The ANC wireless headphone market for travellers is a competitive one in which the new Bose QC45 headphones need to make an impact.
Long gone are the days when the QC25’s were the standard headphone of choice for savvy travellers, with Sony ruling the over-ear option for several years now, and with the continual improvement to in-ear buds, AirPods and the like are catching up.
Bose QC45 Headphones
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Until now, Bose has been trailing Sony in the Over-ear headphone market for some time. The QC25 & 35 II were excellent headphones but were never better than the Sony WH-1000XM3.
I know that statement will upset some loyal Bose travellers, but it’s true.
Bose showed signs of clawing back, though, with the 700 headphones, which didn’t have the best styling yet performed very well. But no sooner had Bose felt they were back on top, Sony delivered the XM4, arguably the best headphones for travellers today.
Recently, Apple has joined the fight with the AirPods Max headphones, which are hugely overpriced and don’t offer enough to challenge either Bose or Sony just yet.
So what do the new QC45 headphones have to offer, and will they return Bose to the top of the traveller’s must-have list?
Bose QC headphones were created for travelling, and the QC45 intends to continue that tradition with just two easy to use modes; Quiet and Aware.
With a fourth external microphone added to the full array of mics on the QC45 and paired with a new Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) system, Quiet mode will target the mid-range frequency sounds that are most in common in our day to day lives and whilst on the move.
Music, podcasts and videos. This is the content you love. That’s why we’ve engineered QC45 headphones with exclusive Bose technology, like TriPort acoustic architecture and Volume-optimised Active EQ, to produce everything in high fidelity.Bose
And, where Quiet promises a calming utopia of silence, Aware mode will allow the outside in again with just the press of a button. This simplicity with just two modes may well be what makes the QC45’s a popular choice of headphones as the competition add more and more, and most users don’t need them.
Those small lumps on the earcups are buttons and not something we’ve seen on premium ANC headphones for a while now!
Bose is keeping the new QC45 headphones simple to control too. No touch-sensitive ear cups where you’ll need to remember tap sequences.
Nope, Bose has added actual physical buttons, five of them.
There’s four on the right earcup for volume control, pairing and power, then a fifth on the left earcup to toggle ANC on/off. As much as I prefer the styling of the buttonless touch-sensitive earcups, I’m excited to see the return of the buttons.
Design & Performance
At launch, Bose has given little away in terms of the internal specifications regarding the QC45 headphones.
We know that the ANC system mentioned above will be joined by a new electronics package and a proprietary digital chip to enhance the Quiet and Aware modes.
The digital chip pairs with the mic array to deliver a far better hands-free call than previous QC headphones with improved voice isolation.
Whilst the overall look of the new QC45 headphones appears similar to that of previous models, Bose has made minor changes to deliver a much more improved wearing experience for long periods.
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At just 240g, the QC45 headphones remain the same weight as the QC35 II but with superior battery performance, additional microphone and new technology, and it’s 10g lighter than the 700 Headphones.
To provide maximum comfort to your ears during a long-haul flight, Bose has removed the creases and wrinkles in the earpad fabric and reduced the clamping pressure on the headband.
Together, these changes and the lightweight build will make the QC45 headphones perfect for hours of continuous wear.
Bose QC45 Specifications
|Dimensions||18 x 15 x 8cm|
|Charge Time||2.5 hours (full)|
15 mins = 3hours (quick)
|Features||Active Noise Cancelling|
Physical Control Buttons
TriPort Acoustic Architecture
|In the Box||QC45 Headphones|
USB-C Charging Cable
3.5mm to 2.5mm Audio Cable
How Much do the Bose QC45 Headphones Cost?
The new Bose QC45 headphones will be $329|£319 with Pre-order open now and shipping due to begin on September 23rd.
Bose has a lot riding on the success of the QC45 headphones. Sure, the Bose faithful will snap them up, and so they should. Though the Sony WH-1000XM4 are a perfect pair of headphones, that even the might of Apple has failed to topple, I think Bose may have the trump card.
Instead of an overly complex touch sensor cup with ten different modes and levels of silence needing a degree in mathematics to operate, they have done the complete opposite.
QC45 headphones have physical buttons and will be easy to use. There are only two modes, Quiet and Aware, just the ones you need when travelling and are designed to be comfortable to wear for long periods.
Even if they do not end up being the best headphones on the market, Bose QC45 may well be the best for flying and travelling. I can’t wait to try them!