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-cancellers compare to the existing flagship Bose 700 model? Read on as we put 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 August 2021, Bose announced the QuietComfort 45, the long-awaited successors to the 2018-released QuietComfort 35 II, to sit alongside the Bose 700. The new over-ears promise 24-hour battery life and better noise-cancelling than their predecessors.
So what's the difference between the Bose QuietComfort 45 and Bose 700? We haven't been ears-on with the brand-new QC 45 yet – watch this space – but below we compare the main comparative points, such as price, design, noise-cancelling and battery life.
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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 to pre-order now for £320 ($329, AU$499), ahead of their worldwide release – 23rd Sept in the US, "the week of the 20th" in the UK, and September 13th in Australia.
Right now, the pricing of the two models is pretty much on par.
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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, so you get a more expansive sound without increasing their size, while synthetic leather on the cups and headband itself should make for an even more comfortable fit.
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. They are, however, much lighter than the QC 45 – 250g vs 444g.
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, for those of you who 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, up from 20 hours on the QuietComfort 35 II and more competitive against the likes of the Sony WH-1000XM4. A five-minute charge via USB-C is said to return 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.
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 perhaps the best noise-cancellers out there. "Our previous reviews of Bose QuietComfort models have mentioned their almost suction-like, anechoic chamber-comparable isolation," we said in our review of the Bose 700. "But the effect feels more sophisticated here, even when transitioning from off to 10... the isolating effect is as good as we’ve experienced in a pair of headphones."
That emphasis on noise-cancellation also gives the 700 excellent call quality.
The QC 45, meanwhile, don't appear to be quite as sophisticated. They have four microphones and just two levels of noise-cancelling: quiet and aware (the latter lets in some noise, so you can hear what's going on around you when required).
We've yet to put the QC 45 through their paces, but it seems clear that the Bose 700 offer a smarter (although not necessarily more effective) noise-cancelling experience.
Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700: controls
The controls on the QC 45 are largely the same as the QC35 II, with four buttons on the right ear cup and one on the left for switching between noise-canceling 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.
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.
That's certainly the case when it comes to the Bose 700, which display a superb level 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 says its new TriPort vents produce a fuller sound, while Volume-optimised Active EQ "boosts highs and lows to maintain the same high-fidelity performance – no matter how loud or soft you listen". We'll be testing the QC 45 shortly, so we'll be proving that all-important comparison soon.
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.
Will they be beaten by the all-new QuietComfort 45? That's yet to be heard, but going by the spec sheet, Bose has pulled out all the stops to improve upon the QC 35 II and potentially take the famous QuietComfort line forward once more. We can't wait to get our hands – and ears – on them very shortly.
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