Bowers & Wilkins 700 S3 speakers offer flagship Diamond technology at more affordable prices

Bowers & Wilkins 700 S3
(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

Bowers & Wilkins has taken the wraps off its latest 700 speaker series, which consists of eight models in total: three floorstanders, three standmounts and two centre channel speakers.

This third generation of the 700 range has, according to the British brand, been reworked throughout since the last update in 2017, integrating more technology than ever before from the flagship 800 Series Diamond range in a bid to deliver higher performances at lower prices.

The entire 700 S3 series has been redesigned with a slimmer cabinet and a subtle curve to the front baffle in an effort to reduce diffraction. This should mean you hear less of the speaker cabinet's effect at play and more of the music itself. This is further aided by the drive units being mounted in external 'pods' – a technical and visual nod from the 800 Series Diamond.

Bowers & Wilkins 700 S3

Bowers & Wilkins 705 S3 tweeter-on-top arrangement. (Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

B&W's iconic Solid Body Tweeter-on-Top arrangement with a carbon dome tweeter is now available in half of the 700 S3 models: the 702 S3 and 703 S3 floorstanders, the 705 S3 standmount and the HTM71 S3 centre channel. Milled from a single, solid block of aluminium, this distinct tweeter-on-top design has been revised for the 700 S3 series. Bowers has lengthened the enclosure to further reduce distortion and deliver an even cleaner performance, while also isolating it from the loudspeaker cabinet more effectively.

The rest of the range, which sees tweeters traditionally mounted inside the cabinet, hasn't been neglected; they also enjoy an elongated tube-loading system that similarly aims to minimise distortion.

Bowers & Wilkins 706 S3

Bowers & Wilkins 706 S3 standmount speakers in new Mocha finish. (Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

The three-way models (the three floorstanders plus the HTM71 S3 centre) incorporate B&W's innovative Biomimetic Suspension, which was introduced in the latest 800 Series Diamond range last year. Replacing the fabric spider suspension found in most conventional speakers, this system aims to improve the midrange cone performance by reducing air pressure and unwanted noise as the cone moves. The models with mid/bass Continuum drive units also benefit from an update, specifically new motor systems and improved chassis.

The latest generation of B&W's Aerofoil Profile bass cone technology makes an appearance too, and all models feature an updated bass reflex port (Flowport) with a larger diameter to produce a bigger, more expansive sound. The top 702 S3 floorstander now has a downward-firing port for the first time (similar to the 800 Diamond), promising an even more powerful low-end response.

You also get upgraded floor spikes across the floorstanding models, while the optional FS-700 S3 stands (£800 / $800 / €900 / AU$1399) for the standmount and centre speakers have also been aesthetically redesigned to match the new slimmer and curved cabinet profiles.

Curiously, there's no new subwoofer in this new range. B&W says that its existing DB4S subwoofer (£1399 / $1899 / AU$2799) is the best sonic and aesthetic match for the 700 S3 series for those wanting to create a 5.1 surround sound home theatre system.

Bowers & Wilkins 700 S3

B&W's new 702 S3 floorstanders and HTM71 S3 centre channel with DB4S subwoofer. (Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

The full 700 S3 range breakdown and pricing is as follows:

702 S3 floorstander (with tweeter on top) - £5500 / $7000 / €6500 / AU$10,500

703 S3 floorstander (with tweeter on top) - £4200 / $6000 / €5000 / AU$8000

704 S3 floorstander - £3000 / $4000 / €3500 / AU$5500 

705 S3 standmount (with tweeter on top) - £2600 / $3400 / €3000  / AU$4499 

706 S3 standmount - £1650 / $2200 / €2000  / AU$2999

707 S3 standmount - £1300 / $1800 / €1500 / AU$2499 

HTM71 S3 centre channel (with tweeter on top) - £1700 / $2500 / €2000 / AU$2999

HTM72 S3 centre channel - £1000 / $1500 / €1200 / AU$1599 

The third-generation 700 series is available now in a new Mocha wood finish alongside the usual Satin White and Gloss Black options. A fourth Rosenut finish is exclusively available in Asian and Pacific territories.

So, how will the 700 S3 speakers perform? Will the new elegant profile and flagship-inspired acoustic technologies deliver the right balance of sound quality for the money? We can't wait to find out in due course.


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Kashfia Kabir
Hi-Fi and Audio Editor

Kashfia is the Hi-Fi and Audio Editor of What Hi-Fi? and first joined the brand over 10 years ago. During her time in the consumer tech industry, she has reviewed hundreds of products (including speakers, amplifiers and headphones), been to countless trade shows across the world and fallen in love with hi-fi kit much bigger than her. In her spare time, Kash can be found tending to an ever-growing houseplant collection and shooing her cat Jolene away from spinning records.

  • Freddy
    What Hi-Fi? said:
    The third generation of B&W's 700 range is redesigned and upd with key technologies trickled down from the flagship 800 Series Diamond.

    Bowers & Wilkins 700 S3 speakers offer flagship Diamond technology at more affordable prices : Read more
    Just a tad expensive!
  • nads
    Crash city. Not really readable on an iPad. Keeps reloading and saying there is an error on the page.
  • Sliced Bread
    nads said:
    Crash city. Not really readable on an iPad. Keeps reloading and saying there is an error on the page.
    Are you using iOS 6 on your iPad? I’ve had no end of trouble with that release.