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Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.6
Reviewed May 02, 2023 at 08:19 am
Latest change: Writing modified Jan 26, 2024 at 02:16 pm
Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Wireless Picture
7.0
Neutral Sound
7.6
Commute/Travel
7.4
Sports/Fitness
7.5
Office
5.9
Wireless Gaming
7.0
Wired Gaming
7.2
Phone Calls

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Wireless are the next generation of the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless. Entering the market with a sleek, high-end build and features like aptX HD and aptX Adaptive codec support for a high-quality audio experience, these over-ears offer a versatile performance for users looking for a more elevated sound from Bluetooth headphones. That said, their noise cancelling (ANC) performance falls short compared to similarly-priced over-ears like the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless, and they aren't as customizable, which is a drawback if you're not into their default sound.

Our Verdict

7.0 Neutral Sound

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 are satisfactory for neutral sound. Out of the box, these headphones have an excited sound that delivers extra thump, rumble, and boom while vocals and instruments stand out, thanks to added brightness in the treble. Their sound isn't the most neutral, especially as the extra bass muddies the mix a bit. Although the feature isn't the most robust, their companion app offers sliders for tuning the bass and treble to your liking.

Pros
  • Bass and treble sliders available in companion app.
Cons
  • Disappointing passive soundstage.
7.6 Commute/Travel

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 are good for commuting and travel. These very well-built over-ears have a comfortable fit and are equipped with an ANC system to help block out sound around you. While the ANC has some trouble reducing the low rumble of bus and plane engines, they do a better job of isolating you from chatty passengers. With the ANC on, they last over 37 hours continuously.

Pros
  • Comfortable and premium design.
  • ANC can block out mid to treble noise well.
  • Long continuous playback time.
Cons
  • ANC has trouble blocking out bass-range noise.
7.4 Sports/Fitness

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 are satisfactory for sports and fitness, though over-ears aren't usually the best choice for this use since they're bulky and can fall off your head with more intense head movement. Over-ears also tend to lack IP ratings for water resistance. On the upside, they have a well-built design that's comfortable and stable enough for light exercise.

Pros
  • Comfortable and premium design.
Cons
  • Disappointing passive soundstage.
7.5 Office

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 are good for office use. These comfortable over-ears have an ANC system that easily cuts down ambient chatter and have a long continuous battery life that won't die on you during your shift. They also support multi-device pairing, meaning you can connect them to your PC and smartphone simultaneously.

Pros
  • Comfortable and premium design.
  • ANC can block out mid to treble noise well.
  • Long continuous playback time.
  • Supports multi-device pairing.
Cons
  • Disappointing passive soundstage.
5.9 Wireless Gaming

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 are Bluetooth headphones, and their latency on PCs is too high to be suitable for gaming. However, they have lower latency on mobile devices, ensuring that your audio and visuals stay in sync. They also have a long-lasting continuous battery life and are comfortable for long gaming sessions.

7.0 Wired Gaming

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 are decent for wired gaming if you don't need mic support. These headphones can connect to a console via analog or, in some cases like with PC or PlayStation, via their analog to USB-C cable. They have a comfortable fit suitable for long gaming sessions, and their excited sound can help emphasize sound effects like footsteps in gameplay.

Pros
  • Comfortable and premium design.
  • Decent overall mic performance.
Cons
  • Disappointing passive soundstage.
  • Mic not supported via wired connection.
7.2 Phone Calls

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 are decent for phone calls. Their integrated mic offers a decent overall performance, ensuring that your voice sounds clear in moderately noisy environments. That said, if you need to take a call from a busy street, loud sounds can temporarily drown out your voice. On the upside, the headphones feature ANC and block out a good amount of sound across the range, meaning you'll hear your call clearly.

