Synonymous with premium sound, Bowers & Wilkins has made some of the best home systems and headphones ever created. The PX7 was an audio powerhouse revered for its warm, balanced sound and Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). Almost two years after its release, we got its successor, the updated PX7 S2.
Specifications Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2
Colors: Black, Blue, Gray
Battery life (estimated): 30 hours
Delivery: Bluetooth 5.0
Water Resistant: no one
Weight: 10.8 oz
This overhauled version offers improved ANC, audio, call quality, and charging times, along with new features and wireless technologies that were noticeably absent from the original. Even B&W took the liberty to improve on the design.
All of these add-ons come at a high price, but since previous B&W versions have been proven time and time again, you get your money’s worth. Read on to find out why the PX7 S2 is a noise canceling tool made to compete with the best contenders in this category.
Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 review: Availability and price
The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 is priced at $399 and can be purchased from major online retailers, including Amazon (Opens in a new tab) and best buy (Opens in a new tab)or directly on the company’s website (Opens in a new tab). It is sold in three colors: black, blue and gray. Included with purchase is a woven carrying case, USB-C to USB-C cable, USB-C to 3.5mm audio cable, and manual.
For comparison, the PX7 S2 shares the same MSRP as the recently launched Sony WH-1000XM5. These headphones are also more expensive than the class-leading Bose 700 headphones ($379), which are sold regularly, as well as other performance elites like the Sony WH-1000XM4 ($349) and Shure Aonic 40 ($249).
Be sure to bookmark our headphones deals page for the latest sales.
Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 review: Design and comfort
B&W didn’t need to implement any design changes to the second generation model, but they did. The PX7 S2 is lighter and thinner and comes with “more luxurious” memory foam ear cups. Signature details such as the arc-shaped yoke and aluminum deco panel with a semi-gloss finish remain intact. The tightly woven fabric is also applied to the hard shell and headband.
All three colors are great, especially the blue version with gold accents, which is what the Bose QuietComfort 35 II is known for.
The tote bag is absolutely gorgeous, covered in a woven fabric, and conveniently designed to store everything. There is a compartment containing wired cables. What makes the case essential is its convenient size and light weight; Putting it in your laptop bag will not take up much space.
Rest is quite pleasant. Memory foam provides more cushion for your ears and head. B&W claims that the fit has improved, but the strength of the narrow clip presses against my ears and traps heat under the ear cups after about two hours of wear. You’ll want to use the PX7 S2 intermittently throughout the day to spare your skull any discomfort.
The extenders achieve a reasonable length to accommodate different head sizes. Once set, the headphones will stay in place.
Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 review: Controls and digital assistant
Physical buttons, motion detection, and digital assistance make up the control scheme of the PX7 S2. The right earbud is where most of the action happens, and features a three-button setup with a multifunction button (power on, call management) sandwiched between the volume buttons, as well as a power/pairing slider above it. These buttons produce a solid touchability, and the slider has a nice bouncy effect when pushed up.
The left ear piece has an action button that works with either ANC or digital assistant technology. B&W programmed the button with a one-press function, so it’s either one or the other. Why not let us enable Siri or Google Assistant by long press?
On the plus side, AI bots from Apple and Google work flawlessly. B&W’s microphone array shows great speech recognition, capturing every syllable and long voice command, while Siri and Google Assistant return accurate results.
A wear sensor has been placed in the headphones for the auto-pause/play function and must be turned on in the accompanying app. There are sensitivity levels you can choose from in the companion app: Low, Normal, and High. Although the feature is much appreciated, it does suffer from serious lag, no matter what level you select. It takes about two seconds to pause or restart the music.
Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 review: Sound quality
With a 40mm dynamic cellulose dynamic driver sitting in each cup, support for aptX (HD, Adaptive) codec, bass/treble customization, and a new DSP hardware platform, the PX7 S2 is the epitome of powerful, elegant audio. You get an accurate and expansive listening experience that reveals the nuances of complex recordings with minimal distortion.
Kool & the Gang’s “Summer Madness” sounded quiet on these cans. The soft drums were tight and gave more beats as the song progressed, while the synths rose so deeply that it gave the impression of being heard through professional loudspeakers. Even small details like fixed taps were consistent and clear.
On upbeat new soul tracks like Miguel’s “Told You So”, where electric guitars come with raucous bass and a powerfully trembling guitar sound, the PX7 S2 stabilized with the bass and maintained a raspy production echo. Turning on the ANC gave the low end a slight boost. I was also shocked by how well the headphones balance the frequencies; The high middle class made me feel the emotion in the singer’s voice on the hook.
