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Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless – NoiseGard Adaptive Noise Cancelling, Bluetooth Headphone with Touch Sensitive Control and 30-Hour Battery Life
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- Bluetooth 4.2 wireless technology in an ergonomically designed lightweight, comfortable and collapsible travel headset perfect for travel.
- NoiseGard adaptive noise cancellation ensures superior sound quality in every environment.
- Intuitive user control and convenience thanks for voice prompts, touch controls, NFC pairing, smart pause and automatic on/off.
- Triple microphone array delivers business class communications with exceptional vocal clarity.
- Sennheiser sound signature quality with selective sound modes to enhance the listening experience.
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From the manufacturer
Sennheiser is shaping the Future of Audio – a vision built on a 70-year history of innovation and a continued drive for excellence that is woven into our company’s DNA and culture. Around the world, our employees share this passion in the pursuit of the perfect sound, creating products that exceed expectations and set new benchmarks in audio.
Meet the PXC 550 Wireless
Sennheiser’s premium headset tailored specifically for the discerning business traveller. This stylish, compact and foldable headset delivers exceptional sound quality, class-leading adaptive noise cancellation and crystal clear speech clarity. Ergonomically engineered for wearing comfort and intuitive control, this headset upgrades the on-the-go audio experience. In an often frantic and stressful traveller’s world, the PXC 550 Wireless puts the listener in control of their sensory environment - it’s what we call 'upgrading to First Class'.
- Did you know? Sennheiser’s first active noise reduction headsets were developed in 1984 for Lufthansa Airlines and were the first active noise cancellation headsets to receive FAA-TSO certification (Federal Aviation Administration Technical Standard Order).
NoiseGard Adaptive Noise Cancelling
NoiseGard quiets the environment to ensure uninterrupted listening by modifying to ambient noise. Whether on a plane, train or noisy street NoiseGard delivers the level of noise suppression needed providing a comfortable listening experience allowing you to relax or focus on work.
Exceptional Battery Performance
The PXC 550 Wireless delivers up to 30-hours of battery life on a single charge from any USB outlet. This means you can travel from London to Hong Kong and back in the comfort and tranquility of adaptive noise cancellation. If you forget to charge the battery, the headset works passively with the remote cable both as headphone and headset.
Superior Sound Quality
The PXC 550 Wireless delivers Sennheiser’s signature sound quality. Music and movies are presented with exceptional clarity, balance and dynamics. Selectable sound modes allow you to tailor the sound to the source material. When connected via USB to a computer the PXC 550 Wireless acts a USB sound card improving the fidelity of music and calls on your PC or Mac. The soundtrack to your journey just got richer and more immersive.
Lightweight, Comfortable Design
The PXC 550 Wireless was designed with your journey in mind. Ergonomically engineered padded headband and rotating earcups provide incredible comfort for long listening sessions. The fold-flat collapsible frame enables the PXC 550 Wireless to discreetly fold away into the stylish, compact travel case.
Wireless technology allows total freedom of movement whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure. The PXC 550 Wireless features Bluetooth 4.2 to effortlessly connect with any NFC or Bluetooth enabled device. Listen to music, take calls or simply enjoy the benefits of NoiseGard adaptive noise cancellation without wires. Experience wireless freedom with unrivalled sound quality.
Touch control with voice prompts make it easy to use the PCX 550 Wireless. A touchpad on the right earcup provides volume, play, stop, pause and track skipping control. Touching the earcup allows you to take an incoming call. The headset turns on and seamlessly connects to Bluetooth as you unfold them and automatically pauses audio when removed. Controlling this headset is instinctive and easy.
Business Class Communication
The PXC 550 Wireless allows you to stay connected while on the move. A Sennheiser triple microphone array delivers crystal-clear speech clarity for business and personal calls even in the busiest of environments, so you can stay in touch wherever you are.