Pros
  • Decent overall mic performance.
Cons
  • Mic not supported via wired connection.
  • 7.0 Neutral Sound
  • 7.6 Commute/Travel
  • 7.4 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.5 Office
  • 5.9 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.0 Wired Gaming
  • 7.2 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Jan 26, 2024: The following test groups have been updated following TB 1.6: Wired Connection, andBluetooth Connection. There have also been text changes made throughout the review, including to the usages and product comparisons to match these results.
  2. Updated Jan 26, 2024: We've converted this review to Test Bench 1.6 , which updates how we measure latency. We've updated and renamed the following test groups: Wired Connection, Bluetooth Connection, and Wireless Connection (Dongle). We've also added new codec latency measurements and provided an audio sample of recorded latency.
  3. Updated Jul 20, 2023: We've added a comparison between these headphones and the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Wireless in Build Quality.
  4. Updated May 02, 2023: Review published.
  5. Updated Apr 18, 2023: Early access published.
  6. Updated Apr 13, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  7. Updated Apr 06, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  8. Updated Mar 28, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.
  9. Updated Mar 28, 2023: The product has won our suggestion poll, so we'll buy and test it soon.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 come in three color variants: 'Black', 'Blue', and 'Grey'. We tested the 'Black' variant, and you can see our model's label here. If you come across another variant of these headphones, please let us know in the forums, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 are the successor of the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless. There have been a couple of changes to their design: their build received an upgrade, so they feel even more premium and high-quality, and they support aptX Adaptive codec, which is good if you want to stream high-quality audio or if you want lower latency for streaming video. They're also compatible with a new companion app that offers bass and treble sliders to help you adjust the sound, although the customization features aren't as robust compared to competitors like the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless or Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless.

Check out our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones, the best noise cancelling headphones, and the best closed-back headphones.

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless

Depending on your preferences, you may enjoy either the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless or the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Wireless. The Sony have a more neutral sound profile, although they're still pretty bass-heavy, a virtual soundstage feature, and a significantly better performing ANC system. They're also more customizable. In contrast, the Bowers & Wilkins are more comfortable, are better built, and support aptX, aptX HD, and aptX Adaptive codecs to help you get good sound quality via Bluetooth. They can also receive audio via USB-C, which some users may prefer.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless and the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Wireless are both good headphones, but the Sennheiser have a slight edge. While both headphones are comfortable, the Sennheiser have a more neutral sound profile, although it's still pretty bassy, and have a significantly longer continuous battery life. They're also more customizable. On the flip side, the Bowers & Wilkins are better-built and have a more stable fit.

Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Wireless

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Wireless are the more premium sibling of the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Wireless. Although both headphones have high-end build quality, the Px8 are made with different components like aluminum and Nappa leather in their frame as well as being equipped with a carbon diaphragm instead of a cellulose one used by the Px7 S2, which is advertised to help lower distortion. Both headphones perform similarly in this aspect, though. That said, the Px8 are more comfortable, have better noise cancelling, and their sound profile is a bit more neutral, although it's still bassy-heavy.

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better over-ears than the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Wireless. The Sony are more comfortable, have a more balanced sound, although it's still bass-heavy, and have a virtual soundstage to help immerse you in your audio. Their ANC system offers a significantly better noise isolation performance, and they have more customization features, thanks to their companion app. That said, the Bowers & Wilkins are better built and support aptX Adaptive codec so that you can stream high-quality audio, or achieve lower latency for streaming video.

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Wireless are the next generation of the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless. The second generation have a better build quality, a more balanced and neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their microphone performance is significantly better. They also support aptX Adaptive codec for streaming audio in higher quality, or for reducing latency when you're watching videos. However, the predecessor have a better noise isolation performance.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 have an updated look from their predecessor, the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless. They have a knit fabric exterior with shiny metallic accents and the manufacturer's name written vertically on each ear cup. The headphones come in three color variants: 'Black', 'Grey', 'and 'Blue'.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.68 lbs
Clamping Force
0.9 lbs

These headphones are comfortable. Although the ear cups fit tightly around your ears, they're spacious, and the padding feels nice against the skin. Although they have a high clamping force, they don't feel very tight on the head. However, you may have a different experience if you have a large head. That said, the headband can create two pressure points around the side of your head. You can feel this when wearing them over long periods, particularly if you have a small head.

