Bose QuietComfort 45

The design hasn't evolved, but the technology inside has made significant advancements.

Don’t fix something that isn’t broken.

Because of the success of its QuietComfort noise-cancelling headphones, Bose has decided to do the same. The QC35 and QC35 II set the standard for wireless over-ear headphones with active noise cancellation (ANC). It was a pleasure to use the Bose QuietComfort headphones on long flights because of their robust ANC and stable controls. Even yet, the QC35 II launched in 2017 and technology has advanced significantly since then. The QuietComfort 45 ($329) from Bose maintains many of the features that made the range so famous while also introducing a few new ones. There is no need for expensive additional features to make your headphones stand out from the crowd.


In terms of aesthetics, there’s little new to say here at all. Bose made it abundantly clear that they wanted to maintain the distinctive look of their QuietComfort series headphones. There were creases around the ear pads that were cleaned up, and exposed spaces were closed for a more polished look. It also replaced the micro-USB port with a USB-C port for charging. Because of this, it’s easy to mislead people into thinking you’re listening to an older model.

Headphones still fold up for simple storage, and the cushions on the QC45’s headband are still supple and comfortable. It is on the exterior of the ear cup, while on-board controls are located around the back border of the right ear cup. Play/pause, take calls, skip tracks and adjust volume can all be done via the physical buttons on this device. What used to be the Google Assistant and Alexa button on the left now alternates between ambient sound and active noise cancellation (Quiet mode) (Aware mode). During a call, pressing this button will mute the microphones. You can still call up your personal assistant by pressing and holding the multi-function button in the center of the right side of the device.

The Bose 700 is a great option if you’re looking for something that’s a little less “Dad on a business trip” but still wants the sound quality and ANC of the Bose 700. (more on those in a bit). These are more up-to-date in terms of style. As a result, the series’ raison d’être is to keep you cozy for long periods of time while blotting out the outside world. Just like the QC45, the lightweight design of the QC45 makes it a perfect travel companion.

Software and features

The QuietComfort 45 headphones and earbuds are compatible with the Bose Music app. Aside from guiding you through on-board settings and displaying battery life and ANC modes, the software doesn’t provide much in the way of personalization. On top of it, there’s an audio volume slider and a basic media player controller. However, what you can change is genuinely useful. When making phone conversations, you can select from four degrees of Self Voice, or how much of your own voice you can hear through the headset (off, low, medium and high). It’s always wonderful to be less obnoxious on Zoom. Adjusting how long the QC45 sits idle before shutting itself down to save battery life is also possible.

Bose’s latest QuietComfort headphones pay homage to some of the company’s best-ever models. The business made just minor aesthetic tweaks, focusing instead on enhancing its ANC performance and adding an ambient sound option to its devices. For calls, the QC45 is a decent choice, and this new model is $30 less expensive than the previous model.

That’s all there is to it. The sound profile can’t be tweaked or even selected from a list of presets in a Bose. When the volume is turned up to its highest setting, the Active EQ feature of the QC45 automatically adjusts the high and low frequencies to retain the same level of performance at any volume. No need to remap any of the controls, and features like automatic pauses or speech recognition aren’t supported. This means you may only use the Music app once when you first set it up.

Finally, there’s a minor annoyance with the multi-device connectivity. At the same time, you can use the QC45 with both your phone and your PC. Slack and Spotify can be streamed at the same time, but when you get a phone call, the headphones automatically switch to answer it. You have to touch on the QC45 to bring your PC back into the active stream when a phone call is concluded. Because of the way rivals do this automatically, this minor inconvenience stands out.

Sound quality

Noise-canceling headphones from Bose may be on your list, but don’t forget about the sound quality. In terms of tuning, the business has a solid reputation, delivering warm, balanced sound with good clarity that exposes the music’s finer aspects. That continues with the QuietComfort 45 headphones, which give clear highs, strong mids, and deep bass when a song calls for it. Don’t expect a booming low-end like Sony’s flagship model, which has a more even-handed tuning.

