I have been testing the Bose QC45 Bluetooth Wireless headphones for four days, and it has become the rare Bose product in which I don’t want to continue using. In fact, the QC45 feels completely outdated. Here are some of my major takeaways:
Plastic Is Still Plastic
After Bose moved to the more metal design for the Bose 700 headphones, the QC45 feels really backwards. Of course, Bose needed to make the headphones plastic in order to fold up, but the convenience isn’t worth it. After using these for a couple of days, I am reminded that plastic headphones creek a lot.
No matter what design Bose had in the past, the sound was always top notch. That isn’t the case with the QC45. It sounds like the QC35, but with less bass while the mid ranges feel recessed. The highs feel digitalized and manipulated. Bose has never been known as the maker of accurate audiophile-like headphones, but at least they offered appealing sound. This isn’t the case anymore.
Bose made major improvements to the mic quality of the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. However, quality takes a huge backseat on the QC45 as you will sound very distant to the caller when you are in a quiet area. If you talk in a noisy place, forget about the listener trying to understand you at all as you will sound robotic and faded.
This is one of two areas that the QC45 excels in. It is the best noise cancellation I’ve heard on any pair of headphones except Apple’s AirPods Max. Those who do a lot of traveling on airplanes will appreciate this, although they may have to hear the sound of the headphones creaking.
The QC45 also has a “Transparent” mode where you can hear things just as you would without the headphones on. This feature is okay, but it doesn’t work nearly as well as competing headphones from Apple and Sony.
This is the second area in which the QC45 shines. Bose claims up to 23 hours of battery life using noise cancellation, but at one point, I had almost 24 hours of juice. It’s a good thing the QC45 has a USB-C port for charging this time around.
The QC45 isn’t worth $350. It’s not even worth $250 as you can get deals on other headphones that have better sound and build quality. These may work for people who have been dedicated to the QuietComfort line from Bose. However, the QC45 is generally a rare misstep for Bose.