I left a lengthy review comparing the Jabra Evolve2 85 (E285) vs Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II (QC35II) vs Bose Noise Cancelling 700 (B700) vs Sony WH-1000XM4 (SX4) (in order of when I received them) for the E285. This is a shorter version of that review, mostly focusing on QC35II and E285. This was almost entirely written up during the week I had all four headsets for direct comparisons. Microphone and Playback QC35II recordings were consistently louder than the E285. But the E285 did a far better job of removing background noise, as evidenced by my recordings while drumming. Muting can be done with the QC35II but it was much more difficult than just raising/lowering the boom arm of the E285. Audio Output - DISCLAIMER - I'm not an audiophile E285 and SX4 audio sound better than the QC35II but primarily because I can use an equalizer and increase bass (obviously this is the most important factor). Even if the QC35II had better hardware, it’s not as accessible and therefore is a moot point. Win for SX4. Runner up is E285. Brand Bose: wanted my location and would ask for it every time I open the app (and wouldn’t allow usage without accepting beyond the standard Bluetooth connection process). These are headphones. You don’t need my location. Jabra: doesn’t require my location. Instead, it lets me know if I desire to give it my location, it will use it to locate my headphones. No, but thank you for giving me an actual choice! Win for Jabra. Runner up is Sony. ANC When standing in front of running water, QC35II had slightly better cancellation, but not a noticeable difference without actively concentrating. When playing on a drumpad, the E285 did a noticeably better job than the other headsets. It sounds like the pad is being muffled (which is what I’m looking for), whereas the others don’t quite succeed. During testing of the QC35II, whether ANC was on/off, there was a ceaseless light static (with no audio playing). I thought it quite odd and luckily, it didn’t happen again, but I suppose it could. With the QC35II, when the drum pad was hit, there was a tang sound, like the residual sound from tapping on a pan, as opposed to the muffled thumping the E285 gives. Perhaps with a constant noise the QC35II does a slightly better job filtering, but the E285 does a better job with impact noises (or maybe it’s just higher frequencies). In addition, the hear-through function of the E285 is awesome. With the QC35II ANC off, it sounds like the microphone is picking up sound and then replaying it in the speakers. In contrast, the E285 hear-through, which has adjustable levels, almost makes it sound like you’re not wearing them (tested at maximum hear-through). Win for E285. Runner up is SX4. Connectivity The E285 and SX4 have longer ranges than the QC35II. The E285, most of the time, reconnects automatically when coming back into range. QC35II, SX4, and E285 have a 3.5 mm jack. Why doesn’t the B700? Because it sucks. Double-connection to my PC (independent of range): E285 is easier because it’s just plug-and-play, no downloads or “connecting”. The QC35II and SX4 are only Bluetooth, so you have to do the standard “add device”, etc. An added feature of the Jabra is Jabra Direct, a software you can download to better manage your Jabra. It gives you a few more options and is worth using, in this writer’s humble opinion. Response time: the QC35II and B700 have a slightly faster response time when pausing media than the E285. The SX4 is the fastest, though we’re talking minute (not 60 seconds) differences. The E285 is on the cusp of being slow enough to be annoying, but not quite. The E285 and SX4 also have the cool feature of pausing media when the headphones are removed from your skull. Again, the E285 feel lack-luster in comparison because they take approximately 4 M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-I seconds to pause, whereas the SX4 is half that time. For the E285, I’ve noticed the ear detection only works properly when playing music from your phone and not the PC. When using it with the PC, if I remove the headphones, the music will pause as it should. But it doesn’t resume when I put them back on. If I pause the music with the button, then remove the headset, it resumes. Again, cool feature, but needs work, especially when using it with the PC. App connectivity: some issues with E285. Some issues with SX4. Some issues with QC35II (Bose Connect). LOTS of issues with B700 (Bose Music). Unfortunately, apps are prone to some bugs every now and then. I can’t say which of the two (Sony/Jabra) had more, so neither bothered me much. Win for SX4 (better media response time). Runner up is E285. Voice Assistant Couldn’t even get B700 to work. First off, I have to change the “action” button from ANC control to activate voice assistant (so you can’t have both functionalities at the same time). However, once button mapping was adjusted accordingly, I click the button and it says “open your Google Assistant settings”, with no further