Bowers and Wilkins PX7 wi-fi headphones
“The PX7 rewards homeowners with luxurious, sturdiness, and nice sound.”
Glorious sound high quality
Good noise cancellation
No voice assistant entry
Bowers and Wilkins launched its first noise-canceling headphones in 2018: The B&W PX. We have been impressed not solely by their attractive design but additionally their sound high quality and noise-canceling efficiency. This yr, B&W is again with its latest flagship, the $400 PX7 Adaptive Noise Cancelling Wi-fi Headphones.
Promising higher battery life and a lighter design, together with the newest Bluetooth expertise, the brand new wi-fi iteration of B&W’s famed P7 headphones faces the newest technology of rivals, together with Sony with its excellent WH-1000XM3 (now down to only $280) and Bose’s $350 Noise Cancelling 700 headphones. Right here’s how they stack up.
The PX7 are a terrific instance of understated luxurious. Whether or not you select the silver or house gray possibility, the headphones seem like they belong within the accent catalog of a Porsche 911 or an Aston Martin. Even the included hard-shell case — a welcome improve from the PX’s comfortable bag — provides to the aura of exclusivity.
Followers of the B&W PX will discover the PX7 immediately acquainted: The hidden slider changes inside the headband and single-sided earcup pivots are nonetheless in proof, however carbon fiber has changed metallic in these areas, decreasing the burden by 25 grams. The stretched cloth now covers extra contours, whereas the matte-finish aluminum ovals stay on the surface of the earcups. It’s nonetheless very a lot an aesthetic and complex look.
Construct high quality is first-rate. The rotating joints and pivots have silky-smooth motion and simply the correct amount of resistance. The scarf adjustment is equally pleasing. The sliders transfer with precision and keep put once you’re finished, however there are not any notches — as a substitute, they really feel like they’re being managed by tiny, invisible gears.
I obtained the impression that they have been made for my head particularly.
Slipping them on for the primary time, I obtained the impression that they have been made for my head particularly. The earcups seat themselves with an impressively even seal and the reminiscence foam pads discover that excellent stability between cushion and grip. As with the PX, a barely wider headband could be extra snug, however as soon as in place, the earcups take the vast majority of the burden.
When you’re going to spend this type of coin on a set of wi-fi headphones, the sound high quality had higher be superior. The PX7 don’t disappoint. It’s simple to say phrases like “full,” “wealthy,” or “detailed,” when describing what a given set of headphones sound like. However in relation to the PX7, it’s not simply lip-service. They ship all of those attributes in an enormous method. The sound is each expansive but intimate — a tough juxtaposition to tug off — with the extremely fascinating capacity to disclose layers to your favourite tracks that lesser headphones or earbuds merely can’t do.
Bass is deep and satisfying with out changing into overbearing. The treble soars clearly and freely, because it ought to, whereas the midrange is nearly at all times in a position to maintain its personal in opposition to these two competing forces throughout all kinds of genres. I say “nearly,” as a result of I did discover a number of tracks, like Halsey’s Lastly // Stunning Stranger the place the mids appeared a bit muddied, however these have been exceptions to the rule.
The PX7 do a good job with garden-variety MP3s, however as with every expensive cans they solely really present you what they’ll do once you give them one thing extra weighty like Tidal’s HiFi assortment of CD-quality and hi-res tracks.
It’s value noting that the PX7 have unimaginable assist for Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, and even the newest aptX Adaptive are all on faucet. I didn’t check the headphones utilizing these codecs, however given how good my iPhone 11 sounded with Apple’s fundamental AAC assist, these with aptX units are doubtless in for a deal with.
The sound is expansive but intimate.
As with the PX, you should utilize the included analog cable for wired listening, whereas the USB-C cable does double-duty as a charger and digital audio connection to PCs and Macs.
The PX7 are B&W’s premium noise-canceling headphones, however the firm’s PX5 and PI4 additionally supply the characteristic.
The older PX requested you to decide on between three ANC modes: Workplace, Metropolis, and Flight, with Flight being the strongest. On the PX7, there are nonetheless three modes, however now they’re Computerized, Low, and Excessive. When you depart the characteristic on computerized, normal feels like the approaching and going of visitors or background chatter in an workplace might be properly subdued.
Nevertheless, fixed droning feels like an airplane cabin (or my equal: A toilet fan from 10 ft away) really want the non-compulsory “excessive” ANC mode. The low mode sounded the identical as computerized, however maybe there are further nuances relying on the surroundings you’re in.
All informed, it’s very well executed. With ANC on — and particularly when utilizing the excessive mode — you’re handled to that fantastic cone-of-silence impact that’s invaluable by itself, nevertheless it’s even higher as a impartial background in your music.
