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Reviewed on May 22, 2018 , Sam Vafaei, Yannick Khong

Bowers & Wilkins PX
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches:

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
7.0
Mixed Usage
What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
7.1
Critical Listening
What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
7.5
Commute/Travel
What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
6.9
Sports/Fitness
What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
7.4
Office
What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
5.7
TV
Score components:
5.3
Gaming
Score components:
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Bowers and Wilkins PX are decent mixed-usage, wireless headphones, with great isolation for commuting, and a sturdy premium design. They are easily one of the best-built over-ears we've tested, and they have a good enough sound quality for most listeners. Unfortunately, their best noise isolation profile negatively affects their sound quality, they're slightly bulky and heavy, and they're uncomfortably tight on the head at first. They won't be the ideal over-ears for all listeners, but they're a suitable premium option for commute and travel.

Pros
  • Great build quality.
  • Easy to use controls.
  • Great isolation and low leakage.
Cons
  • A bit too tight on some heads.
  • Slightly bulky and cumbersome design.
  • Bass delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.

Test Results
Design 7.4
Sound 6.9
Isolation 8.4
Microphone 5.7
Active Features 7.6
Connectivity 5.8

Check Price

7.4

Design

Score components:
Bowers & Wilkins PX Design Picture

The B&W PX are exceptionally well-built headphones, but they're a little too tight on the head. They look and feel premium with a sturdy build quality that feels durable and very high-end. They have an intuitive control scheme that's decently responsive, and magnetic ear cup pads that can be easily removed and replaced. Unfortunately, they're a little heavy and cumbersome and do not fold, so they won't be the easiest headphones to carry around on your person. They're also very tight out-of-the-box, which makes them somewhat uncomfortable, especially for listeners with larger heads. The ear cup pads somewhat mitigate the clamping force issue once on your head, however, their tight fit might be a deal breaker for some, especially when compared to other wireless over-ears like the Bose QuietComfort 35 II or the Beoplay H9.

Style
Bowers & Wilkins PX Design Picture 2

The PX have the same design language as the rest of the B&W line-up but with an updated frame design that looks sturdier and more luxurious. They have dense and slightly rounded ear cups with decently thick pads. The headband is also generously padded and wider than that of the P7. They come in two color schemes; a dark gray matte finish that looks elegant and high-end and a slightly flashier gold that will still work for some and also looks very premium. However, the headband is not as low profile as some of the other wireless headsets like the H9 or the Crossfade 2 Wireless, so they do stick out quite a bit once on your head. They won't be the most trendy looking headset, but they look and feel like classy travel headphones, which a lot of listeners may prefer.

7.0 Comfort
What it is: Adjustability and degrees of freedom, pressure, stiffness and weight.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used for long durations.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Bowers & Wilkins PX Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.8 lbs
Clamping Force
What it is: The force that the headphones exert on your head, once you have them on. This is purely a measurement of the force applied, which does not take into account the earpad's surface area and the resulting pressure you will feel, on or around your ears.
When it matters: The tighter the headphones, the more force they put on your head. This can get uncomfortable or cause pain and soreness during long listening sessions.
:
1.5 lbs

The B&W PX are very tight on the head but decently well padded. They have large oval ear cups that are fairly deep and spacious enough to be comfortable around most ears. The headband and ear cups are also well padded with genuine leather that feels nice on the skin. Unfortunately, the PX are slightly heavy and uncomfortably tight out-of-the-box. The ear cup pads are thick enough to make the clamping force less noticeable after wearing them for a while, but they will still be slightly too tight on some heads even with the headband fully extended. They won't be as comfortable as the Bose QC35 II or the Beoplay H9 for long listening sessions, and this might be a deal breaker for some.

7.3 Controls
What it is: The control scheme of the headphones, the number of functions provided, button layout and ergonomics as well as the quality of tactile feedback.
When it matters: If you want to control volume, pause your music or make phone calls without directly interacting with your audio device.
Bowers & Wilkins PX Controls Picture
Ease of use : Good
Feedback : Above-average
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
What it is: Being able to mix audio channels directly on the headphones.
When it matters: This is most useful when using a separate chat software so that you can mix in-game audio and chat audio depending on your needs.
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : Yes
Talk-Through : No
Additional Buttons : N/A

The Bowers & Wilkins PX, like the rest of the wireless B&W line, have a simple and efficient control scheme. They have a straightforward 3 button set up for volume control, call/music and track skipping. They also have a similar power switch to the P5 wireless that doubles as the Bluetooth pairing button if you press and hold. They have a dedicated noise canceling button to enable and disable the noise cancellation feature, but unfortunately, there is no aware/talk through mode. Overall, it's an easy to use control scheme with decent feedback.

6.2 Breathability
What it is: How hot the headphones get when you wear them for an extended period of time.
When it matters: If you often have long listening sessions or use your headphones while doing physical activities like running or working out.
Score components:
Bowers & Wilkins PX Breathability After Picture
Avg.Temp.Difference : 6.5 C

These headphones get fairly hot once on your ears. They have decently roomy earcups but also have leather pads and a tight fit that seals your ears within the cups and makes them sweat a bit more than average during long listening sessions. They won't be the best headset to workout with or for running in terms of breathability but they should be okay for regular casual listening.

6.1 Portability
What it is: The volume of space occupied by the headphones when folded into their most compact format.
When it matters: If you're often on the move and need to carry your headphones in a bag, purse , or pocket.
Score components:
Bowers & Wilkins PX Portability Picture
L : 7.4 "
W : 5.5 "
H : 2.3 "
Volume : 94 Cu. Inches
Stand required : N/A

The B&W PX, like relatively large over-ears, do not fold into a more compact format. The ear cups lay flat which may come in handy in some situations, but they're still a bit too cumbersome to comfortably carry around on your person without a bag.