CapTune – Your Music, Your Way
CapTune is a powerful player app engineered to compliment the PXC 550 Wireless. It provides personalization of sound performance and the ability to stream music directly to your headset giving you control on every level. CapTune is available for free in both iOS and Android versions.
|Wearing Style||Around Ear|
|Transducer Principle||Dynamic, Closed-back|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, Cable with remote|
|Charging Time||3 Hours|
|Frequency Response||17 – 23,000 Hz|
|Impedance||Active: 490 Ohms / Passive: 46 Ohms|
|Sound Pressure Level (SPL)||110 dB (1 kHz / 1 Vrms)|
|Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)||<0.5% (1 kHz, 100 dB)|
|Weight (headphones)||8 oz. (227g)|
|In the Box||PXC 550 Wireless Headphone / Cable with Remote / Carry Case / USB Cable / IFE Adapters / Manuals|
TRANSFORM YOUR JOURNEY - UPGRADE TO FIRST CLASS. Upgrade to the luxurious new PXC 550 Wireless headphones from Sennheiser. Designed specifically for frequent travelers, the PXC 550 Wireless deliver exceptional sound quality with adaptive noise cancellation in a stylish and foldable headset. No matter the surroundings, Sennheiser NoiseGard quiets the environment to ensure uninterrupted listening. Staying connected is now even easier using this Bluetooth enabled device. It provides unrivaled speech clarity during calls thanks to the headsets triple microphone array. Additional user control and sound personalization is available via Sennheiser' s CapTune, a free downloadable app that compliments this truly smart headset. Exceptional battery performance means the PXC 550 Wireless can travel from London to Hong Kong and back on single charge, even with adaptive cancellation engaged, while ergonomic design makes even long listening sessions supremely comfortable.
Top customer reviews
Sound Quality - I'm shocked that some think the QC35 is on par with the PXC 550. The PXC 550 is definitely a step up, though it's not so much better that I would advise not getting the QC 35 for this reason alone. The QC 20 is not going to be able to produce the same level of depth of sounds because of the in-ear format. I would rank SQ as 1) PXC 550, 2) MM 550, 3) QC35, 4) QC20.
Noise Cancelling - Again, shocked that some think the PXC 550 is on par with the Bose QC35. In this case, the QC 35 is a step up. In my view it's not so much better that I would not get the PXC 550 for this reason alone. However, for some, ANC is the overriding factor and in that case Bose wins. I actually like the QC 20 (and soon to be coming QC 30) over the QC 35 because the in-ear format blocks more noise passively. However, I find the in-ear format less comfortable for me. Loved the portability of the QC 20, but the lower 10 hour battery life is a drawback that bugged me as well. The PXC 550 is a huge leap forward for ANC compared to the MX 550, which had problems with loud noises and wind. With the QC 35, there is an audible white hiss noise that I think helps further mask outside noise - this hiss is less present in the PXC 550. Often complained about the QC 35 is that you can't turn ANC off when you're in Bluetooth mode. If I'm not on a plane/train/bus, I tend to not want ANC on as the effect when you're moving about is unnatural and almost disorienting for me. The passive noise cancelling on the PXC 550 is much better than the QC 35. To me, the headphones form a much better seal to the ear and use higher end materials, so with ANC off on both headphones, there is much less noise with the PXC 550 just by putting them on your head. The downside to this is that if you want to hear your surroundings with the PXC 550 on and ANC off, not that much noise gets through. Also, since the seal is better for me with the PXC 550, there are less sound intrusions when you move your head around. For example, if you open your mouth from a yawn, the QC 35 will lose its seal for me and let sound through. The PXC 550 will lose some of it seal as well, but not nearly as much. I would rank ANC as 1) QC 20, 2) QC 35, 3) PXC 550, 4) MM 550.
Comfort - Several have noted that the cups for the PXC 550 are smaller than the QC 35. I would agree with that and I felt that my ears almost had too much room to move around in the QC 35. With all of the over ear headphones, I felt that the ears would get hot over time and sometimes get sweaty. However, that is preferable to me over having in-ear headphones. Comfort here is very subjective, but for me at least, I would rank them as 1) PXC 550, 2) MM 550, 3) QC 35, 4) QC 20.
