Sony WH-1000XM3 vs. Bose QuietComfort 35 II vs. COWIN E8: Complete Breakdown

Between the Sony WH-1000XM3, Bose QuietComfort 35 II, and COWIN E8; Which is the best pair of headphones?

Here it is ladies and gentlemen. Three highly popular headphones side-by-side facing off. While each pair has its standard ups and downs, they also have their own unique benefits. Depending on what you’re looking for in a pair of headphones will determine which of these might be the best choice for you. After extensive research, personal experience, and reviews; We formulated an in-depth comparison between each one. May the battle commence!  

But first…

What Makes A Pair Of Headphones Good?

  • Sound Quality: How good the overall audio quality of music, phone calls, or video.
  • Comfort: The ability to remain comfortable for extended periods of time without itchiness, annoyance, or ear pain.
  • Build Quality: The overall durability and longevity. Able to withstand harsh conditions for extended periods of time.
  • Noise Isolation/ Active Noise Cancelling: If any at all, how well the active noise cancelling or noise isolating abilities are.
  • Battery Life: How long the battery life of the pair of headphones is at a full charge.
  • Added Features: A few examples of added features headphones offer can be Bluetooth capabilities, built-in AI assistant, headphone controls, built-in microphone for phone calls, flexibility, rotatable ear cups, etc.

We compared and contrasted each of these factors for the Sony WH-1000XM3, Bose QuietComfort 35 II, & COWIN E8

Sound Quality

Especially for music listeners, the overall quality of sound is a massive factor in finding your perfect pair of headphones. There are various factors that impact a pair of headphones’ sound quality.

Sony WH-1000XM3
These headphones produce near-flawless audio. It has a great balance between all of the frequencies. The instruments are separated extremely well without losing any vital EQ from compression. Overall, you will be more than satisfied with the sound quality. I give the sound a solid 9.8 out of 10.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II
The sound quality is absolutely brilliant. It automatically adjusts the EQ levels depending on what type of music or audio you’re listening to. I wouldn’t change a thing about the sound, even if I could. Every single instrument and frequency are nicely separated without any cluster. Like the Sony, I give the sound quality a solid 9.8 out of 10.

COWIN E8
The Cowin E8 produces a powerful and well-balanced sound quality. While listening to music, these headphones separate the frequencies so well that it almost feels like your in an open hall filled with surround sound. The highs are sparkly, the mids are crisp, and the bass is full. These headphones produce astounding sound quality for the price. However, they do fall a bit short compared to the top tier Sony and Boss headphones.

Overall, everyone’s ear is different but we found it to be a tie between the Sony WH-1000XM3 and Bose QuietComfort 35 II for sound quality.

Comfort

The ability for headphones to remain comfortable for extended periods of time without itchiness, annoyance, pressure, or ear pain. Considering many people use headphones for commute, air travel, or work; Comfort is a vital factor.

Sony WH-1000XM3
With its ergonomic redesign headband, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is exceptionally comfortable and fits lightly on your head like a cloud. You can keep them on for extended periods without discomfort. I give the comfortability a 9.7 out of 10. The reason why it’s not 10 is due to the minimal lack of breathable open space within the ear cups.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II
The comfort level with these headphones is stunning. Again, almost as if you were putting a cloud on your head that plays music. Considering its one of the lightest headphones on the market, putting these headphones on feels next to nothing. Another thing I like is the open and breathable space earcups that apply zero pressure or annoyance to my ears. I give these headphones a solid 10 out of 10.

COWIN E8
These headphones have comfortable padding and clamp on the head pretty tightly. However, the tight clamp is in no way uncomfortable or overbearing. Overall, I give the comfort a solid 8 out of 10. Especially for the price, it’s very comfortable for long periods, but it’s certainly not the best.

Overall, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II is the most comfortable pair of headphones on the market.

Build Quality

What good are your amazingly sounding headphones if they break in a few months? The overall durability and longevity are crucial for any investment you make. Especially for those who need headphones for commute, it’s important they’re able to withstand vigorous traveling conditions consistently.

Sony WH-1000XM3
The guitar player in one of my bands uses these headphones. He’s had them for about a year and has never experienced a peep of durability issues. They are sturdy, robust, and easily capable of withstanding traveling conditions. Something I found very beneficial was its flexibility. Many people overlook the tremendous benefits of having flexible but sturdy headphones. You can easily take a nap and bend them in multiple positions without any tears. These headphones are slightly larger than Bose but much smaller than the Cowin. Overall, you will be highly satisfied with the build. Compared to the Bose, these have a slightly thicker construction.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II
Built for longevity, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II is one of the most well-designed and durable headphones I have ever used in my life. You can pull it as hard as you can without a peep or squeak. These headphones are much lighter than the Sony, however, have the same amount of durability. Keep in mind; they are one of the lightest pairs of headphones on the market. What amazes me the most is its ability to remain extremely light without negatively impacting its durability.

COWIN E8
For the price, the build quality is robust and built to last. Unfortunately, some of the buttons are a bit flimsy. However, the metal arms and soft but stable padding certainly give it a boost. If you were to compare these headphones with other pairs in the same price range, the build quality is fantastic. Compared to the top tier headphones, the overall build is a solid 8 out of 10.