6.5 Case
What it is: The provided carrying options to protect your headphones when transporting them.
When it matters: To prevent damaging your headphones, if you often carry them in your bag or pocket.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Bowers & Wilkins PX Case Picture
Type : Pouch
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

These headphones come with a well-made pouch that will protect them from scratches and scuffs when in your bag but won't shield the headset from impacts or water damage. Also, considering the price of these headphones, a simple pouch instead of a hard or even a soft case feels a bit cheap.

9.0 Build Quality
What it is: Durability, material quality, cheap/expensive feel.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used by multiple users (classes/studios), by children, in tough conditions, on a daily basis, or for exercise.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Bowers & Wilkins PX Build Quality Picture

The build quality of the B&W PX is one of the best we've tested. They feel very durable, and they're made with a good combination of high-end plastic and a sturdy aluminum alloy frame that can easily withstand a couple of accidental drops and impacts. The ear cups are dense and durable, and unlike some of the other premium wireless headsets like Sony WH-1000XM2, they do not have any folding joints which means they are less likely to break under physical stress when carried in your bag. The ear cup pads magnetically attach to the cups so you can quickly swap them out for new ones if ever the original set gets worn out. The headband isn't as malleable as that of the P7, but unless there is a major defect that we have yet to take into account, they are easily one the best built wireless over-ears that we've tested. Unfortunately, all that metal does make them a bit heavy.

7.0 Stability
What it is: How the headphones are designed to prevent them from slipping off your ears or falling off your head.
When it matters: If you plan on using the headphones while doing sports or other physical activities that requires a lot of movement.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Bowers & Wilkins PX Stability Picture

The B&W PX are wireless and quite tight on the head, so they're fairly stable for most activities. They won't be the best headphones to take to the gym, and they're fairly bulky, so they will move a bit when tilting your head. They should be stable enough for most casual uses and even jogging but the ear cups are fairly heavy and will sway a bit when you run which is not ideal. On the upside, the lack of a cable means they won't get yanked of your head because the audio cable got hooked on something.

Cable
Bowers & Wilkins PX Cable Picture
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS

These headphones come with a 1/8'TRS audio cable and micro-USB charging cable.

Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
6.9

Sound

What it is: How accurately the audio is reproduced. The tests are performed with the headphones' most commonly used features enabled (noise-cancelling, wireless, etc.)
Bowers & Wilkins PX Frequency Response

The Bowers and Wilkins PX is a decent sounding pair of closed-back over-ear headphones. They have a deep, extended, and powerful bass, an even and decently balanced mid-range, and a great imaging performance. However, their bass is prone to significant inconsistencies especially if the user wears glasses, their mid-range sounds quite thick and cluttered especially on vocals, and their treble lacks a bit of brightness and detail. Additionally, like most other closed-back headphones, they don't have a speaker-like soundstage.

Note: The PX was measured with the ANC mode set to Office, since City and Flight settings have a small negative effect on the sound quality.

7.9 Bass
What it is: Frequency Response from 20Hz-250Hz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on bass frequencies, such as those of kick drums and bass guitar.
Score components:
Bowers & Wilkins PX Bass
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in bass frequency response (20Hz-250Hz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) bass performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.13 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
What it is: The lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: Shows how extended the bass is.
Good value: <40Hz
Noticeable difference: 5Hz
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 20Hz-60Hz.
When it matters: Kick drums and low frequency effects get their 'thump' from this range. Mostly felt than heard.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.23 dB
Mid-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 60Hz-120Hz.
When it matters: Melodic bass instruments have most of their fundamental frequencies in this range. This is where the 'body' and 'punch' of the bass sits.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.43 dB
High-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 120Hz-250Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments get their warmth and full-ness from this range. When over-emphasized, mixes tend to get muddy and boomy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
5.01 dB

The bass is very good. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is excellent and the low-bass range, responsible for the thump and rumble in music, is within 1dB of our target. Mid-bass, responsible for the body of bass guitars and punch of kick drums, is over our neutral target by more than 2dB. High-bass, responsible for warmth, is overemphasized by 5dB, making the overall bass a bit boomy and muddy sounding. Also, their bass delivery varies significantly across users, and is sensitive to the quality of fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. The response here represents the average bass response and your experience may vary.

7.3 Mid
What it is: Frequency Response from 250Hz-2KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on mid-range frequencies. This is the case for the majority of audio content.
Score components:
Bowers & Wilkins PX Mid
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in mid frequency response (250Hz-2.5KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) mid performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.6 dB
Low-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 250Hz-500Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments have their fundamentals or low harmonics in this range. Over-emphasis in this range sounds muddy and cluttered. Under-emphasis, thins out the vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
5.31 dB
Mid-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 500Hz-1KHz.
When it matters: This range is occupied mostly by upper harmonics. Over-emphasis sounds forward and boxy. Under-emphasis pushes instruments to the back of the mix.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.67 dB
High-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 1KHz-2KHz.
When it matters: Most instruments, especially vocals, get their intensity and clarity from this range. Over-emphasis sounds honky and harsh, under-emphasis sounds weak and distant.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.65 dB

The B&W PX have a decent mid-range performance. The bump in low-mid is actually the continuation of the high-bass overemphasis. This thickens the vocals and makes mixes cluttered sounding. Mid-mid ad high-mid are also a bit recessed, nudging the vocals and leads towards the back of the mix.

