The Bose QuietComfort 45 (QC45) headphones are a golden gift for the stubborn people who don’t get along often in the tech world. Rather than develop these ANC headphones for change, Bose decided to simply keep them modern, with a USB-C connector (and Bluetooth 5.1) so that its iconic design could float forever.

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Personally, I’ve never met a gadget I was so satisfied with that I never wanted to replace it. I can imagine a scenario of being satisfied with at least one piece of technology, though. Plus I’ve met a lot of people who never want some devices to be replaced. They want them to look and act the same indefinitely. The Bose QC45 headphones are a perfect gadget for these people.

There are a few tweaks to these headphones, like a charging port, but there isn’t much new here. There’s also no ear detection to stop the music when you pick up the ear cups. And yet, somehow, these new QC45 headphones remain a solid listening option, not just for the $329 retail price. That’s why most people, except those stubborn gadget upgraders, should skip these headphones for a different option from Bose or another brand.

tl; Dr

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professionals:

  • USB-C Charging Port
  • large ear cups
  • Lightweight

Shortcoming:

  • no ear address
  • No Custom EQ Settings in Bose App
  • some advanced features
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buy on boss.

QuietComfort 45 Features and Sound

Despite being updated, the QuietComfort 45 headphones are light on features. These would be extremely compelling headphones at $199—maybe even $229. However, at their $329 price, it’s a bit puzzling as to who the target consumer really is. My best guess is that Bose is targeting legacy owners who have refused to upgrade. My second guess is that by offering the QC45 at a higher price, Bose is hoping that those tempted by the QC45 will decide to go with its noise-canceling 700 headphones instead. The 700 offers the world more features for $50 more.

The QC45 has a new Aware mode, USB-C port, and an additional microphone (two in total), but the QuietComfort 35 II is otherwise nearly identical.

In fact, the only features the QC45 claims over other Bose headphones are Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity and 4 hours more battery life. These new headphones are unmatched in all meaningful categories.

The sound on the QuietComfort 45 tends to blare higher frequencies than on other comparable headphones. In isolation, the QC45 has a decent bass response. for example, Looney’s “Royal Flush” Or “calm down” The QC45 can still deliver some punch to your ears, but in direct comparison with similarly priced headphones, the bass here is disappointing.

Whale’s Fun, Chaotic Pop-Rock Song Called “The Ocean” Steady low-end bass throughout the chorus communicates synth that reaches a bit depth on other headphones. Still, without a direct comparison, casual music listeners should be satisfied with the QC45’s sound profile. It would have been nice for Bose to include a customizable EQ in its app for more control over the sound.

Comparing the Bose QC45 and Sony WH-1000XM4

When talking about any new pair of headphones, the question always arises as to how they compare with others. Sony’s WH-1000XM4 has largely become the de facto standard for ANC headphones.

In short, the 1000XM4 headphones are easily the better choice, and it’s probably not even close—mainly because of their sound quality and an abundance of features. Sony headphones have a more vibrant low-end bass. They also have an overall rich and full sound. The 1000XM4 has a wide array of features, including their Speak-to-Chat technology, which pauses audio when it detects the wearer is talking. The 1000XM4 also has 30 hours of battery life.

The ANC’s strength and effectiveness is a toss-up between the two headphones. The 1000XM4 headphones probably have an edge, but it’s almost identical. I sat at a Starbucks in front of a busy six-lane street, and each of the headphones adequately blocked the constant and uneven noise of cars and coffee drinkers.

The fit and comfort of each of these headphones is quite different, each good in its own way. For example, the QC45 initially feels light and airy. The ear cups are generously deep to accommodate most ears. Sony’s headphones, on the other hand, have the coolest foam I’ve tried around the ear cups and headband. The foam makes the 1000XM4 feel like a comfy blanket. The pressure squeezing from the headband is also a bit less on Sony’s option. Of course, with a blanket comes the potential for feeling very limited.

Despite the fit and feel being quite different between the two headphones, there will be plenty of people on either side of the spectrum who prefer one over the other. This is a personal preference.

Compared to QC45 AirPods

In terms of ANC, the AirPods Pro earbuds don’t compare with the QC45. Two different choices to hear are apples and oranges, but in case you were at all curious, they are not the same. However, the AirPods Max is very close to ANC by comparison. Separately, the AirPods Pro seem to have better microphones; I’ve heard they sound better to the people on the other end of the phone call, too.

In terms of Apple’s over-the-ear option, the AirPods Max have a very neutral (but still impressive) sound and tend to split the difference between the 1000XM4 and the QC45. For a pair of consumer headphones, I really like the AirPods Max, but I hate their price. They have one of the best transparency modes and surpass the QC45’s Aware mode. I found that the Aware Mode doesn’t work well on these new Bose headphones. It was still hard to hear people talking to me while wearing the QC45 headphones.

Should You Buy the Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphones?

Unless you’re stubborn about the QuietComfort look, fit and feel, there’s no reason to pick the QC45 over other Bose or other brands’ headphone options. It’s confusing that these headphones can update in very minor ways while falling behind most others.

If you’re looking for a silver lining, the QC45 feel extremely lightweight when you put them on and fold down compactly for travel. There isn’t much to understand here in 2021 that Bose isn’t doing better elsewhere. It’s hard to get too excited about even the Bose 700’s rated 24-hour battery life, compared to the Bose 700’s 20 hours.

buy on $329. for bose.

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