Recently we found a bargain pair of Bose QC45 for just £209.95 at Bose (opens in new tab) – a £110 saving on the RRP and £20 less than the lowest price we have ever seen them at. While that is still a fantastic deal for a pair of quality wireless headphones, Bose has hit us with another offer that means you can get a pair of QuietComforts for under £200.
The catch last time was that the QC45 were a refurbished pair, but that's not the case here - this is a brand new set of headphones fresh from the factory... but there is still a catch.
These aren't technically the Bose QC45, they are the Bose QuietComfort SEs - however, the good thing here is that this appears to be mostly a branding change rather than anything to do with the hardware. The SE look almost identical to the 45s and although we haven't tested them yet, Bose claims they have the same class-leading specs as the 45s, including the brilliant noise-cancelling features. The main difference that we can spot is that the SE come with a soft fabric travel case instead of the sturdier hard shell case of the QC45.
We have previously seen the Bose QC45 hit £230 at OnBuy.com (where they can now be picked up for £219 (opens in new tab)), but they haven't neared any closer to £200 before. For context, Amazon is currently selling them for £259.95 (opens in new tab) at a 19 per cent discount. The SEs usually retail for £239.95 according to Bose's website, although the company currently have them for £199.95 as part of its Black Friday sales (opens in new tab).
However, this isn't the deal that we'd recommend you go for if you want a pair of QuietComfort SEs, as John Lewis, Amazon and Currys all have the SEs at £189.95 - an extra saving of only £10, but still, everything counts around Christmas.
Bose QuietComfort SE
£239.95 £189.95 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
These cut-price QuietComforts look sleek and stylish, adopting the QC45 stylish exterior in an all-black colourway. You'll find all of the best QC45 features here including brilliant active noise cancelling and a claimed 24-hour battery life. Also available at John Lewis (opens in new tab) and Currys (opens in new tab).
These QC headphones are less QueitComfort and more "quite confusing", as Bose has snuck the relaunched QC45 in under the radar with very little fanfare. Chopping the price down by just switching out the travel case seems like an odd move, but if it brings savings like this then we can't complain. There appears to be one major functional difference, however, which is related to the ANC feature. The SEs appear to feature always-on ANC, meaning you can only switch between the noise cancelling being on, or on "aware mode", which is Bose's transparency mode.
Bose QueitComfort 45 and SE
Otherwise, we'll remind you of the QC45s merits as they are closely related to the SEs, and you can read our full Bose QuietComfort 45 review here.
The QC45 are the successors to the hugely popular QC 35 II in Bose's long-standing QuietComfort noise-cancelling headphones range, which has made a name for itself over the years for its class-leading active noise cancellation technology combined with competitive sound and street-smart design. The QC45 happily continues that legacy, and upgrades over its predecessor include a reinforced glass-filled nylon headband, Bluetooth 5.1 for multi-point pairing, and improved battery life (24 hours, up from 20 hours).
As with previous Bose noise-cancelling headphones, the QuietComfort 45 are built with travel in mind; their double-hinge means they can be folded up for easy storage in the included carry case.
Bose's brilliant noise-cancelling is once again the main draw here, though. It works superbly in the case of the QC45 and holds its own against a number of its closest rivals, including the Sony WH-1000XM4 and XM5 (which do pip them for sound quality, albeit cost £249 (opens in new tab) and £349 (opens in new tab) respectively).
The only downside is there’s no scope to tweak the levels of noise cancellation and no ‘aware’ (otherwise known as 'transparency' or 'ambient') mode. If you want a more tailored noise-cancelling experience where you can tweak the levels, or an auto-pause function that kicks in when you remove them, you might want to consider the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 instead.
Still, there's plenty to love about the Bose QuietComfort 45. If you want a set of premium, travel-friendly wireless headphones that can block out the world, they're a brilliant buy. The very similar QuietComforts then seem like an even better deal than the QC45s, with very few tradeoffs despite the lower price.