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The 7 Biggest Complaints About the Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphones

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The 7 Biggest Complaints About the Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphones

Key Points

  • The Bose QuietComfort 45 is a popular choice for wireless headphones, but users and critics have some complaints about its performance.
  • One of the most common complaints is the lack of overall clarity in sound, especially for more nuanced and subtle musical genres.
  • Call quality is generally good, but the QC45 has a real problem with dropping calls and a poor quality microphone.
  • The active noise cancellation feature is finicky and cannot be completely switched off for just listening without distractions.
  • The QC45 only has support for older Bluetooth codecs, SBC and AAC, which is a curious exclusion given the price point.
  • The QC45 cannot be used while charging, and there is no on-ear detection mode to pause playback when removed.

Picking a suitable set of wireless headphones can be a bit tricky. There are a multitude of models from different manufacturers on the market currently. As such, it can be difficult to pick which one has the right feature set you need at a cost you can afford. One such model, the Bose QuietComfort 45, is a popular choice with some users thanks to some smart tech and features.

However, everything isn’t coming up as all roses with the QuietComfort 45. Users and critics alike have some complaints as to the actual performance of the device. If you’re on the fence about purchasing this particular pair, maybe hold off a minute and read through this guide. You don’t need to compromise on the quality of a device, especially one like a wireless headset. Let’s take a look at seven of the most common complaints you’ll find surrounding the Bose QuietComfort 45 wireless headphones.

Bose QuietComfort 35 vs. Bose QuietComfort 45
Bose headphones are known for their excellent noise cancellation, comfortable design, and high-quality sound.

Bose QuietComfort 45 Overview

The Bose QC45 is the latest in the Bose QuietComfort line. These build upon the technology and drivers used by the QC35 to deliver active noise cancellation, clearer sound, and better battery life. The QC45 wireless headset uses the latest Bluetooth protocols around, making it compatible with most smartphones on the market currently. Bose has set a suggested retail price of $329.00 for the device.

Specs

Bose QuietComfort 45
Height7.25 inches
Width6 inches
Depth3 inches
Weight8.5 ounces
Bluetooth Version5.1
Bluetooth Range30 feet
Battery LifeUp to 22 hours
Charging PortUSB-C
Best Overall
Bose QuietComfort 45
$229.00
  • Excellent and comfortable design with an over-ear design
  • High-fidelity audio with adjustable EQ settings on Bose's smartphone app
  • Active noise cancelation includes both Quiet and Active modes
  • Get up to 22 hours of battery life with a 15-minute fast charge for 3 additional hours
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/17/2024 12:34 pm GMT

Sound Clarity

The drivers that power the QC45 are similar in design to those found in the previous model, the QC35. With any design, however, subtle changes can account for quite a bit in the overall scheme of things. One of the most common complaints leveled at the QuietComfort 45 is the lack of overall clarity. That isn’t to say frequency response is poor by any means. Rather, things lack details that other headsets might more readily capture. This becomes especially noticeable with more nuanced and subtle musical genres.

If you’re a big fan of classical, jazz, or folk, you’ll know how important it is to have your audio listening solution deliver the sound clearly and without much fuss. The QC45s sound great, but it just lacks that little bit of extra detail coming through the drivers to make them stand out among their competitors. A lack of bass response means those who enjoy more dance-oriented genres might be left in the cold.

Call Quality

Call quality is generally good with the QuietComfort 45, but it has a real problem with dropping calls. Also of note is the general lack of quality in regard to the microphone. During testing many users reported that the people they were calling complained of the overall quality of the microphone when in use. Given the price point, it is a bit disappointing to find the call performance is less than ideal. These are within the same general price range as things like the Sony WH-1000XM4s, which don’t suffer the same issues.

grey Sony WH-1000XM4 on a dark background
Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones produce clear vocals and deep bass.

Dropouts are fairly common, despite the overall battery charge. You can have a strong Bluetooth connection with your phone nearby and still might drop calls. As such, you shouldn’t rely on these as your primary device for talking to friends and family on the phone.

Best Performance for Price
Sony WH-1000XM4
$348.00
  • Best in class Active Noise Cancelling
  • Features Sony's Edge-AI
  • Battery life upt 30 hours
  • Touch controls
  • Multi-device Bluetooth 5.0
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/17/2024 08:05 am GMT

Finicky Active Noise Cancellation

The Bose QuietComfort 45 does have active noise cancellation, which works well enough in practice. It does come with certain caveats, however. For example, you cannot switch the active noise cancellation completely off for just listening without distractions. This is a bit of a shame as the method of ANC is similar to what Sony has been doing with their wireless headphones for years. Many were excited to have such a feature come natively to the Bose ecosystem. Its execution is a bit lacking, however, with users only able to get the ANC off when switching to Aware mode. This doesn’t fully shut it off, however.

