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Bose QuietComfort 45 Review - Proven Headphones Now Even Better

Balanced product care. The hallmarks of the Bose QuietComfort headphones are balanced sound and, above all, excellent noise suppression. Bose does a lot of fine-tuning with the QC 45 but fails to tackle an important area.

The Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones already have somewhat legendary status and enjoy great popularity. The QC 45 is the successor to the QC 35 II and aims to go further with longer runtimes, improved ANC, and more modern connectivity.

The Bose headphones have a current RRP of around US$329.00 but are usually available at much lower prices. 

Specifications

Wearing style over-ear
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.1, jack cable (2,5 mm)
Range up to 9 m
Speakers dynamic drivers
Audio codecs SBC, AAC
Battery life up to 24 h
Charging port USB-C
Wireless charging not supported
Weight 240 g
Firmware version 2.0.4-3475
Included in delivery headphones, USB cable (Type-A to Type-C), jack cable (2.5 mm to 3.5 mm), carrying case, quick start guide
Price (RRP) $329

Build quality and ergonomics - QC 45 with high wearing comfort

The Bose QuietComfort 45 is very similar to its predecessor and has become only a little softer in its contours. The headphones impress with very soft artificial leather pads and gentle contact pressure, which is why prolonged wearing poses no issue. It becomes somewhat warm for the ears only after long periods of wearing time. The headband is mechanically adjustable and gives a very stable impression. When folded, the QC 45 can also be stowed away to save space on the go.

As with the QC 35 II, the headphones are operated via physical buttons, there are no sensor surfaces. The operation remains simple and functional. There are also no sensors for wearer recognition. 

The Bose QC 45 is available in black or white. 

Features and operation - Bose headphones with few setting options

The initial connection takes place via the normal pairing process of the device to be paired. The Bose QuietComfort 45 supports Google's Fast Pair, so they are recognized directly by compatible smartphones or tablets.

The Bose Music app is also available free of charge in the App Store and Play Store, but it only recognizes paired headphones after another pairing process within the app. Afterward, you can define your own equalizers or use preset ones. The devices connected to the QC 45 can also be managed and firmware updates can be installed. 

A positive aspect is that the Bose headphones allow full dual connectivity. For example, a computer and a smartphone can be connected to the headphones at the same time and the headphones automatically switch to the other device when incoming calls are received. 

Somewhat irritating is the fact that the QC 45 only supports two acoustic modes. The user has to choose between full active noise cancellation (Quite Mode) and Aware Mode. In the case of the latter, external noise is carried over to the ear via the microphones for better environmental awareness. This worked without issue in our review. Unfortunately, however, there is no mode with deactivated noise cancellation to be able to simply enjoy good sound in quiet environments. 

The QuietComfort 45 can also be used via the jack connection (2.5 mm); the appropriate cable (2.5 to 3.5 mm jack) is included in the delivery. Active noise cancellation is available in wired mode as long as the batteries are not empty.

Sound - QuietComfort 45 with balanced sound

Pink noise measurement: Bose QuietComfort 45
Pink noise measurement: neutral equaliser in quiet mode

Unfortunately, Bose does not reveal many technical details about the drivers of the headphones, but only speaks of optimizations compared to the predecessor. The sound of the QC 45 is fairly neutral and balanced in the preset setting and, even with the equalizer bass amplifier, the drivers are unobtrusive. The sound is still really good and manages to reproduce fine high tones accurately and deep bass, but the latter lacks power. The QuietComfort 45 comes across more like a high-class artist on a small stage, lacking a little in breadth and character. It is also a pity that high-resolution Bluetooth codecs like aptX and co. are not supported.

In terms of noise cancellation, the Bose QuietComfort 45 is in a league of its own and the ANC headphones manage to generate quiet zones even in very noisy environments, whether on the train, in the office, or on a plane. In quiet areas, however, the characteristic humming of the ANC is quite audible, which can sometimes be annoying, especially during media playback.

The QC 45 can also be used as a headset. This works better than its predecessor, but the microphones convey the voice only in a very constricted and hollow way. This is perfectly fine as an occasional solution, but not a substitute for professional communication tools. 

Verdict - Strong ANC headphones discreetly improved

In review: Bose QuietComfort 45. Test device provided by Bose Germany.
In review: Bose QuietComfort 45. Test device provided by Bose Germany.

With the QuietComfort 45, Bose offers powerful Bluetooth headphones which have excellent active noise cancellation (ANC) and a very long battery life. The manufacturer specifies 24 hours, which we almost achieved in our test (23 hours and 14 minutes at an adjusted volume of 65 dB).

Bose has given the QuietComfort 45 a few modern upgrades without fundamentally altering the basic structure of the headphones.

The lack of sensors compared to the competition is not necessarily a disadvantage. Those who are looking for sensors should perhaps take a closer look at the Headphones 700. Otherwise, Bose provides up-to-date interfaces with Bluetooth 5.1 and USB-C without sacrificing its typical characteristics. Unfortunately, this also means a lack of high-res audio codecs.

Those willing to compromise on noise cancellation for even better sound should take a look at the Sennheiser Momentum 3 or the Bowers & Wilkins PX7.

Price and Availability

The Bose QuietComfort headphones are available at Amazon US or Best Buy for $329.00.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Bose QuietComfort 45 Review - Proven Headphones Now Even Better
Daniel Schmidt, 2022-04-27 (Update: 2022-04-27)