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Why I Want the New Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphones

Long battery life plus sound quality

  • I can’t wait to try out the new Bose QuietComfort 45 noise-canceling headphones.
  • Bose promises this model will offer 24 hours of playback, which would handily beat my Apple AirPods Max.
  • I also expect that the Bose headphones will be more comfortable than the AirPods Max.
Bose's QuietComfort 45 headphones in white

The new Bose QuietComfort 45 (QC45) wireless noise-canceling headphones are calling to me.

I can barely hear the siren song of the Bose headset since I’m wearing my newish Apple AirPods Max headphones, but the Bose cans could be a longer-lasting and more comfortable option than Apple’s finest. The $329.95 QC 45s are also cheaper than the ProMax, which retails for $549.

But the new Bose headset promises to be more than just a value proposition. I’ve owned several Bose headsets, including the current QuietComfort 35, and have been impressed with their, well, comfort. The ProMax sounds terrific, but their tight fit and heavy weight hurts my head after long listening sessions.

Better Battery Life

I’m most excited about the claimed 24-hour battery life of the QC45. The headphones now charge via USB-C, and Bose says it takes two hours for a full charge and a quick 15 minutes for three hours of playback.

I’ve never gotten anything like this length of battery life from other headphones I own. I’m lucky to eke out 10 hours of heavy use on my AirPods Max, and this can be annoying when I’m using them for long periods of time or in the middle of a work video call.

The new Bose headset promises to be more than just a value proposition.

Don’t expect a radical departure in the looks department with Bose’s latest, though. The QC45 is almost indistinguishable from the previous model. But Bose claims the look is sleeker on the new model and pleats and ruffles have been removed from soft materials, while gaps between components have been replaced with smooth transitions.

Keeping it Simple

One area where the QC45s will have a hard time beating the AirPods Max is its brilliantly simple controls. The AirPods Max has a wheel to adjust the volume and buttons to turn the noise canceling on or off, potentially offering the most intuitive controls I’ve ever used on a pair of headphones.

By contrast, the QC45 has four buttons on the right earcup: volume up, volume down, power, and Bluetooth pairing, and one for the most common tasks, including answering and ending calls, and playing/pausing music. There’s another button on the left earcup to toggle between Modes and mute the mic during calls.

Person using the volume controls on the Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones

I have no complaints about the noise-canceling on the AirPods Max, but based on Bose’s description, the QC45s should have no trouble keeping up with the Apple model. The QuietComfort 45 headphones feature just two settings using a new active noise cancellation system.

In QUIET Mode, microphones inside and outside the ear cups combine with a proprietary digital chip to sense, measure, and respond to unwanted sounds in mid-range frequencies, like those found in commuter trains. In AWARE Mode, QC45 headphones switch to full transparency, where everything is heard again without taking them off.

Bose also offers an intriguing feature which it claims allows QC45 owners to share their noise cancellation. A beam-form array isolates their voice, while a rejection array dampens and blocks the audible distractions around them—like a coffee grinder or barking dog—from being picked up and transmitted to whomever they’re talking to. Supposedly, the isolation feature means whoever you’re talking to on the phone or in video calls will hear you better.

If the QC45 model lives up to its hype, I’d seriously consider trading in my AirPods Max. My ears are suffering from the AirPods and the 24 hours of promised battery life on the Bose model is tempting. I can’t wait to give them a try when they drop on September 23.

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