Bose battles distracting noise with QC 45 wireless ANC headphones
For a good long while, Bose sat at the top of the active-noise-cancellation hill with its popular QuietComfort headphones. Now the company is hoping to take back some ground from the likes of Sony and Apple with the QuietComfort 45 wireless over-ears.
"QuietComfort headphones are legendary for a reason," said the company's Mehul Trivedi. "What started as a product for traveling became a product that makes every day better and easier for millions of people all over the world. Our customers have told us for years that it’s the balance of benefits that make a QuietComfort so different and indispensable. They’ve always been a great example of excelling where it matters most. And the QC45s are no different."
Keeping things simple, Bose makes two active noise cancellation (ANC) modes available – compared to the 11 levels on offer in the flagship Headphones 700. Quiet sees a proprietary digital chip working with microphones inside and out of the earcups to register and respond to unwanted sounds in the mid-range, tuning out the world around you with a quick "whoosh." Aware is the name of the transparency mode, which allows the outside world in, and is useful for holding conversations with friends without removing your cans, or listening out for announcements at the transport hub.
Bose says that users can also look forward to improved voice isolation during calls and engaging with digital assistants, with beamforming microphones and a noise-rejecting algorithm putting the dampers on background noises in real time.
Pairing with an audio source comes courtesy of Bluetooth 5.1 for a stable connection over 30 ft (10 m) and the option to hook up with two devices simultaneously. Control is via four buttons on the right earcup (for such things as volume, Bluetooth pairing, and taking calls) and one more of the left earcup (for mode toggling). And you can do even more via the companion app for iOS and Android.
Naturally, Bose is promising top notch audio performance too, with TriPort venting for more satisfying depth and volume-optimized Active EQ to ensure a similar fidelity no matter the volume. Listeners can rock out for up to 24 hours straight on a single charge – a little more than the flagship Headphones 700 – with a 15-minute top-up over USB-C resulting in three hours of playback or a full charge taking 2.5 hours.
The 15.7-oz (445-g) QC45s boast a similar aesthetic to the 35s before them, but with synthetic leather cushions, rotating earcups and minimal clamping force helping to ensure better long-haul comfort.
So has Bose managed to battle its way back to the top of the wireless ANC hill? We can't comment without trying out the QC45s first, but will say that they would have to be really impressive to take the flag from Sony.
The QC45 headphones will go on sale from September 23 for US$329.95, with your color choices being either black or white. Pre-orders are open now.
Product page: QuietComfort 45