Build Quality/Style - The look and feel of every Bose product I've used with the exception of the Bose Mini Soundlink, is that they are cheap relative to the cost that they are charging. The QC 35 and QC 20 are no exception. The MM 550s were hideous headphones. The PXC 550s look incredibly classy and elegant, with top notch materials. I am not a fan of the alcantara used on the QC 35 as alcantara will eventually pill and look terrible over time in my experience. Also, the hinge quality seems to be somewhat fragile as there is just so much plastic on the QC 35. I think the QC 35s look great, but they certainly don't look like $350 headphones. 1) PXC 550, 2) QC 20, 3) QC 35, 4) MM 550 (just so ugly)
Carrying case - The semi-hard carrying case on the QC 35 is much better than the PXC 550 and seems like it will protect the headphones better. The square shape is also much more stylish than the semi-circle look on the PXC 550. The PXC 550 case lacks the structure and the material is not as thick or protective. The zippered side is also soft instead of hard. The one thing I do like about the PXC 550 case is that there is a fabric flap that goes between the cups so that they don't bang around and scratch each other. Both are relatively large so they will take up quite a bit of space in your bag. The QC 35s look to fold smaller, but the carrying case size negates that ultimately.
Usability - While both have apps, I don't find much value in either. It's nice to have the different effect modes with the PXC 550, but I probably won't use them most of the time. Both look to be able to connect to two devices simultaneously - something I read was proprietary to Bose, but clearly is not. The QC 35 will state the name of the devices it's connected to, but will butcher the name. The PXC 550 will just say Phone 1 and Phone 2. I like the PXC 550 ability to turn on/off by unfolding/folding the cups, and the touch interface works great. It is easier to use than to feel around for the buttons on the QC 35 which are in a less natural position. The talkthrough feature on the PXC 550 is missing as far as I'm aware from the QC 35. If you want to talk to someone in person, you pretty much have to take the headphones off. At an airport, this is crucial if you want to stay on top of any public address messages. 1) PXC 550, 2) QC 35, 3) MM 550, 4) QC 20
Call Quality - Both the QC 35 and PXC 550 had great call quality to me. I think the incoming voice quality sounded a little better to me on the PXC 550, but honestly both were great for voice calls. I didn't have any issues on range with either and I liked that the QC 35 would pick up outside sound so you can hear your own voice (which you would otherwise not with ANC always on).
Overall - I ultimately returned the QC 35 and am sticking with the PXC 550. I will sacrifice the lower quality ANC for better build and sound quality, but that is me. With any of these headphones, there will be some give and take so you will have to decide for yourself which features are more important.
I have been a long-time user of Bose QC25. I’ve loved Bose’ noise cancellation feature and I have been using them almost everyday and especially when I travel. I do travel at least once a month so noise cancellation is a critical feature for me.
I had upgraded to Bose QC35 right around the time when I was offered to try the new Sennheiser PXC 550 wireless headphones. This review is going to be a detailed comparison of these headphones with Bose QC35. But before I talk about QC35, let me talk about my first impressions of PXC 550.
✧ PACKAGING AND WHAT’S IN THE BOX ✧
✮✮✮✮✮ (5 Stars)
PXC550 comes in a very nice box that was easy to open. In addition to the headphones, the box includes a black carry case, a 2.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable, a micro USB to standard USB cable, airline audio adapter, and a 3.5mm to 6.5mm audio adapter. It includes everything that is needed to use these headphones. It also includes a tiny quick guide. I suggest that you not throw away the included quick guide because I could not (yet) find the PDF version of these on Sennheiser’s website. Since these headphones are not ‘officially’ released yet, I am hoping that Sennheiser will publish the PDF version of these docs when these headphones are generally available.
✧ SET UP AND OUT OF THE BOX EXPERIENCE ✧
✮✮✮✮✮ (5 Stars)
The headphones can be folded to store in the supplied carry case. They are very easy to unfold and set up - even without looking at the included guide. As soon as you swivel them to unfold, they automatically power on. So there is no button that you have to press to power them on. This is a very intelligent design and shows that Sennheiser spent some serious $$$ in research and development (R&D).
