Bose’s QuietComfort 35 and 35 II were some of the most recognizable ANC headphones of the past decade, but they’re getting a little long in the tooth. Bose just announced the QuietComfort 45, and while the upgrades aren’t too flashy, they’re solid improvements to make the QC line more competitive with rival headphones.
Bose isn’t known as a music lover’s brand, but the company is considered a leader when it comes to ANC headphones. With the QC 45, Bose says it’s improved the active noise cancellation to include a new Aware Mode, which is exactly what it sounds like: a transparency or ambient mode that lets you keep your headphones on without sacrificing situational awareness. As for the ANC itself, Bose says it now takes only a “fraction of a millisecond” to block out the rest of the world.
The QC 45 will also use a beam-forming array to isolate voices and tune out loud environmental noises. Bose claims that the feature works well enough to make you sound clearer on Zoom calls, or while out and about on the phone. We’ll have to see for ourselves, though this is a feature that’s been rumored for other forthcoming headphones. Apple recently released its Conversation Boost beta for the AirPods Pro, which purports to do the same thing. Samsung is also experimenting with a similar feature dubbed Ambient Noise with its new Galaxy Buds Pro. These technologies are still in their infancy, so if Bose can actually deliver on this before everyone else, that would be a huge boost.
There aren’t too many changes in terms of design, however. The most notable thing at a glance is the pleated earcups have been switched out for a smoother look. They’re reminiscent of Sony’s WH-1000XM4, albeit with more noticeable branding and more prominent physical buttons for controlling volume, switching between modes, Bluetooth pairing, and answering calls. They’re still supposedly lightweight and durable, and capable of folding flat for transport. As for battery life, Bose says you can now get 24 hours on a single charge, and 15 minutes will get you enough juice for three hours of playback. Bose has also mercifully upgraded to USB-C for charging.
The Bose QuietComfort 45 comes in two colors, Triple Black and White Smoke, and will cost $330. You can preorder them starting today, with official availability beginning Sept. 23.