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Jan 12, 2021

Gripes on the NC700s from a long time Bose user/fan

I've had the NC700s for about a year now after replacing a 14 year old set of QC2's (2004 vintage) that had a headband finally break after probably 10,000+ wear cycles and multiple "repairs".  Unfortunately I've been sorely disappointed by the NC700s and after countless hours searching for fixes am reaching out to this community to see if anyone has work arounds or Bose has updates in the future before I sell these and try my luck with another headphone brand (or pick up a set of $25 QC2s from eBay).

 

Pros

  1. Fantastic aesthetics and build quality
  2. Wireless
  3. Much deeper and more advanced noise cancelling then my QC2's
  4. Labeling L and R in the ear cup is a great touch
  5. Rechargeable and USB-C charging matches most modern electronics 

Cons:

  1. Low-end sound quality is notably worse then the QC2s when listening head-to-head.  I also compared the QC2s to the QC35II which have a very similar eq to the NC700s.  Sound, especially bass heavy electronic music, on the NC700's and QC35II's (and wh1000xm4s!) sound tinny and gutless compared to the warmth and deepness of the QC2s
    1. Recommendation: allow users to more effectively increase the base or fine tune the eq
  2. When my NC700s initially connect to my windows 10 computer the first 15 seconds of connection has a notably lower bit rate sound quality.  Sounds like voices are talking are through a 56k modem.  Very annoying
    1. Recommendation: please fix this in future firmware updates
  3. About 30-40% of the time, when I power the NC700 headset on it does not immediately connect to my windows 10 machine requiring me to going into settings and click connect.  This is worse then a wired headset that is "instantly on".  I have no clue why it sometimes connects and sometimes does not.  As I type this I just turned my headset on and off and it did not reconnect.
    1. Recommendation: please fix this in future firmware updates
  4. The head band is very uncomfortable on the top of my head after about 30 mins of use.  I have a "large" head if motorcycle helmets are a gauge.  The design is "pointer" then my QC2's (which I could easily wear for 12+ hours and forget they were there).  I'm trying to stretch out the head band by storing the headset around it's carrying case as one user has recommended to see if that helps.  This is probably the most disappointing thing about these headphones for me.
    1. Recommendation: would be great if Bose could design a aftermarket "soft pad" like they have on aviation headsets and what is typically seen on good studio headsets.  So far I haven't been able to find anything that looks like it will improve this. 
  5. No external battery indicator.  I either have to charge it every day (PITA) or sometimes put the head phones on not knowing if I'll have the battery power to make it through the day. 
    1. Recommendation: put a low battery status indicator on the headset
  6. Orchestra stab ques are terrible and jarring, I attempted to turn them off with the Bose app but the "on-off" que remains replacing the audio I'm trying to listen to with jarring garbage.  These are unnecessary.  Do you know how I know the heads phones are on?  They are playing sound.  How do I know the headphones are not on? They aren't play sound!  There is no need for a audio que here!
    1. Recommendation: allow user to turn off all audio ques
  7. When connected to my desktop, if audio stops (for example, when a youtube video ends) the headphones make a the terrible jarring orchestra stab. Again, no que needed!  I'd be happy with the audio... just stopping!
    1. Recommendation: allow user to turn off all audio ques
  8. Buttons aren't labelled.  What do these side buttons do again?
    1. Recommendation: label buttons on future head sets
  9. Learning gesture's sucks.  I have enough going on every day and I don't want to learn a secret language to communicate with my head phones.  
    1. Recommendation: add volume, skip track, pause buttons to future head phones.  Put different textures on each button so that the user can tell them apart.  The QC35II headset does this well.
  10. On/Off button is the same as bluetooth button.  Normally takes me a few tries to remember how long I'm supposed to push this thing to get it to turn-on/off verse pair for bluetooth.
    1. Recommendation: make these separate buttons in the future
  11. Certain sounds don't seem to be well noise cancelled.  I've noticed keyboard typing and the crinkling of chip bags are not noise cancelled and almost seem to be amplified.  Is this intentional?  My QC2's do a better job of universally noise cancelling.
    1. Recommendation: all end users to disable this feature to achieve universal noise cancelling.

I hope some folks out there can help me with some of these issues!  I know this post must sound like it's coming from a curmudgeonly 80 year old grandpa but I'm a mid-30s engineer in the tech industry.  I spend a lot of time in front of the computer with these head phones on so I'm particularly sensitive to all of the user experience choices made.  Unfortunately there is a lot to be improved to justify a $370 price tag!  Any help super appreciated!