Beats Solo3 Wireless vs Bose QC35 II: Which is better?

The major differences

Both Bose and Beats have been in the headphone space for quite some time, and both companies have developed a signature sound for their devices. If you've ever used a pair of Beats headphones (or a speaker) you'll know that the bass is quite heavy, and for some, maybe even too heavy. Bose, on the other hand, keep its sound profile very balanced and pretty neutral. Basically, the Bose QC 35 II's are better for more types of music and other sounds than the Beats Solo3 out of the box.

When you're looking at a pair of over-ear headphones, most people want some sort of noise-cancellation, and in that category, Bose wins hands down. The Beats Solo3's offer no noise cancellation and the passive noise isolation isn't even that great. The QC 35 II's have three different noise canceling options you can use allowing you to choose how much of the outside world you want to hear or not.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Beats Solo3 WirelessBose QC 35 II
W1 chipYesNo
Noise cancellationNoYes
Battery-life40 hours20 hours
Charge time1.5 hours2.5 hours
Audio while chargingYesNo
Power saving featureNoneAuto-off timer
Carrying case includedYesYes

The other significant difference that's going to affect most users is battery life. The Bose QC 35 II's have a decent 20 hours of wireless battery life, which will vary a little based on your usage, but in our testing mostly rings true. The Beats Solo3 has a whopping 40-hour battery life on wireless, and in our personal experience that quoted time is accurate. Plus, the Fast Fuel that Beats offers to mean when your battery does run low, you can get three hours of battery life with only five minutes of charging.

Without beating around the bush, the Bose QC 35 II's are the premium headphones you would expect from a company like Bose. If you're a true audiophile and want noise cancellation, you'll be much happier with the QC 35 II's if you're willing to dish out the cash.

So what do the Beats offer? Well, we've said it before and will repeat it: If you're an iPhone user, the W1 chip is just awesome. It takes away any hassle of pairing and connecting the headphones to your iPhone and other Apple devices and makes your pair of Beats Solo3 Wireless feel like an extension of your iPhone rather than a standard accessory. Of course, the Beats have a slightly poorer sound quality than the QC 35 II that favors low-end tones over highs, and it doesn't have noise-cancellation so you'll be hearing the world around you a lot.

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.