Connecting Bluetooth was a breeze too with the built-in NFC. One tap from my Nexus 6P quickly detected it and I was able to connect. I was able to connect the headphones over Bluetooth with my MacBook Pro and my Windows 10 laptop. The Bluetooth connection worked flawlessly on the first attempt. The voice guidance identifies every device as a “phone”. So when I connected them with my MacBook, it identifies it as “Phone 2” and said “Phone 2 connected”. I could not figure out how to change these assigned numbers without resetting the phone. So the first device it connects to will always become “Phone 1”, with the second one being identified with “Phone 2”. You can connect up to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously.
✧ SOUND QUALITY ✧
✮✮✮✮✮ (5 Stars)
I like balanced headphones but with some emphasis on bass. I don’t like heavily unbalanced bass or treble (like Beats Audio). When it comes to sound quality, I have already been a fan of Sennheiser, having used many of their previous generation wired headphones. PXC550 lives up to the Sennheiser name and provides a very rich sound with deep bass. The volume level is good so I don’t have to turn it all the way, unlike some other headphones. With NC enabled, they sound magical when listening to music in a noisy environment.
✧ FEATURES AND EASE OF USE ✧
✮✮✮✮✮ (5 Stars)
I love the touch control on these headphones. The outside of the right earcup acts like a touch sensitive touchpad - similar to a laptop’s touchpad. I can tap it once to play/pause music. I can swipe my finger on its surface from up to down to turn down the volume or down to up to turn up the volume. Likewise, I can swipe left and right to skip forward and reverse (i.e. play next/previous track/song). It is so very intuitive to use and you don’t have to fiddle around to find the right button to press only to find out that you hit the wrong one.
I also love the fact that I have four choices when it comes to the built-in equalizer presets providing various “Effects” as Sennheiser calls them. I can cycle between: 1) Off, 2) Club mode (for music), 3) Movie mode, and 4) Speech. I like listening to podcasts so the Speech mode works really well. When I am listening to music, I either switch it to Club or turn it off.
As I mentioned earlier, unfolding the headphones powers them on automatically so there is no need to slide any power switches. As soon as it is powered it, it searches for signals from any paired devices and connects to them without further action. This happens faster than I can put them on.
I also love the intelligently designed audio cable jack that automatically turns off Bluetooth when the audio cable is connected, saving battery life.
Talking about battery, the battery charges to full within 3 hours. It easily lasts for weeks for my use since I use it everyday for about less than 2 hours each day and I always fold it to put it in its carry case. Because folding it automatically turns it off, I never accidentally leave it on when they are not in use.
✧ Mobile App (CapTune) ✧
✮✮✮✮✮ (5 Stars)
Sennheiser has produced a really neat mobile app called “CapTune”, available through both Android (goo.gl/xenbNL) and iOS (goo.gl/3wLT9r) app stores.
I don’t have an iOS device so I cannot talk about their app on iOS but, looking at the screenshots, I’m gathering that both the Android and the iOS versions of their apps are nearly identical in look and functionality.
The Android app provides a lot of features that make these headphones even easier to use. For example, you can switch between the three equalizer presets, called “Effects”, right from the app. You can also manually change the equalizer to create your custom presets. You can completely control the noise-cancelling feature from the app, as it allows you to turn it off or set it to 50%, etc. You can check the battery status. You can play/pause the audio, skip forward/reverse, control volume.
The app also includes a feature called SoundCheck, that allows you to adjust the equalizer in a new way by continuously selecting one of two choices (A or B), refining your sound preferences while listening to the music that you are currently playing. This allows you to come up with a very custom preset based on your selection of bass, treble and mid ranges.
I was not expecting the app to include so many more additional features so I was pleasantly surprised and very impressed. I highly recommend installing CapTune on your device if you own these headphones.