Hopefully, future models of the QuietComfort line are able to address this issue. As it stands currently, this could just be a teething issue on a newly introduced technology to the product line.

Bluetooth Codecs

There are numerous Bluetooth audio codecs, each with its own limitations and needs. The industry standard has been steering towards aptX for some time, which delivers great audio through the Bluetooth protocol. That would be fine and dandy if it was actually present on the QuietComfort 45. Instead, the QC45 only has support for SBC and AAC, both older codecs with lesser audio quality.

If you aren’t an audiophile, this might be fine. However, given the overall price and this feature is present on other headsets from Bose’s competitors, it is a curious exclusion.

No Listening While Charging

All wireless headsets have batteries, there is no getting around that. When it comes time to charge, some will be able to be used while plugged into a charger. The QuietComfort 45 is not capable of this, however. It is another baffling design decision, especially given how common it is across other wireless headsets. You can certainly use the QC45 as a pair of traditional headphones thanks to the inclusion of a 2.5mm output jack. That said, you won’t be able to use them while charging in this configuration.

Instead, if you’re wanting to use them as a pair of wired headphones, you’ll need to make sure the battery is charged. This is a counterintuitive design choice, as if there is a charge on the device you likely aren’t worried about using it with a cable.

Woman wearing Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphones
It’s important to note that many users haven’t experienced any of the negative issues reported in this article.

EQ Cannot be Adjusted During Playback

The QC45 does have an equalizer built-in to the app. However, it doesn’t function as you might expect. Instead, Bose has opted to implement an AI-powered active equalizer. These work fine in concept, but sometimes you might find yourself wanting to make your own adjustments. There are numerous reasons why a set-and-forget EQ is still a great addition.

However, users aren’t given the choice to use it with their pair of QuietComfort 45s. Instead, you’re stuck with Bose’s active EQ.

No On-Ear Detection Mode

Most wireless headsets have a feature where if you remove them it pauses playback. Then once placed back on your ears, playback resumes. The QuietComfort 45 does not have this feature. If you take the QC45s off to do something, you’ll need to pause whatever you’re playing. This has been a feature of wireless headphones for a number of years. Even in this particular price range, there are numerous wireless headsets that do have this feature.

All said, it seems like a strange omission of a feature. Especially given that Sony and Apple have both had the same feature for years now.

Closing Thoughts on the Bose QuietComfort 45

The Bose QuietComfort 45 wireless headset sounds great, but it is hindered by a multitude of curious design decisions. If you’re in the market for a new pair of wireless headphones, it might be worth looking at other competitors before deciding to purchase this particular model.

As with any purchase, it isn’t just the complaints that motivate a purchase. Instead, you might find something like the ear cups or overall weight to your liking. Before you buy, do keep these complaints in mind, however.

  1. Bose QuietComfort 45
    $229.00
    • Excellent and comfortable design with an over-ear design
    • High-fidelity audio with adjustable EQ settings on Bose's smartphone app
    • Active noise cancelation includes both Quiet and Active modes
    • Get up to 22 hours of battery life with a 15-minute fast charge for 3 additional hours
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/17/2024 12:34 pm GMT
  2. Sony WH-1000XM4
    $348.00
    • Best in class Active Noise Cancelling
    • Features Sony's Edge-AI
    • Battery life upt 30 hours
    • Touch controls
    • Multi-device Bluetooth 5.0
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/17/2024 08:05 am GMT

Will Bose Release an Updated Version of Its Bose Quietcomfort 45 Headphones?

As of July 6, 2023, Bose has not made an official announcement regarding the release of an updated version of its Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones. Rumors suggest, however, that a new version could be released as early as later this year.

Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones were released in August 2021, so it’s likely that Bose is already working on a new version. If they do release a new version, it’s likely to have some improvements, such as better noise cancellation, longer battery life, or new features. It’s also possible that the company could release a new version of its Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones with no major updates.

Up Next

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use the QC45s for Spotify?

Absolutely, you can use it for any streaming media on your phone or tablet you might imagine. If it plays on your phone or tablet’s speaker, it will play on the QC45.

Do the QuietComfort 45s pair solely with one device?

No, you can pair them with up to two devices at a time. This is great if you have an iPhone and iPad for example, as you can use it with both.

What version of Bluetooth does the QuietComfort 45 use?

It uses version 5.1 of the Bluetooth protocol. That said, it doesn’t have support for aptX for Bluetooth audio codecs.

Can I use the QC45 with my Nintendo Switch?

Yes, since the Switch has support for Bluetooth audio you should be able to use it just fine with the QC45.

Can I listen while charging?

No, the Bose QuietComfort 45 has no support for listening to them while charging.

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