35 II
October 13, 2020
Original: $329 USD
April 2022: $269 USD
8.13 x 18.03 x 17.02 cm
For as many bells, whistles, and specialized features as they bring, sometimes the best gaming headset you can find is just the best pair of headphones you can find. While many of the audio companies with bespoke gaming hardware would disagree, Bose seems to share this view. The company’s first foray into the gaming space brings an old(ish) classic. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset is exactly what it sounds like—a QC35 II with a detachable boom microphone.
Is this addition enough to really make it a gaming headset?
Editor’s note: This review was updated on March 4, 2022, to include more alternative recommendations.
- Gamers who want something with noise cancelling that they can unplug and take out and about.
- At-home workers looking for something that works well on a Zoom call and can drown out the din of a full house.
What is the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset like?
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset is a pretty familiar thing. In most respects, it’s just the Bose QC 35 II, which we initially reviewed back in 2017. That means a lot of what’s important about this headset is stuff we’ve already discussed. We’ll still go over some of it, but the focus is on what’s new here.
Related: The best gaming headphones
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset package consists of three things. First, there’s the Bose QC35 II headset. This is a wireless pair of headphones made mainly of plastic, with comfortable leatherette-covered cushions, a lightweight build, and a slim profile. The design may be years-old at this point, but the QC35 II still looks pretty slick. The added rose gold glint to the Bose logos on the sides brings just the right amount of flair, even if you’re not looking for something that’s also a fashion statement.
The headphones now come with a detachable boom microphone, which plugs into the 2.5mm jack on the headphones, and terminates in a 3.5mm cord a little over one meter long—this is necessary for console compatibility. The mic features an in-line mute switch, but otherwise it’s a pretty barebones offering.
Additionally, a USB-A volume dial is included. This is meant for use with a PC, and features a 3.5mm jack for plugging in the headset. The large volume dial offers a satisfying amount of resistance, and a rubberized bottom, so it won’t go sliding around your desk. It also houses a button for turning on microphone monitoring—pressing it multiple times toggles through three monitor volume options.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset sounds great, but you can't create a custom EQ profile.
Using the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset is pretty simple for gaming, because it functions just like any other 3.5mm stereo gaming headset. Just plug it in, and it works—you don’t even need to turn it on. The mic is powered by what the cord is plugged into, whether that’s a console controller or the USB volume dial, just like the headphones. Of course, you can always turn on the headphones for noise cancelling and wireless use, as well. The attached boom microphone won’t work over Bluetooth, though, so you’re stuck with a wired headset when you want to game.
Should you download the Bose Connect app?
The QC35 II also has a wide range of features not rooted in gaming. It supports the Bose Connect+ app, which lets you manage Bluetooth connections and download firmware updates. There’s a slew of on-ear controls for controlling volume, playback, and your chosen virtual assistant, all of which we go over in more depth in our review of the headphones. Suffice it say that everything you could do with the Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones then, you can still do now. Though, admittedly none of the onboard controls will affect volume or the detachable microphone while you’re using the headset for console or PC gaming.
Gaming with the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset
Gaming with Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset is pretty straightforward. Unlike connecting over Bluetooth, the headset is dead simple to get running for gaming. Apart from the new microphone, there aren’t any additional features, like virtual surround sound or separate game and chat channels. However, that doesn’t mean this isn’t good for gaming. The headset is comfortable enough to wear all day without issue, and it sounds good.
While shooters like Fortnite or Valorant might not be a perfect match for a headset like this, stereo experiences are great pretty much across the board. This is the official gaming headset of the League of Legends World Championship, and as you might expect, it handles the hectic soundscapes of that game with ease. While the lack of surround sound is a little disappointing for a gaming headset this expensive, it still handles competitive shooters like Apex Legends just fine. After all, surround sound is nice, but not necessary to do well in games like that.
How does the Bose QuietComfort 35 II connect?
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II gaming headset is primarily a wired experience for gaming, over either 3.5mm or USB. Because of this, the headset supports PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch. However, the QC35 II headphones are also still the same old Bluetooth headphones we got back in 2017. They support SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs, which means Android users won’t have a great option for high-quality music streaming, as AAC just doesn’t play as well with non-Apple products.
How is the Bose QuietComfort 35 II’s battery?
Just like when it launched, the QC 35 II will last around 20 hours on a single charge. When we initially reviewed them, the headphones got exactly 15 hours, 46 minutes of playtime when subjected to a constant volume 80% volume output, and, well, these are the same headphones. As long you don’t listen to music at super-loud volumes, you shouldn’t run into any issues. Additionally, if you don’t feel like using noise cancelling, you can use the headset for gaming without turning it on at all—hard to run out of power if you don’t use any in the first place.
Is the noise cancelling any good on the Bose QC 35 II Gaming Headset?
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset has the same isolation and noise cancelling performance as the QC35 II, go figure. Compared to newer noise cancelling headphones like the Shure AONIC 50 and Sony WH-1000XM4, the Bose noise cancelling has given up a little ground. However, the Bose QC35 II offers better isolation than any gaming headset on the market by a country mile. You shouldn’t have any issues hearing your games, even in noisy homes.
How does the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset sound?
If you decided to hop over to our review of the regular QC35 II, a lot of this section is going to look familiar—we’ve already reviewed these headphones after all.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset features the same neutral-leaning frequency response as the QC35 II did. While there’s a little wobbling on the chart in the high end, and notable bump in the sub-bass, but for the most part pretty much everything should sound how it should. These are headphones that fit our target quite well all things considered.
