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Bose On-Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones: SoundLink vs 700 (2021)

Combining sleek design with its signature sound quality, Bose’s wireless headphones are a top choice for those pursuing a cable-free listening experience. The SoundLink, for instance, boasts a lightweight form with comfortable ear pads as well as an advanced mic system. On the other hand, Bose’s Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is equipped with an active noise cancelling technology that gives music true depth and detail. Which one should you get? Here, we compare two of Bose’s on-ear wireless bluetooth headphones to help you decide.

Bose SoundLink vs 700 Comparison Chart

ModelBose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones IIBose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
 Bose SoundLink Around Ear Wireless Headphones II - BlackBose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, Bluetooth, Over-Ear Wireless Headphones with Built-In...
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
DesignOn-ear/over-the-ear formOn-ear/over-the-ear form
Weight200g254g
MaterialsGlass-filled nylon, stainless steel, micro suede Alcantara cushionStainless steel, leather, silicone-covered foam
Active Noise CancellationNoYes (11 Levels)
Sweat ResistantNoNo
Voice Assistant AccessNoYes (Google, Amazon Alexa)
Wireless Range30 ft.33 ft.
Carrying CaseIncludedIncluded
ChargingUSB cableUSB-C cable
Playback Time15 hours20 hours

Design

The Bose SoundLink and Bose 700 are designed with user-comfort in mind.

Compared to the SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphone II (left), the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (right) has a slenderer headband and more futuristic appearance.

A common gripe when it comes to wireless bluetooth headphones is comfort. After all, having a band over your head and large pads covering your ear, can be uncomfortable. So with the SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphone II, Bose has equipped the ear pads with a memory-foam to ensure a consistent fit for the user. The headband also features micro suede Alcantara cushion for stability. And despite its lightweight form, the headphone is made of impact-resistant materials including durable glass-filled nylon and stainless steel. 

Bose’s Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 pursues a similar balance of comfort and durability. Its ear cups are tilted at 15 degrees to mimic the form of the human head and ears. Moreover, the ear cushions feature plush protein leather, while the headbands are made of streamlined steel band for a secure and comfortable fit. The Bose 700 is heavier than the SoundLink, and even its predecessor, the QuietComfort 35 II headphones. But the soft padded underside of the band cancels out any discomfort from the 700’s weight. 

You can get the SoundLink in two color variants—white and black, with respective tan and blue highlights. On the other hand, the Bose 700 brandishes two premium finishes: black, and luxe silver. There’s almost a gradient-effect to the 700’s colors. Plus, its oval ear cups, discreet controls, and slender frame lend it a more unibody and minimalist aesthetic. It certainly makes the SoundLink look a bit outdated. 

Sound Quality

Both Bose wireless headphones offer balanced sound and ample bass, but the Bose 700 comes with an impressive active noise cancelling feature.

The ear cups on the SoundLink (left) and the Bose 700 (right) create a tight cover for a better listening experience.

The Bose SoundLink features TriPort technology, which is essentially just marketing-savvy for additional vents that boost the bass. There’s also Active EQ that optimizes sound at any volume, but also leads to a processed quality in some areas. This is noticeable in highs, which are toned-down a bit. On the other hand, the lows and mids are solid, but not spectacular. The SoundLink also does not come with noise cancellation. But while this means it’s not as loud, the headphones more than makes up for it with clarity.

In contrast, the Bose 700 comes with Bose’s patented active noise cancellation. This eight-microphone system work together to isolate the user from background noise. With the Bose 700, you have 11 levels to choose from that can be adjusted using the Bose Connect app. As a result, you hear the music you’re listening to better, and you also sound clearer to people on the other side of a call.  

The 700 also features new drivers when compared to its predecessor, the QuiteComfort 35 II. The upgrade delivers a crisp and clear sound, with instruments standing on their own even at full-volume. While the 700 handles bass better than the SoundLink, the highs can be a bit harsh. Overall, both wireless bluetooth headphones are well-balanced and clean sounding. For most people, the largely pleasant listening experience is good enough. However, if you want more oomph in your bass, you’ll probably have better luck with other brands.

