When Bose launched the QuietComfort 35 wireless exactly five years ago, it was a quantum leap in wireless headphones. They had the noise reduction from the class-leading wired QuietComfort 25, but in a wireless design.
Fast forward to today and the market is flooded with wireless noise-canceling headphones. But it is not more than five years ago that they almost did not exist at all. QC35 put the concept on the map once and for all.
The Bose headphones were long considered the best – even by us. But over time, they became increasingly aggressive competitors, and eventually they were overtaken by both Sony, Sennheiser and several others.
When the QC35 II update came, we hoped that either the noise reduction or the sound quality had gotten even better, but no. Only voice control was added.
When a new top model came on the market, namely the Bose Noice Canceling Headphones 700, it was not a direct replacement for the QC35 II, which continued on the market. Instead, the NCH 700 was somewhat more expensive and was to be considered a new top model – over the QC35 II – with a more streamlined design and swipe function on the ear cups. And with more linear sound, but with about the same noise reduction.
The heir of the legend
Now the QC35 II finally gets a real successor, with the QuietComfort 45 on the way. With the same design as its predecessor and physical buttons for those who do not like to swipe.
Better noise reduction
The new thing about the QuietComfort 35 II is that the Bose QC45 has improved noise reduction with two different settings.
Quiet Mode combines microphones inside and outside the headphones, and together with an advanced digital processor (DSP), they are used to detect, measure and respond to several unwanted sounds in the midrange register. Noise from train compartments, busy office spaces and cafes are typical environments that now need to be suppressed more effectively.
In Aware Mode, the QC45 switches to full audio transmission, where everything from the outside is amplified instead. We are promised that the surroundings will then sound “natural, clear and immediate”, so you do not have to take off the headphones to move around in traffic, or if you want to talk to someone in the old-fashioned way. So not via mobile…
Speaking of mobiles, we are also promised that the QC45 isolates the voice during phone and video calls so that it reaches the other end clockwise, while background noise “such as a coffee grinder or a barking dog” is effectively blocked.
Same sound as before
The sound quality of the QC35 Bose has chosen not to touch: “QuietComfort 45 retains its predecessor’s features with great sound, comfort and stability throughout the day,” it says.
It’s a daring move, as there are more competitors making more well-sounding headphones than Bose.
Better battery life and multipoint
On paper, battery life has been extended, albeit moderately, from 20 to 24 hours. Multipoint connectivity with multiple devices simultaneously is now possible thanks to Bluetooth 5.1, and the SimpleSync feature makes it easy to connect the QC45 to a compatible Bose soundbar.
Price and availability
Bose QuietComfort 45 will be in the stores on 30 September, but they can already be ordered at bose.co.uk. The price is £319.95. Substabtially more than the price of the “top model” NCH 700 for.
As mentioned, 700 have more linear sound and they also have higher maximum sound level than QC35 II. So if the QC45 sounds like the QC35 II, they might not be the most obvious purchase. But if Aware Mode is important to you, then you need QC45.