Some background: I’m not an audiophile. Possibly the opposite. I have no interest in accurate sound. I must be in some lower percentile of amount of music I listen to. And that’s almost always through speakers.
I mostly listen to podcasts and various tracks from apps claiming it will help me focus.
I’ll start by describing different situations I’ve used the headphones. I’m hoping you can find one that relates to you.
While walking around my neighborhood: I noticed I could listen to podcasts at a much lower volume. Then I went to cross the street and noticed that I didn’t really look both ways as actively as I usually do. Mostly because it will nearly always sound like approaching cars are far away or silent. From now on, going one-ear out when walking.
Walking around the city: I tried them out walking through soho on a rainy night. I’ve seen cocoon used frequently in other reviews for the headphones, and now I understand. They quiet the city and make me realize how loud the city is in the first place.
I pulled them off to hear outside for a few seconds, then put them on. It’s basically the in-store test, except in the wild. I’m guessing any new owner does this a couple dozen times each week. The city has a low roar.
The QC35s are built to silence those kinds of constant hums and whirs. Voices and sirens are quieted. Union Square at rush hour sounds like a side street. Everything seems just a little more calm.
In the office: My past experience was with some Audio Technica headphones. I only tried those in an office. I stopped using them when I realized they basically become tiny speakers for my coworkers to hear. No complaints so far with the QC35s.
While working out aka officially becoming that guy: I always thought it looked funny when people wore over-the-ear headphones at the gym. It still does. I’m just one of them now. There was initial shame but now I just feel a little dumb for being so judge-y. The gym is one place where you should feel comfortable doing just about whatever.
While at home: Completely silences the air conditioner. So that I can replace it with artificial air conditioner noise tracks. That’s what focus sounds like.
Battery life is good: Never been in a situation where I was running low on battery. And they leave the port exposed. This will sound stupid but maybe half the time with the cheap headphones I didn’t bother charging them because of an annoying rubber flap I needed my nails to open up.
I imagine someday it’ll bite me and I’ll be out and about without a charge, but day to day my phone will die way before the headphones do. And I rarely have issues with my phone’s battery life as it is.
The Game Gear’d version of myself would be so happy to hear about the future state of batteries.
Pairing works well: The QC35s pair quickly, have a hardware switch, and can connect to two devices at once. Now that I have a great pair, I’m realizing how bad my previous bluetooth headphones were.
There have been a few hiccups when paired to my laptop. Mostly because I leave stuff playing on my laptop sometimes and I need to walk over to pause it so my phone can take priority on the headphones.
I still see value in the ease of use the Apple/Beats W1 chip headphones will have. But I wouldn’t say it bugs me that I don’t have that.
Otherwise, I’ve quickly gotten used to the pairing process. I can do it and get out the door without much thought.
The microphone is an added bonus. I didn’t know the QC35s had a microphone at all. I’ve done quite a bit of testing with dictating through my iPad and iPhone’s keyboard and Google Docs on my laptop. Both work really well.
Being free of wires here is great. I have a Blue Snowball that I like but always feel like I need to get pretty close to it for accurate dictation. I also had a headset with a mic, but the cable gets in the way sometimes.
I also enjoy the obnoxious image of taping around my apartment pondering my great ideas as I speak freely.
Taking calls: I FaceTimed with a friend while I was sitting on a bench at The High Line. Then I put my friend’s face in my pocket and walked through the city. We continued with a clear conversation. I’m never confident in mics that aren’t sticks in front of my mouth. The QC35s seem to do the trick.
They’re wireless: Duh, but I do want to talk about it. I started using generic $16-ish Bluetooth earbuds a few months ago. That gave me a taste of what the wireless life would be like.
Then there were all the bad things. Battery life was a couple hours, I’d forget to charge them, pairing was a mess.
The QC35s solve all of that and let me stand up and walk away from my desk with…
Do I do it?
… no strings attached.
Well don’t stop now.
Go for it.
…kiss those wires…
…bye, bye, bye.