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Bose is back with a new version of their classic QuietComfort Noise Canceling Headphones, the QC45s.
How did the QC45s fare?
They look similar to the Bose QC35s, but they are a bit sleeker with earcups that aren’t ruffled. They weigh just about the same as the QC35s and they still fold up nicely into the case, which is slightly lighter weight than before.
The QC45s sit a little bit snugger on your ears than the QC35s, but I actually find them even more comfortable than ever before, which is saying something given that the QC35s main selling point was their comfort. You can wear them for hours without fatigue.
I love that the QC45s kept physical buttons, which are much easier to use than gestures on headphones. Better yet, the buttons have better tactile feedback than on the QC35s, making it easier to answer calls, change the volume, or skip to the next song.
The QC45’s out of the box noise cancellation is simply superb, and it blocks a great deal more noise than the QC35s without being overbearing. However, it’s worth noting that there’s just one noise cancellation level on the QC45s, versus two (high and low) on the QC35s.
Music on the QC45s sounds far richer and deeper than on the QC35s.
QC45 has aware mode and it works perfectly. You just push the big button on the left ear and have a regular conversation without taking off the headphones. It works flawlessly whether you’re listening to music at the same time or not.
The real game changer with the QC45s are phone calls. On the QC35s if there is a child crying or screaming, even a good distance away from me, the other party was able to hear that background noise clearly. With the QC45s the other caller didn’t hear those ambient noises at all thanks to its quad microphone array. This alone makes for a worthy upgrade.
One negative point for me is that I like that the QC35s automatically answer a phone call when you turn them on. The QC45s don’t work like that and if they are off, you’ll have to turn them on and push the answer button. Luckily Bose has kept the easy to use power slide button, so that’s not too big of a deal, but it’s a disappointing change.
The Bluetooth 5.2 upgrade is fantastic and allowed me to walk much further away from my phone without dropping a call or music than I was able to on the QC35s.
An auxiliary cable is still included with the QC45s (ahem, Apple), so you can still use these on an airplane or with any wired device.
The battery life on the QC45s appears to be excellent and unlike the QC35, they can be charged with a USB-C cable, with a 15 minute quick charge option.
The QC45s also have multi-point pairing that worked perfectly. I had no problem connecting to 2 phones or to my computer and a phone.
If you’re working from home or traveling and looking for your first pair of noise cancelling headphones to tune out distractions, I’d highly recommend the QC45s.
But is it worth the upgrade from the QC35s?
At $329, it’s a tougher call. A casual user who is enjoying the QC35 may not find the QC45s worth the investment. But if you’re a road warrior who will appreciate the extra noise cancellation with aware mode or if you make a lot of phone calls with background noise, this upgrade is also a no brainer.
Verdict: Thanks to its improved noise cancellation and other features along with the industry’s most comfortable design, these are easily the best noise cancelling headphones that money can buy!