Bose introduced its QuietComfort 35 II headphones back in 2017, and despite debuting the stellar Bose 700 model in 2019, the company was adamant its QC line wasn't going away. Now the QC35 II has a proper replacement: the QuietComfort 45. Bose says these headphones "maintain the hallmarks of their predecessor" when it comes to audio quality, comfort, reliable controls and more. As you can see, the QC45 also keeps nearly the same design at the QC35 and QC35 II except for a few subtle changes. And at $329.95, they'll debut at a lower price than the previous two QuietComfort models.
While the company went with an updated look for the Bose 700, it largely maintained the aesthetic of the QuietComfort line for the QC45. Bose says it kept the design elements that made the QC35 and QC35 II "an identifiable classic," but it got rid of the pleats on the earpads and closed some gaps to create "smooth transitions." You should still expect these to be light and cozy as none of the changes should impact the QuietComfort's highly-regarded status as a travel companion. The QC45 still folds flat for ear storage, thanks to the return of rotating earcups and a hinged headband.
On the inside is where the most notable changes lie. Bose says it improved the noise cancellation with the combination of internal and external microphones paired with a "proprietary digital chip." The company explains that this setup can detect and silence more mid-range frequencies — things like the roar of train, office or coffee shop — when you activate Quiet mode. The QuietComfort 45 also has an Aware setting that offers full transparency to your environment. Unlike other Bose models, there's no level adjustment for the active noise cancellation (ANC) here, you just get the two aforementioned modes separately.
Those two audio settings are accessible via the QC45's on-board controls. There's a dedicated button for them on the left earcup that can also mute the mic during a call. All of the core functions — volume, play/pause, voice assistant, power and pairing — are on the right side. Like the previous models, they're all physical buttons instead of touch controls, so they should preform reliably.
Bose also extended the battery life with the QuietComfort 45. The company says you can expect up to 24 hours of listening time on a charge. That's up from 20 hours on the QC35 II. A quick-charge feature will give you three hours of listening time in 15 minutes and the QC45 charges via a USB-C cable.