6.0 Treble
What it is: Frequency Response from 2KHz-20KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on high-range frequencies, such as voice, cymbals, and any other material where brightness, brilliance and airiness is desired.
Score components:
Bowers & Wilkins PX Treble
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in treble frequency response (2.5KHz-20KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) treble performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
5.04 dB
Low-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 2KHz-5KHz.
When it matters: Almost all instruments rely on this range for their presence, detail, and articulation. Over-emphasis can sound harsh and painful. Under-emphasis hurts the comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.98 dB
Mid-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under emphasis in frequency response from 5KHz-10KHz.
When it matters: This is the sibilance range. Cymbals, vocals, and lead instruments rely on this range for brightness and presence. Over-emphasis sounds piercing and painful, under-emphasis sounds dull and lispy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-3.14 dB
High-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 10KHz-20KHz.
When it matters: This range gives brilliance and airiness to the sound. Over-emphasis sounds hissy, under-emphasis sounds closed-up and lifeless.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-6.82 dB

The treble performance of the Bowers & Wilkins PX is below-average. The response is rather uneven, and consistently under our neutral target. The dips in low-treble and mid-treble, especially, negatively affect the level of detail and brightness in vocals, lead instruments, and cymbals.

Raw Frequency Response
What it is: The average uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. For in-ears and earbuds, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the dummy head (HMS). For over/on-ear headphones, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the HMS (Head Measurement System) for the mid and treble ranges, and 5 measurements/re-seats on 5 human subjects for the bass range.
When it matters: This is for those who want to see the raw and uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. Some of the more advanced users, are able to read and evaluate headphone frequency response in its raw form and without compensation. This will be especially useful to them if they have their own headphone compensation/target curve, which may differ from the compensation curve/target response used by RTINGS.com.
Score components:
5.4 Frequency Response Consistency
What it is: The amount of deviation of each frequency response pass, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Score components:
Bowers & Wilkins PX Consistency L Bowers & Wilkins PX Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
What it is: The average amount of deviation in frequency response of 5 re-seats, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.28 dB

The B&W PX have a sub-par frequency response consistency. In the bass range, the maximum amount of deviation at 20Hz is more than 18dB. However, most of the deviation was measured on the human subjects who wears glasses. On the upside, the treble delivery is much more consistent, and doesn't change significantly across different positions and re-seats. For noise-cancelling headphones with a more consistent response, check out the Bose QuietComfort 35 II and the Sony WH-1000XM2.

7.8 Imaging
What it is: Imaging qualities are inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'reproduce' them rather than 'create' them. They determine how accurately the objects are positioned in the stereo image, and how transparent the imaging is.
When it matters: When accurate positioning of the objects in the stereo image, and clear and transparent imaging is desired.
Bowers & Wilkins PX Group Delay Bowers & Wilkins PX Phase Response
Weighted Group Delay
What it is: The average amount of group delay calculated based on a perceptual weighting filter. Group delay indicates how long it takes for each frequency to reach their maximum amplitude. This is a monaural quality and can be perceived even with one ear.
When it matters: Headphones with lower group delay have more transparent imaging and a tighter bass. Headphones with higher group delay in the bass range tend to have a wimpy and loose bass, and headphones with higher group delay in the treble range tend to have a less transparent imaging.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.24
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
What it is: The Left/Right balance of our test unit, that is, the amount of amplitude difference between the left and right drivers. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When a properly balanced stereo image and low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates a noticeable difference in level between the left and right drivers.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.34
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the frequency response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be 'holes' in the stereo image at certain frequencies.
Good value: <2
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
2.46
Weighted Phase Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the phase response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates there may be inaccuracies in the stereo image reproduction at certain frequencies.
Good value: <16
Noticeable difference: 3
:
19.12

The imaging is very good. Weighted group delay is at 0.24, which is very good. The GD graph also shows that the entire group delay response is below the audibility threshold. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched in frequency and amplitude response, but showed some mismatch in the treble range. This could make the stereo image a bit unnatural, but won't negatively affect the placement of objects (voices, instruments, video games effects) in the stereo field.

6.2 Soundstage
What it is: Soundstage qualities are not inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'create' them rather than 'reproduce' them. They determine whether the sound is perceived to be coming from inside or in front of the head, how open and spacious the soundstage is, how much the headphones acoustically interact with the environment, and how strong the phantom center is.
When it matters: When an accurately produced, large and spacious soundstage, similar to that of a stereo loudspeaker setup is desired.
Bowers & Wilkins PX PRTF
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
What it is: The standard deviation of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: An accurate pinna activation is mainly responsible for how natural and speaker-like the soundstage is perceived to be. The less error in the shape of the PRTF, the more natrual and speaker-like the perception of the soundstage will be. High amounts of error may indicate a soundstage that is unnatural or odd.
Good value: <2.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
4.18 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
What it is: The average amplitude of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to that of a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is responsible for the perceived size of the soundstage. The higher the value, the larger the perceived size of the soundstage. However, values above the reference (5.0dB) could result in a soundstage that is perceived as unnatural or odd.
Good value: >3.7
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
5.09 dB
PRTF Distance
What it is: The depth of the "10KHz notch" of the headphone's PRTF, which is caused by phase cancellations at the concha. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is mainly responsible for the perceived distance and elevation of the soundstage. A small distance value may result in a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the head. Larger values may help pull the soundstage out from inside of the head and bring it to the front.
Good value: >13
Noticeable difference: 1
:
18.49 dB
Openness
What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test differentiates between acoustically and electronically produced crosstalk and only takes the acoustically generated crosstalk into account. This value is the inverse of the Noise Isolation test score, and could be indirectly related the acoustic impedance of the headphones.
When it matters: When a headphone with a sense of an open, and spacious soundstage is desired. A value of 10 indicates a fully open headphone, and a value of 0 indicates a fully closed headphone.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
1.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
What it is: How loud the headphones are, and how much they excite their environment acoustically. If the headphones are loud and open enough, the sound leaking from the headphones will be affected by the environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: Headphones with higher excitation values, similar to openness, tend to have soundstages that are perceived as more open and spacious.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
2.2
Correlated Crosstalk
What it is: How strong and solid the phantom center is. This is mostly a stereo quality and its effects on mono content are minimal. This test is sensitive to the phase of the crosstalk and whether it is produced acoustically or electronically.
When it matters: When a true reproduction of the stereo image is desired. A value of 0 indicates no crosstalk, or that the existing crosstalk is not correlated enough to affect the phantom center. A negative score means the crosstalk is out of phase with the original signal, resulting in a slightly wider stereo image at the expense of creating a 'hole' at the center of the stereo field. A positive score means the crosstalk is in phase and positively affecting the phantom center.
Good value: >1dB
Noticeable difference: 0.3dB
:
0.0 dB

