Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2e headphones aim to end Sony's dynasty once and for all

Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2e
(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

Well, Bowers & Wilkins' latest wireless noise-cancelling headphones certainly appear to have at least one thing over the class-leading Sony WH-1000XM5: stylishness. But a sleek exterior similar to that of their predecessors (albeit now available in a rather fetching 'Forest Green') isn't the only area in which the all-new B&W Px7 S2e headphones promise to stand out.

Bowers claims that its latest headphones boast "significant advances in overall sound quality" compared to the outgoing Px7 S2, a key contributor to that progression being "extensively upgraded DSP". Improved processing has supposedly allowed the British brand to retune the acoustic platform, which is once again built around custom, slightly angled 40mm drivers.

We are very fond of the five-star Px7 S2's sophisticated, neutral and detailed sound but found them lacking in spaciousness and energy compared to the Sony XM5. Will the Px7 S2e have what it takes to steal the crown, end the long-reigning dynasty of the Sony WH-1000XM range and beat competition from the likes of the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones? Only time will tell.

Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2e

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

So what else can we tell you now? Well, aside from very much looking the part in their blue, green, grey or black finishes, the new B&W headphones impress from a features point of view too. There's support for one of the higher-quality Bluetooth codecs around, Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive, plus both USB-C and 3.5mm cable connections. Battery life is a commendable 30 hours, though arguably even more impressive is their ability to offer seven hours of playback from a mere 15-minute charge.

The active noise cancellation system sees six microphones working together to cancel unwanted noise for music listening and voice calling – two measure the output of each driver, two react to the unwanted ambient noise detected, and two have the job of delivering voice clarity for calls.

Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2e

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

Completing the user experience is the Bowers & Wilkins Music App, which offers owners the opportunity to adjust the Px7 S2e's EQ, activate the noise-cancelling transparency mode to let in more or less of the outside world, and offer direct access to music streaming services – Deezer, Qobuz, Tidal and TuneIn, with more to be "added soon".

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2e are available now for a price that is similar to that of their predecessors and once again puts them in the firing line of Sony, Sennheiser and Bose – £379 / $399 / AU$599. Good luck to them; we can't wait to hear what they can do.


The best wireless headphones for every budget

Hands-on: Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones review

Philips Fidelio L4 headphones arrive in time for Black Friday

Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.