The Bose QC45 has been officially unveiled after a series of leaks of the past months. The good news is that most of the rumors were true. The new model features a longer lasting battery, improved microphones and a new “Aware” mode, to allow you to hear your surrounds when needed.
Available in a choice of black or white smoke (rather than silver), they bear a very similar design to the previous models, though with a series of nips and tucks that makes them look more premium. Bose says that "Pleats and puckers have been removed from soft materials, gaps between components have been replaced with smooth transitions" – and they certainly look a step up in fit and finish from the Bose QC35 II, though they're still lightweight with a plastic finish.
Looking at the specs, the dimensions are a fraction longer but reduced in width and depth. The big change though is the weight – the QC45 weighs almost double that of the QC35 II at 15.7oz (440g) compared to 8.3oz (240g). This is likely down to the battery, which now offers up to 24 hours usage. They can charge to full in two hours, or a 15-minute charge gets you three hours of listening time.
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Rather than a USB-mini port, they also use a USB-C connection and come with a USB-C to USB-A charging lead, Bluetooth 5.1 provides the connectivity, and you can pair it with two devices at once, for easy switching. There's also still a 3.5mm to 2.5mm audio cable, which is handy for airline use.
The new Aware mode uses the QC45’s in-built microphones to enhance noises from outside the headphones rather than remove them. This is much like the transparency and ambient sound modes on Apple and Samsung earbuds and saves you taking your headphones off when needing to listen to what’s happening around you.
Bose is keen to point out that its 700 headphones remain the premium offering. Though the QC45 now offers better battery life, it does match the 11 levels of noise cancelling, the adjustable EQ and built-in Alexa and Google voice assistance. Though, as long as your phone has a voice assistant, you are covered for most uses.
That all makes them sound like an excellent upgrade, but I'm a bit concerned about the price. At $329/£319.95/AU$499.95, Bose has landed these at the premium end of the noise-canceling headphones market – when it comes to full price, they're right alongside the mighty Sony WH-1000XM4 and just a tad below Bose's own futuristic-looking NCH 700 headphones. However, the price is sure to adjust slightly when it hits the retailers.
The Bose QC45 are available to pre-order now and due to ship on September 23. Will the noise cancellation and sound quality be good enough to justify the price against Sony's best and Bose's own headphones? We'll tell you as soon as we can get our hands on them.