Bang & Olufsen vs Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones: Which Is Better?

In a battle of high end headphones with active noise cancelling, you’d have to think twice on which heavyweight to place your bets on. Below we take a look at two of the priciest and most capable ANC headphones available today: the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 3rd Gen and the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700.

Bang & Olufsen vs Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones Comparison Chart

ModelBang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 3rd GenBose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Bose Headphones 700
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Dimensions2.05″ x 7.87″ x 7.76″2″ x 6.5″ x 8″
Weight0.63 lbs0.55 lbs
Foldable DesignSwivelSwivel
AppBang & OlufsenBose Music
ANC Levels311
Touch ControlsYesYes
Voice AssistantYesYes
Battery Life25 hours20 hours
Charging Time3 hours2.5 hours
Fast Chargingn/a15 minutes for 3.5 hours
3.5mm CableIncludedIncluded
Colors63

Design

The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 3rd Gen is made of more luxurious materials than the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700.

Bang & Olufsen vs Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones Design
Style-wise, the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 3rd Gen (left) looks posh and cozy while the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (right) looks sleek and active.

Bang & Olufsen is well-known for its excellent craftsmanship as makers of audio devices sporting only premium-grade materials. The Beoplay H9 3rd Gen is a premier example of the brand’s impressive products, as it combines luxury, comfort and advanced tech into a fashion-forward gadget. It’s easy to imagine how plush and comfy these headphones are even with just these photos.

Under the cowhide leather headband is generous padding to keep the Beoplay H9 resting prettily on your head. Soft lambskin as well as adaptive memory foam cover the ear cups and ensure your ears won’t feel stuffy wearing it for long. With anodized aluminum and high-grade polymer providing build stability, every inch of these gorgeous headphones is oozing in luxury.

That’s not to say that the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 isn’t top-of-the-line in terms of looks. However, placing them side-by-side really highlights how minimalistic its aesthetics are. The subtle gloss of the stainless steel headband, which is cushioned by a super soft gel-like foam, give it a smooth and sleek profile. Protein leather and more soft foam cover the ear cups for all-day comfort.

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Aside from looks, the Beoplay H9 also has a swivel design for flatter storage. Sliding the ear cups along the headband will adjust its fit in non-segmented points. Overall, it’s safe to say that the B&O Beoplay H9 will grab more second looks and stares than the Bose NCH 700.

Setup and Controls

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is easier to control and has a better companion app than the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 3rd Gen.

Bang & Olufsen vs Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones Controls
Simpler touch-sensitive controls make the Bose NCH 700 easier to use.

Like most modern headphones from top brands, both headphones require downloading their respective companion apps to fully utilize its features. A quick look at the ratings of these mobile apps can already tell you the tale of the tape. The Bose Music app is significantly better-reviewed than the Bang & Olufsen app, in both Apple Store and Google Play. You’re less likely to encounter problems and difficulties using the Bose app than B&O’s.

Once you’re fully set up and running, you’ll want to discover the touch controls located on the right ear cups of both headphones. Bang & Olufsen has improved on the responsiveness of their touch panel quite a bit compared to the previous model. There’s also a raised outer ring so you can more easily place your finger just so. However, many of the required gestures involve swiping along this aluminum touch interface top to bottom and clockwise (and in reverse).

Therein lies the difficulty, as sometimes the B&O Beoplay H9 3rd Gen won’t register your finger-swipe well enough for accurate control. It might simply take some practice to get the hang of it, but compared to the simplified single and double taps of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, it seems unnecessary.

Both headphones have a dedicated voice assistant button so you can speak to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant easily. The one on the Bose NCH 700 is a tiny bit easier to reach though. In addition to the Bluetooth pairing switch, there’s also an ANC button on both, though the Beoplay H9’s is simply an on/off button while the Bose 700 takes you between presets.

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Noise Cancellation

The Bose Headphones 700 has deeper active noise cancellation features compared to the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 3rd Gen.

Bang & Olufsen vs Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones ANC
Choose how much ambient noise you want to tamp down with the Bose NCH 700.