The B&W PX have a below-average soundstage. The shape of the PRTF response isn't quite accurate but does show some amount of activation. This results in a soundstage that is perceived as relatively large but maybe a bit unnatural. Also, due to the closed-back design, their soundstage may be perceived as less open and spacious than that of open-back headphones.

7.0 Total Harmonic Distortion
What it is: The subtle, unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Score components:
Bowers & Wilkins PX Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 90dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: <0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
4.754
Weighted THD @ 100
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 100dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at loud listening levels.
Good value: <0.300
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
3.223

The harmonic distortion performance of the PX is above-average. The overall amount of harmonic distortion is within decent limits. We also noticed that at 100dB SPL the measured THD in the bass range is less than 90dB SPL, which could be due to the behavior of the driver, or the ANC system.

8.4

Isolation

Score components:

The Bowers and Wilkins PX have a great isolation performance provided you select the correct noise canceling profile. They work best using the 'flight' setting which isolates well enough for busy city commutes and long noisy flights. They will prevent a good amount of low rumbling noise, and chatter from seeping into your audio and since they create a fairly good seal around your ears they also block a fair bit of high frequencies. They also barely leak, which means you can always mask even more ambient noise by increasing the volume level of your audio without distracting those around you. This makes them a good choice for commute/travel and for the office. Unfortunately, the flight noise isolation profile negatively impacts the sound quality of the headphones so depending on the situation, you might have to sacrifice sound quality for a better isolation.

8.5 Noise Isolation
What it is: How much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on.
When it matters: If the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
Score components:
Bowers & Wilkins PX Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
What it is: The simulated noise isolation of the headphones, demonstrating how much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording. For headphones with ANC (active noise cancellation), the playback simulates the isolation with ANC enabled.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
:
Overall Attenuation
What it is: The overall amount of environmental noise reduction in dB.
When it matters: In loud envinronments like planes, trains, offices, etc.
Good value: <-20dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-27.11 dB
Bass
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the bass range (20Hz-250Hz).
When it matters: When the outside noise is bass-heavy, like in airplanes.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-21.68 dB
Mid
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the mid-range (250Hz-2.5KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is mid-heavy, like in an office.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-23.31 dB
Treble
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the treble range (2.5KHz-20KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is treble-heavy. Although uncommon, areas with sharp sounds fall under this category.
Good value: <-30dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-36.3 dB
Self-Noise
What it is: The amount of noise created by the active electronics of the headphones (if applicable), measured from 300Hz-20KHz. Applies mostly to wireless and noise-cancelling headphones.
When it matters: If too loud, it could become distracting when listening to quiet material like podcasts and audiobooks.
Good value: <16dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
20.76 dB

The PX has a great isolation performance. With ANC (active noise canceling) enabled and set to Flight, they achieved about 22db of isolation in the bass range, which is where the rumble of airplane and bus engines sits. This is excellent, and one of the highest values we have measured so far. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, the reduce outside noise by more than 23dB, which is also excellent. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts, they achieve 36dB of isolation, which is very good.

8.1 Leakage
What it is: The amount of sound bleeding out of the headphones.
When it matters: When the listener doesn't want people around them (in office, recording studio, etc.) to hear what is being listened to.
Score components:
Bowers & Wilkins PX Leakage
Leakage Audio
What it is: The simulated sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
What it is: The amount of sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
Good value: <35dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
33.51 dB

The leakage performance of the PX is very good. The significant portion of the leakage is spread between 1KHz and 3KHz, which is quite a narrow range. This means that the leakage will sound high-pitched and thin. On the upside, the overall level leakage is not very loud either. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 34dB SPL and peaks at 54dB SPL, which is just above the noise floor of most offices.

5.7

Microphone

What it is: The microphone section shows the quality of speech capture and transmission by the mic, as well as how well the microphone under test handles noisy environments.
When it matters: For your speech to be transmitted to and understood properly by the listener, the microphone needs to have a good recording quality. If the environment the microphone is being used in is noisy, a microphone with a good noise handling performance would be needed as well.
Score components:
Integrated
What it is: The microphone integrated in the ear cup or ear bud of a wireless headphone.
When it matters: For calls, gaming and voice over IP software or for any other use of the microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
In-line
What it is: The microphone inside the in-line remote of audio cables for wired and wireless headsets.
When it matters: In-line microphone are usually better than integrated mics. If you need better recording quality and noise handling for calls, gaming and voice over IP software then use the audio cable of your wired or wireless headphone if it has an inline microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Boom
What it is: A typically better microphone, that's also adjustable and extends so that the mic is closer to your mouth.
When it matters: Much better recording quality and noise handling than in-line or integrated mics. Primarily used for gaming and voice over IP software.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Detachable Boom
What it is: A boom mic that is detachable from the headset.
When it matters: If you want to use your headphone outdoors without the bulk and hassle of the Boom mic.
:
N/A

The B&W PX have a sub-par microphone. In quiet environments, speech recorded/transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin and noticeably muffled. In noisy situations, it will struggle to fully separate speech from background noise even in moderately loud environments, like a busy street.

