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Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless

Comfort and noise cancellation galore.
By
September 2, 2022
The feature image for the Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless.

With so many high-end active noise cancelling (ANC) headphones on the market, it can be hard to figure out what best suits your needs. If you’re in the market for a pair, you may weigh the pros and cons of the Bose QuietComfort 45 compared to the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless. These two sets of wireless headphones fill the same niche, but come at different prices and with different features. After spending at least a week with each headset, we put them head to head to see which comes out on top.

What’s it like to use the Bose QuietComfort 45 compared to the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless?

A photo of the USB-C port of the Bose QuietComfort 45.
USB-C charging is a big reason to get the Bose QuietComfort 45 over its predecessor.

Both headphones have plastic builds with leatherette ear pads and comfortable padding on the headbands. The QuietComfort 45 comes in a bit lighter at 240g (8.5oz), while the MOMENTUM 4 Wireless is 293g (10.3oz). Both headsets charge using USB-C and support fast charging. Neither headset is water resistant, so taking either of them out in the rain is a bad idea.

The Bose QuietComfort 45 is, as the name states, comfortable. You should be able to wear the QC 45 for hours on end, making it a great headset for intercontinental flights. Each ear cup rotates flat, and you can compact the headset further by pushing the ear cups toward the headband. Notably, the QC 45 has physical buttons on the ear cups, and lacks a touch panel like its sleeker sibling the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (more on the controls later). The design is largely based on its predecessor, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.

A profile view of the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless headphones on an omega-shaped headphone stand.
The ear cups are angled in such a way that makes this a uniquely comfortable headset.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless has touch gesture controls, bringing more of a modern touch to its design. The ear cups don’t fold, but they still swivel enough to fit your head. The headband of the MOMENTUM 4 Wireless has a more stylish design than the QuietComfort 45, and it has a fabric coating across the top of the headband. The look differs quite a bit from its predecessor, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless, which has a foldable, metal construction with hinges, making the third-generation headset heavier than the MOMENTUM 4 Wireless.

How do you control the Bose QuietComfort 45 and the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless?

A photo of the back of the Bose QuietComfort 45's ear cups, along with the control cluster.
Playback controls can be found on the back of the headphones.

The Bose QuietComfort 45 uses physical buttons on the ear cups for controls. While the tactile technology seems dated, some people prefer buttons because touch controls can easily misfire, get oily, or simply not work in colder conditions. The back of the right ear cup features playback buttons, and there’s a power/Bluetooth switch on the face of the right ear cup. The left ear cup has an Action button that toggles listening modes, activates voice assistant, and mutes calls.

Bose QuietComfort 45 controls

ACTIONTOP BUTTON (right)MIDDLE BUTTON (right)BOTTOM BUTTON (right)ACTION BUTTON (left)
ACTION
One press
TOP BUTTON (right)
Volume up
MIDDLE BUTTON (right)
Play/pause, answer/end call
BOTTOM BUTTON (right)
Volume down
ACTION BUTTON (left)
Toggle ANC mode
ACTION
Two presses
TOP BUTTON (right)

MIDDLE BUTTON (right)
Next track
BOTTOM BUTTON (right)

ACTION BUTTON (left)
Mute call
ACTION
Three presses
TOP BUTTON (right)

MIDDLE BUTTON (right)
Previous track
BOTTOM BUTTON (right)

ACTION BUTTON (left)
N/A
ACTION
Press and hold
TOP BUTTON (right)

MIDDLE BUTTON (right)
Decline call
BOTTOM BUTTON (right)

ACTION BUTTON (left)
Voice assistant

In contrast to the QuietComfort 45, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless supports touch controls. The gestures are easy to figure out and remember. The headset does have a button on the right side for power on/off, but it has some other functions too, like holding it down to enter pairing mode, or tapping it once in a call to mute your microphone.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless audio controls

InputAction
Swipe up
Volume up
Swipe down
Volume down
Swipe backward
Track back
Swipe forward
Track forward
Double tap
Toggle ANC mode
Single tap
Play/pause

Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless call controls

InputAction
Swipe forward
Answer call
Swipe back
Hang up
Hold
Reject call
Double-tap
Hold / cycle
Multifunction button tap
Mute microphone

Should you use the apps of either Bose QuietComfort 45 or Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless?

