By Peter Griffin 18/12/2017

This is a Sciblogs series running through until Christmas Eve highlighting some of the gadgets we’ve been using this year… gadget No. 5

I’ve had two decent pairs of headphones in the last decade.

First, there were my Sennheiser HD 201-II over-ear headphones which were tough and sounded great and had a ridiculously long audio cable. I make many podcasts and listened to a lot of prog rock with them on. Then they were stolen, from my office of all places.

So, a few years ago, I bought the Bose QuietComfort 25 noise cancelling wired headphones in white and turquoise (a bad move as they show up the dirt very easily).

I’ve been very happy with those headphones which fold up to fit in a nice little case. When I do upgrade, I’ll likely stick with Bose and go wireless – to something like the QuietComfort 35 II, which strikes a good balance of agreeable form factor and great audio quality.

This is a modest upgrade on the original QuietComfort headphones, the main difference being the button on the left headphone that lets you connect to Google Assistant on Android and iOS.

OK Google

You can, for instance, ask Google what the weather in Tokyo will be and Google Assistant will give you the answer through your headphones – no need to touch your phone.  You can initiate calls I’ve been using Google Assistant a lot lately and it has really got quite good at serving up useful information, so this functionality is no mere gimmick anymore. Yes, Apple fans can even access Siri as well through pressing that button.

Setting up the headphones is done via the accompanying Bose Connect+ app on your phone with a little voice in the headphones talking you through the process. My only reluctance about going wireless – audio quality on these headphones is fantastic, is being vulnerable to the battery going flat. Bose claims up to 20 hours of use on a single charge, which is reasonable. Charging is via a USB wall charger or you can plug into your computer too. Unfortunately the battery isn’t removable so you’d hope it has a fair few years of life in it.

The active noise cancelling feature accessible via the action button now has three different settings which gives you a bit of flexibility choosing the setting to best suit the level and type of background noise.

Overall, a great pair of headphones, though definitely on the expensive side at $579.