Bright highs shine on jazz classics. Every instrument played on McCoy Tyner’s “When Sunny Gets Blue” sounded special. The double bass and high bass were incredibly clear, and the melodic piano chords were placed front and center, making the listening even more immersive.
You can adjust the bass and treble settings in the companion app, but the B&W sound profile is really flawless.
aptX Adaptive allows near-lossless streaming to compatible services (eg Tidal and Quobuz) at up to 24bit/48kHz. Those who prefer wired listening can either use a USB-C to 3.5mm cable or a USB-C to USB-C cable on compatible devices. I can say that the latter works terribly when connected to a smartphone, causing the volume to drop significantly, although the sound is more stable on the MacBook Pro.
Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 review: Active Noise Cancellation
B&W’s proprietary noise canceling technology is top notch. Its array of six microphones has been upgraded to effectively stop unwanted sounds: two are used to measure the output of each motor, two respond to ambient noise, and two to increase sound clarity while enhancing noise suppression.
While working outside in the gazebo, the low and medium frequency sounds would go unnoticed. I couldn’t hear any chatter going around the pool area, nor my toddler laughing when he circled around my seat. The same can be said about the planes that flew over the house (keep in mind that I’m not far from the airport). Landscaping tools and portable speakers didn’t break my focus either. The PX7 S2 performed similarly indoors, blocking out noise from loud kitchen appliances and televisions at a high level.
Not all ambient noise is tamed. The PX7 S2 often lets in high-frequency sounds. The screams of the children and the sirens were transparent enough to get my attention. Fortunately, these noises and wind effects are reduced well enough to not compromise the audio scene.
Swiping was the most impressive pose and was useful for keeping tabs on my son in the playroom. The microphones capture all the chatter, laughter, and crying, along with tutorials running on your iPad. He was very helpful in communicating with the lady, especially since her voice came out clearly. Enabling the outdoor feature was also useful during morning walks. Construction sites and incoming traffic were very transparent. There has never been a moment when I have felt insecure or unaware of my surroundings.
Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 review: App and special features
PX7 S2 supports the latest B&W Music app. You can perform the previously mentioned actions, such as adjust the bass/treble, assign the action button, activate wear detection, and cycle through the ANC modes. That’s about it in terms of the main features.
Rounding out the app is an automatic standby setting, a battery level indicator, firmware updates, and a connections tab showing which devices have been paired with the headset. Common plugins such as music presets, audio mode, and the Find My Headphones function are all absent.
Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 review: Battery life
B&W only confirmed that a full charge equates to 30 hours. We don’t know if this is with ANC on or off. Our testing showed that the advertised uptime was close to accurate when noise cancellation was disabled. It turned it down playing time to 26 hours. This is still enough for 4 to 5 hours of use per day over the course of the work week.
The PX7 S2 has some of the best fast charging technology in this category. A 15-minute charge generates 7 hours of listening time. The Sony WH-1000XM5 can do 5 hours in 10 minutes and luxury models like the $1,000 Mark Levinson #5909 get you 6 hours in 15 minutes.
Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 review: Connectivity and connectivity quality
The PX7 S2 is reliable for audio and video calls. Every internal conversation was met with positive comments, with most friends saying I sounded quite loud and clear. Background noise is silenced by microphones. Using the headphones outdoors was fun for the most part. Calls from clients in the gazebo went smoothly, although clarity took a beating as soon as they advanced toward the front yard. The winds and fast cars caused a muffle on both ends. Fortunately, my wife was able to understand everything I said despite background interference.
Contact is the case. Bluetooth 5.0 powers the display and gives up to 60 feet of wireless range. Google Fast Pair speeds up the pairing process for Android users. Pairing with Apple and Microsoft devices is also easy.
B&W has also added multipoint technology for pairing two devices simultaneously, a feature that business users will appreciate as it allows them to seamlessly switch from their phone to their laptop (or vice versa).
Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 review: Verdict
At $399, these headphones don’t come cheap, but beauty and grandeur never find them. B&W didn’t sacrifice craftsmanship or components when downsizing the PX7 S2. The sound is as authentic as ever, thanks to newly designed 40mm drivers, and ANC isn’t too far behind class leaders like the Bose 700 and Sony WH-1000XM5. The features aren’t as plentiful as what you might find on other luxury models, but B&W doesn’t limit you to important features like aptX Adaptive/HD, multipoint Bluetooth, and fast charging.
The PX7 S2 is not without flaws. I found the clamp force to be tighter than it should be, although it loosened up a bit after two weeks of use. Some may not like the lack of additional app features either.
If those two complaints were the only legitimate ones, B&W wouldn’t have much to fix when working on its successor. Until then, the PX7 S2 is one of the best wireless headphones money can buy.