Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700: wireless noise-cancelling headphones compared

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700 headphones: which should you buy?
(Image credit: Bose)

Bose makes some of the best noise-cancelling headphones in the business and has two pairs of wireless over-ears with ANC to choose from: the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (or 'Bose 700') and the Bose QuietComfort 45 (or 'Bose QC45').

The Bose 700 arrived in 2019 as an offshoot from the company's long line of QuietComfort models. The premium wireless noise-cancelling headphones impressed us with their luxurious design, comfortable fit and advanced, best-in-class active noise-cancelling technology.

Then, in September 2021, Bose released the Bose QuietComfort 45, the long-awaited successors to the 2018-released QuietComfort 35 II – not to replace the 700 but to sit alongside them.

The two models still coexist in Bose's wireless headphones line-up, so what's the difference between them and which pair is best for you? Strap in, as we have been 12 rounds with both pairs and have compared their price, design, noise-cancelling, battery life and sound quality.

Read on as we pit Bose against Bose...

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700: price

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700 headphones: which should you buy?

Bose 700 (Image credit: Dixons)

The Bose 700 hit the shelves at £350 ($399 / AU$599) when they launched in 2019, but naturally, due to their age, there has been a price drop since. Below you can find today's best Bose 700 deals, which at the time of writing offer a decent discount over the original RRP.

The newer Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones were released last year for £319 ($329 / AU$499) but are also now knocking around considerably below that, around the same price as the 700.

Both pairs are generally well-priced within the market, similar in price to the popular Sony WH-1000XM4, though undercutting the class-leading Sony WH-1000XM5.

The QC 45 and 700 are currently on decent late Novemeber Black Friday 2022 discounts, with nearly £100 off the UK retail price and about $80 off in the US.

**Winner** Draw

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700: design

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700 headphones: which should you buy?

Bose QuietComfort 45 (Image credit: Bose / WinFuture)

The Bose QC 45 generally don't look all that different to the first QuietComfort models launched over a decade ago, but that's no bad thing – we have always praised their comfort and practical design – and modest modern updates to the aesthetic have kept them looking and feeling contemporary enough in the market.

The Bose 700, meanwhile, mark a departure from the QC look, introducing a sleeker, classier style. They boast a slender design that exudes elegance, with the combination of 'invisible' hinges and a swooping stainless steel headband giving the 700 plenty of wow factor.

Both models are suited to travel of course, but note that the Bose 700 only fold flat; they don’t collapse inwards into a ball like the QC 45 due to their hinge-free form. In terms of weight, the QC 45 are just 10g lighter – 250g vs 240g.

The QC 45 are available in a choice of black or 'Smoke white', while the Bose 700 come in black, white, navy or 'Soapstone' (cream, in case you don't have a colour chart handy).

**Winner** Draw

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700: battery life

The Bose 700 headphones boast a 20-hour battery life with Bluetooth and noise-cancelling switched on. That's not bad, but the new QuietComfort 45 have greater endurance.

Bose claims the QC 45 provide 24 hours of battery life with noise cancellation deployed, and during our testing we found that pretty much spot on. A five-minute charge via USB-C returns 2.5 hours of playback, too, compared with the 700's two hours of playback from a 15-minute charge.

Both pairs' battery life figures are below many of their five-star competitors, however, with the aforementioned Sony XM4 and XM5 and the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 offering 30 hours and the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless a staggering, well above par, 60 hours.

**Winner** Bose QuietComfort 45

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700: noise-cancelling

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700 headphones: which should you buy?

Bose 700 (Image credit: Bose)

While both models boast active noise-cancelling technology capable of blocking out the world, the Bose 700 have eight microphones (six to cancel noise, two to pick up your voice) and an intensity level that can be altered on a scale from zero to ten – you can scroll through the levels in the Bose Music App to find the right level for you.

Despite the QC 45 boasting 'just' six mics with four beamforming, and the fact that they offer only two levels of preset noise cancellation (Quiet and Aware, so you can hear what's going on around you when required), the noise-cancellation is no less effective. In fact, it's perhaps the best we have heard, propelling Bose's reputation for being the best at the job in the business.