8.1
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control Mute/Unmute
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control On/Off
Talk-Through
On/Off
Additional Controls Bluetooth Sync

These headphones have great physical controls. The buttons are clicky and easy to tell apart. There are chimps for each of the Environment Control buttons too. However, there isn't any volume feedback, whether you're adjusting the volume or when you've reached the min/max volume.

On the left ear cup:

  • Quick action button
    • Single press: By default, this is set to environmental controls and cycles between ANC, transparency mode, which allows you to stay aware of your surroundings without taking off your headphones, and ANC off. You can also replace this control with voice assistant via the companion app.

On the right ear cup:

  • Power switch
    • Single press: Turns the headphones on and off.
    • Press and hold: Activates Bluetooth pairing mode.
  • Volume controls
    • Single press the '+' button: Raises the volume.
    • Single press the '-' button: Lowers the volume.
  • Multi-function button
    • Single press: Plays and pauses audio. Also answers and ends calls.
    • Double press: Skips to the next track. Also lets you switch between calls.
    • Triple press: Skips to the previous track. Also mutes and unmutes the mic during a call.
    • Press and hold: Declines a call. If you're in a call, it merges two calls.

6.1
Design
Portability
L 8.3" (21.0 cm)
W 6.7" (17.0 cm)
H 2.0" (5.0 cm)
Volume 95.11 in³ (1,558.50 cm³)
Transmitter Required No

These headphones aren't the most portable. The ear cups can swivel to lay flat, but they won't fold into a more compact shape. On the upside, their carrying case helps protect them when you're on the go.

8.0
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 9.1" (23.0 cm)
W 7.4" (18.8 cm)
H 2.4" (6.2 cm)
Volume 164.34 in³ (2,693.10 cm³)

These headphones come with a great carrying case. It feels sturdy and has a zipper that ensures the case can fully close. The headphones also fit nicely inside it. The inside of the case is made from felt, and there's a compartment to store the cables when not in use. It feels a bit like nice cardboard, and the fuzzy lining can be hard to keep clean.

8.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality of these headphones is excellent. They're mostly made of plastic with leatherette memory foam padding. Unlike the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Wireless, their ear cups have knit fabric detailing instead of brushed metal. Their hinges are thinner than the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless, their yokes are shorter and sit closer to the earcup. Their headband feels more sturdy too. They have more square-shaped ear cups than their predecessor, which some users may prefer. Overall, they feel well-built and premium.

7.5
Design
Stability

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 are stable over-ear headphones and are an improvement over their predecessor. They'll easily stay on your head while working at your desk or to and from the office, thanks to their snug fit. They can move around a bit more if you want to wear them during a workout, though.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 headphones
  • USB-C to 1/8" audio cable
  • USB-C to USB-C charging/audio cable
  • Carrying case
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
3.61 dB
Treble Amount
-1.38 dB

These headphones have an excited sound that delivers extra thump, punch, and boom to audio. While vocals and instruments are bright and sparkly, the overall mix still sounds a bit muddy due to all the extra bass. Luckily, their companion app offers a 2-band graphic EQ to adjust the bass and treble.

6.9
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.63 dB

The frequency response consistency is alright. They're prone to more inconsistencies in treble delivery due to fit and positioning than bass delivery, but you may still notice a drop in bass if you have thick hair or wear glasses. It's important to take the time to ensure a good fit each time you use them to ensure a consistent sound.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
6.2
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
6.27 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
5.54 dB
Mid-Bass
7.37 dB
High-Bass
7.62 dB

The bass accuracy is mediocre. The response is overemphasized across the range, resulting in extra thump, rumble, and boom in mixes. You may still like this extra bass if you enjoy genres like EDM and hip-hop. However, in excess, the bass also slightly muddies the rest of your mix.

