Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2: Noise-canceling cans get high marks for style, sound, and luxury

Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2

MSRP $400.00

“A classy set of noise-canceling cans for the discerning audiophile.”


  • Gorgeous design
  • Very comfortable
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Strong app support


  • Limited control options
  • Calls still suffer in noisy conditions

Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) released its flagship noise-canceling headphones, the $400 PX7, in 2019. At the moment, the PX7 were competing with the cheaper Sony WH-1000XM3, and the Sennheiser Momentum 3 wireless headphones. But since then, Sony has released each the $350 WH-1000XM4 and the $400 WH-1000XM5, and we all know that Sennheiser’s Momentum 4 is coming very soon.

Clearly, B&W needed to refresh its best offering, which is why we now have the Px7 S2. Sporting a fresh tackle a well-known design, the brand new $400 cans exude the style and class we’ve come to expect from B&W. But has the renowned British audio brand done enough to maintain up with its rivals? Let’s check them out.

What has modified?

Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2.Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

B&W has made quite a lot of enhancements to the Px7 S2, some visible, some not:

  • Recent design with a wider headband, and higher ear cushion padding
  • Single USB-C port for charging, plus analog and digital audio
  • Recent driver design and the addition of EQ settings
  • Improved ANC/transparency/calling performance
  • Higher quick-charge time
  • Google Fast Pair
  • Works with B&W’s Music app — the identical app that runs B&W’s wireless speakers and soundbars


Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 earcup close-up.Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

The Px7 S2 are a transparent evolution of the style and design that B&W has been using on its wireless headphones since its first P5 model in 2015. Obviously, this can be a matter of private taste, but I believe they give the impression of being improbable.

The earcups are mounted using a really slender set of single-sided pivots that supply a sleeker look than the exotic-but-beefy carbon fiber-based pivots on the PX7. The joints that connect them to the integrated headband sliders now freely rotate 180 degrees, supplying you with the choice of resting the earcups in your collarbones either face-up or face-down — a rarity within the headphone world. The headscarf has been widened, and now has more cushioning.

The S2 feel much lighter and so they keep your ears cooler than their predecessors.

The earcups have a terraced shape that appears more like the corporate’s PX5 on-ear headphones. A chrome accent ring now rims the sting of the ear cushions, giving the S2 a bit extra touch of elegance. Soft fabrics have been replaced with tougher weaves, giving the S2 a generally sleeker appearance, despite the indisputable fact that the earcups are actually ever so barely thicker. Like all of the present crop of premium headphones, the S2 fold flat, but they don’t fold up.

The controls remain largely unchanged. A single “convenience” button on the left earcup and a multifunction button flanked by two volume buttons on the suitable. As we’ve seen recently on the Master & Dynamic MW75, B&W is now using the P7 S2’s USB-C port for all physical connections, including charging and each analog and digital audio.

To assist with that, two cables are included: a USB-C to USB-C for charging and digital audio and a USB-C to three.5mm for analog devices. These are stored in a flip-open compartment within the carry case, which now sports a more conventional shape as in comparison with the PX7’s turtle shell design.

Comfort, controls, and connections

Front view of man wearing Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2.Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

B&W has managed to shave one-tenth of an oz. off the burden of the PX7 for the S2. But that tiny number fails to capture the massive increase in comfort that’s been achieved.

That’s no small feat. The PX7 were very comfortable, and I actually enjoy the best way they conform to my head. However the S2 feel much lighter, which, given the negligible difference in actual weight, should be the results of the broader headband, higher cushioning, and a greater distribution of clamping force. Surprisingly, in addition they feel cooler on my ears.

The broader and deeper soundstage brings a latest level of immersion to the experience.

I still find the Sony WH-1000XM5 more comfortable for longer periods, but there’s little question that B&W has created a really comfortable set of cans.

The Px7 S2’s controls are each higher, and a bit worse. On the brilliant side, the left-earcup convenience button can now provide you with access to your voice assistant. But on the downside, in case you assign that role to the button, there’s no technique to control ANC/transparency from the headphones.

Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 earcup controls close-up.Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

The appropriate earcup controls are still well thought out, with a central multifunction button for play/pause, call answer/end/reject, and track skip forward/back. But that button is now harder to locate quickly along with your thumb because, unlike the PX7, it isn’t raised in comparison with the quantity buttons. It’s textured, while the quantity buttons are smooth, but I discovered that simply doesn’t provide enough tactile feedback. The ability button, nevertheless, is superb. Sliding it up or down powers the headphones on/off immediately, while holding it within the upward position triggers pairing mode.

Still, I actually have to present B&W credit for its wear sensors. Many firms use a single sensor, in only one earcup, which implies it’s essential remove the headphones entirely or lift the relevant earcup to trigger the auto-pause mechanism. On the Px7 S2, each earcups can trigger it, and it really works thoroughly. There’s even a sensitivity adjustment within the B&W Music app in case the sensors have trouble along with your head/ear shape.

The Bluetooth 5.0 connection is strong and reliable, and in case you’re on an Android device, you get the added convenience of Google Fast Pair, which is able to immediately recognize the Px7 S2 once you trigger pairing mode. As with just about all wireless headphones, multipoint is obtainable for 2 simultaneous connections. The B&W Music app has a convenient toggle that permits you to switch between the 2 current devices, or you possibly can simply pause the tunes on one and play them from the opposite.