✧ PORTABILITY ✧
✮✮✮✮✮ (5 Stars)
PXC550 are very light and easy to carry. The carry case can fit everything, including the audio cable and the various adapters. I always keep the headphones in the carry case along with its accessories in my messenger bag. I have traveled with these headphones on airplanes and although they do add bulk, their light weight does not add much to weight of your carry on luggage.
❝ COMPARISON WITH BOSE QC35 HEADPHONES ❞
With a company like Bose that is known for its noise-cancelling headphones, their customers, like me, expect more than just the same old stuff packaged as a new upgrade. When I upgraded from QC25 to QC35, I felt that I was paying a premium just to use wireless (Bluetooth) on the new model because besides that feature and the rechargeable battery, Bose did not change much with the design or feature set. QC35 looks nearly identical in design and functionality to my old QC25. It was the same type of case, the same folding mechanism, the same level of noise-cancellation. Yet, they still cost a lot more compared to other similar Bluetooth headphones that include far more advanced feature set. How can Bose get away with that? That is because Bose has name-recognition in noise-cancelling headphones and they are capitalizing on their brand recognition. But they better watch out because Sennheiser has far more brand recognition among audiophiles.
So let’s get into the details of how Bose QC35 falls flat when compared to Sennheiser PXC550.
➊ Noise Cancellation ☊
I hear no difference in noise cancellation between QC35 and PXC550. To be honest, at times, I find PXC550 to be just very slightly better when moving or walking. QC35, just like QC25, tends to turn-off noise cancellation for a brief second or two if they are suddenly jerked, like when you are walking down the stairs. This happens very rarely though and I don’t count it against Bose. Overall, both QC35 and PXC550 are equally excellent when it comes to noise cancellation.
✔ PXC550: Excellent noise-cancellation.
✔ QC35: Excellent noise-cancellation.
➋ Noise Cancellation Controls ☊
It appears that Bose did not spend anything on R&D when it was working on QC35. They just took everything that was in QC25 and packaged it as is with QC35 after adding Bluetooth and rechargeable battery. For example, the noise cancellation button on the new QC35 is nearly identical to the old QC25. The only slight difference is that It now supports three positions instead of two, allowing you to enable Bluetooth and power with the same button. But that’s a major flaw in my opinion. That is because this one button controls three completely unrelated things 1) power, 2) noise cancellation and 3) Bluetooth. You cannot independently turn off NC while keeping Bluetooth on. With QC35, NC it is either off or on when used with the included audio cable. What is even worse is the fact that NC is always on when you are using Bluetooth. You cannot turn it off without turning off Bluetooth too. This is a horrible design and a major flaw with QC35. I guess Bose did not want to add another button on QC35 so they thought they would just let that one button do three different, unrelated things.
✔ PXC550: Allows three options to choose from: 1) NC off. 2) 50% NC, or 3) Full NC.
✘ QC35: Two options: On or Off when wired. But always on when using Bluetooth because of the design flaw where one button controls three unrelated things.
➌ Design ☊
With PXC550, you get a brand-new premium look and feel. Although QC35 is well-designed, it looks very outdated, much like any other Bose headphones with the oval-shaped earcups. It seems that Bose does not want to experiment with new designs of their headphones. PXC550 looks far more intelligently designed than QC35.
✔ PXC550: Fresh upgraded look.
✘ QC35: Old, outdated design.
➍ Controls ☊
Talking about design, you have to wonder why Bose is sticking with the old-fashioned buttons when everything else these days includes touch-sensitive controls. From your smart TVs, to your thermostat, touch is the new interface. PXC550 automatically turns on when it is unfolded. No need for a power on switch. Even though QC35 can also be folded to store, Bose never thought about including such functionality. Talking about buttons, Bose also fails to include any button on their audio cable that comes with the QC35. Even my older QC25 had buttons on its audio cable that are no longer present on the QC35. It looks like they went backward with the new model, instead of improving the existing design. Unlike QC35, Sennheiser PXC550 includes a button on the cable so you can quickly pause/play your music or answer/end phone calls.
✔ PXC550: Touch swipes (left-right for skip, top-down for volume, tap for pause). Button on audio cable.