instructions. I open the Home app, and once again, no further instructions, so I didn’t get it working. I didn’t spend anymore time on it because in contrast, the E285 and SX4 worked exactly as expected. No setup or anything, I just pushed the button and my assistant came up. The caveat for the E285 is you have to pull down the boom arm to use the feature (you can still press the action button with the boom arm up and have the assistant prompt, but because the arm is up, the microphone is off so it’s pointless). Perhaps Bose has better functionality when used with Alexa, but I use Google so I’m not bothering with testing that. Tie between E285 and SX4. I know this is extremely nit-picky, but the Bose assistant’s voice is far more annoying than Jabra or Sony. She sounds like an actual robot as opposed to someone I wouldn't mind meeting. Controls The QC35II and E285 have essentially the exact same button layout and functionality. The key difference is the action button on QC35II. It can be EITHER for voice assistant or cycling through ANC. On the other hand, you can access both functionalities on the E285, with the caveat of lowering the boom arm first for the voice assistant. The other difference is placement of the power button. On the QC35II, it’s a lateral switch on the side of the right ear cuff. On the E285, it’s a vertical switch on the bottom of the left ear. I literally don’t have a preference between the two. However, I do have a preference for the other buttons. While in the same place (the action button on the QC35II is in the same place as the ANC cycling button on the E285), the QC35II has a much more noticeable difference between the volume buttons and the play/pause, which I like better. All the buttons are bigger and more defined, plus the volume buttons are slightly raised, making it even easier to know what you’re pressing. On the E285, the buttons take up less surface area and are rather flat. Muting is definitely easier with the E285 because you simply raise or lower the boom mic. Though it also takes a little longer. The QC35II is more annoying because you have to press two buttons at the same time (the volume buttons). Win for SX4 (touchless controls are better). Runner up is E285. Comfort and Style I prefer the QC35II. Though I’ve been wearing the E285 for a little over an hour and was so comfortable, I had to look to my left to see which headset I wasn’t wearing. So both are very comfortable, but for comparison’s sake, it’s a win for QC35II. Runner up is E285/SX4 (just as comfortable). Extra The E285 has the hear-through feature, which I really like because I use ANC only when there are sounds I actively don’t want to listen to, like from mine or my roommate’s drumming, running water, laundry, phone call, or pooping with the fan on. Other than those times, I want some awareness of my surroundings because there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to get the attention of someone with headphones on (especially at work). In addition, the E285 and SX4 have ear detection (discussed previously). The E285 has a great way of handling multiple calls with its huge button on the right cuff. You can switch between two phone calls by putting one on hold and accept/end/reject calls using it. This is RARELY used, but it's cool. Issues My biggest issue was trying to connect QC35II with my Google Assistant. Besides that, functionality of the QC35II was pretty much flawless. Speaking of Google Assistant, there’s some variability with functionality with the E285. At the very least, the action button on the arm activates the assistant. But sometimes the input for said assistant is on the phone rather than the arm. Most of the time it works as expected. I think the additional connection to the PC adds complexity that needs to be vetted out for seamless functionality for the E285. Final verdict, best to worst: E285, SX4 (killer - no mute function, worse hear-through), QC35II (killers - older BT connection, worse audio, poor ANC). Literally wouldn't buy B700. UPDATE: It's been several weeks since I returned all but the Jabra Evolve2 85 (I use it 3-10 hours every single day) and my final rating is four stars while the QC35II I gave two. When the E285 works, it's great. But it doesn't work all the time, unfortunately. Even so, the E285 is better in just about every way. Stronger connection, more functionality, better app, better audio, better background noise removal (though the QC35II you could maybe argue is better at ANC, but not during a call). As far as functionally using the QC35II, I would give it three stars. But I give it two because the Bose app REQUIRES your location and that is absolutely ludicrous. It's a pair of headphones. You don't need my location. Note - if muting yourself directly from your headset isn't important to you and you're not typically in a noisy environment during calls, then I would honestly recommend the Sony WH-1000XM4.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on February 13, 2021 by Jason Brannock