There’s bloodhound hiding inside the Bose QuietComfort 45. It lurks somewhere within the soft, silky meshwork and the smooth, satiny cushioning – and sniffs out the vocals from whatever music you play through the device like a service dog sniffing out narcotics at customs in an airport. And then it goes one step further.
It projects those vocals at the listener’s ear, making them stand out as distinct, crystal clear, mellow and musical, as perhaps few other headphones can.
The Bose QuietComfort 45 is Bose’s Bluetooth, noise-cancelling, over-ear offering in a market full of such products. In a world that never stops buzzing, finding solace in silence has become a luxury. Thankfully, Bose has been on a relentless quest to provide just that with their QuietComfort series – and in a package that is sleek and stylish in the aesthetics department.
Bose has always had a knack for designing products with a distinct look. Whether it’s their speakers or soundbars, multi-channel audio systems or personal audio devices, the company sticks to its founder’s moto of simplicity and minimalism in design. Over the years, a cool sophistication has also become part of the company’s design language, coupled with the use of some of the best materials for a high-end, luxuriant finish. The QuietComfort 45 is no exception.
These headphones exude a sleek, modern vibe with their matte finish and minimalist design. They come in two classic colours: Black and White Smoke, both of which are perfect for any fashion-conscious audiophile.
The build quality is outstanding. The headphones feel robust, with a mix of high-quality materials, ensuring they can withstand the rigours of daily use. The ear cups are cushioned with plush foam, and the adjustable headband is again padded with a super soft material for a snug fit. The buttons and controls are intuitively placed, making it easy to adjust settings without removing the headphones. Bose has nailed the balance between form and function, making the QuietComfort 45 a stylish accessory and a sturdy companion.
Comfort is paramount when it comes to over-ear headphones, especially if you plan on wearing them for extended periods – such as on transcontinental flights. Bose, once again, shines in this department. The plush ear cushions are not just for show; they provide exceptional comfort. Whether you’re on a long-haul flight, a never-ending gaming session or a work-from-home marathon, these headphones will cradle your ears in comfort.
The headband design is equally praiseworthy. It distributes the weight evenly, so you won’t feel any pressure points, even after hours of use. The overall design of the QuietComfort 45 is ergonomic, ensuring a good fit without feeling too tight. It’s the kind of comfort that makes you forget you’re wearing headphones until the music starts.
With noise-cancelling headsets a common tool of modern jetsetters, Bose has also ensured that the QuietComfort 45 is travel-friendly, supplying with it a zippered, hardshell carrying case that not only protects your investment – and it is an investment, as the lines below will show – but also provides a convenient way to stow your headphones when not in use. The foldable design allows for easy storage in your bag or carry-on luggage, and the lightweight build ensures they won’t weigh you down during your travels.
But long-haul travel needs a headphone with the range and staying power of a jumbo jet. If you’re crossing continents, you don’t suddenly want the whine of the jet engines to intrude into your silent reverie in the sky mid-Atlantic. But the QuietComfort 45 has you covered. True to its name, it’ll keep your flight quiet and comfortable for up to 22 hours of playback time on a single charge with noise cancellation activated.
Running low on charge while in transit? Never fear. Even if you forget to charge them overnight, just find a power socket at your transit airport for a quick 15-minute charge, which can provide up to three hours of playback for your onward flight. Of course, you could always slip into the less cool wired mode with the included 3.5mm audio cable, ensuring that you’re never left without your music, even if the battery runs out.
In the age of wireless audio, connectivity is key. The QuietComfort 45 boasts Bluetooth 5.1, ensuring a stable and swift connection to your devices. Pairing is a breeze, and once you’re connected, you can enjoy your music without the hassle of tangled wires. It’s compatible with a wide range of devices, from smartphones and tablets to laptops and game consoles, making it a versatile choice for all your audio needs.
