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Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Jul 20, 2023 at 11:49 am
Latest change: Writing modified Jul 20, 2023 at 11:49 am
Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Wireless Picture
7.0
Neutral Sound
7.8
Commute/Travel
7.4
Sports/Fitness
7.7
Office
5.8
Wireless Gaming
7.1
Wired Gaming
7.2
Phone Calls

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Wireless are the highest-end model of this manufacturer's over-ear lineup. Although they have a similar look to their lower-priced sibling, the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Wireless, a couple of design changes help the Px8 stand out as a premium product. They have an aluminum and Nappa leather frame with 40-mm Carbon Cone dynamic drivers, which the manufacturer advertises to lower distortion and improve clarity. Additionally, they're packed with features like noise cancelling (ANC), multi-device pairing, and aptX Adaptive support for streaming high-quality audio with low latency.

Our Verdict

7.0 Neutral Sound

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 are decent for neutral sound. Out of the box, these cans have a bassy sound that's well-suited for genres like EDM and hip-hop, thanks to their extra thump, punch, and boom. However, vocals and instruments are a bit muddied by this added bass and are slightly veiled by the recessed treble. They do have some sound customization features, but their app only offers bass and treble sliders, which may be limited for some. On the downside, their closed-back design means that their soundstage doesn't feel spacious or immersive.

Pros
  • Two-band EQ.
  • Comfortable and premium build.
Cons
  • Poor passive soundstage.
  • Prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery.
7.8 Commute/Travel

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 are very good for commute and travel. Although bulky, these over-ears have a comfortable, premium build quality and come with a carrying case to help protect them when you're on the go. They also have an ANC system, and although they aren't the best at blocking out rumbly bus and plane engines, they do a better job of reducing ambient chatter. They also last over 30 hours continuously, which will get you from point A to B with ease.

Pros
  • Very good noise isolation performance.
  • Comfortable and premium build.
Cons
  • Prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery.
7.4 Sports/Fitness

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 are satisfactory for sports and fitness. They're over-ear headphones, and while they have a stable fit, they can still fall off your head with moderate head movements, which can be an issue if you're doing tough workouts. They also lack an IP rating for water resistance, which is to be expected from over-ears. On the upside, their wireless design means that you don't have to worry about something snagging and pulling them off of your head.

Pros
  • Comfortable and premium build.
Cons
  • Prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery.
7.7 Office

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 are good for office use. These comfortable over-ears have over 30 hours of playback time to last through long days at your desk. Their ANC also helps block out background noise, chatty coworkers, and the hum of AC units. They even support multi-device pairing so you can stay connected to your PC and smartphone simultaneously.

Pros
  • Very good noise isolation performance.
  • Supports multi-device pairing.
  • Comfortable and premium build.
Cons
  • Prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery.
5.8 Wireless Gaming

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 are Bluetooth headphones, and their latency on PCs is likely too high for gaming. That said, if you're a mobile gamer, their latency on iOS and Android devices is lower, which helps keep your audio and visuals in sync. They have a bass-heavy sound to help emphasize sound effects in gameplay, and their over 30-hour continuous playback time will last through long gaming marathons without an issue.

7.1 Wired Gaming

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 are satisfactory for wired gaming. They come with a USB-C to USB-C and analog to USB-C cable, but neither connection offers mic support, so although you'll hear your gameplay, you can't chat with others. If you don't mind this limitation, their bassy sound can help bring out sound effects like footsteps in your games. That said, the headphones are prone to inconsistencies in bass and treble, so you'll need to take the time to adjust their fit to ensure a more consistent sound.

Pros
  • Very good noise isolation performance.
  • Comfortable and premium build.
Cons
  • Prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery.
  • No mic support when wired.
7.2 Phone Calls

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 are decent for phone calls. These headphones have an integrated mic, which offers a satisfactory all-around performance. Your voice is intelligible, though it lacks body. The mic can also separate speech from ambient noise well, but speech quality can take a hit. Very loud sounds can nearly overpower your voice too, which could be problematic if you need to take calls on the go. On the upside, the headphones have an ANC system that can block out a very good amount of noise around you so that you can focus on your call.