5.4 Recording Quality
What it is: Microphone recording quality shows how natural, neutral, extended and intelligible speech would be with the device under test, in a quiet environment.
When it matters: A microphone with a good recording quality ensures that the person listening to you would hear a full, clear, and easily understandable speech. Therefore, it is important whenever a good quality of speech transmission and intelligibility is needed.
Score components:
Bowers & Wilkins PX Microphone Frequency Response
Recorded Speech
What it is: Actual audio recording of the headphone's microphone, recorded while placed on the dummy head, with speech being played back through the dummy head's mouth simulator.
When it matters: When a clean, full, and intelligible speech transmission is required.
:
LFE
What it is: Low-frequency extension shows how deep the bass response of the microphone is, and therefore, how deep and full your voice would sound to the listener. It is the lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: LFE is not a big factor in speech intelligibility and even speech recorded with a mic that has an LFE of 500Hz could still be easily understood. Therefore, it is mostly important if you are concerned with how deep and full your voice would be heard.
Good value: <150Hz
Noticeable difference: 30Hz
:
380.55 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
What it is: Frequency Response Standard Deviation shows how accurately and balanced sound is captured by the microphone at each frequency. FR Std. Dev. is calculated between LFE and HFE, and the rest of the spectrum is ignored.
When it matters: A good frequency response is desired when a natural and neutral speech quality is desired. As opposed to HFE which is more a metric for speech intelligibility, frequency response could be considered as a metric for a natural and neutral sound.
Good value: >3.5dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5dB
:
17.35 dB
HFE
What it is: High-frequency extension is the highest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response. It shows how extended the treble response of the microphone is.
When it matters: HFE is one the most important factors in speech intelligibility. The higher the HFE, the brighter, more open, and more extended the speech quality will be which makes it a lot easier to understand by the listener.
Good value: >8KHz
Noticeable difference: 1KHz
:
23322.39 Hz
Weighted THD
What it is: The unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies, which cause deformation of an output signal compared to its input.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 1.0
:
7618.296
Gain
What it is: Shows how much louder the microphone can go above our reference loudness level. The gain value is reported relative to our reference level, which is 94dB at a distance of 5cm from the mouth.
When it matters: A microphone with a high gain is important when the input signal (speech) is very quiet. For example when whispering, or talking on the phone in a library.
Good value: >18dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
36.32 dB

The recording quality of the integrated microphone is sub-par. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 381Hz. This results in a recorded/transmitted speech that sounds noticeably thin. In the treble range, the response cuts off at 3.5KHz suggesting a speech that lacks detail and sounds muffled.

It should be noted that the mic of the PX didn't respond normally to our test signal (pink noise) and this resulted in a bump in frequency response around 600Hz, which is not present the provided speech recording.

5.9 Noise Handling
What it is: How well the microphone is able to separate speech from background noise, so that the transmission would include more voice and less noise.
When it matters: When a clean and intelligible speech transmission is desired in a noisy situation like talking on the phone on a busy street or on the bus.
Score components:
Bowers & Wilkins PX SpNR
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
What it is: Speech to Noise Ratio is the difference in level between speech and background noise as heard by the listener
When it matters: If the microphone is going to be used in a noisy environment, it is important for it to be able to separate the speech from background noise, so the voice would be easily audible and understandable.
Good value: >24dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
9.19 dB

The noise handling of the PX's integrated microphone is sub-par. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of less than 10dB. This means that this mic is best suited for use in quiet environments, and it'll struggle to fully separate noise from ambient noise in loud and even moderately environments.

7.6

Active Features

What it is: Headphones with active components that require a battery. This includes noise cancelling and wireless headphones that actively reduce noise or transmit audio via a wireless connection.
When it matters: How suitable the power and wireless specifications of an active headphone will be, depending on your listening habits. The range and/or discharge time of the active headphone you select will be important if you're often on the move or have long uninterrupted listening sessions.
Score components:

The Bowers & Wilkins PX headphones have good active features. The battery life is great, but they are slow to recharge, and they can't be used when the battery is dead. The PX app is available for iOS and Android, and it has a great design, but it has very limited features compared to the competition's companion apps.

7.8 Battery
What it is: The power source of your headphones. All headphones with active features have a battery that will deplete over time.
When it matters: To continue using the active features of your headphones. Some models lose features or switch off completely when the battery is drained, which limits what you can do with them until the next charge.
Battery Type
What it is: The type of battery that the headphones use. Usually AAA or embedded, Li-ion rechargeable batteries.
When it matters: When your headphones run out of power. Rechargeable batteries usually charge via the headphones Micro-USB port whereas AAA batteries have to be replaced or charged with an external device.
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
What it is: The amount of time it takes for a headphones' battery to be completely drained. Battery life will vary depending on the active features used and volume level.
When it matters: For active headphones that connect wirelessly, have noise cancellation or other audio-enhancing features, that cease to work once the battery is dead.
Good value: >10hrs
Noticeable difference: 0.5hrs
:
25.3 hrs
Charge Time
What it is: The amount of time your active headphones have to be connected to a power source to charge from 0 to a 100%. However, charging time will vary depending on your power source.
When it matters: To be able to use the active features of your headphones. Especially, wireless ones that completely switch off and need to be recharged when the battery is dead.
Good value: 2h or less
Noticeable difference: 0.25h
:
4 hrs
Power Saving Feature
What it is: A feature that turns off the headphones, after a set time, when they're not in use.
When it matters: To prolong battery life when the headphones are not being used, or if you forget to manually turn off your headphones.
:
Auto-Off Timer
Audio while charging
What it is: Some active headphones remain usable while charging. They continue to stream audio and do not disable other active features.
When it matters: This makes sure that your headphones's battery are not being drained when your relatively close to a power source. However, this means wireless headphones will need a wired connection to the power source during the charging process.
:
Yes
Passive Playback
What it is: Active headphones that still work when all their active features are turned off or out of power.
When it matters: If you run out of power and do not have spare AA/AAA batteries or access to a power source to recharge your headphones.
:
No