Lows, mids, and highs
In music, audio output like this is great for just about any genre. In Sugar Pills by I DON’T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME, everything from the rhythmic bass line, to the whirs and beeps that crop up in the background, to the subtler harmonizing back up vocals come through clearly without overshadowing each other. The bass may seem a little quiet if you’re used to headphones with a more consumer-oriented tuning, as they often boost bass output, but unfortunately there’s still no way to EQ these headphones.
In game, frequency response like this means you won’t have to worry as much about the din of the battlefield running roughshod over other sounds. Explosions and gunfire will still be the loudest things in a given moment (depending on your proximity), but they won’t be any louder than a game’s developers intended.
How is the new Bose QC 35 II Gaming Headset microphone?
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset still has its solid internal microphone, which offers decently accurate audio. In fact, on paper, it seems more accurate than the new detachable boom microphone, which falls pretty well in line with most gaming headset microphones, but frequency response is hardly the only factor in judging a microphone.
The new detachable mic has a wider diaphragm, and there’s just less in the way between it and your voice. Plus, the de-emphasis in the bass range is there to deal with the proximity effect, where the bass in someone’s voice can blow out the microphone when speaking to close to it. That’s not something the internal mic needs to worry about. Both microphones still struggle a little with bass sound, but it’s hard argue with the difference in clarity. Listen for yourself:
Bose QuietComfort 35 II internal mic sample:
Bose QuietComfort 35 II boom mic sample:
How does the microphone sound to you?
Hold up! Something’s different:
We’ve made a big improvement to how we demonstrate the microphone performance of products we review. We now use a standardized test setup that plays back pre-recorded phrases from a calibrated artificial mouth in our test chamber, either with or without simulated background noises, simulated reverberant spaces, or artificial wind. This means that samples from every product can be directly compared, which makes it far easier to make meaningful comparisons between products in terms of the raw speech quality or the product’s ability to reject noise.
It will take a while to update our backlog of old test results, but we will update this review (and many others!) once we’re able with improved microphone demos. These will be made obvious in each new sample which begins with the phrase, “This is a SoundGuys standardized microphone demonstration …”
Thank you for bearing with us, and we hope to see you again once we’ve sorted everything out.
Should you buy the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset?
If money is no object, and you really want active noise cancelling, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset is definitely worth a look.
The Bose QC 35 II are a great pair of noise cancelling headphones, and they have been for years. In theory, that should mean the Bose QC 35 II Gaming Headset is a great gaming headset, but it’s a little more complicated than that. To be clear, as a gaming headset, it has the best isolation around, great sound, a decent mic, and it works on most platforms—a compelling combination, to be sure.
Additionally, it feels important to bring up the fact that this offering is currently only available as a bundle. If you already own the QC35 II, there’s no standalone microphone attachment you can buy, only a headset that’s $30 more than the one you own. That’s pretty disappointing—the mic attachment and volume dial are easy to use and well made, and they’d be easy to recommend as some kind of “gaming kit” add-on.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset is a great switch hitter, but it’s very expensive, and doesn’t bring a lot of gaming features to the table—plenty of far cheaper headsets sound just as good, work wirelessly while gaming, and offer more features. Looking at the QC35 II as a pair of headphones that happens to offer some gaming features makes it feel like a slightly easier sell, but if you’ve already got everyday headphones you like, it’s just not worth it.
What are the best Bose QC 35 II Gaming Headset alternatives?
If you’re looking for an audio option that can do it all, this is a great choice. However, if you’re in the market for a gaming headset specifically, this one is hard to recommend. The only features this headset brings that most gaming headsets don’t are Bluetooth and ANC, and it doesn’t include common gaming features like virtual surround sound—it’s not even wireless when you’re gaming. Whether that trade off is worth spending almost three times as much money as great gaming headsets like the Razer BlackShark V2, HyperX Cloud Alpha S, and Logitech G Pro X is down to personal preference. Even wireless options like the SteelSeries Arctis 7+ Wireless or HyperX Cloud Flight S are less than half the price. If you want to spend a decent chunk of change on a gaming headset, the Corsair Virtuoso Wireless SE offers vastly superior mic performance, plus it’s wireless and still over $100 USD cheaper.
If having Bluetooth compatibility in a gaming headset is important to you, but spending this much money to get it isn’t, you’ve still got options, too. The SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless doesn’t have the same level of sound quality, nor does it have active noise cancelling, but it’s super comfortable, it supports simultaneous Bluetooth and USB wireless connections, and it’s well over a $100 USD cheaper. Xbox gamers should also look to the Razer Kaira Pro, which supports Bluetooth and the Xbox Wireless audio connection, in addition to being super comfortable and less than a third the price of the QC35II Gaming Headset. The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid is pretty expensive for a gaming headset (still cheaper than the Bose headset), but it’s also a great wireless gaming headset with Bluetooth support.
Frequently asked questions about the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset
Yes. An earlier revision of the review stated the microphone connected to the Bose QuietComfort 35 II over 3.5mm. This is not the case, and we’ve updated to reflect that it uses 2.5mm to connect to the headphones, but the cord that runs out from the microphone still uses 3.5mm. Unfortunately, Bose still doesn’t sell these microphone modules separately, so you may have trouble finding one.
They sound exactly the same. The only difference between the Bose QC 35 II and the QC 35 II Gaming Headset is the microphone attachment. Otherwise, they’re the same headphones.
The switch is pretty much instant—the microphone itself plugs into a USB volume dial and as long as it’s selected on your computer, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II should immediately get audio through it.
The 3.5mm gaming microphone attachment features a molded plastic clip that will only fit on the Bose QC35II.
Unfortunately, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset gaming module isn’t available as a standalone purchase, and Bose hasn’t made any announcement about plans to make it available.