✘ QC35: Manual volume buttons on headphones. No button(s) on audio cable.
➎ Weight ☊
Travel headphones need to be as light as possible if you are lugging them around in your carry-on bag. Bose QC35 are 2.9 oz (82g) heavier than PXC550. To put this in perspective, Bose QC25 weigh 6.9 oz (196g), much lighter than QC35. PXC550 are not as light as QC25 but they are still lighter than QC35.
✔ PXC550: 8 oz. (227g).
✘ QC35: 10.9 oz. (309g).
➏ Bluetooth Version ☊
I like to look at specifications to understand what I am buying. The Bluetooth specification has gone through so many revisions and updates over the years since it was first introduced. These updates provide not only improved features but better power consumption. I do not like companies that hide details around these specifications so you don’t know what you are buying. Imagine buying a USB device without knowing if it meets USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 or USB 1 specification. While Sennheiser advertises their headphones as Bluetooth version 4.2 certified everywhere you look, I have searched for but failed to find this information about Bose QC35. I have looked everywhere I could, from Bose’ website to the QC35 user manual but I could not confirm whether QC35 meets Bluetooth 4.2 specification or not. It is rather absurd that Bose does not publish this information in their specification for QC35.
*** UPDATE 07/16/2016 ***
I just found out through Amazon’s product page of Bose QC35 under the Customer Questions and Answers that QC35 includes Bluetooth version 4.1. A Bose official response mentioned this fact on June 8 but they still do not update the product description to include this information.
Some of the key enhancements that Bluetooth 4.2 introduces that were missing in 4.1 are:
• Some key features for IoT.
• IPv6 support.
• Privacy improvements.
• Security improvements.
• Speed improvements over 4.1
Bluetooth 4.2 was released on December 2, 2014. It is simply unacceptable for a pair of premium Bluetooth headphones that were released in June 2016 to not include Bluetooth 4.2. I can see the reason why Bose tries so hard to hide this fact from their product description and specification.
✔ PXC550: Bluetooth version 4.2.
✘ QC35: Bluetooth version 4.1.
➐ Qualcomm aptX Support ☊
Qualcomm’s aptX is an audio codec that provides superior audio quality over Bluetooth. When buying new Bluetooth headphones, aptX is one of the technologies to look for. Sadly, Bose does not include them in QC35 but Sennheiser does.
✔ PXC550: aptX fully supported.
✘ QC35: aptX NOT supported.
➑ Mobile Apps ☊
When comparing the mobile apps provided by Bose and Sennheiser, there is no comparison at all. I don’t even know the purpose of the Bose Connect app. You cannot control the noise-cancellation feature in any way shape or form. All it gives you is the ability to name your headphones for Bluetooth. If you just look at the mobile apps alone, it shows how much disregard Bose has for their customers and how little they have invested in their top-of-the-line, overpriced headphones. Hands down Sennheiser wins here with their far superior mobile app, CapTune.
✔ PXC550: Sennheiser CapTune is a full-featured app.
✘ QC35: Bose Connect does not provide any additional functionality.
➒ Warranty ☊
✔ PXC550: 2 year limited warranty
✘ QC35: 1 year limited warranty
So there you have it. I will be periodically updating this review as I continue to use these great headphones and provide additional perspective for potential buyers. I will definitely warn here if I find anything negative about them but so far, with my less than 30 days of use, I have been blown away by these and they have quickly replaced both my Bose QC25 and QC35 headphones. I cannot recommend Sennheiser PXC550 enough. If you were previously considering either QC25 or QC35, get the Sennheiser PX550 instead. You won’t regret it.
*** UPDATE 07/19/2016 ***
❝ MORE DETAILED NOISE-CANCELLATION TESTS ❞
Although I have been using PXC550 regularly since getting them, I had also stopped using my old QC25. This is because I could tell no difference between them when it comes the noise-cancellation feature alone. They both did an excellent job.