Sound quality

Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 interior of earcups.Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

The Px7 S2 continues Bowers & Wilkins’ repute for great-sounding headphones with a sound signature that ought to work beautifully for a wide selection of genres. Bass is resonant and full, but never overbearing, the midtones are articulate and detailed, and the highs are pleasingly clear.

But it surely’s a noticeably different tuning than the PX7, which has a very high-energy sound. The S2, by comparison, are more restrained — a bit less shouty, a bit more suggestive. I just like the latest balance, especially because it appears to be accompanied by a wider and deeper soundstage, which brings a latest level of immersion to the experience.

With the added bass and treble tone controls, it’s now possible to dial in your preferences, but these won’t be radical changes — B&W has kept their range relatively small, perhaps reasoning that its signature tuning really shouldn’t be tweaked an excessive amount of.

How do the S2 compare to Sony’s XM5? At this level of performance, it might be tricky to declare an outright winner when it comes to sound quality when comparing headphones — it starts to get really subjective —  so I won’t. As a substitute, let me suggest that in case you’re a fan of the best way the PX7 sound and also you’re pondering of an update, it’s possible you’ll actually prefer the XM5 to the Px7 S2. The XM5 possess more of the PX7’s high-energy qualities, while offering greater control when it comes to EQ.

But on the flip side, in case you enjoy a smoother, less intense performance, I believe you’ll really benefit from the S2.

There aren’t any changes from the PX7 when it comes to connections — the S2 works with all aptX codecs including the 24-bit/96kHz capable aptX HD, AAC, and SBC. And in case you want a really lossless digital connection out of your Android phone or PC, the USB-C input is ideal, letting you avoid the necessity for a further digital-to-analog converter. At $400, the Px7 S2 are the least expensive headphones to supply this handy capability, nevertheless it’s value noting that it doesn’t work with iPhones, even with an adapter.

ANC and transparency

Side view of man wearing Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2.Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Bowers & Wilkins says it has improved each of those functions from the PX7, and I are inclined to agree. ANC definitely addresses a greater range of frequencies and has no problem with wind noise or other challenges like variable traffic sounds. Positioning the earcups is vital, nevertheless — I discovered that my eyeglasses could easily compromise the effectiveness if I wasn’t careful.

Transparency also is excellent, letting in plenty of out of doors sounds and providing a number of clarity for voices.

But, frankly, the largest improvement here is how these two features are managed. On the PX7, the convenience button cycles you thru high, low, auto, and off modes for ANC. If you happen to want transparency, it’s essential long-press that button.

For the Px7 S2, it’s radically simplified. Gone are the multiple ANC options and long-presses, replaced with a straightforward ANC > transparency > off sequence that you just move through with each button press.

It’s higher, obviously, but not perfect: there’s still no technique to jump forwards and backwards between ANC and transparency provided that that’s your preference unless you pull out your phone and fan the flames of the B&W Music app.

Call quality

Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 with earcushion removed.Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

The Px7 S2 do an outstanding job of canceling out loud background sounds in your end. Unfortunately, when this happens, your voice will suffer, wobbling lots and sometimes sounding quite compressed. This isn’t unusual for wireless headphones, but one of the best models, just like the Sony WH-1000XM5, JBL Tour One, and Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 have far less of an issue balancing these competing priorities.

In quiet places, things are a lot better, so in case you’re seeking to do Zoom or Teams calls with the S2, just attempt to avoid doing so outside, especially if it’s noisy.

You’ll be able to make a choice from ANC and transparency while on a call, which may be very helpful when you would like to hear your personal voice clearly. Strangely, although B&W claims there’s no difference in the best way ANC and transparency work when on a call or not, I noticed a giant difference. ANC works as you’d expect, but transparency mode appears to own two varieties. The primary button press makes general outside sounds audible, while a second press tweaks this to focus more on high-frequency feels like voices. Perhaps it’s a glitch with the beta software I used to be using for my review, but I liked it and I hope B&W finds a technique to keep it.

Battery life

Unchanged at 30 hours, the Px7 S2’s battery life is perfectly adequate for all however the longest of travel plans. But in case you end up pushing it to its limits, it only takes two hours to present them a full charge and a latest quick-charge feature provides you with an additional seven hours for just quarter-hour, which is superb.

Our take

Bowers & Wilkins has brought a series of worthy design and have upgrades to its PX7 noise-canceling headphones, keeping them current and highly desirable for anyone who values the corporate’s signature mix of fashion, sound, and luxury.

Is there a greater alternative?

At this price, there is simply one set of headphones that may compete with the Px7 S2, but they’re a worthy competitor indeed: Sony’s excellent $400 WH-1000XM5, which we consider to be one of the best headphones you possibly can buy, period.

They’re lighter and more comfortable than the Px7 S2, and with regards to ANC, transparency, and call quality, they’re higher performers. With clever features like quick-attention mode and auto conversation modes, the XM5 are the techno-kings of the wireless headphones space.

The gap starts to narrow considerably on things like sound quality and connections. The Px7 S2 support aptX Adaptive, which the XM5 lack, though some would argue that Sony’s LDAC codec is a more sensible choice for wireless hi-res audio. But two areas where the Bowers & Wilkins cans can confidently declare victory are style and their lossless digital audio USB-C port.

How long will they last?

With an outstanding construct quality, top-notch materials, easily replaced ear cushions, and an extended starting battery life, the Px7 S2 should give you the option to accompany you for a few years of listening. Bowers & Wilkins backs them with a two-year warranty.

Must you buy them?

Yes. Though pricey, the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 are a few of one of the best wireless headphones you possibly can buy.

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