8.6
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.86 dB
Low-Mid
2.11 dB
Mid-Mid
0.13 dB
High-Mid
1.53 dB

The mid accuracy is excellent. There's some overemphasis coming from the bass range into the low-mid, which somewhat muddies the mix. That said, the rest of the range is fairly flat. In songs like Hey Ya! by Outkast, vocals and instruments are present and clear throughout the mix, although the bassline starting in the first chorus clutters the sound a bit.

6.9
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.59 dB
Low-Treble
1.8 dB
Mid-Treble
3.44 dB
High-Treble
-6.35 dB

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2's treble accuracy is alright. The range is overemphasized across the range, and there's a slight mismatch between the L/R driver in the low-treble. Vocals and instruments are brighter and more detailed in the right driver. The drivers are better-matched in the mid-treble, and sibilants like cymbals are piercing.

6.8
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
2.18 dB
Dips
1.5 dB

The peaks and dips performance of these over-ears are alright. Most of the most severe peaks and dips are in the treble range, although the peak in the mid to high-bass adds extra punch and boom to audio. There's some driver mismatch, and the left driver is more affected by a dip in the low-treble, which hurts vocals and instruments. The mid-treble is uneven, resulting in dull or piercing sibilants like hi-hats, depending on the frequency.

7.9
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.21
Weighted Phase Mismatch
8.24
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
1.36
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.32

The imaging performance is very good. Bowers & Wilkins usually have good quality control and ergonomics. Imaging can vary between units, though. Our unit's group delay is low, ensuring tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. Our unit's L/R drivers are also well-matched in phase, amplitude, and frequency response, ensuring the proper localization of sound objects like voices in the stereo image. While there's a small peak in the phase response's high-mid, this isn't audible with real-life content.

5.1
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
4.12 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
14.73 dB
PRTF Distance
20.34 dB
Openness
2.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.6

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2's passive soundstage performance is disappointing, but that's normal from closed-back headphones. While they can create a very out-of-head soundstage, it doesn't feel very wide or natural. In addition, the soundstage doesn't feel as open or spacious as that created by open-back headphones.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No
7.7
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.331
WHD @ 100
0.124

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2's weighted harmonic distortion is good. Although there's a narrow peak in the mid-treble range at normal listening volumes, it's very hard to hear with real-life content. As a result, audio sounds clean and pure at both normal and high volumes.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
2.0.0
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
aptX HD, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
On
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid when used in this configuration.

Isolation
7.5
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-22.33 dB
Noise Cancelling Yes
Bass
-10.79 dB
Mid
-20.9 dB
Treble
-36.21 dB

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2's noise isolation performance is good. Their ANC system doesn't block out quite as much background noise as their predecessor, the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless, particularly when it comes to the low rumble of bus and plane engines. These over-ears do a better job when it comes to mid-range sounds like office chatter and the high-pitch whirl of computer fans, though.

7.7
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
35.34 dB

The leakage performance is very good. Leakage is mostly concentrated in the high-mid to treble range, which sounds mostly thin. If you're listening to audio at a high volume in a noisy environment, it's unlikely that others around you will hear it.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
Mic Yes
7.4
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
164.69 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
2.72 dB
HFE
6,933.79 Hz
Weighted THD
0.706
Gain
-9.79 dB

The integrated mic has a decent recording quality. Your voice sounds clear and natural but lacking in body.

7.0
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
18.37 dB
Noise Gate
Always On
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
7.0
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
7.0
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The integrated mic's noise handling performance is satisfactory. The mic can separate your voice from moderate ambient noise well, although the background sound can still be heard and is a bit distracting. Louder noises, like the passing of a train, can temporarily drown out your voice and make it difficult to hear you clearly.

