Bose makes some of the best noise-cancelling headphones in the business and has recently launched a new pair, the QuietComfort 45 (pictured above). So how do these new wireless noise-cancelling cans compare to the existing flagship Bose 700 model? Read on as we pit Bose against Bose...
The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, as they are officially (and long-windedly) named, arrived in 2019 as deviations 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.
In September 2021, Bose released the Bose QuietComfort 45, the long-awaited successors to the 2018-released QuietComfort 35 II, (which are based on the original 2016 Bose QuietComfort 35) to sit alongside the Bose 700. The new over-ears boast 24-hour battery life and better noise-cancelling than their predecessors.
So what's the difference between the Bose QuietComfort 45 and Bose 700, and which is your best bet for noise-cancellation alongside a good-quality sonic presentation? Strap in, we've been 12 rounds with both models. Here's the lowdown on price, design, noise-cancelling, battery life and sound.
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Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700: price
The Bose 700 hit the shelves at £350 ($399, AU$599) when they were released in 2019, but naturally, there's 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.
The new Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones are available now, for £319 ($329, AU$499). Right now, the pricing of the two models sees the flagship Bose 700 undercut its younger sibling.
**Winner** Bose 700
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Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700: design
Let's start with the newbies. At first glance, the Bose QC 45 look an awful lot like their predecessors, the QC 35 II. That's no bad thing; we noted that the QC 35 II "certainly live up to the 'comfort' part of their name... Those needing a pair of noise-cancellers for long journeys should definitely bear these in mind".
Look closer, however, and you'll spot a few differences. Firstly, the ear cups have vents to add depth and fullness in a bid for a more expansive sound without increasing their size, while the synthetic leather on the cups is no longer pleated and the padding on the underside of the headband itself is smooth. Fans of the QC 35 II will enjoy them – when worn, the newest model is virtually indistinguishable from its older sibling.
The Bose 700, meanwhile, go for a more up-to-date look than the QuietComfort 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 – although they don't feel as sturdy as the class-leading Sony WH-1000XM4.
Both models are suited to travel, but note that the Bose 700 only fold flat; they don’t collapse inwards like the QuietComfort 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 and 'Soapstone' (cream, in case you don't have a colour chart handy).
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 a bit more oomph.
Bose claims the QC 45 provide 24 hours of battery life with noise cancellation deployed, and during testing we found the company absolutely true to its word. This stamina is up from 20 hours on the QuietComfort 35 II and more competitive against the likes of the Sony WH-1000XM4 – although in this particular fight Sony wins: the XM4 last around 30 hours (38 hours if you switch off noise-cancelling). Impressive.
Back to the QC 45, and a five-minute charge via USB-C returns 2.5 hours of playback, too.
The Bose 700 also quick-charge via USB-C, but the results aren't quite as impressive: a 15-minute charge will provide up to 2 hours.
**Winner** Bose QuietComfort 45
Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700: noise-cancelling
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 noise-cancelling 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.
Quite frankly, the Bose 700 are some of the best noise-cancellers out there. However, despite the QC 45 boasting 'just' six mics with four beamforming (instead of four, with two beamforming, in the QC35 II) and the fact that they offer only two levels of preset noise cancellation: Quiet and Aware (the latter lets in some noise, so you can hear what's going on around you when required) the noise-cancellation is among the best we've ever heard.
To clarify: 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. We deploy the QC 45's 'Quiet' during both our commute and at our desk and we're able to largely extinguish the outside world for up to 24 hours. Even at 10 (the highest level of noise-cancellation), the Bose 700 can't eliminate quite as much noise, 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 edge over the competition at the price. That said, you get what you get with the QuietComfort 45. If you want less noise-cancellation 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
The controls on the QC 45 are the same as the QC35 II, with four physical buttons on the right ear cup and one on the left for switching between noise-cancelling and transparency modes. 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're guaranteed a good amount of wireless freedom whichever pair you buy.
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'll favour the Bose QC 45.
Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700: sound quality
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 Sony WH-1000XM4, older (but still available) Sony WH-1000XM3 or the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless – our current favourite pairs of wireless noise-cancelling over-ear headphones at this kind of price – 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 WH-1000XM4. While it's a minor shortfall, it is of course our job to notice.
**Winner** Bose 700
Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700: verdict
It's been over two years since the Bose debuted the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 – and these classy cans remain a tempting buy, especially when they're discounted. They combine sleek looks and lightweight comfort with an exceptionally good noise-cancelling experience and strong, if not class-leading, sound.
The all-new QuietComfort 45 are another valid proposition, and Bose has certainly improved upon the QC 35 II and taken the popular QuietComfort line forward once more – if only incrementally. It's true that given the 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.
If your heart is set on Bose, the model you opt for will depend on your priorities (as listed above). Ultimately, if you want dependable noise cancellation and a perfectly pleasing listen, 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 who knows? We may even see both pairs discounted for Black Friday...
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