Test – Bose QC45 (Quietcomfort 45): a good audio helmet that lacks a little daring – CNET France, Bose QC45 test: probably the least interesting of Bose helmets

Bose Quietcomfort 45 test: undoubtedly the least interesting of Bose helmets

On the other hand, it is obvious that the 700 headphones and the WH-1000XM4 sound better. The 700 has a clearer and more natural sound, while the Sony has a more powerful sound overall, with more dynamic bass and a wider sound scene. And then the QC45 does not support any high-quality wireless transmission codec, neither Aptx, Nor Aptx HD, nor LHDC or LDAC, which does not allow him to reach the level of details of a Wh-1000xm4. It is only compatible with SBC and AAC.

Test – Bose QC45 (Quietcomfort 45): a good audio helmet that lacks a bit of audacity

Test - Bose QC45 (Quietcomfort 45): a good audio helmet that lacks a bit of audacity

Given the expertise of Bose in the fields of activated noise reduction helmets, the Quietcomfort 45 (350 €), successor to the legendary QC35 II, was obviously eagerly awaited. But what is it really worth compared to Noise Canceling Headphones 700, slightly more expensive, and especially to the excellent Wh-1000xm4 of Sony which is currently at the top of Our ranking of the best wireless helmets. The answer is not obvious, especially if we consider that the prices of 700 and Wh-1000xm4 headphones have dropped a little now, improving their quality/price ratio.

A design identical to QC35 II, or almost

Quietcomfort 45, or QC45, has practically the same design as its predecessor, the Quietcomfort QC35 version 2 (QC35 II). According to Bose, it has the same speakers and the buttons are arranged in the same way. However, there are some notable changes. First, the transition to the USB-C instead of the micro-USB, which greatly simplifies the use and improves recharging.

In addition, the configuration of the microphone is different. Not only were microphones moved to the helmet, but there is now an additional external microphone for voice taking. The QC45 has a total of six microphones, four of which are with a beam formation (BeamForming) and used for the voice.

In addition, the underside of the hoop has a smooth finish in place of the Alcantara found on the QC35 II, which makes it easier to clean. The pads are not pleated and the earrings have undergone subtle design modifications which fill certain empty and give the helmet a clearer aspect.

On the left, the QC45, on the right the QC35 II. They are very similar, but if you look closely, there are some design differences and the location of the microphones has changed

With its 238 grams, the QC45 weighs only 3 grams more than the QC35. On the other hand, the 700 headphones is heavier (254 grams). Many people appreciate the 700 headphones, but we are one of those who find the design of Quietcomfort a little more comfortable.

In addition, the QC45 folds and folds flat while the 700, which has no double hinge in its arch, is only folding flat. The QC45 is undoubtedly the most comfortable Circum Aura helmet on the market, even if the Sony WH-1000XM4 is also very pleasant to wear. The HP700 is a little less comfortable than the other two but remains satisfactory on this point.

All these helmets are close from the point of view of comfort and we have no serious reproach to do to any of them. The QC45 has physical pimples, unlike tactile controls of the Sony or HP700. No fear therefore that the controls work less well in cool weather.

Noise reduction: the top of the top

According to Bose, the active noise reduction (RBA) is now better reduced ” unwanted sounds in average frequencies “That we find” generally in trains, offices and cafes »». These are mainly human voices.

Judging by our tests on the street, this RBA may well be the best of the moment. We also tested noise reduction capabilities with an air conditioner in an apartment, and the QC45 has almost completely smothered the sound. The WH-1000XM4 and the 700 headphones are also quite effective in this area (the Sony still has the advantage over the 700), but the QC45 has taken a slight advance.

In addition, he also wins an awakening mode which allows to hear the outside world such as the transparency mode of Airpods Pro and many helmets, including 700 headphones and Wh-1000XM4. In fact it is an essential function these days that lacked its predecessor. The sound is quite natural, but it does not reach the level of the transparency mode of the AirPods Pro.

For the RBA, we give the QC45 a slight advantage on the 700 headphones and the WH-1000XM4. That said, we cannot adjust the level of noise reduction as on these two models, which offer a more complete set of functions, in particular the Sony, which has a port detection sensor putting music when the We remove the helmet and relaunch it when it is put back in place.

Very good for hand-free calls

Thanks to its additional microphones and their location, performance for hands-free calls have been significantly improved, with better noise reduction during conversations. We made calls with the QC45, the 700 helmet and the Sony Wh-1000XM4 on the street and the two Bose models had a better noise reduction than the Sony. In addition, our interlocutors found that our voice was slightly clearer with the bose.

With the QC45, when we did not speak, our interlocutors heard almost no background noise, even when cars passed. Like the WH-1000XM4, the QC45 has multipoint Bluetooth. This means that the helmet can be coupled with two devices simultaneously. For example, with a smartphone and a PC, when a call arrives on the phone, the audio automatically makes from the computer to the mobile to take the call. The helmets is compatible Bluetooth 5.1.

