The Bose QC35 headphones have been one of the most popular ones on the market for a while. Then came the Sony WH-1000XM3 and WH-1000XM4, which were considered by many to be superior, and inevitably dethroned Bose when it came to ANC headphones. Bose did release a newer product, the NC 700, which haven't been nearly as popular as the QC35. This is probably due to their lack of convenience, as they can't be folded, but also their relatively high price.
The company had to come up with a new product that would help it regain its leadership position: The QC45. After seeing first the leaks in July and then earlier this month, they're now official and available for pre-order.
What may strike you about the QC45 is how similar they look to their predecessor. I've owned a pair of QC35 since 2016, and I can't even tell them apart. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, it's surprising Bose wouldn't refresh a design that's more than five years old. Sure, the company says "pleats and puckers have been removed from soft materials" and "gaps between components have been replaced with smooth transitions," but it's hard to notice even when you take a much closer look.
On the plus side, this means the QC45 features the same practical folding design, 2.5mm audio-in port, and comes with actual physical buttons you can touch — I've never been a fan of touch-sensitive controls on headphones. Talking about controls, the QC45 features four of them on the right side, letting you control the volume, power, calls, voice assistant, and Bluetooth connection. There's another button on the left, which lets you switch between noise-canceling or hear-through modes if you're listening to music or mute your mic while on calls.
Speaking of modes, the QC45 feature two of them, soberly called Quiet and Aware. The first one offers improved noise cancellation compared to the QC35, thanks to a dedicated chip. The new Aware mode is relatively straightforward, as it lets you hear surrounding noise without having to take the headphones off — a feature I think could have been brought to previous models with a simple update.
Bose's latest flagship comes with other enhancements too, including better voice isolation on calls, which works using a beam-form array to isolate voice, while a rejection array dampens and blocks audible distractions around them. Battery life has also been improved, as the headphones can now last up to 24 hours on a single charge. Lastly, they now charge over USB-C and can be fully charged in about two hours.
Just like the former model, the Bose QuietComfort 45 will also feature multipoint audio, enabling it to connect to two devices at the same time, without having to manually switch from one to the other when receiving a call, for example.
It's nice to see Bose try to revive an older model, but at this price, it's fair to expect a bit more than something that could be called the QC35 III. Sure, there's now a more modern USB-C connector, a longer battery life, and some improvements to the noise cancelation system. Still, Bose could have gone for bolder, more modern, and more expensive materials when it comes to the design. Lastly, although it can still work with your phone's voice assistant the QC45 doesn't come with built-in Google Assistant or Alexa, a feature that was one of the QC35 II's main selling points.
If you're interested in getting the QuietComfort 45 headphones, they will be available in black or white starting September 23 for $329, but they can already be pre-ordered from various retailers and Bose.
BOSE UPDATES THE HEADPHONE THAT REDEFINED HEADPHONES
Introduces New QuietComfort 45
August 31, 2021 — Today, Bose introduces the new QuietComfort® 45 headphones, replacing the legendary QuietComfort 35 II with improved noise cancellation for instant quiet anywhere, new AWARE Mode to let the world back in, better voice isolation for easier conversations, and 24 hour battery life on a single charge. The QuietComfort 45 maintain the hallmarks of their predecessor with amazing audio performance, all-day comfort and stability, super- simple controls, rock-solid connectivity, and an update to the iconic design that made QCs one of the most recognizable wearables ever. The QuietComfort 45 headphones will be available starting September 23rd for $329.95, and pre-orders start today at Bose.com and select resellers.
“QuietComfort headphones are legendary for a reason,” said Mehul Trivedi, category director, Bose wearable audio. “What started as a product for traveling became a product that makes every day better and easier for millions of people all over the world. Our customers have told us for years that it’s the balance of benefits that make a QuietComfort so different and indispensable. They’ve always been a great example of excelling where it matters most. And the QC45s are no different.”
Two Modes — QUIET and AWARE
The QuietComfort 45 headphones feature just two settings, both achieved using a new active noise cancellation system and new electronics package. In QUIET Mode, microphones inside and outside the earcups combine with a proprietary digital chip to sense, measure, and respond to more unwanted sounds in mid-range frequencies — those typically found in commuter trains, busy office spaces, and cafés. The now famous “whoosh” associated with Bose noise cancelling technology happens in a fraction of a millisecond to tune out entirely, or enjoy music, podcasts, or movies with lifelike clarity, detail, and no distractions. In AWARE Mode, QC45 headphones switch to full transparency, where everything is heard again – just as naturally, clearly, and quickly — without ever taking them off.
Voice Isolation for Easy Conversations — Anywhere
For phone calls and commands, QC45 owners can share their noise cancellation. A beam-form array isolates their voice, while a rejection array dampens and blocks the audible distractions around them — like a coffee grinder or barking dog — from being picked up and transmitted to whomever they’re talking to. That means friends, family, coworkers, and personal assistants can hear what’s being said, paving the way for more productive Zoom meetings, happier video chats, and more accurate VPA responses on everything from text dictation to getting directions to controlling a smart home.
The Return of an Iconic Design
The QC45 builds on the iconic look of its predecessor, maintaining all the design elements that made it an identifiable classic, and all the comfort and stability that made it an all-day-everyday headphone. Pleats and puckers have been removed from soft materials, gaps between components have been replaced with smooth transitions, and they’re durable, lightweight, and fold flat to store in an included compact carrying case. QC45 colors are timeless — Triple Black and White Smoke, both with a beautiful matte finish. And they join the QC Earbuds and Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 in the Bose noise cancelling family.
The Ease of Buttons, Multi-Point Connections, and SimpleSync with Bose Soundbars
QuietComfort® 45 headphones are decidedly practical, keeping it simple with controls you can feel. There are four buttons on the right earcup: volume up, volume down, power, and Bluetooth® pairing, and one for the most common tasks — to answer and end calls, play and pause music, and access to native VPAs. There’s another button on the left earcup to toggle between Modes and to mute the mic during calls. The Bose Music app offers additional help for set up and use, including multi-point connections supported by Bluetooth® 5.1 for iOS and Android devices — and Bose SimpleSync™ to pair a QC45 with compatible Bose Soundbars for the ultimate private watch party.
24 Hours of Battery Life, USB-C Charging
QC45 headphones have up to 24 hours of battery life — outlasting the longest flights in the world, 20 back-to-back conference calls, or study all-nighters with time to spare. They now charge via USB-C®: it takes two hours for a full charge, and a quick 15 minutes for three hours of playback.
About Bose Corporation
Bose Corporation was founded in 1964 by Dr. Amar G. Bose, then a professor of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Today, the company is driven by its founding principles, investing in long-term research to develop new technologies with real customer benefits. Bose innovations have spanned decades and industries, creating and transforming categories in audio and beyond. Bose products for the home, in the car, on the go, and in public spaces have become iconic, changing the way people listen to music.
Bose Corporation is privately held. The company’s spirit of invention, passion for excellence, and commitment to extraordinary experiences can be found around the world — everywhere Bose does business.