Bose QuietComfort 45 Review: Noise Cancelling Smart Headphones

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Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphone

Credit: TechHive

The Bose QuietComfort 45 noise-canceling headphones are a decent pair of headphones. They’re simple to use and very pleasant to wear for extended periods. All of these are the qualities that Bose has long been recognized for, and they carry on here as well.

After all, the QC45 has a few new tricks up its sleeve. One of these is an Ambient Aware mode, which allows you to hear noises around you at the touch of a button, as well as improved noise cancellation tech. 

You also get a 25-hour battery life that’s excellent but not spectacular, as well as a beam-forming microphone array that’s not quite as good as we had anticipated. Although neither of these flaws is deal breakers, it may make the Bose QuietComfort 45 less attractive than most of its competitors.

Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphone

  1. Price and Availability: Bose QuietComfort 45 Review
  2. Specifications of Bose QuietComfort 45
  3. Design
  4. Features
  5. Performance
  6. Digital Assitant and Controls: Bose Quiet Comfort 45 Review
  7. Sound Quality
  8. Active Noise Cancellation
  9. Call Quality
  10. Our Take

The main difficulties with the Bose QuietComfort 45 have little to do with what they do wrong – there are small flaws, but nothing major – and everything to do with two other best headphones out today: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 and Sony WH-1000XM4 For a little extra money, both provide more customizing choices, better sound, and a better value.

Price and Availability: Bose QuietComfort 45 Review

Price and Availability- Bose QuietComfort 45 Review

Credit: Amazon

The Bose QuietComfort 45 is available for $329 through major online stores or straight from Bose. Black and White Smoke are the two hues available. A carrying case, USB-C charging cable, and an AUX cable are included in buying.

This model is not only less expensive than the QC35 II ($349), but also less expensive than the flagship 700 ($379), as well as the Sony WH-1000XM4 ($349), which is now the category leader. If this pricing is out of your price range, the Cleer Enduro ANC ($129) is a great alternative.

Verdict

The Bose QuietComfort 45 is a true successor to a company’s new flagship model, which debuted in 2019, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II is more refined than last year’s Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, but not quite. The QC45 lacks a few features, like an EQ and customizable noise reduction, and its audio output isn’t quite up to par. However, comfortable for extended amounts of time and are simple enough for anybody to use, earning them an indifferent recommendation.

Pros

  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Control system that is intuitive
  • Lightweight and pleasant to wear
  • Ambient aware mode is now available
  • Active noise suppression of the highest quality
  • A sound signature that has been refined
  • Longer battery life
  • Excellent connection and comfort
  • Support for the Bose Music app
  • ANC may be used in wired mode

Cons

  • Unable to turn off ANC
  • Several features present on earlier Bose headphones are missing
  • Call quality deteriorates
  • There are a couple of features that aren’t present
  • Clarity is lacking
  • The call quality is poor
  • Occasionally, there will be a dropout


Specifications of Bose QuietComfort 45

Connectivity TechnologyWireless, Bluetooth 5.1
Batteries1 Lithium-ion battery is required.
Dimensions9.29 x 6.22 x 2.64 inches
Weight15.5 ounces
Rangeup to 30 ft
Compatible AppBose Music app
ColorBlack, White Smoke
MicrophonesMicrophone array for voice pick-up built-in
Touch ControlsYes


Design


Design of QuietComfort 45 Headphone

Credit: NotebookCheck

The QuietComfort 45 can readily be mistaken for any other QC over-ear model. The button and logo locations, as well as the simple, foldable design made of glass-filled nylon, synthetic leather, and impact-resistant materials, were kept unchanged. Bose did, however, make certain adjustments, which are shown below.

For starters, the pivot points now have metal hinges, making these headphones more durable. Furthermore, the logo is no longer debossed and reflective; instead, it is laser-etched. Also, you can see AfterShokz Aeropex Headphones Review: Wireless Bone conduction Open-Ear Headphones

What else is there to say? More microphones were crammed into the earcups, as shown by the numerous dimples on each side. Furthermore, instead of suede, the headband cushioning is made of leather. Some modifications are appreciated, while some aren’t, but the general appearance is still polished and professional.

Design of QuietComfort 45 Headphones

Credit: Ars Technica

The QC35 II is described as being heavier than the QuietComfort 45 (8.5 ounces to 8.2 ounces). When you hold each model in your hand, you can see the difference, yet they’re all equally comfy when worn. The soft cushioning was nice on my ears and skull, and it wasn’t until I’d been wearing the headphones for around four hours that they became tiring.

