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Bose 700 vs Sony WH-1000XM3 (2021): Which Noise-Cancelling Headphones Should You Buy?

Bose and Sony offer two of the top premium noise-cancellation headphones available today, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 and the Sony WH-1000XM3. Choosing between the two is a touch call, and you’ll have to closely look at their best features and weigh them against any shortcomings. To help you get started, here’s a detailed comparison between them below.

Bose 700 vs Sony 1000XM3 Comparison Chart

ModelBose Noise Cancelling
Headphones 700
Sony WH-1000XM3
 Bose-Noise-Cancellling-Headphones-700
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Dimensions2″ x 6.5″ x 8″2.94″ x 7.31″ x 10.44″
Foldable DesignNoYes
Weight0.55 lbs0.56 lbs
ANC Levels113
Touch ControlsYesYes
Voice AssistantYesYes
Battery Life20 hours30 hours
Charge and ListenYesNo
Fast Charging15 minutes for 3.5 hours10 minutes for 5 hours
Audio CodecsSBC, AACSBC, AAC, aptX, LDAC

Design

The Bose 700 has a sleeker design and build than the Sony 1000XM3.

Bose 700 vs Sony 1000XM3 Design
The Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700 (left) sports a slimmer profile than the Sony WH-1000XM3 (right).

Design differences between the two headphones produce distinctive looks, which is easily apparent with a side-by-side look. Most noticeable is the slim stainless steel headband of the Bose 700 headphones, which features an ultra-soft bottom layer so it sits comfortably. In contrast, the entire length of the Sony 1000XM3 is nearly uniform in thickness, and has an ergonomic plush leather finish.

Comfort-wise, the ear cups on the Bose 700 is made from synthetic leather for durability and softness. It’s designed for all-day wear and comfort, much the same as those on the Sony 1000XM3. Both feel light and fits snugly without being overbearing, though overall comfort level will still be subjective. It’s recommended that you try their fit first if possible so you can judge which one feels better on you.

Overall, both headphones look designed for different audiences. You’ll likely find the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 more suited to casual settings. Its minimalist appearance looks positively modern and sleek compared to the Sony WH-1000XM3‘s more business-friendly style. One more thing to consider: Sony’s headphones are foldable so its carrying case is more compact.

Setup and Controls

Both headphones feature voice and touch controls.

Bose 700 vs Sony 1000XM3 Setup and Controls
You can adjust volume and activate voice controls on the right ear cup of the Sony WH-1000XM3.

Getting either headphones playing out of the box requires only a few simple steps of downloading their respective apps to set them up and pair them with your mobile device. Once done, you can use a combination of traditional buttons and touch controls to set volume, change tracks, adjust mic levels and make phone calls. Both sets of touch controls are located on the right earcup. The Sony WH-1000XM3 has a nifty feature that automatically turns down volume if you place your hand over the earcup, useful if someone’s talking to you for example.

For the most part, the touch controls are all intuitive: you swipe up and down to control volume, left and right to switch tracks, and so on. Both headphones also come with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant built in. You simply press a button on the right earcup of the Bose 700 or touch that of the Sony WH-1000XM3 for three seconds and you can talk to either instantly.

If you already have the Soundbar 500 or 700, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 can sync easily with them. You’ll get independent volume controls so you can turn the soundbar way down and still keep your headphones as loud as you wish.

Noise Cancellation

The Sony WH-1000XM3 has better active noise cancellation than the Bose 700.

Bose 700 vs Sony 1000XM3 Noise Cancellation
It’s not quite total silence, but what the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones gives you is close.

With its dedicated HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1, Sony’s WH-1000XM3 headphones simply offer superior active noise cancellation. It blocks out more background noises aside from the typical rumble of vehicles. Walking through busy city streets will feel blessedly quiet with these on. Plus, it has Atmospheric Pressure Optimizing so your ears don’t pop while flying.

