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Bowers & Wilkins PX7 evaluate: Bose-beating noise-cancelling headphones

The PX7 are the most recent flagship noise-cancelling headphones from upmarket British producer Bowers & Wilkins, which excel on sound whilst giving Bose an actual run for its cash.

B&W have lengthy made very good headphones. Its first noise-cancelling headphones seemed and sounded nice, however weren’t comfy. The £350 PX7’s redesigned earcups repair that downside whilst providing Bose-rivalling noise cancelling and delightful sound.

Distinctive design

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 review

The curved arm and metal oval with Bowers & Wilkins brand stand out in a crowd. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

B&W’s headphone design sticks out in comparison to maximum others with the corporate’s unique mixture of single-arm earcup mounts, cloth covers and big brushed-metal trims.

The PX7 are massive, over-ear headphones however they arrange their 310g weight and bulk effectively, now not feeling too heavy or bulky at the head. The earcups are giant, with plush cushions that sit down firmly however very easily at the facet of your head. The scarf is covered with the similar comfortable leatherette because the earcups and sits very easily in your dome and doesn’t slip round in your hair.

The scarf is lengthy and protrudes with the palms wider than the ear cups, making the headphones glance giant in your head. Wearing them is due to this fact a little of a commentary in comparison with one thing extra refined such because the Bose QC35 II.

The earcups rotate to flat for garage, however now not right into a extra compact alignment with the cups in combination, which makes them relatively massive to position right into a bag.

Specifications

  • Weight: 310g

  • Drivers: 43.6mm

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C charging and audio, 3.5mm headphones socket

  • Bluetooth formats: SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive

  • Battery lifestyles: 30 hours

Controls and connectivity

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 review

The playback controls, USB-C and headphones ports are at the proper earcup leaving simply the noise-cancelling button at the left. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The left earcup has a multi-function button that controls noise cancelling. Press it to cycle between automated, low, excessive and noise cancelling off. Press and grasp it to turn on a very good, customisable ambient mode for listening out for bulletins.

The proper earcup has a USB-C charging port, a 3.5mm analogue socket, three buttons for controlling playback, observe skip and quantity, plus a sliding transfer for turning the headphones on or off and activating pairing.

The buttons are very good, with a transparent metallic-sounding click on while you’ve effectively activated them. The earcups even have presence sensors. Lift one or take off the headphones and the tune pauses and resumes after they’re changed.

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 review

The Bowers & Wilkins app for Android and iOS handles settings, updates and lets you arrange which two units are hooked up at any one time. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The PX7s are one of the maximum hooked up and future-proofed headphones cash should purchase – then again you wish to have to attach your tool, those headphones will care for it.

For those who desire the cabled method, the usual 3.5mm audio socket is there, even if it’s important to have the headphones powered on for it to paintings. The USB-C socket will also be used for audio with any laptop, pill or smartphone that helps USB-C audio output.

Bluetooth 5.0 caters for people that wish to move wi-fi. They enhance the usual SBC and AAC audio formats, plus Qualcomm’s newest aptX Adaptive Audio formats, which is designed to unravel lipsync and interference problems, whilst offering considerably upper high quality audio. They are one of the first headphones to enhance the brand new usual, which could also be backwards suitable with the older aptX and aptX HD to be had on nearly each and every fashionable Android smartphone and Windows laptop. Apple’s more than a few units are restricted to AAC as their best possible high quality usual.

The PX7s can connect with two Bluetooth units without delay, which is to hand for observing video in your laptop or pill whilst nonetheless being hooked up for your telephone for calls. Connectivity to an iPhone 11 Pro, a OnePlus 7 Pro 5G or a Microsoft Surface Pro 6 was once rock forged whilst no lipsync problems have been visual on any video apps on an iPhone or Android tool.

Active noise cancelling

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 review

Stick them on, flip up noise cancelling to excessive and block out the sector whilst listening your tune or observing a film. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Bose has lengthy been king of lively noise-cancelling generation, which makes use of microphones to discover undesirable sound and cancels it out with the inverse sound waves projected from the headphone’s audio system.

The PX7 rival Bose in with the ability to all however do away with the roar of the street or engine, do an excellent process of decreasing voice and different distractions not unusual within the place of work or shuttle, and accomplish that with out affecting the the sound high quality.