The Bowers & Wilkins PX have good battery performance. They last over a day with continuous wireless playback. Unfortunately they take about 4 hours to charge, which is a lot longer than similar models like the Sennheiser PXC 550 or Beats Studio 3.

Unlike the PXC 550, there is no passive playback, but they can be used while they are charging.

6.5 App Support
What it is: The additional app provided to enhance your listening experience. They typically deliver a set of practical features that give you more control over the sound, noise cancelling and effects that the headphones produce.
When it matters: An app with a lot of features allows you to customize your listening experience to suit your taste and preferences. For example, additions like an equalizer can give you more bass or treble and room effects can simulate a bigger Soundstage in closed back headphones.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Bowers & Wilkins PX App Picture
App Name : Bowers and & Wilkins Headphones
iOS : Yes
Android : Yes
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
What it is: Parametric, graphic or preset sound profiles that slightly alter the frequency response.
When it matters: If you want to tailor, your listening experience. Depending on what you're listening to you may want more or less bass for some tracks or more mid-range for vocals-heavy audio.
:
No
ANC control
What it is: Control over the Active noise canceling technology. This could be either a simple on/off button, and adjustable slider or even adaptive self-regulating noise cancellation.
When it matters: If you're in an environment where you need to monitor your surroundings or completely isolate yourself from ambient noise.
:
Adjustable
Mic Control : No
Room effects
What it is: Room effects that enhance the audio quality to make it more immersive.
When it matters: If you want to further tweak your listening experience. Adding room effects, can simulate a more spacious Soundstage or deliver a surround sound-like feel.
:
No
Playback control
What it is: An in-app player that gives you access to play/stop, track skipping or volume controls directly with the app.
When it matters: It's a shortcut that allows you to control your audio without leaving the application.
:
No
Button Mapping : No
Surround Sound : N/A

The PX app has is decent. It has a sleek design but has very limited functionality. There is an option to switch between the different noise cancelling modes, as well as a toggle for the smart pause feature. When enabled, smart pause will pause music playback when the headset is removed.

The app is available for iOS and Android, and there are no differences between the two. It lacks more advanced features like the ones in the Sennheiser Cap Tune app for the PXC 550 Wireless headphones. There is no EQ, no options for room effects, and no power saving feature.

5.8

Connectivity

What it is: The inputs and outputs of wired and wireless headphones, as well as their latency performance and range.
When it matters: To know how compatible your Bluetooth device, console or PC will be with your wired or wireless headset.
Score components:
  • 10% Bluetooth
  • 33% Wired
  • 10% Base/Dock
  • 22% Wireless Range
  • 25% Latency

The Bowers & Wilkins PX Headphones support Bluetooth or a wired USB-C connection. They can be paired with up to 2 devices, and they will automatically connect to the most recent of the two when powered on. The wireless range is good, and most people will be able to walk around their house without losing the connection. They can be used while charging, and the included USB-C charging cable supports audio and microphone when connected to a PC, but the microphone can't be used with a game console. Unfortunately, latency is very high, so these headphones won't be the most suitable for watching movies or gaming. On the upside, they do come with a simple 1/8" TRS cable that will provide audio when connected to most devices with a headphone jack (including your PS4 or XBox one controller).

6.8 Bluetooth
What it is: Bluetooth support for wireless headphones.
When it matters: To connect wirelessly to Bluetooth sources like your phone, tablet, console, PC and TV.
Score components:
  • 80% Multi-Device Pairing
  • 20% NFC
  • <1% PS4 Compatible
  • <1% Xbox One Compatible
Bluetooth Version : 4.1
Multi-Device Pairing
What it is: A Bluetooth profile that allows some headphones to be simultaneously connected to multiple Bluetooth sources, and have full call and media support on both/all devices they are connected to.
When it matters: To quickly switch between your Bluetooth sources. For example, switching from your phone to your home or work PC and still have call and media support on both devices.
Good value: 2 devices.
:
2 Devices
NFC
What it is: Near Field Communication technology that allows you to quickly, pair your headphones with your Bluetooth and NFC-enabled device.
When it matters: This makes pairing with an NFC-enabled device a lot easier than the typical and often tedious hold-to-pair procedure that most wireless headphones have.
Good value: Yes
:
No
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your PS4.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
No
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your Xbox one.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
No

The PX headphones will remember the previous 2 devices they have paired with, and will automatically connect with the most recent of the two when switched on. Unlike the Sennheiser PXC 550, there is no NFC support, and pairing is a little more difficult than with the Bose QuietComfort 35 II since they must be turned off before holding the power button to enter pairing mode. They are not compatible with game consoles.