Bang & Olufsen has done a bang up job on the Beoplay H9 3rd Gen’s active noise cancellation. It kills the majority of annoying noises in any setting, from the hum of air-conditioning to city street traffic and conversations on tables next to you. Only the most persistent and loud sounds, like plane engine rumbles, can really be noticed while it’s on. Best of all, you don’t feel that ear pressure like you’re underwater, which is common in other noise cancelling headphones.

However, it’s still a step below the ANC capabilities of the Bose NCH 700. Not only does the Bose flagship virtually seal you inside your own self-absorbed cocoon, you can also gradually select how much ambient noise you can hear. You can select from 10 levels of ANC on the Bose Music app and set your favorites as presets on the device. At levels 1-5 you’ll still be aware of important announcements in terminals and honks in traffic. Higher levels really cut down on background noises until you’re unlikely to hear someone shouting in your face.

At the Bose’s lowest ANC setting is Conversation mode, which is like taking off your headphones without physically taking them off. You’ll be able to talk and hear normally, with just a bit of cleanup on background noise. The B&O H9 has a Transparency mode that performs similarly well.

In addition, the additional microphones on the Bose 700 Headphones further improve your vocal quality during calls. They filter out background noise so you come out clear to whomever you’re talking.

Sound Quality

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 has a more balanced sound profile than the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 3rd Gen.

Bang & Olufsen vs Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones Sound Quality
You’ll find the Bose NCH 700 to offer a richer audio character capable of greater clarity.

Truth be told, for its price you’d expect the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 3rd Gen to deliver incredible high-fidelity sound. Well, it’s certainly an excellent pair of headphones but it simply falls short of the quality you’d hope for when you’re spending this much. For one, the Beoplay H9’s bass is pushed further than the mids and highs. Those who love their bass will definitely enjoy it, but audiophiles won’t fail to notice that they’re less accurate and controlled than they should be.

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Combined with a flat mid-range and slightly emphasized upper range, the sound character of the B&O Beoplay H9 sounds smooth and lively. Vocals are crisp and can be easily made out, but the overbearing bass might turn off fans of musical genres other than pop, hip-hop, etc.

In comparison, the bass on the Bose Headphones 700 is quite impressive at low volumes though it doesn’t overpower other frequencies. It doesn’t get magnified when you pump up the volume though, since Bose’s active EQ keeps it controlled. There’s greater finesse in the treble and mids compared to the B&O, making it deliver clearer details in instrumentation. You’ll feel fully immersed with its spacious, smooth sound.

Battery Life

The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 3rd Gen has a longer battery life than the Bose Headphones 700.

Bang & Olufsen vs Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones Battery Life
A larger battery lets you wear the B&O Beoplay H9 3rd Gen longer.

Bang & Olufsen improved on the runtime of its previous flagship, the Beoplay H9i, equipping the 3rd Gen H9 with a larger 1110mAh battery. This can give up to 25 hours of wireless playtime with both ANC and music on, compared to the 20 hours of the Bose Headphones 700.

Charging the Bose NCH 700 is much faster though, and you can give it a quick 15-minute boost to get 3.5 hours of playback. In case you do run out of battery, both headphones include a 3.5mm mini-jack and cable so you can simply plug it in as a wired headset.

Verdict

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 handily beats the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 3rd Gen.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 3rd Gen

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Bose Headphones 700

Even if price wasn’t a factor, we’d still pick the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 due to its superior ANC features and more balanced sound quality. It’s also easier to control, requiring only simple taps while providing more options via app. Without other high-end manufacturers offering premium-grade builds, its sleek and subtle design gives it a futuristic, space age flair. Simply put, it sounds as good as it looks.

As price is indeed a big consideration, the overall performance of the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 3rd Gen simply doesn’t match expectations. Its active noise cancellation does an adequate job of reducing background noise evenly and satisfyingly, but it’s not up to par with the top ANC headphones out there. Sound is fantastic if a bit skewed towards modern music, but perhaps the best reason to get them is style. The third generation of the Beoplay H9 is gorgeous, making it the better fashionable accessory in this matchup.