Speaking of game consoles, gamers will be in their “zone” when using the QuietComfort 45. These headphones offer a surprisingly immersive gaming experience, with the noise-cancelling technology eliminating distractions, allowing you to dive deep into your virtual worlds. The clear audio and precise spatial awareness make it easier to detect the subtle sounds of approaching enemies when you’re answering the Call of Duty or to note the exhaust blast of an approaching car on the racetrack when you’re servicing your Need for Speed.
Navigating between your games, calls and music is child’s play, too, with the intuitive touch controls on the ear cups. You can play, pause, skip tracks, adjust volume and even take calls with simple gestures. Need to hear what’s happening around you without removing the headphones? Just place your hand over the right ear cup to activate the Conversation Mode, which temporarily lowers the volume and lets you engage with your surroundings.
Engaging with people who have called your mobile is another big plus on the QuietComfort 45. Its multiple microphones and advanced noise-rejecting technology ensure that your voice comes through loud and clear while minimising background noise. Whether taking a business calls on the go or catching up with friends and family, our test mule consistently filtered out background noise even when in noisy outdoor places, such that those on the other end of the line had no inkling that yours truly was not answering them from somewhere indoors.
But while all these features are great and welcome, you buy a set of headphones primarily for the music and sound quality – and this is where the Bose QuietComfort 45 really shines. Very brightly. Listening to your favourite pieces of music on the Bose is like audio nirvana, whether it’s Kurt Cobain you’re listening to or not.
Bose has a reputation for delivering top-notch audio, and the QuietComfort 45 doesn’t disappoint. These headphones are equipped with Bose’s proprietary Active EQ technology, which ensures that your music sounds as it was intended by the artist.
The sound signature is characterised by a balanced profile with a touch of warmth. Bass notes – that great test of quality of a music output device – are punchy but never overpowering, which is the hallmark of good sound and difficult for a manufacturer to achieve. The highs are clear and crisp, bright without being piercing. There is not even a hint of screeching or sibilance in instruments such as cymbals and violins. And the mids – that’s where this Bose headphone proves its mettle as a truly outstanding product.
Whether you’re into beaty hip-hop, intricate and melodic classical music, or the soulful sounds of your favourite ballad, the QuietComfort 45 handles it all with aplomb. However, vocal music is it’s forte like we’ve heard in no other comparable product. Whether we threw Pavarotti singing Puccini at it or Simon and Garfunkel’s dulcet duet in Sound of Silence, whether it was Ed Sheeran’s Eyes Closed or Bollywood’s best in Arijit Singh’s soulful voice – the QuietComfort 45 delighted in each instance, transporting us to another musical realm: an auditory world that seemed to transcend the visual world around us.
This feeling of musical isolation is helped by Bose’s noise-cancelling technology, which adapts to your environment, making real-time adjustments to ensure optimal performance. If your finicky ears are still not satisfied, however, you can further fine-tune the QuietComfort 45 to your preferences using the Bose Connect app, which let you tinker with the highs, lows and mids until you’ve achieved that just-right-for-you sound. Or let you fiddle with the level of noise cancellation to strike that perfect balance between immersion and awareness of your surroundings.
The Bose QuietComfort 45 is more than just a headphone set; it’s a portal to a world of silence and, most of all, a world of sweet sound, an oasis of audio bliss. At Dh1,349, they’re not the cheapest on the market, but we’ve experienced more expensive rivals that offer way less. The total playback time is a tad bit lower than the competition, but you know you’re handling a great device when that’s about the only negative you can point out.
Whether you’re a frequent traveller, a dedicated gamer or just someone seeking solace from the cacophony of everyday life, these headphones have a lot to offer. And if you’re a serious music lover, a dedicated audiophile on a budget, then the Bose QuietComfort 45 is an investment in musical ecstasy.
Bose QuietComfort 45 Bluetooth noise-cancelling headphones
– Stunning sound quality
– Good noise cancellation
– Comfortable on the ears
– A tad-bit low on full-charge playback hours