it’s one thing Fight with the biggest kid on the playground. It’s another thing to try to do it your way. But with its new Px7 S2 wireless over-ear headphones, Bowers & Wilkins basically took on Sony and asked the Japanese giant if it wanted some. bold? reckless? Both?
A few years ago, Bowers & Wilkins launched its original Px7 wireless noise-cancelling in-ear headphones and priced them to rival current industry leader Sony’s WH-1000XM4. By leveraging its heritage and strengths, Bowers & Wilkins has created a pair of headphones that can compete on the fundamentals of sound quality. Yes, they’re a little funky and a little hard on the outside, but they have it where it matters, and they’re a valid audio-centric alternative to the all-singing, all-dancing, all-seeing Sony option.
Last month, Sony launched the WH-1000XM5. The price has gone up a little, the weight has dropped a little, and the list of features and functions is as long as your arm. So Bowers & Wilkins introduced a new model. The price has risen a little, the weight has dropped a little, and the emphasis on sound quality and a rather self-conscious “refinement” remains exactly the same.
So what does this mean for the exterior of the Px7 S2, a look that is both premium and understated, achieved through the deployment of high-quality and tactile materials. At least, that’s what our sample of black reviews looks like. The $399 (£379) Px7 S2 is also available in grey or blue, but we’d be surprised if those finishes spoil the quality impression.
Soft, pliable memory foam padded leather at the contact points, perfectly applied fabric on the outside of the headband and earcups, premium quiet plastic on the arms and hinges, and sky-high overall build standards help the Px7 S2 look and feel good. Even the circumstances in which they travel felt outside the norm.
Comfortable, fast-charging jar
Bowers & Wilkins has optimized the arrangement of the headband mounts and re-evaluated the clamping force in an effort to make these headphones more comfortable than the models they replace. And by reducing the weight by a percentage point (307 grams vs. the old Px7’s 310 grams), it does work. The Px7 S2 is effortless to wear and remains comfortable even for extended listening sessions. It helps the earpads keep your own body heat from returning to the sides of your head for extended periods of time.
There are also modifications inside. But what hasn’t changed is Bowers & Wilkins’ determination to make these headphones the choice for customers who value sound quality over Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation. The Px7 S2 uses Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless connectivity and is compatible with SBC, AAC and aptX Adaptive codecs, thus delivering 24-bit Hi-Res audio quality. The sound itself is delivered by a pair of 40mm full-range, free-edge dynamic drivers. This is an all-new biocellulose design with a lower total harmonic distortion factor than the driver it replaces.