There are three different levels of ANC that you can get on the Sony 1000XM3’s earcup controls, though there are 20 more available via the mobile app. It will also adapt noise cancellation levels to what you’re doing. You’ll hear important announcements if you’re simply waiting at a terminal and car horns if you’re walking down the street. Its Ambient Sound Control lets you further adjust this so you can stay alert when on the move.

Deal Finder
Sony WH-1000XM3 ANC Headphones
Sony's flagship noise-canceling headphones

Whether you're working from home or flying on a plane, the Sony WH-1000XM3's topnotch ANC won't disappoint.

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Bose’s ANC on the 700 Headphones are still excellent, and easily makes it the best contender after Sony’s. With 11 levels of noise cancellation, you can fine-tune which noises you’ll still be aware of when you’re somewhere loud. At its highest setting almost all low and mid-range noises vanishes. However, it’s not as great as Sony at making important noises audible when needed. It’s recommended that you turn its ANC way down if you’re walking, since you need to still be aware of your surroundings.

Sound Quality

The Bose 700 has a slightly better audio quality than the Sony WH-1000XM3.

Bose 700 vs Sony 1000XM3 Sound Quality
Enjoy immersive audio with the Bose Headphones 700 whatever you’re doing.

With full ANC on, it becomes easier to compare the sound quality these premium headphones are capable of. Right away it’s noticeable how bass-heavy the Sony WH-1000XM3 sounds. Combined with its warmer and darker tones overall, you’ll get a heavy low-end sound that can become fatiguing if you’re not used to it.

Meanwhile, the sound output of the Bose Headphones 700 is a bit more balanced, with its treble toned down and its bass slightly boosted. It has an open and flat signature that reproduces sound accurately. However, its active EQ feature trims the bass down when you crank the volume up, so it might not give you the hardcore beats you’re looking for. Still, its clean and smooth tones are fantastic when combined with high ANC settings. You’ll be able to really immerse yourself in your favorite music from premium quality audio.

Finally, you can get up to 30 hours of music playback with the Sony WH-1000XM3, or 50% more than the Bose Headphones 700. With both including audio cables in case you run out of charge, battery life isn’t too big of a concern unless you’re traveling.

Verdict

Get the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 if you’re after sound quality and the Sony WH-1000XM3 if you’re after noise cancellation features.

Deal Finder
Sony WH-1000XM3 ANC Headphones
Sony's flagship noise-canceling headphones

Whether you're working from home or flying on a plane, the Sony WH-1000XM3's topnotch ANC won't disappoint.

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We are reader supported. When you buy through our links we may earn an affiliate commission.

Though both premium headphones offer user-friendly controls and comfortable designs, we found that each is just slightly better than the other in specific categories.

We recommend going for the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 if immersive music experiences are on top of your list. You’ll love how smooth and clear it sounds especially with all background noises failing to reach your ears. With multiple levels of active noise cancellation within easy reach, you can customize how much you’ll hear. Plus, the Bose 700 headphones simply look more stylish with its premium stainless steel build.

Now, if you’re looking for the best noise cancelling headphones in the market, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is our top pick. It offers much more flexibility in tuning out and letting in ambient sounds so you can either mute everything down or filter important noises if needed. With a longer battery life and better portability, they’re also the better choice if you travel a lot.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Is Bose noise canceling better than Sony?

Sony’s noise canceling is better overall, as can be seen with the WH-1000XM3. However, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 offers more granular controls and excellent noise cancellation in the low end.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Sony WH-1000XM3 worth buying?

Yes, the WH-1000XM3 is among the best noise-canceling headphones available with the sound quality to match.

๐Ÿ“Œ Are the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 worth it?

Yes, the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are worth buying because of their decent sound quality and noise cancellation performance in low end ambient sound.

๐Ÿ“Œ Which is better, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 or Sony WH-1000XM3?

Both headphones are excellent in their own right, but the WH-1000XM3 has better noise canceling all around with better battery life and portability to boot.

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Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.