Does Bose QuietComfort 45 Have Noise Cancellation? (Review!)

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Bose is finally ready with a new addition to its QuietComfort series after QuietComfort 35 was released in 2016. QuietComfort C45 is the name of the new generation, but is the list of innovations long, and do they have active noise cancelling?

The Bose QuietComfort 45 is equipped with active noise cancellation. The noise cancelling is absolutely in the top tier, and depending on the type of noise, the Bose QC45 is either at the very top or very close.

In this article, I will give you my honest opinion on the active noise cancellation and a full review of all essential features of the Bose QuietComfort 45.

Bose QuietComfort 45

The Good

  • Excellent active noise cancellation
  • Slightly sharper and more forward-leaning sound than before
  • Very good for conversations
  • Reasonably good battery life
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Foldable, nice carrying case included

The Bad

  • Others deliver more bass and more engaging sound
  • No equalizer in the Bose app

Is the Active Noise Cancelling of Bose QC45 Any Good?

The active noise cancelling is perhaps the most exciting feature to check out when new Bose headphones are launched, and this time there’s no exception. I must say that the engineers at Bose have used the time well since the previous model launch. The active noise cancelling in the QC45 is very solid.

On (simulated) aircraft noise, the QC45 and Sony’s WH-1000XM4 are roughly on par, but they attenuate slightly differently. Bose is better at muting the sound that makes up a large part of the aircraft engine noise, while Sony may be a little better at the very bottom of the frequency range. I prefer Bose, simply because I think they would be more comfortable on long flights.

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For aircraft noise, Apple’s AirPods Max is probably still a bit sharper than both of these two. They attenuate both the lowest and the slightly higher frequencies equally well, and as I mentioned in the AirPods Max test, it is a somewhat strange experience when you can feel the hum of the speakers in the couch while the sound is removed completely.

Compared to Bose’s own NCH 700, the QC45 is an improvement. There is little doubt about that. And then, it also follows that it’s a significant improvement from QC35.

For the slightly more uneven sounds, for example, in the office, the impression is that the QC45 may be better than both main competitors. Keyboard sounds and small talk from colleagues are muted to a greater extent with these than on both the Sony WH-1000XM4 and Apple AirPods Max, although all three are so good that you probably won’t be bothered by it if you have any content playing.

One thing that may be worth noting is that the Bose headphones give a slight feeling of pressure in the ears. It undoubtedly contributes to good noise cancellation but is something you should take into account if you are sensitive to such things. Here, Sony, in particular, is perhaps less problematic.

I must also mention that Bose’s ambient mode is suitable and sounds natural.

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Bose was once almost synonymous with the best active noise cancellation you could find. Onboard a plane, you could for many years say with great certainty that there were Bose headphones in almost every other row, whether the plane went to New York or the Bahamas.

Since then, one might say that Bose has rested a bit on its earlier achievements and been overtaken by both Sony and Apple. Sony has constantly improved its 1000X series to the point where I called the latest version “almost perfect”. At the same time, Apple launched its AirPods Max with a bang earlier this year and placed it among the top of the noise cancellation podium.

What Is Improved on Bose QC45 Compared to QC35?

The noise cancellation is mainly improved, and Bose has (finally) introduced an ambient mode. The headphones will have better sound insulation during calls, and the charging port has been changed from micro-USB to USB-C, as it should be in 2021.

The design is essentially the same as before, which means low weight and very high comfort. It also means that the design is mainly made of plastic, and you do not get nearly the same feeling of luxury as with some other headphones in this price range.

The QuietComfort series is designed to be used for many, many hours when traveling, and that does not change with the QC45.

The launch of the QC45 can perhaps be seen as Bose realizing that dropping the QuietComfort name when launching the previous noise-canceling flagship, Noise Canceling Headphones 700, was not the best idea. NCH ​​700 and QC45 will coexist, however, in terms of price, QC45 is currently a bit more expensive.

How Is the Design of QC45 Compared to QC35?

