Last year I bought a pair of Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones to escape from the random noise of my upstairs neighbors. The headphones disappointingly lasted less than a year when the plastic frame broke for no apparent reason and they became unusable. During that year they served me fairly well though.
The noise cancellation is absolutely excellent. You can barely hear an outside sound when it is on. The fit of the headphones leaves a lot to be desired. They are designed for VERY small (Asian?) ears. The touch controls are terrible. I ended up switching them all off to prevent unintended use.
Also the Android app is very unstable and crashes a lot and has a badly designed User Interface. I use many audio sources every day and like to switch around from one to another. The Sony headphones handles those switches very badly. It randomly connects to different sources and many times you have to retry several times to connect to a different source and even then you often can't control the volume from the app.
Bose QuietComfort 45:
I've recently bought a replacement in Bose QC45. So far I'm very happy. Audio quality is below the Sony headphones, but it is well good enough to be satisfying both for music and movie watching. Noise cancelling is also below the Sony headphones. The Sonys were superior. Bose is not that good, but again they are good enough to satisfy in most cases.
Bose fits my ears way better and they have no annoying feedback howls like the Sonys did when you lay on your side. The Bose Android app is much simpler than Sony's, but the UI is much more logical to use. Simple is perfect when it gets the job done. Switching between different audio sources is perfect. There is never a problem turning one source off and another one on.
Battery time is a bit shorter, but it doesn't matter. Both sets of headphones last long enough for a full day's use and that is enough. Bose QC45 have physical buttons. They can be a bit difficult to locate but they work like a charm, including volume up - down.
Where Sony is best:
- Audio quality
- Noise cancelling
- Bluetooth range/stability
- Battery time
Where Bose is best:
- Android app
- Handling multiple audio sources
- Headphone controls
- Build quality (TBD)
Audio quality for phone calls :
- I have no freaking idea, fuck phone calls
And the Winner is?
Bose QuietComfort 45 is my winner. Bose may not be the obvious winner when Sony wins in some important categories, but it simple comes down to daily use.
When I REALLY want to listen to music, I listen to music from my Hi-Fi and speakers. My headphones are usually used to escape noise from my neighbors while watching TV or relaxing. Here it is most important that they fit well and that the usability is perfect.
During daily use it is also of top importance to be able to switch between multiple sound sources without having to fight with the app and headphones all the time, and Sony really has some work to do here, while Bose on the other hand works every time.