Bose QuietComfort 45: What you need to know about the leaked noise-cancellers

Bose QuietComfort QC 35 II

Headphone brands tend to work in two year cycles, so we were starting to wonder whether Bose were would launch a noise cancelling headphone in 2021.

Our initial presumption would have been a replacement for the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, which arrived in 2019.

However, FCC filings have shown that Bose’s next headphone is not a follow-up the premium Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, but a successor to the long-standing QuietComfort 35 II in the QuietComfort 45.

So here’s what we know, and what we’re anticipating from the Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones.

Great question. We’re not sure.

Granted we can make a guess, but it’s complicated by the presence of the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700.

The Bose NCH 700 were £350 at the time of their release but have dropped below £300. Given the QC35 II can be had for around £200 at this moment in time (original RRP of £330), would the new QuietComfort headphones undercut the 700s or replace them as the premium option?

At this moment in time we’d assume they’d replace the NCH 700 as the premium option and take the price of £330. Bose could perhaps alternate between releasing the QuietComfort family and Noise Cancelling Headphone range in the years to come.

FCC ‘leaks’ are a fairly accurate indicator that a product release is on the way. In those FCC filings it was found the confidentiality agreement expires on December 1st, which suggests either an announcement or an on sale date before that ends.

There aren’t many major industry events left in 2021 to announce the headphones at – only IFA 2021 and that’s now an all-digital event.

If the new QuietComfort 45 follow the path of the QuietComfort Earbuds/Sports Earbuds, it wouldn’t surprise us if Bose announced the headphones on their terms and released them in September, not long after IFA takes place.

The images we’ve seen from the FCC filings indicate the new QuietComfort headphones won’t be as radical in look as the NCH 700 were.

They have pretty much the same shape and style, though we do hope they’ll have a more modern appearance than previous pairs did, which now look rather outdated.

The pictures show a creamy/ivory finish for the headphones, which differs from the QC 35 II’s current choice of rose gold, silver and black. It does give them a more striking look than before.

They’ll be foldable, something the NCH 700’s design didn’t allow for, and they look to have a generous amount of padding to provide comfort over longer periods.

Otherwise they look similar to previous incarnations, though German website Winfuture did mention the old USB port looks to have been replaced by USB-C, bringing the headphones up to date in terms of charging.

There’s not much to go on in, but considering they’re a successor to the QC 35 II, we can make the assumption they’ll have everything their predecessors did, as well as factor in some upgrades. And then there’s also some stuff we’d like them to have, too.

We reckon they’ll have Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity. It appeared in 2020 and is now appearing in headphones that have recently hit the market.

In terms of Bluetooth codecs we expect AAC and SBC, unless Bose has a change of heart and adopts aptX. Given other headphones are pushing the likes of aptX-HD and LDAC for higher quality Bluetooth streaming, it’ll be interesting to see if Bose follows suit.

We’d love to see battery life jump up, too. If there’s one aspect about Bose headphones that lag behind others it’s that battery life is rather diminished. Not even the new Noise Cancelling 700 boosted battery life above 20 hours.

Arguably you could say that it’s quality over quantity, but Sony has been hitting 30 hours rather comfortably and price-wise that works in Sony’s favour.

Bose’ noise cancelling prowess has arguably been usurped by Sony, and the likes of Apple’s AirPods Max also put in a robust performance and even Microsoft’s Surface Headphones 2 are strong contenders.

What gives us hope about Bose’s next ANC headphone is the performance of their premium true wireless, which in our minds offers the strongest noise cancellation for earbuds – even better than the WF-1000XM4. If Bose can shift that level of performance to the QC45, we could be in for quite a fight.

Google and Alexa voice assistants will surely be integrated, and there ought to be customisable noise cancelling presets available in the Bose Music app, too. From an audio perspective the previous QC35 II weren’t as good as others, so an improvement in this regard would be useful considering Apple, B&W and Sony have pushed audio quality further.

That’s everything we know and would like to see from the Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones. We’re expecting another high quality headphone, but it’s still early days.

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