A man holds up a smartphone with the Bose Music app open, showing the controls for the Bose QuietComfort 45.
The app doesn’t offer much in the way of features, so those looking to EQ their headphones will be disappointed.

The Bose Music app (iOS/Android) helps you get the most out of the Bose QuietComfort 45, but it’s still fairly barebones relative to competitors’ apps. In the Bose Music app, you can access firmware updates, voice assistant settings, and an equalizer. While you can alternate between ANC and Aware mode, you can’t make granular adjustments to the ANC intensity. Another quirk: turning off ANC automatically enables Aware mode. There’s no “off” option. You’ll also be asked to share a lot of personal information such as location, call and message history, which is quite common with headphone apps.

The Sennheiser Smart Control app (iOS/Android) for the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless is also a helpful app to have and offers a bit more control over the noise cancelling. You can adjust the ANC intensity, toggle adaptive ANC on/off, install firmware updates, and access an equalizer. Adaptive ANC is a cool feature that allows you to set ANC levels for different locations, though this does require location permissions to work. The Smart Control app generally asks for a ton of data, making both apps pretty similar on the data privacy front.

How do the Bose QuietComfort 45 and Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless connect?

the 3.5mm headphone jack on the Bose QuietComfort 45
If you prefer wired listening, make use of the included cable.

Both the Bose QuietComfort 45 and Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless support Bluetooth and wired connectivity.

The Bose QuietComfort 45 uses Bluetooth 5.1, and includes the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. It doesn’t support aptX or any other high-bitrate codecs. The headset comes with a 2.5mm to 3.5mm TRS cable for wired listening if you prefer that.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless supports the SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, and aptX Adaptive codecs, giving Android users more high-quality Bluetooth codecs to choose from. The headset also comes with both a 2.5mm to 3.5mm TRS cable and a USB-A to USB-C cable for wired listening. The audio over USB option is great for people with phones lacking headphone jacks that want to listen using a wired connection. Overall, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless has more versatile options for connectivity and competes more closely with the Shure AONIC 50 in this department.

Is battery life better on the Bose QuietComfort 45 or Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless?

A man wears the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless outdoors.
If you’re on a full charge, don’t expect to need a top-off anytime soon.

We subjected both headsets to our standard battery test, with continuous music playback peaking at 75dB(SPL). The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless is by far the better performer, coming in at 56 hours, 21 minutes with ANC on. This is better than all the closest ANC headset competitors, not just the QuietComfort 45. In comparison, the Bose QuietComfort 45 has a battery life of 24 hours, 49 minutes with ANC on.

An important factor here apart from the short-term battery life consideration is the actual life of the battery. Longer battery life means fewer charging cycles, which means your battery can hold its charge for longer overall. With battery e-waste being a major issue, you’re generally better off going for more eco-friendly options that have longer battery life.

Does the Bose QuietComfort 45 or Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless cancel noise better?

The active noise cancelling comparison chart for the Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless, showing superior ANC from the Bose QuietComfort 45.
The Bose QuietComfort 45 (cyan) outperforms the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless (pink) in ANC.

While both headphones cancel noise really well, the Bose QuietComfort 45 does a better job of cancelling out noise in pretty much every range, particularly low and midrange frequencies. Both headsets effectively block out high-pitched noises, with the QuietComfort 45 winning out. It’s no surprise that Bose makes its way onto our best noise cancelling headphones list.

To ensure the best ANC performance possible, make sure you have a good seal around your ear, by adjusting the headband and moving the ear cups to get a secure fit. If you have gaps around the ear cups, outside noise will leak in, rendering the ANC and isolation much less effective. Sound leaking in can also lead you to turn up the volume to potentially dangerous levels, which can cause hearing loss.

Does the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless sound better than the Bose QuietComfort 45?

While both the Bose QuietComfort 45 and Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless have pretty similar sound profiles in our testing, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless measures a bit closer to our consumer target curve, especially in the highs, when compared to the QuietComfort 45. The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless does have a bit of an extra boost in the bass range compared to our consumer curve, but it’s nothing too wild. Most people will enjoy the sound of the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless, and both headsets’ sound profiles can be modified in the respective app.

The frequency response comparison chart for the Bose QuietComfort 45 vs Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless, showing a better sound profile from the MOMENTUM 4 Wireless, especially in the high frequencies.
The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless (yellow) frequency response is much closer to our consumer curve (pink) than the Bose QuietComfort 45 (cyan).

