Review: Bose QuietComfort 45

No big surprises

Bose is not breaking any new ground with QuietComfort 45.

Published 2021-12-04 - 8:03 am
Bose QuietComfort 45
Geir Nordby

The replacement for the Bose QuietComfort 35 II is not surprisingly called QuietComfort 45. It is confusingly similar to the QC 35 II, with physical buttons and all. The earcups have a slightly smoother design, where the joints were more angular with the predecessor. The headband is now upholstered in smooth imitation leather instead of fabric. But all in all, these are two very similar headphones, you have to look pretty closely to spot the differences.

New features

The QC45 has finally got a USB-C connector, and also multi-point connection via Bluetooth 5.1, so two devices can be connected at the same time. This was also true for NCH 700, which was marketed as a new top model over the QC35 II, but which you can buy at a lower price than the QC45 on the street. So it is slightly difficult to say which one is the top model now.

Like most other headphones in this class, the QC45 also has ambient sound, or Aware Mode, which was not the case in its predecessor QC35 II.

Bose QC45 white
Photo: Bose

The noise cancellation

Bose has always been good at canceling noise, and the same must be said about the QuietComfort 45. They still have a little more noise, ie hissing, than I had hoped. The hiss is louder than on both its predecessor QC35 II and NCH 700, which is the quietest of the three. The Sony WH-1000XM4 also has a bit of a hiss, but this is lower in frequency and is not as prominent as with the QC45.

Still, it must be said that the noise reduction on the Bose QuietComfort 45 is very good; no one but Sony and Bose themselves can challenge it. The car ride was an extremely quiet experience with QC45 around the ears. The fact that the headphones are feather-light and lie velvety softly around the ears is another plus.

Bose QC45 black & white
Photo: Bose

The sound quality

In terms of sound, Bose aim for the most linear sound possible. Everything is clear, for example Beyoncé’s lively Be Alive sounds neutral and clear. But there is a sharpness in her voice. The headphones are not the most finely resolved in the top register either. And even though the bass goes deep enough in frequency, there is a lack of pressure in the rhythms. It’s getting a little boring. The double bass on Esperanza Spalding’s Formwela 10 sounds pretty good, but the headphones are not over-excited about the powerful midrange in her voice. Cymbals can also sound a bit harsh.

All music sounds great, be it classical or hip-hop. But it never gets to be engaging, nor is there an EQ feature in the app. Do they sound better if you turn off the noise processing? Well, that is not an option at all! You can only choose between noise cancellation and ambient sound, both of which give the same sound quality to the music. But you can not turn both off, which might have improved the sound quality and certainly provided better battery life.

Bose QC45 QuietComfort 45 SPREAD2 Bose QC45 QuietComfort 45 SPREAD1 Bose QC45 lifestyle
Photo: Bose

Bose QuietComfort 45: Conclusion

The Bose QC45 is feather light, fits wonderfully comfortably around the ears, and we can easily understand that many will choose these. It is a safe, albeit somewhat unoriginal, choice. You also get one of the best noise cancellations available.

Still, we would say the QC45 is good, but not outstanding. There is only a trifle on the features that makes them better than their predecessor QC35 II, and nothing that makes them better than the NCH 700. The noise cancellation has not gotten any better since last time, nor the sound. Which is still good enough, but lacking both the dynamics and the bass energy to engage properly.

Bose QuietComfort 45

We think

Among the most comfortable headphones we know. Good noise reduction and ambient sound. Neutral sound balance. The sound is perceived as thin, and noise reduction can not be turned off without simultaneously activating ambient sound.

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