Pros
  • Very good noise isolation performance.
  • Supports multi-device pairing.
Cons
  • Prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery.
  • No mic support when wired.
  • 7.0 Neutral Sound
  • 7.8 Commute/Travel
  • 7.4 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.7 Office
  • 5.8 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.1 Wired Gaming
  • 7.2 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Jul 20, 2023: Review published.
  2. Updated Jul 14, 2023: Early access published.
  3. Updated Jul 10, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  4. Updated Jun 08, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  5. Updated Jun 02, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.
  6. Updated May 27, 2023: The product has won our suggestion poll, so we’ll buy and test it soon.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 come in two main color variations: 'Black' and 'Tan'. We tested the 'Black' variant and you can see our model's label here. There are also two special-edition models available: 'McLaren', which is made in collaboration with McLaren Automotives and have a dark grey design with orange accents, and '007', which is a James Bond-themed model that's midnight blue in color with '007' etched on the ear cup and the classic gun barrel motif on the material covering the drivers. 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 Px8 are top-of-the-line wireless headphones made from luxurious, high-grade materials like aluminum arms and Nappa leather padding, which set them apart from their competitors. Like other premium headphones on the market, like the Focal Bathys Wireless, they support aptX Adaptive for high-quality audio streaming over Bluetooth and even have ANC. However, it doesn't block out quite as much sound as more affordable (in comparison) options like the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless. However, their customization features are limited, with just a two-band EQ.

Check out our recommendations for the best wireless Bluetooth headphones, the best noise cancelling headphones, and the best headphones for music.

Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 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-1000XM5 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless and the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Wireless have different strengths, so depending on your preferences, you may enjoy either one. The Sony have better noise cancelling, a more robust EQ in their companion app, and have a virtual soundstage feature. However, the Bowers & Wilkins are more comfortable and better built.

Focal Bathys Wireless

The Focal Bathys Wireless and the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Wireless are both solid choices if you're looking for wireless audiophile headphones. While both headphones have similarly very good noise isolation performances, the Bowers & Wilkins are more comfortable and better built. Conversely, the Focal have more consistent audio delivery, and their companion app offers a more robust EQ.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless

Depending on your needs, you may prefer either the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless or the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Wireless. The Sennheiser have a more neutral sound profile, although it's still bass-heavy, and a longer-lasting continuous battery life. Conversely, the Bowers & Wilkins are more comfortable and better-built. They also have a better noise isolation performance.

Test Results

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

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 are high-end headphones with a sleek and refined look. They have a similar shape to the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Wireless, with silver accents on the ear cups and the manufacturer's logo embossed on the centerpiece. They come in two main color variants: 'Black' and 'Tan'. They also come in two collaboration colorways: 'McLaren', which is black with orange accents, and '007', a midnight blue variant with a James Bond theme.

8.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.7 lbs
Clamping Force
0.9 lbs

These headphones are quite comfortable. Their ear cup and headband padding is Nappa leather, which feels softer and more plush against the skin than the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Wireless. The ear cups themselves have a deep fit to accommodate most sizes of ears and have a snug fit. They don't clamp too tightly, although you may feel more pressure if you have a large head. You can wear these over-ears for long periods without feeling fatigued.

7.7
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control On/Off
Talk-Through
On/Off
Additional Controls Bluetooth Sync

These headphones have good physical controls; you can see a video of them in use here. The controls have a nice click when pressed, and the right ear cup's control scheme is well-spaced out. The multi-function button also has a groove to help you tell it apart from other buttons. There are different chimes to help distinguish each environmental (ANC) control. However, they lack a chime to let you know when you've reached min or 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.
    • Press and hold: Declines a call. If you're in a call, it merges two calls.

5.9
Design
Portability
L 8.2" (20.9 cm)
W 6.6" (16.6 cm)
H 2.1" (5.2 cm)
Volume 111.21 in³ (1,822.35 cm³)
Transmitter Required No

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 aren't very portable, but that's normal for over-ear headphones. You can swivel their ear cups to lay flat, but they can't fold into a more compact shape. Luckily, they come with a carrying case to help protect the headphones when not in use.

8.0
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 9.1" (23.0 cm)
W 7.4" (18.8 cm)
H 2.5" (6.2 cm)
Volume 164.43 in³ (2,694.51 cm³)

The carrying case is great. It's basically the same as the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Wireless, but the felt inside is black instead of cream-colored, which is easier to keep clean. The case is sturdy and has a zipper to completely close the case. There's also a pocket to store the included cables, but its cover feels like nice cardboard.

8.5
Design
Build Quality

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 have excellent build quality. They have a high-end design with Nappa leather padding, aluminum hinges, and brushed metal detailing. Unlike the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Wireless, the ear cups have a leather finish instead of a cloth finish, which helps them look more premium. Overall, they feel sturdy and will survive accidental drops and falls without taking too much damage.

7.5
Design
Stability

These headphones have a stable fit. They'll stay in place if you listen to music at your desk or on a walk. That said, if you like to bang your head to the music, they'll move around your head and can even fall off.