Bose QuietComfort 45 Design

Externally, there’s not much modification to find on the QC45 compared to QC35. You get the same power and pairing switch on the side of the right earpiece and the same remote control buttons on the “back”.

The one button on the left earpiece, introduced on the QC35 II, is still here, but the option to choose between voice assistant and noise cancellation has been removed.

Bose has simplified this part of the headphones somewhat, so the button is only used to switch between noise-cancelling and ambient mode (which Bose calls Aware).

The ability to choose different levels of noise reduction is also removed. Now it’s all or nothing, or in practice all or minus, since you can not even decide to use the headphones without either noise cancellation or ambient mode active.

How Is the Sound Quality of Bose QC45?

In terms of sound, Bose has previously been known for a slightly laid-back and distinctly comfortable sound signature that may not have been as populist and “flashy” as what Sony delivers in its 1000X series.

If you are a true audiophile, you might consider the QC series a little too boring in terms of the sound quality, and the NCH 700 did probably not change that either. With the QC45, Bose seems to have turned on the treble reproduction somewhat – even though nothing special has been done with the sound.

Unfortunately, I have not had the QC35 available for direct comparison, but compared to the NCH 700, the QC45 is sharper and more forward-leaning in the treble. It’s a welcome change in my ears.

Voices and instruments are more well-defined than before, but Bose is also moving closer to the threshold where they can be uncomfortable to listen to. It rarely does, but the risk of hearing fatigue increases in proportion to the time you listen.

The sound the QC45 delivers is still balanced and reasonable, but the Sony WH-1000XM4 is perceived as something more engaging and fun to listen to, thanks to a fuller midrange and a more powerful bass reproduction.

What Other Features Does Bose QC45 Have?

Does Bose QuietComfort 45 Have Noise Cancellation?

The Bose app does not have an equalizer option at the moment, but the QC35 has at least been updated throughout its lifetime, so it is not inconceivable that it will appear in the future.

The battery life is stated at 24 hours, up 20 percent from its predecessor. I have not experienced anything that would indicate any significant deviation during the test period. Charging is now finally done with USB-C, and you should be able to charge enough to listen for three hours in just a quarter of an hour. A full charge should take around 2.5 hours.

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Multipoint is supported, and I like that the Bose app tells me which devices have been paired with the headphones. I also like that the voice in the headphones tells us which device it is trying to connect to or has connected to. Bose is still quite alone with this feature.

The call quality is also a highlight here. Precisely that is one of the elements Bose itself highlights as improved, and my impression is that Bose is almost at the same level as Jabra Elite 85H, which is one of the best at this point.

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The QC45 manages to highlight the voice in an excellent way, even when it’s pretty noisy around. They let through some ambient noise, but it’s still fine to have a conversation even along a fairly busy road. The dynamics are also good, and Bose does not seem to have any problems with wind.

I also like that you can adjust how much of your voice you hear during conversations in the Bose app.

Bose QuietComfort 45

The Good

  • Very good active noise cancellation
  • Slightly sharper and more forward-leaning sound than before
  • Very good for conversations
  • Reasonably good battery life
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Foldable, nice carrying case included

The Bad

  • Others deliver more bass and more engaging sound
  • No equalizer in the Bose app

Conclusion

It has been five years since Bose first launched its QC35, and since then, we have received no less than four iterations of what has gradually become the leading competitor, namely the Sony 1000X series. And although the list of innovations on the Bose QuietComfort 45 is not enormously long, they are significantly better where it matters the most.

The noise cancelling is absolutely in the top tier, and depending on the type of noise, the Bose is either at the very top or very close. The sound is also slightly fresher and with a more prominent treble. It’s for the better if you ask me.

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The call quality is very good, and the Bose is still very light and comfortable, but minor technology upgrades make them more worthy in 2021. After a few years where Bose has had to put itself a bit in the back of Sony and Apple, they make a solid comeback with QuietComfort 45.

They are still not the most fun to listen to, but the combination of sound quality, noise cancellation, comfort, call quality, battery life, and other features is still an excellent package – although others are better in some areas.

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