The Bose QuietComfort 45 is the latest addition to Bose’s lineup of active noise-canceling (ANC) headphones. In this review, we will explore the design, comfort, features, sound quality, microphone performance, and alternatives of the QC 45 to help you make an informed purchasing decision.

Design and Comfort: The Bose QuietComfort 45 features large ear cups and weighs a reasonable 240 grams, ensuring comfortable wear over extended periods. The synthetic leather ear pads provide decent isolation, and the padded band adds to the overall comfort. The package includes a travel case, cables, and documentation, but no airplane adapters are included.

Features and Control: The QC 45 introduces a USB-C port for charging, replacing the older microUSB port. The design of the headphones has also been updated, with a smoother outer plastic and less noticeable microphones for ANC. The controls, located on the back of each earcup, include playback controls and a toggle for ANC and voice assistant. Unfortunately, you can only toggle a mode called “aware” that allows some passthrough of your surroundings but cannot completely turn off ANC.

Connectivity Options: The Bose QuietComfort 45 offers Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity and can be wirelessly connected to a smartphone or source device. Alternatively, you can use the included 2.5-to-3.5mm TRS cable for a wired connection. However, it does not support higher-end Bluetooth codecs like aptX or LDAC. The Bose Music app is required to access features like voice assistant and EQ customization.

Battery Life: With ANC enabled, the QC 45 lasts approximately 24 hours and 49 minutes, exceeding Bose’s official 24-hour battery life claim. Lower volume levels may extend the battery life further.

Sound Quality: The Bose QuietComfort 45 effectively cancels outside noise with its updated ANC system. It particularly excels at attenuating mid and high-frequency noises. However, the out-of-the-box tuning emphasizes the high end, which may not suit everyone’s preferences. While speech intelligibility benefits from this tuning, busy tracks with high-frequency content may sound subpar. Equalizing the headphones using the Bose Music app can improve the sound profile.

Microphone Performance: The built-in microphone of the QC 45 performs adequately but may not replace a dedicated boom mic for optimal clarity.

Alternatives: If the price of the QC 45 is a concern, alternative options such as the Sennheiser PXC 550-II and Sony WH-1000XM4 offer more features and audio codecs like aptX and LDAC at a lower price point. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II, its predecessor, is also worth considering due to its similar performance and lower price.

Conclusion: The Bose QuietComfort 45 provides effective noise cancellation and benefits from the addition of an EQ feature in the Bose Music app. However, considering its original price, the QC 45 may not be the best value compared to other options like the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 or QuietComfort 35 II. If you can find a good deal on the QC 45 or the QC 35 II, it may be a more reasonable purchase. Additionally, it is important to consider competitors from Sony and Sennheiser that offer comparable performance and features. Ultimately, it is recommended to explore different options before making a decision.

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