After reading some of the genuine concerns in the comments section of this review regarding whether PXC550 can truly match the NC capabilities of the best NC headphones on the planet (namely, Bose QC25/QC35), I decided to take my QC25 out today for a test so I can compare both Bose and Sennheiser, side-by-side.
First, I rode a bus and decided to sit in the back so I can hear the bus engine loud and clear. Without playing any music or any other audio, I simply put on my QC25 and turned on noise-cancellation. I could still clearly hear the bus engine but there was noticeable reduction in noise, as expected. I then switched to PXC550 and did the same. That is, without playing any audio, I just put them on with NC enabled and set to full (100%). They performed nearly identical to QC25. I tested multiple times and could not tell any difference in the level of noise-cancellation.
Now, both of these headphones (PXC550 and QC25), do not create a pin-drop silence, as expected. As I mentioned, I could still hear the bus engine and some background noise. But the amount of noise that I could hear from either headphones was nearly the same.
Since bus engines are too loud when you are sitting right next to them in the back of the bus, my next test included my office. The HVAC system in my office creates the perfect hissing sound that could be a great test for these headphones. Without playing any audio, I put on PXC550 to test. I could still hear some noise and it was not pin-drop silence as expected but I could clearly tell how much noise is reduced. I then tested QC25, with NC switch turned on, without connecting the audio cable. The amount of noise reduced was nearly the same. They both performed equally in both situations.
As people who own earcup headphones might already know that, because of how the earcups of these headphones are designed, even without NC feature, some noise is reduced (called noise isolation). So both of these headphones do noise isolation as soon as you put them on without even enabling NC. But as soon as you enable NC, there is a very distinct and noticeable reduction in noise. Again, this reduction is noise is nearly the same for both QC25 and PXC550.
Since I do not have the QC35 with me anymore, I could not test it but having used them, I know that their NC capabilities are identical to QC25.
Obviously, this is not a scientific test in any way and I am sure that once these headphones are released, there will be many more tests performed and many more comparative reviews. I can tell you from my experience since I have both headphones, QC25 and PXC550, that I take PXC550 with me when I can take either one of them with me. I prefer PXC550 over QC25/QC35 because they provide the same level of NC while PXC550 provides many more features, including the most important feature in any headphones: sound quality. PXC550 sound much superior to QC25/QC35 when playing music.
*** UPDATE 07/19/2016 ***
I have attempted to add additional images to my review but they are not showing up. These images were side-by-side size comparison of Bose QC25 and Sennheiser PXC550. I have contacted Amazon customer service regarding this and I am hoping that these images should show up soon under my review, like the previously uploaded images that are visible.
For folks who wanted to know the size of the earcups, I want to let you know the measurements: The inside opening of the earcup measures to be about 2.4 inches. This is nearly the same for Bose QC25 which measures to be about 2.5 inches. My measurements were very rough so they are not 100% accurate. The 0.1 inch difference can be attributed to the placement of the measuring tape as you will see once my image is successfully visible in my review. So I would say that both Bose and Sennheiser are the same size when it comes to the size of the earcup.
*** UPDATE 08/07/2016 ***
❝ CALL QUALITY TESTS ❞
I have been using these headphones every day since getting them. They have not disappointed me.
I have tested them for phone calls. I have received and made calls while walking in busy city streets. To be honest, PXC550 is not as perfect as my Jabra or Plantronics bluetooth headphone but it is not bad either. Let me elaborate more. When I am talking on the phone using these headphones, although the other party can hear me fine, they can tell some difference when compared with my Jabra and Plantronics headphones. Although, people can still hear me fine, they do notice improvement when I switch to my Jabra or Plantronics headphones. With the PXC550, I have to speak a bit louder.
I have a theory for why this happens, i.e. why I feel that I am speaking slightly louder. As opposed to the single-ear mono Plantronics or Jabra, when I am using PXC550, both my ears are completely covered and even with noise cancellation disabled, I cannot tell how loud I am speaking so I tend to speak at a lower volume than I normally would when using the other Bluetooth headphones. So it is possible that I speaking at at a different (i.e. lower) volume when I use PXC550.