Overall, the Sony WH-1000XM3 has a slightly tougher build than the others.

Active Noise Cancelling

Don’t be confused between active noise cancelling and noise isolation headphones. They are both entirely different. Noise-cancelling technology is very unique. Unlike noise-isolating headphones, noise-cancelling headphones do not eradicate outside noise by physical insulation. Within the ear cups, they have a mini microphone that picks up the outside environmental noise. It then triggers a frequency entirely opposite to the outside ambient noise. Thus, canceling out most outside ambient sound.

Sony WH-1000XM3
One of the industry-leading active noise cancelling abilities, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is absolutely fantastic at eradicating outside noise environments. It uses a state-of-the-art proprietary ANC processor. No matter where you are or what frequencies emitted in the environment you’re in, these headphones erase almost every type of sound. These headphones completely cancel out jet engines, the softer human voices, air conditioning, cars, etc. With ANC turned on, these headphones dramatically increase your music listening experience, as well. You can also customize its active noise-cancelling depending upon your personal characteristics. Overall, I give these headphones a 9.8 out of 10 for active noise cancelling.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II is the king of active noise-cancelling on the market period. Overall, compared to every other ANC headphone on the market, I give these headphones a perfect 10 out of 10 for active noise cancelling.

COWIN E8
With its active noise-cancelling, these headphones eradicate the majority of outside noise. If you want your daily commute, plane travel, bus, or office work to be in peace and quiet, the COWIN E8 works exceptionally well. While many ANC headphones in this price and below hurt the sound quality, it does not negatively affect the audio when the ANC is initiated.

Overall, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II has the best active noise cancelling by a slim margin over the Sony WH-1000XM3.

Battery Life

Battery life is an overlooked subject when speaking about over-ear headphones. Obviously, the only headphones that have a battery life are those which are wireless. Many headphones on the market do not have wireless capabilities. But for those who do, a more extended battery-life becomes a convenient factor.

Sony WH-1000XM3
They give you 30-hours of battery life of continuous use. The battery’s overall life does not diminish over time. Something very unique is its rapid recharge time. Only 10 minutes of charging gives these headphones 5 hours of battery life.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II
These headphones give you a decent battery life of 20 hours with active noise canceling turned on. Twenty hours may not be as high as many Bluetooth headphones, but it’s still a decent amount. A 15-minute charge gives you 2.5 hours of battery life.

COWIN E8
These headphones give you an exceptional battery life of 18-20 hours.

Overall, the Sony WH-1000XM3 has the longest battery life.

Added Features

Here we summarize each pair of headphones and talk about some of the added features.

Sony WH-1000XM3
Not only does it have a built-in mic, but it also added extra microphones to help isolate audio for the most transparent possible phone calls. These headphones offer a built-in Google Assistant, which enables hands-free access to music and information. With LDAC Bluetooth, it provides the clearest and most secure wireless connection to date. The most unique feature these headphones have is its Sense Engine attribute. It automatically detects your environment and equalizes the sound and ANC abilities in accordance with your scenario and activity. Lastly, the intuitive touch-sensitivity is nearly flawless. These headphones have the easiest headphone functions to control your phone. Able to pair with only one device at a time. It comes with a high quality carrying case.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II
It has a very reliable built-in microphone for just about any application. You will not have any problems with phone calls regardless of how noisy or windy of an environment you’re in. Another I like is the controls are highly intuitive and effortless to use. These headphones do not have touch-sensitivity controls. However, the buttons are easy to use and get the job done effortlessly. Bose has both Google Assistant and Alexa built-in. Able to pair with two separate devices at a time. It comes with a high quality carrying case.

COWIN E8
With a built-in mic, there is no need to try and over speak during your phone calls. It picks up your voice incredibly well and is articulated clearly. Even though these headphones are at a much more affordable price, their call quality stands toe-to-toe with most of the top-tier and more expensive pairs. These headphones provide a stable and secure Bluetooth connection. In my opinion, these headphones are worth $50 more than they are currently priced at. We highly recommend them for anyone who wants a high-quality pair of headphones at a relatively affordable price range.

Overall, the Sony WH-1000XM3 has the most added and beneficial features.

Similarities Between The Sony WH-1000XM3, Bose QuietComfort 35 II, & COWIN E8

  • All cover the ear
  • All have Bluetooth wireless
  • All have a solid built-in mic for phone calls
  • All are very popular
  • All are highly-rated and reviewed
  • All have great active noise cancelling

Our Winner

Keep in mind that our opinion is not the end all be all. Like mentioned earlier, everyone has different needs, requirements, and budgets for their headphones. However, our winner is the Bose QuietComfort 35 II by an abnormally slim margin. From our testing, we found the Bose has the best ANC and comfort. It comes in a tie for sound quality with the Sony. We believe that the departments where Sony came on top of the Bose were not as important as the unbeatable ANC and comfort by Bose.  

If you’re interested in a pair of affordable noise-cancelling headphones, see our top 12 here.

Looking for noise-cancelling headphones with a mic for phone calls? View our most recommended options here.

If you’re interested in a pair of true wireless earbuds under $150, see our top picks here.