Some music will not sound great through the Bose QuietComfort 45 with that boost in the highs, especially busy tracks with lots of high-pitched sounds. Music filled with incidental high sounds like strumming or breathing, punk music, and some pop will fare worse due to this frequency response. The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless’s most noticeable deviation is in the lows, where that bass boost may not be desirable, depending on your own personal preferences. Both headsets have high speech intelligibility, making spoken word content like podcasts great to listen to.

Does the Bose QuietComfort 45 or Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless have a better microphone?

The Bose QuietComfort 45 resting atop a plastic head.
The microphones are totally fine for phone calls.

The Bose QuietComfort 45 and Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless both have mics embedded in the headsets. While convenient and unobtrusive, this design doesn’t always yield the best sound, but will be good for phone calls. The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless does come across better than the Bose QuietComfort 45, sounding louder generally, and less muffled in ideal conditions. With street noise, neither one exhibits the best noise suppression, but voices are audible for the most part. If you need high-quality microphone audio (for recording or podcasting), you’ll need to look for a dedicated microphone. Regardless, both of these are totally fine for phone and video calls. Take a listen:

Bose QuietComfort 45 Mic sample (Ideal conditions):

Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless Mic sample (Ideal conditions):

Bose QuietComfort 45 Mic sample (Street conditions):

Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless Mic sample (Street conditions):

Which microphone sounds better to you?

330 votes

Should you get the Bose QuietComfort 45 or Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless?

A man wears the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless around his neck while outside.
For $350 USD, the MOMENTUM 4 Wireless is a very good headset but it doesn’t have the best ANC performance.

Even though the Bose QuietComfort 45 and Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless are similar in many ways, the ideal headphones for you will depend on your needs and preferences.

If you want the better-performing ANC, your best bet is Bose. The QC 45 is better at cancelling out noise, especially in the low and mid ranges compared to the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless. The sound profile issues can be fixed with the in-app equalizer, and the battery life is still great, even if it’s not as long as the MOMENTUM 4. It’s also extremely comfortable, and the physical buttons are a good feature for people who want to avoid misfires or cold weather issues.

Product shot of Bose QuietComfort 45 headset from the side.
Bose QuietComfort 45
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

On the other hand, if you want aptX support, a better default frequency response, and superior battery life, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless has you covered. The ANC is still good even if it isn’t as good as the QuietComfort 45. Though it’s $30 USD more expensive than the QC 45, many people will be drawn to Sennheiser’s headphones.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

What should you get instead of the Bose QuietComfort 45 and Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless?

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II lying on an open book.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II remains competitive, thanks to software updates through the proprietary app.

If the Bose QuietComfort 45 sounds nice to you overall, consider its predecessor, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. It’s very similar to the QuietComfort 45 in many ways, including how comfortable it is, and it costs $80 USD less. Bose also makes the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, which has a more minimalist design, a slightly better sound profile than the QuietComfort 45, though it’s pricier at $379 USD.

Top-down view of Sony WH-1000XM5 beside the Sony WH-1000XM4 on a metal surface
The Sony WH-1000XM5 (left) diverges from the WH-1000XM4 (right) with its new headband adjustment system and cleaner design.

When you want to spend a bit more for the very best, the Sony WH-1000XM5 is the best choice. It has top-of-the-line noise cancelling, a great sound profile and app where you can adjust your EQ, and Bluetooth multipoint. It’s much more expensive at $399 USD, but it’s worth it. For a bit less, you can get its predecessor, the Sony WH-1000XM4, which is still a fantastic noise cancelling headset with lots of the same features. It goes for $349 USD nowadays, but it can be found on sale for much cheaper from time to time. We recommend comparing the WH-1000XM4 to the XM5 headset before you spend though.

For more affordable noise cancelling, the Monoprice BT-600ANC is an incredible option. It somehow has excellent noise cancelling, aptX HD support, and a long 36-hour battery life, all for under $100 USD.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, it’s totally possible for firmware updates to improve ANC, though you shouldn’t count on this to happen if you buy a headset with sub-par ANC. There are no guarantees ANC will improve in any given headset.

Both the Bose QuietComfort 45 and Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless come in either black or white.

Both have quick charging. The Bose QuietComfort 45 gets an additional 180 minutes of playtime from 15 minutes of charge, and the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless gets 6 hours of playtime from 10 minutes of charge.