We put the QC 45 through their paces, and although it is clear that the Bose 700 offer a smarter and more customisable noise-cancelling experience, it isn't necessarily better if you simply want to nix all the noise you can in the office. Even at 10 (the highest level of noise-cancellation), the Bose 700 can't eliminate quite as much noise as the QC 45 operating in 'Quiet' mode, particularly through the midrange – ie. voices.

It's a very close-run thing between two sets of headphones that sit pretty comfortably at the top of the noise-cancelling pile, but the Bose QC 45 has the slight edge. That said, if you want the option of having a less intense noise-cancellation intensity for some occasions, or a more tailored, robustly featured experience generally, you should look to the Bose 700. 

**Winner** Bose QuietComfort 45

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700: controls

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700 headphones: which should you buy?

Bose QuietComfort 45 (Image credit: Bose)

The QC 45 have four physical buttons on the right ear cup, and one on the left for switching between noise-cancelling and transparency modes. Whereas to reflect their strikingly modern aesthetic, the Bose 700 offer intuitive touch controls.

Both headphones connect to your voice assistant of choice via your mobile device, but the Bose 700 have Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant built-in. They also feature Spotify Tap, which lets you return to your last listening session simply by tapping and holding the right ear cup.

The QC 45 and 700 can both connect to two devices at once, too, so you can switch from listening to music on your tablet to taking a hands-free call on your phone. Therefore, you are guaranteed a good amount of wireless freedom whichever pair you buy.

This one largely comes down to preference. If you're a fan of swiping up on the ear cup to alter volume, look to the Bose 700. Prefer good old-fashioned actual buttons that work just as reliably? You will favour the Bose QC 45. 

**Winner** Bose 700

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700: sound quality

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700 headphones: which should you buy?

Bose 700 (Image credit: Bose)

Bose has been in the noise-cancelling game for decades and tends to deliver excellent sound-per-pound performance – and crucially, one where the noise cancellation doesn't negatively affect the quality or neutrality of your music. 

That's certainly the case when it comes to the Bose 700, which display superb levels of musicality and clarity. They can't match the depth of detail offered by the similarly priced Sony WH-1000XM5 or the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless – our current favourite pairs of wireless noise-cancelling over-ear headphones at this level – but they sound direct, dynamic and detailed all the same.

As for the QC 45, Bose's new TriPort vents do produce a slightly fuller sound, and sonically the presentation is accurate, exciting and zealous across the frequencies. It's a similar sound profile, although the QC 45 suffer marginally for timing and dynamic build against their direct competition – the Bose 700 and the Sony XM4/XM5. It may be only a minor shortfall, but it is (of course) our job to notice. 

**Winner** Bose 700

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700: verdict

It's been more than two years since the Bose 700 made its debut, and these classy cans remain a tempting buy – especially when they are heavily discounted. They combine sleek looks and lightweight comfort with an exceptionally good noise-cancelling experience and a reasonably strong sound that, while not class-leading, is enjoyable to listen to.

The all-new QuietComfort 45 are another valid proposition, and Bose has certainly improved upon the previous QC 35 II to take the popular QuietComfort line forward once more – if only incrementally. It's true that given the five-year wait for a significant revamp in the QC range, we had hoped for a little more in terms of the feature set and sound quality improvement so that they could more confidently go shoulder-to-shoulder with Sony's Award-winning XM5.

But if your heart is set on Bose, the model you opt for will depend on your priorities. Ultimately, if you want dependable noise cancellation, a slightly longer battery and physical on-cup controls, the QC 45 should be on your shortlist. If you don't mind a slightly older model that gives up a little in terms of battery life, the more robustly featured Bose 700 edges it for sound and style.


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With contributions from
  • alicson
    "We've been 12 rounds with both models."?? Beyond noise-cancellation you didn't even mention microphones/call quality.