Bose has released the newest entry in its QuietComfort lineup of noise-canceling headphones, the QuietComfort 45
. At $329, the QC45 is a solid upper midrange pair of wireless headphones, one with excellent noise cancellation, superb battery life, and good (but not perfect) audio quality.
Here’s what you should know if you’re considering buying a pair.
Bose QC 45: A Powerful Yet Iterative Update to the QC 35 II
The first thing to know is that the QuietComfort 45 isn’t a brand-new form factor or groundbreaking new device type. Instead, it’s built on the existing platform of the QuietComfort 35 II
, which has been Bose’s wireless flagship since 2019.
The QC 45 doesn’t look all that different from the 35 II. On the black model, the Bose logo is more prominent, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any other significant visual changes at a glance.
Still, the QuietComfort line has stood the test of time as a desirable and well-performing line of noise-canceling headphones. The QC 35 was the first wireless model in the line, and the QC 45 iterates on the concept in several powerful ways.
What’s New for Bose QuietComfort 45
Bose was already producing quality wireless headphones in the QuietComfort line, the QC 35 II. However, these new QC 45 headphones add several new and noteworthy features.
Ambient Aware allows you to hear your surroundings temporarily at the press of a button. If that sounds familiar, it’s because most other headphone makers offering high-end active noise cancellation have already introduced this feature. So, it’s great that Bose is adding it, but it’s not exactly revolutionary.
Upgraded Noise-Canceling Tech
Noise cancellation is nothing new for Bose’s QuietComfort series, nor is it exclusive to the company. That said, every implementation of active noise cancellation (ANC) has its own profile and level of performance, and Bose has long been near the top.
So it’s a big deal when a company that has long been regarded as one of the best in a particular area announces an upgrade.
New Microphone Array
Chalk it up to the new work from home reality, but Bose has significantly upgraded the microphone array in this new set of headphones. You now get a beam-forming microphone array for better voice quality on calls than with previous QuietComfort headsets.
Bose has long catered to the business traveler. And while business travel has taken a big hit, Bose knows its market, framing the improved battery life
as 24 hours, enough to “outlast even the longest international flights.”
Bose also added Quick Charge: just 15 minutes of charge time gives you three more hours of listening.
What Could Be Better With the Bose QuietComfort 45
Not everything about the QC 45s is perfect. Here are some flaws or weak points worth knowing.
ANC Is All or Nothing
The ANC in these headphones is excellent, but it’s not flexible in the least. Other similarly-priced headphones offer the ability to scale ANC up or down to fit the needs of the moment, but not the QC45s. Moreover, if you’re easily fatigued by the sound pressure that comes with ANC, you might not love this set’s “high-performing” ANC — and there’s nothing you can do about it except turn off ANC altogether.
Audio Performance Concerns
Some reviewers report that these headphones lack bass and high-end presence, even if the overall sound profile is extremely pleasant. Others report
that the audio is far from audiophile quality. It’s not an even reference mix, either.
This all somewhat makes sense: these headphones are for business travelers and the like, not audio engineers or audiophiles listening to HD tracks at home. Still, it’s concerning to see this kind of language applied to a $329 pair of headphones.
No EQ Options
To add to the previous point, Bose doesn’t give you a way to adjust the EQ on these headphones. Others (like Sony) offer this via a corresponding smartphone app, which is surprising for Bose to skip.
Should You Get the Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphones?
If you’re already a fan of Bose’s approach to audio production, you’ll probably love the QC 45s. Similarly, if you’re a heavy traveler looking for good-quality, reliable headphones with excellent ANC and good call quality, These will perform well for you.
But they aren’t for everyone. If your top priority is pure audio quality, you can do better at around the same price. In addition, if you want or need to tweak the audio experience, you really can’t do so here.
There also may be better options at this price, depending on your preferences. For example, some reviewers think Sony’s alternative
has an edge on overall sound quality. Certainly, there are more audiophile-grade options available, too, if you don’t need or want heavy ANC or true wireless performance.
That said, for many, the Bose QC 45 is a great iterative upgrade or a step up from virtually any sub-$199 headphones.
Upsie Protects Bose QC45 Headphones
If you purchase a pair of QuietComfort 45s, don’t forget to protect them. Headphones can take a beating in your bag, even if you store them properly in their case. An extended warranty from Upsie
keeps your headphones safe.
Upsie protects your headphones from accidental damage, defects, and wear with two-year and three-year warranties. In addition, Upsie’s warranties cost up to 70 percent less than warranties from other manufacturers.
For the best protection for the best price, choose Upsie.
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