Which noise canceling headphones are better: the Bose QuietComfort 45 or the Sony WH-1000XM4?

Which noise canceling headphones are better: the Bose QuietComfort 45 or the Sony WH-1000XM4?

The Sony WH-1000XM4 has remained one of the most highly coveted ANC models for the past year. It blends excellent sound, long battery life, cool wireless features, and a variety of sound technologies into a luxe design. Sony’s ANC technology is no slouch either, rivaling most models in the category. Should you be torn over which to buy, check out our Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Sony WH-1000XM4 comparison to get the full lowdown. Bose usually sells their headphones at a higher price than Sony. However, the company is selling its latest creation for $329, which is lower than what the QuietComfort 35 II ($350) launched at. You can purchase it in two colors: Black and Smoke White.

The Bose QuietComfort 45 and Sony WH-1000XM4 are compared to see which is the best noise-cancelling purchase. The Bose QuietComfort 45 has made a great impression on critics since its release, even making our list of the best noise-cancelling headphones. In a familiar form, this latest edition to Bose’s famous over-ear headphone series offers strong ANC, 24 hours of battery life, and superb audio quality. Support for the Bose Music app has also been enabled, allowing users to personalise features and settings.


  • Special features Active noise cancellation, transparency mode, smart controls, tri-digital assistant support, Self-Voice Mode, multipoint technology, SimpleSync Active noise cancellation, adjustable ambient listening, smart controls, tri-digital assistant support, multipoint technology, Speak-To-Chat functionality, customizable EQ, NFC, High-res Audio support, Sony 360 Reality Audio

  • Sony originally released the WH-1000XM4 at $349, though we’ve seen the headphones on sale several times over the past few months. Some retailers have even sold it for as low as $248, and we are expecting the model to be part of this year’s Best Black Friday deals. The WH-1000XM4 comes in Black, Midnight Blue, or Silver.

You have to give the QC45 a long, hard look to differentiate it from the previous version. Very little has changed. These headphones come with the same glass-filled nylon, synthetic leather, and impact-resistant materials. Button placement remains untouched. The only real changes are the laser-etched logo and headband covering, which is leather instead of suede. Luckily, the QC45 is as lightweight and cozy as the QC35 II, so you’ll be able to enjoy music for long stretches. We just prefer the WH-1000XM4’s classier appearance.

Sony has built some of the most attractive headphones on the market and the WH-1000XM4 is no exception. Despite both models flaunting minimalist designs, Sony gives their wireless headphones a bit more flair, as highlighted by eye-grabbing details like the copper accents, embossed logo, and rubberized matte finish. Refined leather and plush padding provides the WH-1000XM4 great comfort, granted the extra weight becomes fatiguing after 2 hours of wear.

control scheme, but they chose to leave it as is. What you get are physical buttons to enable functions, but this time around, the Action Button can only be used to activate ANC mode; the QC35 II lets you assign the native assistive. Google Assistant, Siri, and Bixby are all compatible on these headphones and perform well.

Not only did Sony improve the touch controls on its flagship headphones, but they also added more of them for seamless operation. The touch panels register tap and swipe gestures with ease, while the buttons produce solid tactility to ensure assigned functions are being executed. It only gets better from here. Voice activation lets you fire up either Alexa or Google Assistant by saying either’s respective wake word function; Siri can be manually enabled when connected to an iOS/macOS device. Quick Attention will automatically pause music whenever placing your hand over the right earcup, and Speak-to-Chat uses the mics and advanced signal processing to hear your voice and perform the same action. Both features work well.

At one point, the WH-1000XM4 came a close second to the 700 Headphones for best noise cancellation, but Bose proved that they are their only true competitor, as demonstrated by the QC45. The engineers did a phenomenal job of stuffing six mics into the earcups and shifting their placement for optimal ANC. The results speak for themselves, silencing about 90% of ambient noise across different frequencies. Sony worked diligently on improving their noise-cancelling technology and it shows in the WH-1000XM4, though the QC45 is the better neutralizer. Still, you’ll get some superb noise reduction out of Sony’s cans. The default ANC mode blocks out close to 90% of external sounds and you can use the NC Optimizer to measure and tailor ANC to your hearing. Atmospheric Pressure Optimization is also available to adjust pressure based on altitude and tweak noise cancellation on the fly. If only the WH-1000XM4 handled wind better.