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Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Sony WH1000XM4 (2022): Which Top Tier ANC Headphones Should You Buy?

Bose and Sony are the big names in the ANC headphones market. The Bose QuietComfort 45 and the Sony WH-1000XM4 are often compared against each other since they are top of the line when it comes to ANC performance. They have a lot of similarities, but they still have a lot of distinct features that make one of them better than the other for people with various preferences. Which of these two excellent ANC headphones should you get? Here is our Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Bose QuietComfort 45 review and comparison to help you choose which pair is best for you.

Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Sony WH1000XM4 Comparison Chart

ModelBose QuietComfort 45 Sony WH-1000XM4
 
PriceCheck Price Check Price
Weight0.53lbs0.6lbs
ConnectivityWired – 3.5mm analog
Wireless – Bluetooth
Wired – 3.5mm analog
Wireless – Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version5.15.0
CodecsSBC, AACLDAC, SBC, AAC
Microphones44
ControlsPhysicalTouch + Physical
ANCYesYes
AppBose MusicSony Headphones Connect
ColorsTriple Black, White SmokeBlack, Blue, Silver
In The BoxQuietComfort 45
Case
USB-C cable
3.5mm analog cable
WH-1000XM4
Case
USB-C cable
3.5mm analog cable
Airplane adapter

Build Quality & Comfort

The Bose QuietComfort 45 and Sony WH-1000XM4 are both well-built, but the former are more comfortable.

The Bose QuietComfort 45 (left) and Sony WH-1000XM4 (right) are both wireless ANC headphones with optional wired connectivity.

When it comes to build quality these two headphones are similar. They are both made of mostly plastic, but there are still metal reinforcements on the headbands. For how much they cost, their build qualities are acceptable, but could be better. The two have rotating hinges so you can lay the earcups flat and they are also foldable. While these are great for storage and portability, these are potential weak points.

As for looks, the two have modern and minimalistic designs that will appeal to a lot of people. The Bose QuietComfort 45 have a matte finish with the “Bose” logo on the side of the earcups. The Sony WH-1000XM4 also have a matte finish with copper accents that look very good. You can get both headphones in either black or white/silver, but the Sony WH-1000XM4 also have a blue variant available for purchase.

One of the most important factors that you should consider when getting a pair of over-ear headphones is comfort. In this area, both headphones shine, but the Bose QuietComfort, true to their name, are slightly more comfortable due to them being lighter and having larger ear cups. They also have a more relaxed clamping force than the Sony WH-1000XM4.

Features

The Sony WH-1000XM4 have more features, but the Bose QC45 perform better when it comes to ANC.

From this angle, the Bose QC45 (left) and Sony WH-1000XM4 (right) look similar due to their modern and minimalist look.

Controls

The Sony WH-1000XM4 come with more features than the Bose QuietComfort 45. From their touch and physical controls to their companion app, the Sony WH-1000XM4 are just better. The Sony WH-1000XM4’s combination of touch and physical controls, along with motion detection are impeccable. Touch controls are registered without issues and the physical buttons provide tactile feedback. There’s also an auto-play and pause function whenever you remove the headphones. In addition to those, Sony added features such as Quick Attention and Speak-to-Chat.

Meanwhile, the Bose QC45 only have physical buttons that are similar to those on the QC35. There are no touch controls or motion detection, but this simplicity can be better for a lot of people.

Companion App

The Bose QuietComfort 45 and the Sony WH-1000XM4 come with the Bose Music and Sony Headphones Connect companion apps, respectively. Both apps have various features such as graphic EQ and presets and ANC controls. However, the Sony Headphones Connect app offers more customization features. You can access and enable Sony’s 360 Reality Audio feature, remap buttons, adjust the auto-off timer and set the Smart-Pause feature. The Sony Headphones Connect app lets you do more than the Bose Music app.

Active Noise Cancellation

While all those extra features from Sony are great, the number one reason why you are considering these two headphones is their ANC or active noise cancellation performance. And in this area, both headphones provide excellent performance, with the Bose QC45 having a small advantage.

Both headphones can block low frequency noise effectively. However, the Bose QC45 can block out mid and high frequency noise better than the Sony WH-1000XM4. The Bose QC45 also provide better passive noise cancellation as long as you get a proper fit, and this contributes to their performance in cancelling noise in the higher frequencies.

Sound Quality

The Bose QC45 have a more appealing sound than the Sony WH-1000XM4 which has bloated bass.

Both the Bose QC45 (left) and Sony WH-1000XM4 (right) provide excellent ANC performance, but the latter performs better.

When it comes to sound quality, the Bose QC45 offer a more pleasant listening experience than the Sony WH-1000XM4. The Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones have a neutral sound with bass boost. The bass is overemphasized by a bit, but it doesn’t result in a muddy sound. The mid is balanced and accurate, so you’ll hear vocals clearly, but the treble range is a bit boosted across the range, so there might be some harshness and sibilance.

On the other hand, the Sony WH-1000XM4 have an overemphasized bass that bleeds into the mids that can result in an overall muddy sound. The bass is highly exaggerated, which bassheads might prefer, but a lot of people will find it to be a bit too much. The mids are actually balanced and accurate and the treble range is also good. However, these are overpowered by the bass range unless you EQ.

These headphones offer different sound profiles, but you can EQ them if you don’t like how they sound out of the box.

Battery Life and Connectivity

The Sony WH-1000XM4 will last longer than the Bose QC45 when both are fully charged.

Here’s what you’ll get with the Bose QC45 (left) and Sony WH-1000XM4 (right).

The Bose QC45 are advertised to have a battery life of up to 24 hours, and the headphones can actually last that long when fully charged. On the other hand, the Sony WH-1000XM4 have a rated battery life of up to 30 hours and they can play music longer than that in reality. Both are great in this department, but the Sony WH-1000XM4 clearly take the cake.

As for connectivity, both are wireless, but they can be used with the included audio cables for wired listening. Having a wired connectivity allows you to use the headphones with sources other than your phone, which is good. However, the microphones are disabled when used with an analog connection.

Verdict

The Bose QuietComfort 45 offer better sound and ANC performance while the Sony WH-1000XM4 offer more features and better controls.

Bose QuietComfort 45

Better sound quality and ANC performance

Sony WH-1000XM4

More features and better controls

Choosing between the Bose QuietComfort 45 and the Sony WH-1000XM4 will come down to which factors are more important to you. The Bose QuietComfort 45 sound better, they are more comfortable and their ANC performance is slightly better. On the other hand, the Sony WH-1000XM4 have more features, are better built, they offer a more intuitive control scheme and their battery life is longer. The difference in sound quality between the two is quite big, but fortunately, you can EQ either of them to tweak their sounds.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ What sounds better Sony or Bose?

It depends on which headphones from the two brands are being compared, but in the case of the Bose QuietComfort 45 and Sony WH-1000XM4, the QC45 sound better. They have a neutral sound profile with bass boost, while the Sony WH-1000XM4 have an overly boosted bass that bleeds into the mids, resulting in a muddy sound.

๐Ÿ“Œ Are the Sony WH1000XM4 worth buying?

Yes, they have excellent ANC performance, they have a lot of features and they have excellent battery life.

๐Ÿ“Œ How long do the Bose QuietComfort 45 last?

They have a battery life of up to 24 hours when fully charged.

๐Ÿ“Œ Are the Sony WH-1000XM4 good for working out?

You can use them, but it’s not recommended to do so since these aren’t waterproof. If sweat enters, the cans might get damaged.

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.