8.7 Wired
What it is: The type and compatibility of audio cables for wired and wireless headphones.
When it matters: For all devices with a regular audio jack (line-out) and also compatibility of the in-line remote/boom microphone with consoles and Personal computers.
Score components:
  • 13% Analog
  • 9% USB
  • 26% PS4 Compatible
  • 26% Xbox One Compatible
  • 26% PC Compatible
Cable Tested : Not OS specific
Analog
What it is: A regular 1/8" TRS audio jack or a 1/4 or 1/16 TRS with a 1/8 TRS adapter.
When it matters: For all devices with a line out.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
USB
What it is: A USB or USB adapter to connect to your devices for audio and microphone.
When it matters: A digital USB adapter usually offers a slight advantages over a regular audio jack, like a DAC, and amplifier module or software support and compatibility with PCs. However it may not be as compatible with consoles.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
PS4 Compatible
What it is: PS4 compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PS4
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Xbox One compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your Xbox One
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only
PC Compatible
What it is: PC compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PC.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio + Microphone

The B&W PX headphones come with a 1/8" TRS audio cable, but it is only a two-pin connector so the microphone doesn't work with a PS4 or Xbox One controller. When connected to a PC with the included USB-C cable, audio and the microphone work without issue while the headphones are charging.

0 Base/Dock
What it is: The base station, dock or dongle transmitter of wireless headphones that receive data/audio via a proprietary frequency range.
When it matters: Knowing the inputs and outputs of the base/dock/dongle as well as its compatibility with consoles and Personal Computers. Also whether the base supports dock charging to easily recharge the headphones without any cables.
Score components:
  • 5% Optical Input
  • 22% Line In
  • 5% Line Out
  • 22% USB Input
  • 4% RCA Input
  • 9% PS4 Compatible
  • 9% Xbox One Compatible
  • 9% PC Compatible
  • 2% Power Supply
  • 13% Dock Charging
Wireless Type
What it is: The type of wireless connection used by the base station/dock to communicate with the headphones.
When it matters: For latency and range. For example Radio frequency has low latency but mediocre range when obstructed and proprietary docks have their own 2.x GHz or 5 GHz frequency which varies in performance.
:
N/A
Optical Input
What it is: Optical input for audio.
When it matters: Optical can carry a bit more data at faster speeds than typical wired connection which allows for more high quality, lossless audio.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line In
What it is: The regular wired input via a 1/8" TRS audio jack.
When it matters: For any device that has a line out for audio transmission.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line Out
What it is: A regular 1/8TRS audio jack output.
When it matters: If you need to share the audio source with other devices. A line out lets you connect other headphones or speakers to the dock/base station.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
USB Input
What it is: A digital USB input instead of a typical 1/8 TRS line-in.
When it matters: A USB connection can provide both an audio input and power to the Dock or Base station.
:
N/A
RCA Input
What it is: Audio input using via an RCA connectors.
When it matters: Provides better stereo audio to the dock/base that's then transmitted to the headphones.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
:
N/A
PC Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with your Personal Computer.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Power Supply
What it is: The connector type of the power source.
When it matters: The accessibility of the power source. For example a power supply with USB/USB-C connects to multiple devices, PC , PS4, Xbox One or even with your regular phone charger whereas a A/C adapter is less common.
Good value: USB/USB-C
:
N/A
Dock Charging
What it is: Charging the headphones via the dock/base station instead of a charging cable.
When it matters: It makes charging your headphones easier and gives you a sport to store your headphones when they are not in use.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A

These headphones do not have a base/dock. If you are looking for a versatile headset that can also be used wired, check out the SteelSeries Arctis 7.

7.7 Wireless Range
What it is: Headphones that offer a cable-free listening experience over a wireless network, typically via Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: If you don't want to be limited by the length of an audio cable. This means having the freedom to move around in your home or office with a much greater range than an audio cable could provide, especially, if the Bluetooth source is heavy or difficult to carry.
Score components:
Obstructed Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in an indoor environment. Although, the obstructed wireless range will slightly depend on your home or office layout.
Good value: >35ft
Noticeable difference: 5ft
:
32 ft
Line of Sight Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when in direct line of sight of the Bluetooth device.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in a large and open environment.
Good value: 170ft or more
Noticeable difference: 10ft
:
176 ft

The B&W PX headphones have a very good wireless range. Indoors when obstructed by walls and other objects, the range is about 32 ft, which is good enough to walk around an average apartment or house without the audio cutting out. Outdoors or in large open spaces the maximum distance is about 176 ft, which is decent.

2.2 Latency
What it is: How long it takes for audio to play through your headphones once the audio signal has been sent from a source.
When it matters: When gaming or watching movies. High latency means you will hear the audio much later than the images you see on screen.
Score components:
Default Latency
What it is: The Base RF latency or the default sub-band coding (SBC) of most Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos a high latency can cause sync issues between the images you see and the audio you hear.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
199 ms
aptX Latency
What it is: An audio coding algorithm (Codec) that improves bit rate efficiency. It reduces latency and improves sound quality over Bluetooth.
When it matters: For better sound quality if your often streaming music over Bluetooth. Also it slightly improves latency when watching videos with wireless headphones.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
What it is: Low latency variation of aptX that significantly reduces sync issues between video and sound when using Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos or gaming latency is a lot more noticeable than just listening to music.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 5ms
:
N/A

Poor latency performance for watching movies and gaming, but on par with other Bluetooth headphones.

The PX headphones do support aptX HD, which improves sound quality but typically has worse latency.