Audio quality: similar, but not identical, at QC35 II

The sound of the QC45 is similar to that of their predecessor and the speakers are apparently the same. But each time you make changes to the design, even subtle, or add a new chip for the processing of the audio signal, this can change the sound. In this case, we found that the QC45 offered a little more clarity and definition of bass, but the differences are quite subtle.

On the other hand, it is obvious that the 700 headphones and the WH-1000XM4 sound better. The 700 has a clearer and more natural sound, while the Sony has a more powerful sound overall, with more dynamic bass and a wider sound scene. And then the QC45 does not support any high-quality wireless transmission codec, neither Aptx, Nor Aptx HD, nor LHDC or LDAC, which does not allow him to reach the level of details of a Wh-1000xm4. It is only compatible with SBC and AAC.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to modify the sound of the QC45 in the Bose Music application because there is currently no equalizer. Instead, the helmet uses Bose’s active equalizer which optimizes sound as a function of the piece and volume level.

As for the autonomy of the QC45, it is good, but not quite as good as that of the Sony. According to Bose, you can get up to 25 hours of use and a 15 -minute load restored three hours of autonomy. You can also use the helmet in wired mode to obtain greater autonomy with the disabled Bluetooth. Note that once the battery is empty, you can also use the passive wired helmet. However, it will be troubleshooting because the quality will be altered.

The point on competition

If you do not yet have high -end noise reduction helmet, the three models mentioned in this test are interesting choices. However, our preference is currently at WH-1000XM4 of Sony, much more complete in terms of features and not only offering better sound but also better autonomy. In addition, its price could still drop at the end of the year.

The HP700 is also a good option but you should know that this helmet has a much more balanced sound, while the QC45 highlights the bass in value. For us, it is your personal tastes (and a little design) that should allow you to decide between the two. In terms of comfort, the QC45 will be better, but we prefer the touch controls of the HP700. On the other hand, the QC45 is foldable and easier to transport than the HP700.

Among the best alternatives to QC45, there is also the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless, offering better sound but a reduction in noise and controls below. Or the Apple Airpods Max which deliver a more balanced sound than the QC45, very energetic, and very satisfactory noise reduction performance in a design with manufacturing quality beyond all the products mentioned so far. However, Apple helmet will cost you extremely expensive for performance that will not be intrinsically better than in others.

Conclusion

The QC45 is an excellent wireless helmet, with good sound, first -rate noise reduction and good autonomy. This is a light but notable improvement in QC35 II. That said, if you already have a QC35 II, the change is not imperatively imposed, unless you have already gone to USB C for a long time and you can no longer use a microousb port. If you already have 700 headphones, again the change is not radical enough to justify going to QC45.

The QC45 could not be more recommendable, but it should ideally cost a little cheaper to create a larger price difference between him and Headphones 700 (and the Sony), which would give him a better quality/price ratio.

Images: David Carnoy/Cnet – Bose

Read the full test

  • Writing note

Bose Quietcomfort 45 test: undoubtedly the least interesting of Bose helmets

Edouard Le Ricque

We tested the Bose QC45, the new generation of noise reduction headphones from the American manufacturer. A helmet that has the heavy task of succeeding the famous QC35 and QC35 II.

Image 1: Bose Quietcomfort 45 test: undoubtedly the least interesting Bose helmets

Bose Quietcomfort 45

This is a fact, the QC45 is a very good helmet with active noise reduction. However, it cannot be decorated with the history of Bose. Stuck by the higher -ended 700 marketed Headphones, it does not dare. He just improves some aspects of QC35 and QC35 II. Bose thus delivers a dreadful update of his mythical helmet, just as Sony could have done with the 1000xm4. However, too many functions are missing to be able to box in the same courtyard, for informed users. Difficult to advise him fully. Higher and more complete, Headphones 700 is however cheaper today. To choose, it is he who wins our credit. The foldable aspect of the QC45 is the only difference in its favor. Finally, if you already have a first or second generation QC35, keep it, improvements are not worth the new investment. Unless obviously that your copy does not leave in tatters.

Writing note: The note is low, but could have been more. It is maintained at 7/10 since the QC45 is still a good helmet, but not much better than a QC35 II and especially badly priced on the French market. This bad positioning is expensive to bose.

Five years after QC35, Bose has finally decided to rejuvenate its Quietcomfort range. We had in the meantime the QC35II, a very light evolution especially centered on the addition of voice assistants. In 2019, it was the 700 headphones that won our ears with a whole new design, an efficient noise reduction and an excellent hands -free function. However, the latter is not part of the Quietcomfort range. It is not foldable, more sedentary.

