Bose QuietComfort 45 Review

by Emma Baker, Senior Editor | Published February 6th, 2024 | Reviewed by Ted Wilson, Systems Engineer

The Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones are top of the line in Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and sound quality. Priced at $329, they strike an excellent balance between performance and value.

The work best for those who want comfort and long-term use. Personally, I think these headphones are perfect for travel and work environments.

In this review, we’ll explore the features that make the Bose QuietComfort 45 a standout choice. From its top-tier ANC to its user-friendly enhancements, you’ll understand why these headphones might be the ideal choice for your audio needs.

QC45 Ted Wearing

Design of the 45s

The Bose QuietComfort 45s are designed for comfort, making them ideal for extended listening sessions.

The earpads are plush, the headband feels like a cushion, and even after several hours of continuous wear, there’s no discomfort. They might lack an IP rating for water resistance, but for their intended use—in-flight, at the desk, or lounging at home—it’s not a missed feature.

Bose really paid attention to the details with the QC 45. They’ve added metal hinges and switched to a USB-C port, which feels like a step into the future.

They’re a bit heavier than the QC35 II, but honestly, I hardly noticed the difference. They’re still light and fit comfortably. What I love about these headphones is that Bose kept all the great features of the QuietComfort line – like how they fold up and have easy-to-use controls – but they’ve also given them a more polished look.

Bose 45s Controls

The Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones stick to the basics when it comes to controls, and in a weird way, it’s kind of refreshing. They’ve got buttons – real ones you can press – which are all lined up on the back of the right earcup. There’s one for playing your music and answering calls, with two more for turning the volume up or down. For those who like the futuristic feel of swiping at your headphones, these aren’t for you. However, I’m glad to own headphones that can work in the cold. 

Over on the left side, there’s just one button that lets you switch between serious noise-blocking and letting in some sound from the world around you. It’s a nice feature to have, though I did wish I could turn off the noise-canceling feature completely to save the battery when I don’t need it.

They come with an audio cable, but if your phone’s missing that little headphone jack, it’s not much help.

Location Control Function
Left Ear Cup Action Button Single Press: Cycles between 'Quiet' mode (ANC on) and 'Aware' mode. 'Aware' mode allows headphones to pick up sounds around you.
Press and Hold: Access voice assistant.
Right Ear Cup '+' and '-' Raises and lowers the volume.
Right Ear Cup Center Button One Press: Plays/pauses audio, answers/ends calls.
Double Press: Skips a track forward.
Triple Press: Skips a track backward.
Press and Hold: Declines a call.

Using these headphones is pretty straightforward. The buttons feel nice and clicky, and they don’t mind the cold – a big plus over touch controls.

The Bose Music app that goes with these headphones doesn’t do much except show you how much battery is left and let you pick how much you want to hear your own voice during calls, which is a neat trick for making sure you don’t end up yelling without realizing it. 

For whatever reason, Bose chose not to include common features such as automatically stopping music when the wireless headphones are removed. Though this isn’t needed, I felt like this is a relatively common feature to have, so I was shocked that the QuietComforts didn’t include something so universal. 

QC45 BlueTooth Button

ANC Capabilities of the 45s

The ANC of the Bose QuietComfort 45 is arguably the best in its class, providing an immersive audio experience free from external distractions.

They’re amazing at dulling the low hum of airplane engines, and I was seriously impressed by how they also dampened harder-to-block sounds like loud chatter and the background noises of a busy café. There’s a slight hint of white noise at higher frequencies, but it’s barely there and doesn’t disrupt the listening experience too much. 

While they don’t completely erase very loud music or a blaring TV, the volume is noticeably reduced. 

The Aware mode is a neat addition, though it’s not as pronounced as on some other headphones, which might be a concern if you need to be aware of your surroundings while jamming to your music.

Bose QuietComfort 45s Infographic

How do the Bose 45s Sound?

The Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones offer a strong bass presence without going overboard, keeping things balanced across various music genres. For tracks that thrive on the lower end of the spectrum, these headphones give you that punchy bass that’s deep and satisfying but not overwhelming. 

When it comes to vocals and instruments, they present a richness and clarity that’s quite pleasing. The mids and highs have a crispness that adds dimension to the overall sound profile, though some may find the highs a touch too bright.

Bose’s proprietary TriPort acoustic architecture and volume-optimized Active EQ come into play here, adding a refined touch to the listening experience. The soundstage on the QuietComfort 45 is decent, but it may struggle with more complex recordings, where the layering of harmonies and instruments can be demanding. 

The sound quality is heightened when you plug in the cable for wired listening, giving you an even richer and more pronounced audio experience. It’s worth noting, though, that you won’t have access to customizable EQ settings, which is a feature reserved for the Bose 700 series. Despite this, the QC45 handles a wide range of sounds well, making it versatile for all types of music, from the heavy beats of EDM to the intricate plucks of acoustic strings.

Bose QuietComfort 45s vs Sony WH-1000XM4 Comparison

Feature Bose QuietComfort 45s Sony WH-1000XM4
Overall Sound Quality More neutral sound profile More customizable sound profile
Bass Accuracy Good, with less emphasis on bass Higher bass emphasis
Mid Accuracy Very accurate, ideal for vocals Also accurate, good for mid-range tones
Treble Accuracy Higher emphasis starting around 2000Hz Less emphasis on high frequencies
Active Noise Cancellation Excellent, especially in mid-high range Very good, slightly better passive isolation
Comfort and Weight Lighter (240g), more comfortable Slightly heavier (254g)
Build and Design Plastic build, foldable, USB-C charging Plastic build, foldable, touch controls
Bluetooth Codecs Bluetooth 5.1, supports SBC and AAC Bluetooth 5.0, supports LDAC, AAC, SBC
Battery Life Around 24 hours Around 20 hours (30 hours as per Sony)
App Features Bose Music App, limited EQ options Sony Headphones Connect, more customization
Microphone Quality Adequate for calls, not studio quality Similar quality, adequate for calls

In conclusion, the Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones are a top choice for anyone seeking quality noise cancellation, sound, and comfort. They represent a perfect blend of Bose’s technological advancements and practical design.

Competitors like the Apple AirPods Max and the Sony WH-1000XM4 bring their unique strengths to the table. However, if you prioritize the ultimate ANC experience, the QuietComfort 45 headphones are the gold standard. 


How to Connect Bose Headphones to iPhone

To connect your Bose QuietComfort 45s to your phone, follow these steps:

  1.  Press the Bluetooth button on your Bose wireless headphones to put it into pairing mode.
  2. Open the Bose app, and press the “+” button.
  3. Wait for the app to register the new headphones. 

How to Make Bose Headphones Louder

On your Bose QuietComfort 45s, press the top button on the right earcup to increase the volume of music or a phone call.