Active Features
8.6
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
37.5 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
37.5 hrs
Charge Time
1.7 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
Standby mode
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port USB-C

The battery performance is excellent. The manufacturer advertises them to last 30 hours continuously, and we measured just over that. Battery life can vary depending on usage, though. Luckily, if you need to recharge them, a 15-minute charge can give you up to seven hours of continuous playback time. They also have a wear sensor that pauses audio and enters standby mode when you've taken them off your head. You can turn this feature on and off in the app, though.

6.5
Active Features
App Support
App Name Bowers & Wilkins Music
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
On/Off
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping Yes
Surround Support
No

Unlike their predecessor, they're not compatible with the Bowers & Wilkins Headphones app, and when trying to use this app, it'll redirect you to the Bowers & Wilkins Music app. This app offers okay customization settings, and you can see a video of it in action here. Unlike most other apps, there's only a bass and treble slider with up to +/- 6dB of adjustment range, which is a bit limiting. In addition to these sliders, you can check the battery life, adjust the multi-device connection, and switch app stream quality. You can also turn the wear sensor on and off, remap the quick action button, and adjust the environment controls.

We encountered disconnection issues when trying to use the app. Sometimes the app would cause the headphones to disconnect, and it wasn't possible to reconnect the headphones unless you closed and re-opened the app. If you're connected to more than one device, it also disconnects you from both devices, which is pretty frustrating. You can see a video of this happening here.

Connectivity
7.1
Connectivity
Wired Connection
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
USB-C
Detachable
Yes
Length
3.94 ft (1.20 m)
Connector
USB-C
Latency - Analog
29.9 ms
Latency - USB
39.3 ms
Recorded Latency
Recorded Latency Connection USB

These headphones come with a USB-C to 1/8" TRS cable and a USB-C to USB-C cable that you can use for audio. The USB-C to USB-C cable and analog to USB-C cable both have a bit of latency as the headphones have to be turned on to receive audio via these connections, but overall, it's quite minor and hard to spot.

8.0
Connectivity
Bluetooth Connection
Bluetooth Version
5.2
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices
Quick Pair (Android)
Yes
Quick Pair (iOS)
No
Line Of Sight Range
285.43 ft (87.00 m)
Latency - SBC
275 ms
Latency - aptX
265 ms
Latency - aptX Adaptive (High Quality)
260 ms
Latency - aptX Adaptive (Low Latency)
55 ms
Latency - LDAC
N/A
Recorded Latency
Recorded Latency Codec aptX Adaptive (Low Latency)
AAC Support
Yes

These over-ears have great Bluetooth connectivity. You can pair them with up to two devices at a time, and the app even stores previous Bluetooth connections so you can easily switch between sources. That said, the main device will always take priority if audio is playing from it, and to switch audio sources, you'll need to pause audio on the first device to switch to the second device. If you connect the headphones via USB-C, you can still connect with up to two Bluetooth devices.

Like their predecessor, they support aptX and aptX HD codec. However, they also support aptX Adaptive, which is a codec that dynamically changes its performance to give you either lower latency when streaming video, or better audio quality. That said, their latency on PCs is high via most codecs, which results in lip sync mismatch. That said, their audio lag via aptX Adaptive is much lower, which helps ensure that your audio and visuals stay in sync. Some apps compensate for latency differently, though.

0
Connectivity
Wireless Connection (Dongle)
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Latency - Dongle
N/A
Recorded Latency
N/A
Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio Only
Wired USB
Audio Only
Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones can connect with full audio and mic compatibility to Bluetooth-enabled PCs. That said, If you want to use them via analog or with their USB-C to USB-C cable, you can only receive audio and can't use the mic.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PS4 Wired USB
Audio Only
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio Only
PS5 Wired USB
Audio Only
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No

You can use the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 with PlayStation consoles via analog or wired USB-C. However, you can only receive audio via these connections.

Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio Only
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No

You can use these headphones via analog on Xbox consoles. You'll only receive audio, though.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock