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Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Bose 700: Which Bose noise-cancelling headphones are better?

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700
(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Recently launched, the Bose QuietComfort 45 are a critical success, even making our list of the best noise-cancelling headphones. It packages stronger active noise cancellation, sound, and battery life into a familiar design. Bose even added support for the Bose Music app to let you personalize the headphones, a first for the QC over-ear series. 

When it comes to ANC headphones, the Bose 700 has been viewed as the king. You get over 10 levels of adjustable ANC, great sound, and smart controls in a svelte design. Recent updates have also introduced new features like an EQ and Spotify Tap functionality to access the streaming service directly on the headphones.

You’re looking at Bose’s two top noise-cancellers, but which is the brand’s top dog? Our Bose QuietComfort 45 and Bose 700 comparison will answer the question. 

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Bose 700: Price

Despite the QuietComfort 45 being the newer release, it has the lower MSRP: $329. For context, this is less expensive than what Bose sold the QuietComfort 35 II ($350) for at launch. It can be purchased in two colors: Black and Smoke White.  

The Bose 700 was originally sold for $399, but it has been marked down to $379. We have seen it on sale for as low as $229, and we anticipate it will be part of this year’s Best Black Friday deals. You can pick up the 700 in Black, Luxe Silver, Soapstone or Triple Midnight.

Neither comes cheap, but both are equally rewarding for their prices.

Winner: Tie

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Bose 700: Specs compared

Bose QuietComfort 45Bose 700
Price$329.99399.99
Size and weight7.25 x 6 x 3 inches, 8.5 ounces8 x 6.5 x 2 inches, 8.95 ounces
Battery life24 hours20 hourrs
ProcessorUnknownUnknown
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.1Bluetooth 5.0
Special featuresActive noise cancellation, transparency mode, smart controls, tri-digital assistant support, Self-Voice Mode, multipoint technology, SimpleSyncAdjustable active noise cancellation, transparency mode, equalizer settings, smart controls, digital assistant support, Self-Voice Mode, Spotify Tap, multipoint technology

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Bose 700: Design

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Bose 700

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The 700 looks like a work of art, from the construction to the detailing. Upon examining the headphones, you won’t find one screw, nor any seams of threading exposed. How cool does the slim arc-inspired frame look? Then you’ve got the extenders that are placed on a tracking system to seamlessly adjust length. Even the faux leather covering the ear cups and headband look luxe, but, most importantly, feel cozy to provide a pleasant and secure fit.

Bose practically did a copy-and-paste job with the QC45. We’re talking the same design, materials, button placement, and silhouette as the QC35 II. Only small changes were implemented on this version such as the logo being laser-etched, and leather padding being used for the headband instead of suede. More mics were stuffed into the earcups, as presented in the multiple dimples on each side. The headphones feel just as comfy as their predecessor, but still a bit flimsy, and lack the 700’s striking presence. 

Winner: Bose 700

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Bose 700: Controls

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Bose 700

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Bose equipped the 700 with more controls and smarter features. The physical buttons on the side of each earcup produce solid tactile feedback, the touch sensor on the right earcup accurately registers taps and swipes, and the on-ear detection is spot-on for auto-pause/play functionality. We also love that the headphones support voice activation, granted its only for Alexa, but you can still use Siri, Google Assistant, and Bixby as your native assistant. All of them work incredibly well, thanks to excellent speech recognition demonstrated by the 700’s powerful mic array. It’s cool to access other features directly on the headphones like favorited ANC settings and Spotify as well. 

The same button layout and functions assigned to QC35 II apply to the QC45. There’s only one key difference: the Action Button is solely reserved for switching ANC modes. You can’t assign the digital assistant to it anymore. Each button produces a nice click sound to ensure that commands are being met, plus the digital assistant is great for voice commands. The 700 just makes engaging with the headphones more fun.

Winner: Bose 700

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Bose 700: Active noise cancellation

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Bose 700

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The 700 is Bose’s most expensive set of ANC headphones to date for a reason. It has an adaptive eight-mic system, six of which are employed to silence ambient noises at the highest level possible. Speaking of which, Bose programmed over 11 levels of ANC that can be selected to control how much noise you want to block out or let in. The technology works magnificently, blocking out close to 95% of external sounds across the frequency spectrum. We travelled with the headphones several times before the COVID-19 pandemic and found ANC to be effective for drowning out engine noises and rowdy passengers.

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Bose 700

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Bose equipped the QC45 with six mics and shifted their placement to improve noise neutralization. We picked up on the improvements in ANC between the QC45 and QC35 II, and the former handling high frequencies just as well as the 700. Low rumbling sounds and mid frequencies go silent as well. Testing the headphones on a flight has not been an option yet, but we sense that the technology can hold up well in the skies.