The QC45 therefore finds its place today. Its objective is to rejuvenate the quietcomfort. The verb is fair since we will see that Bose did not finally take any risks with him, a bit as if he was afraid of distorting the recipe for QC35 which has been working wonderfully for years.

Image 2: Bose Quietcomfort 45 test: undoubtedly the least interesting Bose helmets

Price and availability

Bose QC45 is already available. It is launched at € 349.99. It’s 30 € less than the QC35 II when it comes out. A great effort from Bose which, if it innovates quite softly with this QC 45, does not completely seek to take consumers for milk cows.

But we can be more critical by bringing the 700 headphones into dance. Although it already accuses two years of seniority, this helmet remains an excellent antibruity model that remains in the. We use it daily and the QC45 has not proved to be a “game change” in front of it. On the side of Bose, we are told that the 700 headphones is their most high -end model sold € 390. Problem, it is regularly on sale and it is found today at 300 €. The greatest competitor of the QC45 would therefore be his own brother.

Image 3: Bose Quietcomfort 45 test: undoubtedly the least interesting Bose helmets

The QC45 is comfortable, light, foldable

We take the same and start again. Bose only affects the appearance of QC45 which is almost identical to that of QC35. Note that the pads benefit from the improvement made on the 700 headphones. So we have a denser structure that should be more sustainable. As much as we had experienced setbacks with the cushions of QC35, as much those of the 700 headphones are still in good condition after two years of use. It should be the same for this QC45.

Image 4: Bose Quietcomfort 45: probably the least interesting Bose helmets

What we particularly notice when leaving the box is the weight of the helmet. It is very light. It weighs very exactly 238 grams. Suddenly, he earns 4 grams compared to the two QC35, which is obviously not felt. So let’s talk about comfort. In Quietcomfort, there is “comfort” and the QC45 will not flout its origins. He therefore remains very pleasant to wear, retaining the advantages of his predecessors in the matter.

In use, the helmet is forgotten. Bose having studied the distribution of masses, it does not exercise excessive pressure. On the earrier side, they keep themselves very well in place, without shedding their heads. We can run with without fear that he does not fall, but beware, he has no certification of resistance either to water or to sweat. Another downside that can be lifted: with their new coating, the earrings isolate the ears even better. In fact, they breathe even less. If at this time of year we do not feel any discomfort, the QC45 can be more complicated to use long hours in the middle of August.

Image 5: Bose Quietcomfort 45 test: probably the least interesting Bose helmets

What we still appreciate so is the compactness of the whole. Bose is capable of offering a high -end helmet offering great performance in a reduced format. In addition, and this is one of the brands in the Quietcomfort range, it is foldable. If it is supplied with a flat transport case, his atria can bend one on the other. A good way to save space in a bag. On the other hand, Bose did not review the joint of these same atria. They therefore only rotate on themselves in a sense. Impossible to put them flat when putting the helmet around the neck, or at least not in the right direction.

The application of the QC45 is empty, too empty

Bose does not take any risk either on the ergonomics of her helmet. The QC45 therefore retains all the commands of QC35, the buttons being placed in the same places. Tactile point, but mechanical buttons that make their job.

Unfortunately, we still do not benefit from full orders on this QC45. Lack the call the “previous track”. The others are there. Three buttons on the right atrium allow you to send the volume, reading/break, next track and the voice assistant. As for the left earpiece, it is provided with a single button dedicated to activating noise reduction. And no possibility of modifying headphones. Too bad, those who do not use Siri or Google Assistant could have put the “previous track” function instead.

Image 6: Bose Quietcomfort 45 test: undoubtedly the least interesting Bose helmets

Besides, the bose application turns out to be fame. Few options available, no chance that the user gets lost. We are a thousand miles from the Sony Headphones Connect, which we used in particular on the WF-1000XM4, which swarms with parameters. Bose is a didactic, easy to handle. QC45 must suit everyone, immediately. No equalizer, no gradation in noise reduction or in transparency mode, we also forget the automatic break. Too bad, since all these options are available with 700 headphones, which we find cheaper, let us remember.

Luckily, the QC45 is still multipoint. We can therefore associate it with two devices at the same time. We listen to music on his PC, a call sounds on the phone, the connection automatically switches. Extremely practical, especially at the time of teleworking.

The application is therefore limited to adjusting the antiblight mode, choosing its source, adjusting the return of the voice for calls, as well as automatic extinction and … that’s all. Famenic, we said.

Noise reduction at the top of bose

Bose is a pioneer of the genre. Its Quietcomfort range is fully based on its technology of active noise of noise. The QC45 takes up the QC35 system and even improves it. We are entitled to wider work on all frequencies and especially an increased elimination in terms of serious, frequencies most delicate to mitigate.