This result did not surprise me because PXC550 are not designed to be primarily used for long phone conversation. For lengthy phone conversation, I still prefer my single-ear headphones that are designed for the purpose of talking on the phone like Jabra or Plantronics over PXC550.
*** UPDATE 08/20/2016 ***
The battery on this keeps going for weeks. I had to recharge it last night in the middle of watching a movie. It seamlessly connects to my Samsung 4K TV. I could control the volume right from the headphones. In the middle of watching the movie, the headphone alerted me with a voice prompt that the battery was low. After about 15 more minutes, it turned off. I connected the micro USB port to let it charge with a portable USB battery while I continued to use it to finish watching the movie. I must add that I have been using it almost everyday for about 20 minutes to 60 minutes, for the past week without recharging the battery at all. The last time I charged the battery was more than a week ago.
*** UPDATE 08/23/2016 ***
= TalkThrough (feature) =
Here’s a feature that I didn’t know about but accidentally found out about it. (Reminds me that I should go through its 50-page user guide.) When you want to not only disable the noise cancellation but also want to listen to your surrounding as if you were not even wearing these headphones, you can just double-tap the touch pad. If you are playing music, this will not only pause music or video but also completely turn off noise cancellation and allow you to listen in to your surrounding. It works so well that it is feels like you have literally removed these headphones from your ears.
*** UPDATE 08/27/2016 ***
I am super excited to report that not only have I been fully enjoying these headphones, they have been much more indispensable than any other stereo headphones I have used in the past because of their versatility.
I have finally taken the time to review its lengthy 50-page instruction manual.
☞ Link to Instruction Manual in PDF ☞ goo.gl/rvrzPH
I found some really interesting features that are possible only with the touch controls. Here are a few of the touch controls that I should mention because I find them very useful. I should mention that you should really check out the Instruction Manual because there are many touch controls (in addition to what I mention below) that you may find very useful. They also substitute for having to look at the CapTune.
❝ TOUCH CONTROLS ❞
✨ Transferring a call to/from the headphones ✨ (Page 36 on Instruction Manual)
Action: Tap and hold the touch pad for a second.
When I receive a call while I am enjoying music or podcast through my phone,I can always transfer the call back to my phone and then back to my headphones by tapping and holding for a second. This allows me to continue the conversation on the phone if I need to put away headphones, without having to disable/disconnect Bluetooth.
✨ Voice control function ✨ (Page 37 on Instruction Manual)
Action: Swipe backward on the touch pad and hold.
This simply activates Google Now. I have a Nexus (Android) phone so I use Google Now quite a lot when I am using hands-free so I was very happy to find that these headphones allow that functionality with a very simple swipe and hold. On iPhones, I am guessing this may activate Siri but since I do not have an iPhone, I cannot confirm.
✨ Battery Status ✨ (Page 29 on Instruction Manual)
Action: Tap and hold the touch pad for about 4 seconds.
This gives you a quick status on battery in percentage.
✨ TalkThrough ✨ (Page 26 on Instruction Manual)
Action: Quickly tap the touch pad twice.
As I mentioned earlier in my review, this is a very useful feature for noise-cancelling headphones. It pauses whatever you are playing, disables noise-cancellation and somehow activates some type of pass-through microphones that work so well that you feel like you have literally removed these headphones from you ears. It allows you to listen in to your surrounding so you can talk to people without having to remove the headphones. This is a really good feature and I happened to find it accidentally and couldn’t be happier to use it more frequently now.
*** UPDATE 08/31/2016 ***
I mentioned this information under comments so I thought I should mention it here. The touch controls work fine wearing gloves. I also noticed that it only responds to touches that cover area of a finger or thumb. So when I place my palm over it, it does not activate it.
What's odd is that it still works when you cover your finger with a fabric. So I tested it by touching it with a pointed surface of a pencil eraser but it did not activate. So the touch surface works really well and is able to identify a finger even with gloves.
I was very surprised that it does work when you're wearing gloves. I should mention that I only tested it with wool gloves.