Transparency mode works differently on both models. The QuietComfort 45 requires you to enable Aware Mode to hear incidental sounds, while the 700 has you adjust ANC to a lower level, which is more suitable since it offers full control of how much noise you want to let into the soundscape. You’ll find gratification with either ambient-listening solution, but the 700’s mics pick up more fracas.

Winner: Bose 700

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Bose 700: Audio Quality

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Bose 700

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Laptop Magazine)

If you want something more bass-forward, then the QC45 will suffice. Proprietary TriPort acoustic architecture and a volume-optimized Active EQ give these cans exceptional frequency range. Mids and highs are crisp and blend well with deep lows. Only when listening to orchestral recordings does quality take a dip, as bass can come on a bit aggressive and diminish certain characteristics like harmonies and strings.

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Bose 700

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

While lacking the QC45’s punchiness, the 700 has the more well-balanced soundstage to give music a natural feel. Instruments are reproduced well, and vocals are pronounced. These headphones complement more music genres. Bose also lets you customize sound by playing with the EQ in the companion app (more on that later).

Winner: Bose 700

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Bose 700: App and special features

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Bose 700

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The Bose Music app supports both the 700 and QC45, each model sharing similar functions. These include a music player, volume slider, standby timer, battery level indicators, digital assistant selection, toggle controls, and firmware updates.

However, the 700 comes with more features. Users can adjust ANC levels via a slider, save three preferred ANC levels that can be cycled through on the headphones, use the Self-Voice setting to adjust how loud their voice sounds on call, and assign Spotify Tap to the Action Button. A recent update added an EQ to manually tweak the bass, mids, and treble, along with four presets (Bass Boost, Reducer, Treble Boost, Treble Reducer) that simplify sound customization.

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The QC45 is limited to the aforementioned Self-Voice mode and SimpleSync, a new feature that lets users connect their headphones to a Bose Smart Soundbar. This transforms the QC45 into a remote that can raise, lower, or mute volume when streaming sound from a TV.

One advantage the QC45 has over the 700 is Bluetooth 5.1, giving it faster connectivity and a longer range of 50 feet. Bluetooth 5.0 holds steady on the 700 and pairs quickly to devices, while offering a max range of 40 feet.

Winner: Bose 700

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Bose 700: Battery life

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Bose 700

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

One area where Bose headphones have always come up short is battery life. Not much has changed. Playtime is longer on the QuietComfort 45 (24 hours), while the 700 remains short (20 hours), at least by modern standards. Furthermore, there is no way to turn off ANC on either model, meaning these headphones will continue to suck power no matter what mode is enabled. At least quick charging is powerful on these two sets of cans, with the QC45 generating three hours of use on a 15-minute charge and the 700 gaining 30 minutes more in the same charging time.

Winner: Bose QuietComfort 45

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Bose 700: Call quality

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Bose 700

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

On top of being the best model for noise cancellation, the 700 also serves as the best calling headset in the category. Six of the eight mics pull double duty by blocking out incoming noises and amplifying vocals for crystal clear conversations. We’ve enjoyed interference-free voice and video calls in different settings. Bose even sells an enhanced version called the Bose 700 UC that comes with a USB module for pre-paired connectivity and compatibility with video teleconferencing services like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Meets.

Though it might sound negative, the QC45 is a step down in call quality from both the 700 and QC35 II, yet it still performs better than most wireless headphones. The mics produce loud and clear vocals, but ambient noise does tend to creep in at times.

Winner: Bose 700

Winner: Bose 700

Bose QuietComfort 45Bose 700
Value (5)44
Design (15)1314
Controls (10)79
Active noise cancellation (20)1920
Audio quality (15)1213
App and special features (15)1113
Battery Life (10)76
Call quality (10)810
Total Score (100)8189

In the end, the Bose 700 has too much going for it to be dethroned. No model can match its ANC performance, which puts a kibosh on nearly every incidental sound it picks up. The same can be said about 700’s call quality, which is perfect. Audio is finely tuned with crisp, detailed mids, and you have the luxury of tweaking frequencies in the Bose Music app. The touch controls and voice activation operate smoothly as well. Its only real blemish is battery life. 

The QC45 might be a few steps below its premium sibling, but these headphones are a solid upgrade that replaces the QC35 II with better noise cancellation, sound, and comfort. You’re also getting the longest playtime of any Bose ANC headphones. Not being able turn off the feature is disappointing, but the 700 suffers from the same issue too. However, the lack of special features compared to the 700 keep this from being a closer fight.