With the COVID-19 pandemic increasing the amount of remote workers and learners, a solid pair of headphones is a must-have. And the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones (NCH) 700 UC are an ideal choice for unified communication needs.
I’ll admit I’ve had my eyes on the Bose NCH 700 UC headphones since InfoComm 2020. I watched a demonstration where one of their employees was in a busy airport (pre-COVID-19, obviously) using the headphones and you could hear all of the hustle and bustle around him. Then, he turned on the noise cancellation feature and the background noise disappeared completely. I was so impressed—and frankly was a bit skeptical—that I emailed their team to verify that the video was authentic. They said it was and I knew right then I had to test these headphones out myself.
The NCH 700 UC features 11 levels of noise cancellation—from virtually silent like I heard in the airport demo to open and ambient so you can stay aware of your surroundings. We know work from home life isn’t perfect and calls are often interrupted—my dog likes to bark at the most inopportune moments and my neighbors are having construction work done on their units. Using the noise cancellation feature, my co-workers were completely oblivious to the chaos happening in and around my condo. And I could easily hear them as well with the headphone’s active equalization technology that provides rich, immersive audio.
Touch controls are all the rage in over the ear headphones and that’s what you’ll find with the Bose 700UC Noise Cancelling Headphones. To change the volume, you simply swipe up and down on the right ear cup; from there, you can also play/pause with a simple tap, or fast-forward/rewind with a swipe forward or backward. You can also double-tap to decline a call or single tap to answer a call.
It’s a very responsive design and I only accidentally hung up on someone once—which is less often than I do with my regular phone so we’ll call that a win.
You can also customize a shortcut for the tap and hold action on the headphones to perform one of two functions: announce the battery level (this is the default setting) or to disable/enable the wake word for Amazon Alexa.
The Bose 700UC Noise Cancelling Headphones arrived in a nondescript brown box, unlike others I’ve received with creative and colorful packaging. Once the box is opened, the headphones are there in a plain black case.
While the packaging may have been unremarkable, you notice right away that these headphones are sleek and stylish. They're also a comfortable fit—the unit weights slightly under 9 oz. Compared to other, more bulky headphones I’ve been using for conference calls, this lightweight pair is a welcome relief.
The oval-shaped ear pads are quite comfortable; they are well cushioned with a close fit to keep sound contained, while, at the same time, are not too snug.
The headband is easily adjustable and has a rather wide range. Personally, I sometimes have issues with headphones—even at their smallest setting—being a bit large on my head. But these fit well and also fit people with larger heads.
The battery life/charge time on these headphones could be better. The Bose NCH 700 UC headphones, according to the company, last up to 20 hours and take 2.5 hours for a full charge; I found this to be mostly accurate with regular use. There is also a quick charge feature where a 15-minute charge will give you about 3.5 hours of battery life, although it was slightly less than 3 hours for me.
The UCC Aspect
The Bose NCH 700 UC headphones are designed specifically for conferencing and come with a USB Link Bluetooth to provide a more reliable wireless connection. (Side note: if you own the Bose Headphones 700, you can purchase the dongle separately for $69.95 on the company’s website for a better conference call experience.)
The headphones are certified for use with both Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. I regularly used them on Google Meets, our company’s meeting platform of choice, and had little problems; the only noticeable issue was that my colleagues occasionally said I sounded “tin-y”, but that was quickly resolved when I changed the noise cancellation level.
Another very handy feature: the Bose Headphones 700 UC uses multipoint Bluetooth technology to connect to two devices at the same time so I was able to connect to both my computer and my phone simultaneously. As expected, you can only hear audio or communications from one source at time, but I had no issues toggling between two devices.
I spent a few weeks testing out the Bose 700UC Noise Cancelling Headphones. From hour-long Zoom calls to jamming to the latest Taylor Swift album to regular phone calls, these headphones delivered. No matter what the situation, the audio quality was amazing and they’re still comfortable after several hours of wear—these headphones are worth the investment.