Controls and Compatibility

Bose’s SoundLink wireless headphones come with physical control buttons, while the 700 sports a new, touch control panel.

On the SoundLink (left), the physical buttons are more noticeable compared to those on the Bose 700 (right).

The Bose SoundLink and 700 come with an array of ear cup controls. As mentioned in the design, the buttons on the 700 are sleekly incorporated into the form of the headphone. On the left, you get the noise-cancellation/conversation-mode button. On the right, you have your power pairing and digital assistant buttons, with the latter doubling as a mute switch during calls. And yes, the digital assistant button means these headphones support voice control like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

In addition, the Bose 700 has included a touch panel on the front half of the right ear cup. This allows you to control your music using gestures or swipes. While it sounds great on paper, in reality the touch controls can be problematic in cold weather. Being the older model of the two, SoundLink still has the physical buttons. These controls are conveniently located on the ear cups, allowing you to easily switch between listening to music and calls. And while you only get the standard arrangement—volume up and down, and a multifunction button—it’s a welcome, tactile feature that shouldn’t have issues with the weather. 

To customize your headphones, you can change the settings of the SoundLink and 700 using the Bose Connect app. With the 700, you can also manage some EQ settings, check your battery life and bluetooth connections with the separate Bose Music app.

Inside The Box and Battery Life

Both the SoundLink and 700 come with standard in-the-box accessories. In terms of battery life, the 700 lasts longer, both on regular and quick charges. 

Here’s a look at what’s inside the box of a Bose SoundLink (left) and the Bose 700 (right).

Both the Bose SoundLink and Bose 700 come with sleek, protective carrying cases. When you purchase the SoundLink, you also get a USB charging cable and back-up audio cable. The Bose 700, on the other hand, includes an audio cable, USB-C charging cable, and quick start guide.

The SoundLink takes about 3 hours for a full-charge that delivers about 15 hours of playback time. If you’re running late, a 15-minute quick charge should give you power for about 2 hours. In contrast, the Bose 700 has a charge time of about 2.5 hours, for an impressive 20 hours of playback. A 15-minute quick charge, on the other hand, gives you 3.5 hours of power. 

Verdict

The SoundLink is a capable and budget-friendly choice but the 700 is clearly the more advanced Bose on-ear wireless bluetooth headphone of the two. 

With its sophisticated design and impressive noise cancellation feature, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is easier to recommend to most users. The headphones strike a balance between comfort and durability, while delivering a clean and clear sound performance. It’s not the loudest or most dynamic of headphones, but there’s ample bass to keep most listeners happy. Plus, the adjustable noise cancelling settings and ear cup touch controls are cool features to boast about, even if they aren’t perfect.

On the other hand, the SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II is good choice for those who perhaps want an entry-point into Bose’s line of wireless bluetooth headphones. It’s a capable device, with physical buttons that work well in any weather. The sound quality may not be revolutionary, but the listening experience is pleasant. Moreover, the ergonomic design makes long listening sessions bearable, which is rare among most around-ear headphones.  

FAQs

📌 Are Bose’s on-ear wireless bluetooth headphones sweat-proof?

The SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II and the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are not sweat-proof. If you want to take either headphones to the gym, you can opt for moisture-proof headphone covers. 

📌 Can I connect two devices simultaneously to my Bose SoundLink?

Yes, you can. The Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II use multi-point connectivity that allows an active connection for up to three Bluetooth devices. 

📌 How many physical buttons does the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 have?

The Bose NCH 700 come with three physical buttons: noise cancellation/transparency mode, a dedicated VPA button which doubles for muting the line in a call, and a Bluetooth button. 

📌 Can I use Google Assistant on my Bose 700 headphones?

Yes. You can set-up your Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 to use the default virtual assistant on your phone, whether it’s Google Assistant or even Siri. 

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.