price, release date, features and leaks

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. Turns out the Bose QC45 might be here imminently.

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

However, a brand new leak from WinFuture featuring images and specs, along with FCC filings have shown that Bose’s next headphone is not a follow-up the premium Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, but a successor to 2017’s 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.

How much will Bose’s new QuietComfort headphones cost?

Great question. We’re not sure. A recent WinFuture report suggested the US price will be $329. Given the current penchant for swapping the dollar sign for a pound sign (remember we used to get a more direct conversion?), it’s probably £329 too.

However, the whole thing is 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.

When will the Bose QuietComfort 45 be released?

A WinFuture report on August 18 said the QuietComfort 45 headphones are likely to go on sale “soon”. Along with that, 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.

What do the QuietComfort 45 look like?

A new leak from the typically on-the-money WinFuture website gives us a much clearer look at what we can expect from the QuietComfort 45 over-ear headphones whenever they land.

It appears as if the device will retain largely the same design language as the four year old predecessor, with larger ear cups and fast access to the power switch via a switch on the right ear cup. The wide headband returns and the headphones will be foldable to fit nearly inside a case.

Bose QC45 leak
Image credit WinFuture

The report says marketing materials seen by the site say the headphones will be “shockingly light” thanks to a synthetic leather and glass-filled nylon construction.

The images we’ve seen from the FCC filings also 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.

What features will the Bose QuietComfort 45 have?

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.

The report on August 18 from WinFuture says there’ll be 24 hours of battery life from a single charge, which is up four hours on the predecessor. That’s something we’d just love to see Bose deliver on. 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.

The report also claims they’ll be fully recharged by USB-C in 2.5 hours. 15 minutes on charge will give the listener 2.5 hours of playtime, the report says. Of course, run time is highly dependent on whether ANC is switched on.

We are hoping for Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity. It appeared in 2020 and is now appearing in headphones that have recently hit the market. However, WinFuture sources say the headphones will only have Bluetooth 5.1 for wireless connectivity. A 3.5mm jack will remain available, the report said.

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.

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.

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