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Comparison of Bose and Apple Headphones

First off – this is not a sponsored post or advertising for either company. I paid money for both the Bose QC35II and the Air Pods Max. The headphones are currently still owned and both products are used almost daily. Both of them are heavily utilized on our road trips. I will try to keep this to the point and concise.

Bose QC35ii

  • Bose QC35II:
    • Pros: This headset has industry leading active noise canceling. Sound Quality as expected from Bose. Light weight and overall comfortable for over-the-ear headphones. My personal favorite feature is that it has a dual wireless connection meaning I can use them on zoom with my PC and at the same time answer a phone call.
    • Cons: the ear cushions came apart after 6 months of daily use. I had to find replacements online but they were relatively easy to replace. Battery life was awesome for the first year but then began to dwindle over the last couple of months. Recharging overnight still allows for a full day of constant use. They are not compatible with my playstation through a wireless connection but you can use the cable to plug them directly into the controller.

Apple Air Pods Max

  • Apple Air Pods Max:
    • Pros: well crafted and seem durable. Several color options available. Comfortable to wear for short bursts. Sound quality is better than expected. Battery life is adequate for most things. Magnetic ear cushions remove easily for cleaning or replacement.
    • Cons: Price. Weight definitely makes them uncomfortable for continuous use. The case is a joke and is the only way to effectively turn them off. If you rest them on a stand or place them face down, any sort of jostling will wake them up. This causes a constant battery drain. You are essentially forced to use the case to store them.

Head to Head Comparison

Bose Vs. Apple:

headphones earcups

Apple is likely a better build quality. You can physically feel the difference but that may be related more to weight. The active noise canceling in both is pretty solid but Bose still comes out slightly ahead of the apple Air Pods Max. Comfort wise, both are wearable without issue but Bose is much more comfy for continuous longer use patterns. Apple has slightly better sound quality for my ears. There seems to be less of the noise canceling hiss that is often associated with any active noise canceling setup.

One of the biggest differences I have noticed is the connection to multiple devices. When I first started using the Bose it didn’t seem like a big deal. Then, when I picked up the airpods and received a phone call while working on my PC it became readily apparent that it was an issue. Strangely enough this didn’t seem to be an issue when I was using my macbook. I could effectively pair it to the laptop and my phone without issue but third party devices not made by apple is like an act of god to re-pair everything.

Also, I cannot stress the issue with the case for the airpods. I rarely use the case for my Bose and would probably have thrown out the case for the apple headset. Unfortunately apple is so proud of themselves for designing the worst storage case ever made they basically force you to use it. The case offers little to no protection when storing them. It is necessary to use the case if you want to prolong your battery life though. For this reason alone I would not recommend these headphones to anyone. In lieu of using the case I just keep them plugged in for charging when not in use. However, if you take them on the road you will need to ensure you bring along the case or have constant battery drain issues thus rendering them useless.

headphone case

The Bottom Line

If you are searching for a set of noise cancelling headphones I highly recommend the Bose QC35’s. Apple makes a solid attempt with the Air Pods Max but the case design, battery drain, and multi-device connectivity do not justify the high price tag. Despite being a quality headset, the Bose QC35ii is the better option. Save yourself the headaches and money and consider the Bose QC35’s.


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