Fit is reliable, too. Adjust the extenders to the proper setting and they won’t slip off your head. The earcups also have decent grip control and stick to your ears, plus the cutouts are wide enough to allow for some breathability and reduce moisture buildup.

Features

Things are a bit less impressive in terms of features. Awareness Mode, which allows you to drastically reduce the level of your music and turn off noise cancellation without taking off the headphones, is the major new clear attraction here. Whether this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s been available on Sony’s noise-cancelling headphones for a few years, and it’s good to see it on a set of Bose cans as well.


Now, how does it function in the real world? It’s perfectly OK. The QC45 performs a poor job of utilizing external microphones to enhance outside audio, and the noise cancellation feature is effectively disabled. As a result, announcements or discussions taking place further away are still difficult to hear – or at least not as easy to hear as they would be if Bose amplified them using external microphones. 

The option to adjust the level of noise suppression and the tuning of audio playback via an EQ are two additional key missing capabilities. Both of these functions are present on the Bose NC700 and may be accessible on the QC45 in the future, but none is available right now. 

Finally, having a built-in virtual assistant like Alexa or Google here would have been wonderful. Users can still utilize the phone’s assistant by long-pressing the play/pause button, but having an always-listening assistant is useful when your hands are busy. 

Performance


Performance of QuietComfort 45 Headphones

Credit: Tekno Signal

The sound quality of the Bose QuietComfort 45 is likewise a double-edged sword. On the one hand, these aren’t the deepest or most detailed over-ear headphones we’ve ever heard. But on the other hand, owing to Bose’s clever design decisions, they’re one of the most listenable pairs of headphones we’ve tried. 

The QC45’s noticeable lack of bass response is one example of this. Songs like Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy lack the strength and depth of other headphones’ powerful bass lines, as well as richness and clarity in the higher registers. As a result, details in both regions are difficult to hear and have less impact than with conventional over-ear headphones. 

However, we wouldn’t be surprised if Bose adjusted them that way on purpose, as both areas may rapidly become exhausting if not done properly. To demonstrate this point, there are certain bass-heavy headphones available that are undoubtedly enjoyable to listen to, but they aren’t ideal for flights when any additional pressure might be uncomfortable. Similarly, hyper-clear headphones that excel at critical listening are delightful at home but not so much on the road.


Other performance concerns we encountered were connection failures and less-than-ideal call quality. That happened many times using the Amazon Prime Music app, which is predictable given the app’s shakiness, but also once or twice when watching videos on YouTube, which has always been rock-solid in the past.  When it came to calling quality, several of the people we spoke with stated that when we utilized the headphones, it sounded like we were on speakerphone. We sounded loud, but not always clear, according to them.

What’s the good news? So far, we haven’t been dissatisfied with their noise cancellation abilities. Wearing them around the home shuts out those bothersome daily distractions – there’s no noise from the air conditioner or the laundry room, and other people’s conversations don’t interfere with the music we’re listening to. 

It’s better to have some music playing at a reasonable volume rather than, for example, a podcast or meditation that has gaps in between speech where outside noise might leak in, to have the greatest noise cancelling experience. You shouldn’t be able to hear outside conversations, low rumbling noises, or anything else if you keep the music playing. 

Digital Assitant and Controls: Bose Quiet Comfort 45 Review


Digital Assitant and Controls- Bose Quiet Comfort 45 Review

Credit: Engadet

The control system of the QC35 II was copied and pasted onto these cans by Bose. Most instructions are controlled through the three-button module on the right earcup. To play/pause/answer/end calls (1x push), skip track (2x press), play previous track (3x press), or engage the native assistant, a multipurpose button is flanked by volume rockers (long press). The power/pair switch is still on the front. 

There is also the left earcup’s Action Button, which now only has one function: toggling ANC modes. You can’t attach it to the digital assistant anymore.

I’m not complaining about the decision to stay with physical buttons, especially given how sensitive they are to presses. That doesn’t mean I’m happy with Bose’s decision not to add additional controls to the QuietComfort 45, especially given how well the 700 integrated touch sensors with physical buttons.

Hands-free voice commands are supported by Google Assistant, Siri, and Bixby. They work well, and Bose’s mic array provides excellent intelligibility, taking up vocals and long questions with ease. The QuietComfort 45, unlike the 700, does not include wake word integration.

Sound Quality


Sound Quality of QuietComfort 45 Headphones

Credit: Tekno Signal 

Both 700 and the QC35 II have pleasing sound characteristics that trend toward the warmer end of the frequency spectrum while still delivering lots of clarity and clear mids. For a more refined listening experience, Bose added patented TriPort acoustic design and a volume-optimized Active EQ to these noise-cancelling headphones. 