However, albums like Run the Jewels’ RTJ4 and Chvrches’ Screen Violence have plenty of bass to keep things interesting. Bose’s bottom end lacks the same richness and realism as other systems’. Walking In The Snow” and “Asking For A Friend” don’t feature basslines that droning or vibrate as their competitors’ do. For metal, bluegrass, and everything else in between, the QC45 is a great choice because of its more balanced tuning and its ability to handle finer subtleties. To keep things from becoming dull or flat, they have enough volume to keep things from becoming monotonous.

The QC45’s active noise cancellation has received the most attention for its improved sound quality. Bose claims that a “proprietary digital chip” works with a combination of external and internal microphones to detect and suppress more mid-range frequencies. Things like office noise, the rumble of a train, or even the buzz of the coffee shop are covered by this policy. They are indeed better at tuning out the noises and distractions that their competitors have a hard time with. Things like TV and other household noises, as well as human voices, were handled effortlessly by my QC45. Bose headphones have never had a problem with ANC effectiveness, but the brand has been able to improve on what was already top notch.

New to the QC45 is the Aware mode or ambient sound mode. It’s wonderful to see Bose incorporate something like this, as it’s a common feature in most headphones today. Compared to the AirPods Max, it doesn’t sound as natural, but it does the job when you just want to hear what’s going on in the world around you. Video calls will continue be a big part of our life, so the ability to alter how much of your voice you hear on calls is also useful.

Battery Life

The QC45 has a battery life of up to 24 hours, four more than the QC35 II. That’s more than enough time to fly anywhere in the globe on a commercial airline or to get through a couple full days of work without a problem. I was able to listen to music and make phone calls for 22.5 hours before needing to plug in. That’s a little less than the advertised duration, but it’s still a considerable period of time.

With a 15-minute quick charge, you can get three hours of playback out of your Bose headphones. It’s plenty to get you through your daily commute, a workout, or perhaps a Zoom call..

Bose’s latest QuietComfort headphones pay homage to some of the company’s best-ever models. The business made just minor aesthetic tweaks, focusing instead on enhancing its ANC performance and adding an ambient sound option to its devices. For calls, the QC45 is a decent choice, and this new model is $30 less expensive than the previous model.

The Competition

With the Bose 700, Bose has an alternative to the QC45 that’s just as good. For calls, the 2019 model has excellent speech quality even in noisy situations, thanks to the company’s powerful ANC. The amount of noise suppression can also be controlled between 0 and 10. The 700’s touch controls are more reliable than the QC series’ physical buttons, and the design is more contemporary. These headphones cost $379 and have a harsh treble, which is a problem since there isn’t an option to alter it in the app. However, if you’re concerned about how you look, these are a viable option.

During the previous few years, Sony has been putting pressure on Bose to raise its game. Maintaining that pace is the WH-1000XM4, the company’s new premium noise-cancelling headphones. In addition to robust ANC and great sound quality, Sony provides a wealth of useful features. If you’re looking for a way to have a quick talk, the WH-1000XM4’s speak-to-chat and quick-attention modes make it easy to have a conversation. Additional features such as automated pauses and support for Sony’s 360 Reality Audio may entice buyers. 1000XM4 gets more attractive when you realize that it can be purchased for roughly $350 at a discount of $100.


The QC45 from Bose is clearly aimed towards aficionados of QuietComfort. Improved noise-cancellation technology is a major selling point for this updated version of the famous headphones. It’s also clear that Bose is happy to keep the QC family continuing as long as there’s a market for it, putting its latest technology to use in separate versions like the 700. There will be a lot of clamoring for a long time. Future QuietComfort headphones could be even more appealing if Bose can lower the price to below $300.

Bose QuietComfort 45 Review

Performance - 9.1
Design - 9.3
Cost - 9.1


9.2/10 Total Points

Bose's latest QuietComfort headphones pay homage to some of the company's best-ever models. The business made just minor aesthetic tweaks, focusing instead on enhancing its ANC performance and adding an ambient sound option to its devices. For calls, the QC45 is a decent choice, and this new model is $30 less expensive than the previous model.


Jake works as a freelance journalist for NerdNews covering a wide range of anything nerdy. He's been writing about technology for ten years and also enjoys writing books as a hobby.

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