Bose always opts for a fixed and not dynamic ancient, as we can see bloom on the True Wireless headphones. Thus, it does not adapt the environment, but constantly removes the maximum noise of noise. Besides, Bose does not get a lot of options in the matter. Noise reduction is either activated (silence) or in transparency mode (Aware). No possibility is left to the user to fully deactivate the antibruity, too bad.

Image 7: Bose Quietcomfort 45 test: undoubtedly the least interesting Bose helmets

Regarding transparency mode, this opposite the microphones to make the exterior heard as if we were not wearing a helmet. That of the QC45 is particularly effective. Only the bass is not fully broadcast and we keep a veil over the whole spectrum, but it is convincing all the same.

Overall, the noise reduction of QC45 is one of the best on the market. At the top of the list, we find Apple Apple Airpods. The bose helmet is more in the elbow with the WF-1000XM4 of Sony, just below.

A typical, but flattering audio rendering

The QC45 can be used in Bluetooth or wired via a 3.5 mm jack cable to 2.5 mm jack (a little annoying proprietary limitity). And from the outset, we absolutely do not recommend this last connectivity, at least if you don’t light the helmet. In liabilities and wired, the QC45 sees its audio rendering collapsed completely. The bass spin through the back door, the shimmering treble is buried, the whole signal is like wearing a veil that suffocates listening. We will therefore be careful to monitor the autonomy of the helmet to save this unbalanced listening.

Image 8: Bose Quietcomfort 45 test: undoubtedly the least interesting Bose helmets

In Bluetooth, or in active wire, the QC45 is fortunately any other. With him, Bose proves once again that he masters his domain, but was still necessary. Besides, let’s say that the manufacturer has not emphasized the new features of this part of its helmet since it actually takes up the calibration and components of QC35. The sound signature is still in W, marked on the bass and the treble. Obviously, we are far from a natural rendering, but it has never been in the specifications of Bose. The goal is to flatter customers’ ears. A bit like the Fluo green lawn on TVs in store mode. What we are looking for is to offer a clear and immersive sound and above all that pleases the greatest number. And as a reminder, Bose does not offer any equalizer in its application. Also, you have to deal with this effective signature, but a little rude for a purist.

Image 9: Bose Quietcomfort 45 test: undoubtedly the least interesting Bose helmets

Note also that the QC45 does not embarrass multiple codecs. In Bluetooth 5.1, he is satisfied with SBC and AAC. Aptx point here. Is it embarrassing ? For the audio rendering quite little, the work of Bose algorithms being sufficient to offer a good restitution (although typical). In addition, the difference would be heard only on losless or very little compressed tracks, which is not the case with streaming services, largely acclaimed. On the other hand, it could have changed the game on the latency a little, as we will see.

Latence down, but still high

Bluetooth, the QC45 does not escape a certain latency. This was between 170 and 200 ms. It is rather important, but always better than the QC35 which go up to 300 ms.

In practice, it is not embarrassing if you are confined to streaming. The applications that are Netflix, Disney+ or YouTube all incorporate automatic synchronization reducing the latency induced by the equipment.

Image 10: Bose Quietcomfort 45 test: probably the least interesting of Bose helmets

We tested the QC45 watching a few scenes from Highlander (1986) on VLC. We have observed no flagrant labial desynchronization. On the other hand, we iterated the same operation on our OLED switch. There, the gap is light, but noticeable. It is not embarrassing for solo games, so that the sound is secondary. On the other hand, it is penalizing in a multi game like Fortnite or a Crypt of the Necrodancer, based on the rhythm.

Let us add that at the pressure of the buttons, the command is not executed immediately. A small latency drags.

The QC45 is ideal for calm calls ..

Our last test of a bose helmet was that of the 700 headphones. And it was a revelation in terms of hands -free kit. The manufacturer had then put the package on this function by inserting six microphones to reduce noise on the side of the caller and four on the side of the called. The result was breathtaking, making the 700 headphones the best helmet on the market for calls.

By fitting the QC45, you could think that Bose would have continued this orientation. Unfortunately, it is not. Compared to QC35, we have a fourth microphone that is housed in the earrings, but it is not enough to reduce the noises of the street, whether calm or noisy. The wind does not help and interferes in conversations. Excluding calm environment, the QC45 will not be a good companion for your calls. Again, we prefer 700 headphones, higher -end, but yet cheaper today.

QC45 is the most independent of Bose helmets

Bose announces 24 hours of autonomy for its QC45. In fact, we approach it. This is rather good news since on this point Bose therefore made an effort. We win 4 hours compared to 700 and QC35 headphones. Nevertheless, we are still far from the podium. Currently, the WF-1000XM4 of Sony and Jabra Elite 85h reign as a master, with both more than 30 hours available.

Note that the QC45 also modernizes its connection. It wins a USB-C port. Too bad, however, that it is not possible to use it in wired in this way and especially that it is impossible to use it at all short when it is in charge. Allow a little more than 2 hours for a full load.

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