On The Roots’ “Dynamite,” the jazz guitar flips and walking bassline glide over the exuberant production, while on Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode,” the strings and brass sound are handled so carefully that you can hear the fingertip friction on instruments. The background adlibs in both tracks have vocals that are finely defined and precise. Bose’s devotion to fine-tuning their trademark with each new release was evident in hearing how clear and lively the lows and mids sounded on these hip-hop classics. 

Bassheads will be able to get their fill of boom. EDM bangers like Skrillex’s “Break a Sweat” act as a sonic Red Bull, nourishing your eardrums with snarling synthesizers and thunderous percussion that are flawlessly balanced and distortion-free. In comparison to the 700 and QC35 II, I felt the bottom end on these headphones to be punchier and richer.

The audio performance of the QuietComfort 45 isn’t ideal; these headphones struggle with complicated recordings. The soundstage couldn’t handle the harmonies and string orchestra as well as other audio powerhouses like the Sony WH-1000XM4 or Bowers & Wilkins PX7 on lyrical tracks like Simon & Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair”. Indeed the record’s exaggerated bass was wrong. The highs were also brighter than I had hoped.

When listening in wired mode, the frequency range is expanded. The lows were more powerful, and the mids were more prominent.

It’s worth noting that the QuietComfort 45 lacks a configurable EQ (this is still a 700-only feature), which may turn off certain audiophiles. Furthermore, without power, the Active EQ does not function, resulting in poor sound quality while using the headphones in wired mode after the battery has died.

Active Noise Cancellation


Active Noise Cancellation of QuietComfort 45 Headphones

Credit: TechHive

Fans of Bose’s noise-cancelling technology already know how excellent it is. It’s why so many of them have purchased earlier QuietComfort versions. The QC 45 enhances your ability to utilize ANC rather than setting a new benchmark for it, which is perhaps more significant. We still get that lovely quiet when the cans filter out undesirable noises, but the action button on the left earcup now lets you switch between full ANC and full transparency practically immediately.

The QC 45’s ANC and transparency aren’t quite as excellent as the Bose NC 700’s, and they lack the WH-1000XM4’s smart bells and whistles like speech recognition, but that doesn’t stop them from being a superb set of noise-cancelling cans.

Call Quality 

Due to the addition of a fourth microphone, the QC 45 is supposed to offer better voice calling than the QC35 II. That may be true, but for phone calls, they’re still no match for the NC 700.

Although external noises are effectively suppressed, the algorithm used by Bose to do so can occasionally interfere with your speech, especially when those outside sounds become very loud. When the environment is quieter, your callers will be able to hear you well. The QC 45, on the other hand, makes it seem as though you’re standing two or three feet away from the microphone in both calm and noisy situations, which is rare. This does not affect clarity, but it does take away the low-end frequencies that give your voice warmth and resonance.

If calling is important to you, the NC 700 or JBL Tour One are the best full-size headphones I’ve tried for call quality.


Our Take

The Bose QuietComfort 45 takes a tried-and-true formula and improves it with features like longer battery life, USB-C charging, and easier/faster control over ANC settings, although some users may miss the things Bose left off.

Is there a Better Alternative Wireless Headphones?

If you don’t mind having to have a MicroUSB charging cord on hand and value being able to use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa from your headphones, the $299 QuietComfort 35 II is a terrific option.

If call quality is important to you, the JBL Tour One is an excellent choice. They’re not as comfortable as the QC 45 and don’t perform as well with ANC, but they do provide hands-free access to voice assistants. They have a longer battery life as well.

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, if you can afford them, including many of the capabilities that the QC 45 lacks, such as voice assistants, variable ANC, EQ control, and great call quality.

How long do you think they’ll last?

The QuietComfort 45 is no exception to Bose’s high-quality construction. These headphones should last you a long time, and even if the ear cushions wear out, you can easily replace them. You should avoid getting them wet because they lack any type of certified water-resistance rating. Bose offers a one-year guarantee on its powered devices, such as the QC 45.

It is worth it to buy Bose QuietComfort 45 Wireless Headphone?

Yes. The QC 45 is a great update to Bose’s famous QuietComfort headphones, making them even better for travel and music.


Best Alternative Noise Cancelling Headphones


Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Headphones

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Soundcore by Anker Life Q30 Headphones

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Beats Studio3 Wireless Headphones

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Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones


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Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

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Reviews
  • Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphones
4.7

Summary

The QC45 noise-canceling headphones provide fantastic sound, great noise-canceling, decent headset performance, and long battery life.

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