In the box

Bowers & Wilkins PX In the box Picture

  • Bowers & Wilkins PX Headphones
  • Audio cable
  • USB-C cable
  • Manuals
  • Carrying pouch

Compared to other Headphones

Bowers & Wilkins PX Compare Picture

The Bowers & Wilkins PX are great noise canceling headphones with a sturdy and premium build quality but a tight fit and an average sound. They do not sound quite as balanced as some of the other wireless over-ears compared below and they don't have an EQ so you can't customize their sound profile to your liking. On the upside, they cancel a lot of noise and barely leak, which makes them a great choice for commuting and traveling. They're also much better built than most of the competing models. Unfortunately, their tight fit might be a bit of an issue for some. See our recommendations for the best wireless over-ear headphones and the best headphones for bass.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

The Bose QuietComfort 35 are a better more versatile headset than the Bowers & Wilkins PX. The Bose have a more comfortable over-ear fit than the PX. They also have a better-balanced sound out of the box that is a bit more consistent than the PX regardless of noise cancellation profile. The PX, on the other hand, have a better build quality that feels more in line with their price range. They also leak a little less which makes them a bit more suitable for noise sensitive environments like being at the office.

B&O PLAY H9

The Bowers & Wilkins PX are slightly better headset than the BeoPlay H9. The PX have stronger noise isolation which makes them a bit more suitable for loud and quieter conditions like commuting or being at the office. They also have a slightly more premium looking build quality. On the upside, the B&O H9 have an easier to use and more casual design than the PX. They also pack more bass and have a customizable sound profile which feels lacking in the PX's app support.

Sony WH-1000XM3

The Sony WH-1000XM3 are slightly better wireless noise-canceling headphones than the Bowers and Wilkins PX. The Sony are a lot more comfortable than the B&Ws out of the box. They're lighter and have better-padded ear cups that do not clamp your head like the PX. The Sony also have a longer battery life, a better noise canceling performance and a more customizable app that makes them a bit more versatile for different listeners than the PX. The PX, on the other hand, are much better built, look a bit more premium and feel more durable. They also leak a less at high volumes, so they're a bit more suitable for noise sensitive environments like using them at the office.

Beats Studio3 Wireless

The Bowers & Wilkins PX have a fairly similar performance to the Beats Studio3. The PX isolate a lot better in noisy environments than the Beats so they will be a bit more suitable for traveling and commuting. They also have a better more premium looking build quality that most will prefer over the Beats. The Beats, on the other hand, have a more consistent sound than the PX despite their adaptive audio reproduction. They also have a sleeker over-ear fit that's more comfortable and a bit more suitable for physical activities than the PX. The Beats also have a longer battery life and charge a lot faster making them slightly more practical for everyday casual use.

Sony WH-1000XM2

The Sony WH-1000XM2 are a slightly better wireless noise-canceling headset than the Bowers & Wilkins PX. The Sonys are a bit more comfortable and not as tight on the head as the PX. They also have a more customizable app that gives them a lot more control over their noise cancellation and sound profile than the Bowers & Wilkins. On the upside, the Bowers and Wilkins are better built and look and feel more premium than the Sonys. They also have a lower leakage level which makes them more suitable for noise sensitive environments than the WH-1000XM2.

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Conclusion

7.0Mixed Usage
What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
Decent for mixed usage. The Bowers & Wilkins PX have a sturdy and high build quality and great isolation for noisy environments and busy commutes. They sound above-average depending on the noise isolation profile selected, but they won't sound as balanced as some of the other wireless over-ear and they have no EQ. Unfortunately, they're a bit too tight out-of-the-box which may be an issue for some listeners, but on the upside, it makes them somewhat stable enough for jogging. Overall, they are decent for most use cases but are best used as premium traveling headphones or at the office thanks to their strong isolation and low leakage. They just won't be the most comfortable option for long listening sessions.
7.1Critical Listening
What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
Decent for critical listening. The sound quality of the PX changes quite a bit when using different noise canceling profiles. They pack a good amount of bass, but their mid-range is a bit muddy and their treble range lacks a bit of brightness. Overall their slightly cluttered and dark sound might be a little disappointing for more critical listeners. They also can't create the soundstage of open back over-ear despite having fairly spacious ear cups and angled drivers. On the upside, they should sound good enough for most, and you can always sacrifice a bit of isolation for a better sound by changing the noise canceling profile or disabling it. Unfortunately, they are quite tight on the head which may be an issue during long listening sessions, and it also feels like a missed opportunity that they do not have an equalizer included in their app
7.5Commute/Travel
What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
Above-average for commuting. These headphones have great noise canceling for noisy commutes, easy to use controls and they barely leak, so you can mask even more ambient noise by playing your audio at higher volumes. Unfortunately, they're a bit bulky and tight on the head which might not be as comfortable as the QuietComfort 35 II on long flights.
6.9Sports/Fitness
What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
Average for sports. They are tight enough on the head to be stable for jogging, and they're wireless with an easy to use control scheme. However, they are also bulky headphones that will hinder your movements during more high-intensity workouts, and they do not have the moist breathable design for sports.
7.4Office
What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
Above-average for office use. They have a good noise isolation performance and they do not leak much so they will block a lot of noise in a lively office environment and not distract your colleagues at higher volumes. Unfortunately, they are very tight on the head which will get a bit uncomfortable to wear during long listening sessions at work.
5.7TV
Score components:
Mediocre-at-best for home theater. The PX have a lot of latency so they won't be ideal for watching videos but they have a decent sound and a good wireless range. They also come with a simple audio cable if you want to use them wired to reduce latency. However, the cable is relatively short so you may need an extension cord, and they're very tight on the head which might get a bit uncomfortable when watching movies.
5.3Gaming
Score components:
Below-average for gaming. These headphones have a good wireless range, and they're easy to use. Unfortunately, they have a subpar mic that is not compatible with consoles, they're not as customizable as most gaming headsets, and the high latency will be a deal breaker for gaming.

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