I sort of want there was a devoted ANC on/off change as a substitute of simply the only button for all ANC capabilities.
As is commonly the case with ANC, for those who’re already in a quiet surroundings, you turn out to be conscious of a telltale noise-canceling hiss, however even on excessive, this was barely noticeable. One quirk I discovered was an inclination for my head place to have an effect on the standard of the noise-canceling. If I stood in a single spot and turned my physique relative to the primary supply of the noise, the ANC struggled a bit to maintain issues even. Given most of us might be sitting in a single spot whereas utilizing it, it’s a minor element.
My callers famous that decision high quality was usually superb after I used the PX7. Maybe not as audible and clear as after I held my iPhone to my face, however actually greater than enough — and higher than latest true wi-fi earbuds I’ve examined just like the Amazon Echo Buds and Jabra Elite 75t. The PX7 weren’t as profitable when it got here to counteracting the impact of loud visitors. My callers might nonetheless hear me, however the sounds of the automobiles additionally got here by way of.
Bowers and Wilkins has a free app for iOS and Android, merely known as Bowers and Wilkins Headphones (to not be confused with the B&W PX app which claims to work with all PX headphones — it doesn’t work with the PX7). It helps you to handle Bluetooth connections (it might probably assist two without delay), regulate the noise-canceling setting (which you can too do on the headphones), and tweak a number of minor issues like whether or not or not the headphones auto-pause once you pull an earcup away out of your head. You can too select the quantity of ambient passthrough sound.
There’s no EQ adjustment, although, which is unlucky. I feel the manufacturing unit EQ is excellent, however as with all issues audio-related, it’s a matter of style. With the ability to regulate the EQ is one thing I’d anticipate to have the ability to do on a set of high-end wi-fi cans. Sony’s WH-1000XM3, for example, provides a number of ranges of ambient audio management and strong EQ parameters as properly.
As well as, the PX7 app’s battery stage indicator has no share or hours remaining readouts, and there’s no option to modify what any of the management buttons do.
Talking of controls, whereas the PX7 are superbly crafted, they’re a little bit awkward to make use of. Due to the form of the earcups, the controls on the correct earcup are nearly inconceivable to keep away from when taking the headphones on and off, inflicting plenty of inadvertent button presses. The key, I’ve discovered, is to seize the single-sided pivot arms, nevertheless it’s not a really perfect resolution.
Nonetheless, as soon as seated, those self same controls are simple sufficient to make use of, with well-defined contours that make them a snap to find and press. I additionally like that the ANC characteristic will get its personal devoted button on the left earcup. I’ve seen this earlier than on different ANC fashions, and I feel it’s the perfect location.
Nice battery life
The B&W PX already had superb battery life at 22 hours, however the PX7 raises this quantity to 30, in response to B&W. That’s the identical battery life because the Sony WH-1000XM3 talked about above, and I don’t suppose the declare is overstated: After operating the PX7 for 17 hours straight, at 50% quantity and with ANC on, the battery indicator inside the app confirmed about half its life remaining. When you want a fast top-up, 15 minutes of charging will get you a further 5 hours.
No assist in any respect
Considerably surprisingly — provided that it’s nearly 2020 and the PX7’s common worth is $400 — there’s no voice assistant assist. Now I’m not an enormous Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant consumer, however there are occasions when with the ability to summon them both hands-free or through a button may be very useful. It feels odd characteristic which is included on headphones and earbuds which retail for $75 or much less can do that and the PX7 can’t. Maybe B&W will add it with a future firmware replace, however for now, you’re by yourself for recipes, instructions, music, and cellphone calls.
The PX7 proceed the corporate’s custom of crafting attractive and great-sounding headphones. Sadly, additionally they proceed the custom of very excessive costs. Although a worthy follow-up to the PX by way of battery life, the dearth of voice assistant entry means these fancy cans have truly fallen additional behind when in comparison with the perfect from Sony, Bose, and others.
Is there a greater various?
The Sony WH-1000XM3 may not flip heads the way in which the PX7 will, they usually actually don’t possess the PX7’s refinement of design and supplies, however in each different respect, they’re nearly as good or higher and value considerably much less.
How lengthy will they final?
With a two-year guarantee and a construct high quality and supplies which might be among the many finest we’ve seen, the B&W PX7 ought to final so long as you want, offered you take care of them. The included hard-shell case makes that job simpler.
Must you purchase them?
If cash’s no object, and also you don’t thoughts the absence of voice assistant entry, the PX7 ship a rewarding and splendid wi-fi listening expertise. However you’ll discover higher worth and extra options from the competitors.