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Bose QuietComfort Headphones

The classic ANC over-ears get a new edition for 2023

In a nutshell

Good made better. Bose maintains its QuietComfort series with selective improvements without compromising the rock-solid housing design. Fans of ultra-lightweight Bose headphones that continue to lead the way in noise-cancelling can take heart, even if the price is significantly different from the last version.

Pros:
  • High level of wearing comfort
  • Compact design
  • Very good noise cancelling
  • Up to four sound modes
Cons:
  • Only SBC and AAC codecs
  • Relatively high price
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Bose have made a good pair of headphones even better, but considering the hefty price tag they have neglected a few developments that are taking the market by storm. Will this be enough?

Looks the same, sounds the same – where are the differences from the Bose QuietComfort 45?

There is one serious difference: the Bose QuietComfort Headphones can now operate using multipoint – that is, they can run two Bluetooth connections at the same time. The advantage: you can be connected to both a computer and a smartphone, so you don’t need to actively switch Bluetooth connections. In addition, it is now possible to save different listening modes and store them in the app. The ultra-light and compact housing, ANC, Bluetooth version 5.1 and the SBC and AAC codecs have remained the same. The battery life has improved by two hours to 24 hours, and the 15-minute quick charge provides another three hours of music, as with the previous model.

So we are dealing with new wine in old bottles here, which is why we warmly invite you to refer to our review of the Bose QuietComfort 45.

The Bose QuietComfort headphones in practice

We ordered the 2023 model in cypress green, a limited edition that we liked very much. For the third time now, these headphones have impressed us with their ultralight weight, their compact design and their folding technology, which makes them the ideal travelling companion. A neat case is included, and it is small enough to leave you plenty of room for other bits and pieces in your luggage.

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The wearing comfort was high, and the classic grated headband adjustment was easy to handle, which means that the QuietComfort are very comfortable to wear even during longer listening sessions.

Looks-wise, the Bose QuietComfort headphones seem a little outdated, and Bose will only replace its tried-and-tested chassis with a more modern one with the recently announced QuietComfort Ultra (review to follow shortly).

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The newly added “modes” turned out to be extremely practical for use in everyday life. You can create up to four modes, and the ANC and the transparency mode called “Aware” can be adapted to suit your circumstances. The noise cancellation can be adjusted in the app in ten steps, and additionally, it is possible to set up a wind block filter; this prioritises noise cancellation and effectively eliminates wind noise.

The Bose ANC is pretty impressive. The American manufacturers continue to lead the way here. Only a few manufacturers, like Apple or Sony, can keep up with Bose technology. Thanks to the latest modification, the noise cancelling is now more flexible, especially in the “Aware Mode”, which can now be better adapted to suit circumstances, for example, in an everyday situation where a slight reduction of outside noise is sufficient so you don’t completely block out everyday life, and this is something that the QuietComforts come close to doing. Street noises, even the nastier kind like rubbish trucks and squeaky trams, are masterfully filtered by the QuietComfort’s ANC.

How do the new Bose QuietComfort headphones sound?

The last time I used the previous model was two years ago, and I wouldn’t add much to my assessment of the sound compared to what I thought back then. It’s safe to assume that Bose has changed a few subtleties in the sound tuning, and you can hear these in a direct comparison if necessary. However, I stand by my statement that the sound texture of the QuietComfort was more pleasing than it was full of character. However, one must not overlook the fact that Bose continues to operate only with SBC and AAC.

If you compare them to other current over-ears, such as the Beats Studio Pro that I recently tested, it becomes clear where Bose will eventually have to go. High-res audio – whether via USB or wireless – is in a different dimension sonically and includes immersive formats, something Bose doesn’t offer with the QuietComfort.

Conclusion

Bose has made a good pair of headphones even better, but for a hefty price of 399.95, it neglects a few developments that are taking over the market with a vengeance. In the long run, even the best noise cancelling is not enough. Another recommendation might be the QuietComfort 45, which, following the laws of the market, is now available at a much lower price. If you are looking for the best noise cancelling, then you will still find what you are looking for from Bose with the QuietComfort in their 2023 version.

5 months ago by Ralf Willke
  • Rating: 4.13
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingOver-ear
  • Typeclosed
  • Transducer principledynamic
  • Weight without cable240 g
  • Cable length30,5 cm

What's in the box

  • 3.5 mm to 2.5 mm audio cable
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Travel case

Special features

  • Available in black, white and green
  • BT codecs: SBC, AAC
  • BT version: 5.1

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