Bose QuietComfort 35 II has a great noise cancelling headphones deal on right now, but dare you venture into more stylish waters and try the Bowers and Wilkins PX instead? In the realm of active noise-cancelling (ANC) headphones – over-ear headphones specifically – everyone thinks of Bose, but B&W's cans are actually better. They're on sale now because Bowers has some newer, replacement headphones… But to be quite honest, Bowers' new ones look really boring and don't sound all that much better.
If you prefer in-ear noise cancelling, that's great as Sony WF-1000XM3 (review) has a discount that is so consistently applied it's almost like the new RRP. No way would I pay £230 for this but at £170 or so, you are talking my language (but I won't be able to hear you).
Continuing on a Sony tip, there's also a great deal still to be had on its over-ear headphones – WH-1000XM3. Despite the arrival of B&W's PX7 and Bose's NC 700, these are still officially the best noise cancelling headphones any man, woman or person of other gender can purchase. Amazon has been running this deal for ages now, yet still no other big retailer has quite matched it.
Although having said that, if you're comfortable buying from eBay there's also this deal, which sees them cut to under £190 – presumably they ship from Hong Kong or Singapore but their feedback is positive.
The price of Bose's newer noise cancelling headphones seems to have settled at just under 300 quid.
Those who are down with Beats by Dr Dre should make haste to Currys
for this big-ass deal. Okay no, that one has ended, but check out their AirPods deal instead:
Oh, you still want Beats? Amazon has the best current Studio 3 deal.
How about the USA?
If you're looking for Beats, there are deals on Studio 3 Wireless – Best Buy has it for $199 again – and Walmart intermittently has deals even on the newer, also excellent, Solo Pro noise cancelling on-ear headphones.
The only question is, which one should you get? Good as the Bose is, I recommend the Bowers & Wilkins PX, either of the above Sony options, or the newer Bose 700 over the QuietComfort headphones. If you don't mind its 'striking' looks, the Beats Studio 3 also outperforms QC35 2, the elderly Bose stalwart. But I expect you will disobey me and buy the more popular Bose – fair enough, they are still perfectly good headphones, and everyone has them.
Sony WH-1000XM3 | Was £330 | Now £240 | Save £90 at Amazon
By an uncanny coincidence Amazon also has Sony's noise cancelling headphones at a great price. This is significant because the Sony WH-1000XM3 is actually, whisper it, a better pair of noise cancelling headphones than the Bose QC35 II. Take a look at our best noise cancelling headphones Top 10, and you will see it is true. The audio has that bit more zip, the noise cancelling is even better, especially on aeroplanes, and build quality is on par or better.View Deal
Bose QuietComfort 35 II £230 | RRP £330 | Save £100 at Amazon
Perhaps Amazon's rediscovered enthusiasm for cut-price Bose noise cancelling headphones stems from the fact that QC35 II are now Alexa compatible – it was Google Assistant only at launch. Just press a button and you can talk to your choice of the digital assistants. Noise cancelling and sound quality remain among the best you'll find. That Bose NC700 further down is a better deal, though. View Deal
Or the dark horse – Beats by Dr. Dre Studio 3 Wireless
Beats Studio 3 Wireless £199 | Was £299 | Save £100 at Currys
Despite being only available in a slightly iffy cream colourway, this Currys Studio3 deal is nonetheless worth considering. Why? Because the Beats flagship over-ear noise cancelling headphones are about as good as the Bose and Sony above in terms of sonic performance and the noise cancelling is right up there, yet this is notably cheaper than either the Bose or the Sony. Whether you like the look may be more of a personal choice but hey – that's why you're an individual. View Deal
Why you should buy Bose QuietComfort 35 II
The Mk II version of QC35 adds a button to awake Google Assistant or Alexa, meaning that the headphones now excel as a music product, headset for making phone calls, and a sort of AI butler.
Active noise cancelling is absolutely superb. It can be dialled up or down via the app to suit your location, and there is also a button to allow audio passthrough, so you can talk to your aeroplane's air crew, for instance, without the tiresome need to remove your headphones.
The sound quality with ANC on is very good indeed. It's perhaps not as exciting as the rival noise cancellers from, Sony, Beats or Bowers & Wilkins, but it's very listenable, and not tiring. Comfort is exemplary and the battery lasts 20 hours or so per charge.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II basically invented the market for premium wireless, noise-cancelling headphones. All the other brands have been scrabbling to catch up ever since, and the QC35 II remains a stunning pair of headphones, and probably the most successful of the last decade in terms of units sold and $£ generated.
Even Bose themselves will tell you that, while the new Noise Cancelling 700 has several improved features, including touch controls and very clever enhancement of your speech for calls and AI assistants, the sound and noise cancelling in them is actually not that different from the QC35 II.
Why you should buy Beats by Dr Dre Studio3 Wireless
These Apple-powered over-ear headphones boast astonishingly good active noise cancelling (ANC) which actually adapts to your surroundings. The Studio3 Wireless detects different types of noise and then terminates them with extreme prejudice, quelling everything from aeroplane cabin noise to office 'banter' to, most impressive of all, gusts of wind. And wind is like Kryptonite to most ANC headphones.
Audio retains the usual Beats sonic characteristics – bassy and forceful – but in a way more subtle manner than previous headphones from the brand. These are truly musical. Battery life is 22 hours with ANC on and an insane 40 hours with it off. As usual with Beats headphones, a short charge will give you several hours more battery life. Pairing with Apple devices is super quick and slick thanks to Apple's equivalent of NFC. Not that it's exactly slow or clumsy when pairing with non-Apple devices, in the usual Bluetooth manner.