They even have a low and automated mode. The low is most effective appropriate for listening in a quiet house, or if you wish to have some consciousness of your atmosphere. I finished up leaving them on most.

One house of weak point is in coping with wind noise, which comes during the headphones loudly. Turning off the noise cancelling helped, however Bose’s Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are unrivalled right here.

Sound

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 review

The massive, plush ear cups are comfy for prolonged listening periods, which given how excellent they sound is one thing chances are you’ll in truth wish to do. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Simply put, the PX7 sound implausible; they’re such a multi-talented headphones that experience you finding new components in well-worn tracks.

Feed them some high-energy electronica and also you’re handled to punchy, effectively managed bass, full of life mids and glowing highs. They sound suitably uncooked for a full-blooded rendition of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, when you’ll nearly have the ability to listen palms on strings throughout Hotel California from the Eagles’ remastered Hell Freezes Over. They’re simply as at house enjoying one thing like Jupiter from Holst’s the Planets suite or Ella Fitzgerald’s vintage Summertime too.

My most effective grievance is that to get the most efficient out of them it’s important to give them just a little little bit of quantity, however anything else above one-third in your telephone’s quantity scale and also you’re rocking.

Call high quality was once excellent, with the opposite finish of the road obviously in a position to listen to me even with background noise, which did leak in additional than Bose or Sennheiser opponents however was once managable.

Battery lifestyles

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 review

With 30 hours of battery lifestyles with the entirety going, the headphones final lengthy sufficient for a round-the-world flights after which some. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The PX7s final for approximately 30 hours of wi-fi playback with noise cancelling lively, which is lengthy sufficient for approximately three weeks of commuting or greater than sufficient for even the longest of flights. A 15-minute fee additionally supplies as much as round five hours of playback, will have to they want topping up, with a complete fee taking round three hours.

The battery is rated for at least 500 complete fee cycles, and then capability is perhaps decreased to 80%, however will have to nonetheless paintings high quality. The battery will also be changed B&W beneath provider. The earpads are person replaceable, costing £22 for a couple, whilst the headphones are typically repairable slightly than disposable.

The PX7s don’t include any recycled subject material, however B&W does settle for previous gadgets for recycling.

Observations

  • There is an occasional audible creak from the headphones’ body when dressed in them

  • USB-C audio works with Android smartphones, however now not by the use of a USB-C to Lightning cable with an iPhone

Price

The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 are to be had in darkish gray or silver costing £349.99.

For comparability, the RRP for the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is £349.95, QuietComfort 35 II is £300 (lately £280), Sony’s WH-1000XM3 price £329, Beats Studio 3 Wireless price £300, with less expensive fashions akin to Lindy’s BNX-60 beginning round £90.

Verdict

The new Bowers & Wilkins PX7 are an incredible set of huge, dear headphones which might be price each and every penny.

Very few headphones arrange to mix in point of fact efficient noise cancellation with beautiful sound, however that’s what now we have right here. The PX7 are one of the best-sounding headphones I’ve had the excitement to hear in a very long time.

They’re additionally comfy, keep put in your head, final a very long time between fees and are future-proofed due to enhance for the very newest Bluetooth requirements, formats and each USB-C audio and a conventional 3.5mm analogue headphones cable. However you wish to have to attach the PX7 for your units they have got you coated.

They aren’t rather absolute best; most effective folding flat now not in combination and being relatively heavy and big. They additionally fight with wind noise and when the battery runs flat they gained’t paintings in any respect, now not even by the use of cable.

But for those who’re on the lookout for a suite of top-end wi-fi noise-cancelling headphones that still sound like they’re well worth the top rate you pay for them, the B&W PX7 will have to be on the best of your record.

Pros: implausible sound, efficient noise cancelling, lengthy battery lifestyles, USB-C charging and audio, 3.5mm headphones, Bluetooth 5.0, atpX Adaptive, comfy, strong

Cons: giant, dear, can’t be used by the use of cable with out energy, most effective fold flat, fight with wind noise

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 review

The arm holds the earcup flippantly in your head with a number of adjustment to get a comfy are compatible. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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