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

  • Bowers & Wilkins Px8 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
2.49 dB
Treble Amount
-3.11 dB

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 have a bass-heavy sound that delivers extra thump, rumble, and boom to mixes. Vocals and instruments are a bit muddied in the mix, though, and are a bit veiled. You can also see a comparison of the sound profile with the ANC on and off here. There's less bass when the ANC is off, and the mids are slightly recessed. However, this difference is quite minor. On the upside, if you prefer a different sound, their companion app offers a two-band EQ to help you adjust their bass and treble.

6.4
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.77 dB

The frequency response consistency of these over-ears is mediocre. They're prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery, and you may especially notice a drop in bass if you have thick hair or wear glasses. As a result, you'll need to take the time to ensure a good fit each time you use them to get a more consistent sound.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.2
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.31 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
11.89 Hz
Low-Bass
2.07 dB
Mid-Bass
5.48 dB
High-Bass
5.47 dB

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8's bass accuracy is decent. The response is overemphasized across the range. This results in extra thump, punch, and boom, making them a solid choice for songs like Starkid by The Weeknd, with a prominent bassline throughout the track. However, this added bass muddies the rest of the mix.

8.6
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.86 dB
Low-Mid
1.1 dB
Mid-Mid
0.44 dB
High-Mid
-1.84 dB

These over-ears have excellent mid accuracy. Overemphasis in the bass range extends into the mid-range, cluttering the mix a bit. That said, the mid-mid fairly flat, so vocals and instruments are still present in the mix, although a dip in the high-mid hurts their detail.

7.0
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.38 dB
Low-Treble
-1.72 dB
Mid-Treble
-0.3 dB
High-Treble
-10.25 dB

The treble accuracy is just decent. The response is mostly underemphasized, so vocals and instruments are veiled. That said, sibilants like cymbals are still bright.

6.9
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
2.17 dB
Dips
1.2 dB

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8's peaks and dips performance is okay. The most significant deviations are mostly in the treble range. That said, a bump in the mid to high-bass adds a touch of extra punch and boom to mixes, while some driver mismatch in the high-mid weakens vocals and instruments in the right driver more than the left. However, that's reversed when a dip in the low-treble impacts the left driver and veils vocals and instruments. An uneven mid-treble makes sibilants like S and T sounds alternatingly dull and piercing.

5.9
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.26
Weighted Phase Mismatch
78.06
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.85
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.21

Bowers & Wilkins generally produces products with well-matched drivers. However, imaging varies across units, and our unit's L/R drivers are very mismatched in phase response. A warping whistle sound came from the high-bass to mid-range of the headphones, which skewed the audio to the right. Male voices like that in Do I Wanna Know by the Arctic Monkeys also drifted between the center and left when the vocals should be more centered. The guitar on the right side also had some distortion present. The warping whistling sound was also present in the mid-range in piano songs.

4.5
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
5.04 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
5.72 dB
PRTF Distance
8.64 dB
Openness
2.1
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.7

The passive soundstage performance is poor. These are closed-back headphones, so they don't create an open or spacious soundstage. While it manages to feel wide, it doesn't seem natural, and sound is still perceived as if coming from inside your head rather than from speakers placed in the room around you.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No

While there aren't any virtual soundstage features in the companion app, you can access Dolby Atmos on Xbox for a more immersive audio experience. However, you'll need to purchase a license to use it.

7.8
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.267
WHD @ 100
0.121

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8's weighted harmonic distortion performance is very good. Even though there's a narrow peak in the mid-treble at normal listening volumes, it's hard to spot with real-life content. As such, your audio sounds clean, pure, and normal at high volumes.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
2.0.0
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.2
Codec
aptX Adaptive, 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
7.9
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-23.6 dB
Noise Cancelling Yes
Bass
-12.63 dB
Mid
-22.51 dB
Treble
-36.59 dB

The noise isolation performance is very good. They're equipped with an ANC system but aren't the best choice if you're looking to cut down traffic noise, especially compared with competitors like the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless. On the upside, they can reduce sounds like ambient chatter and the high-pitched hum of AC units well. When using the passthrough mode, which allows you to hear conversations without taking off the cans, voices sound thin. While you'll still hear the person clearly, the passthrough mode feels unnatural.

We noticed during testing that there wasn't much difference in ANC on and off at 50 and 160Hz. When we isolated 40, 50, 160, and 200Hz with a tone to see if the headphones performed similarly with a constant sound, we noticed that more sound was blocked out by ANC using this method (almost up to 10 dB in some places) compared to our normal methodology using a sine sweep. On a busy boulevard, the ANC reduces some noise from bus and car engines, but these sounds are still audible. The ANC can also block out voices and high-pitched noise like AC units well, although rumbling sounds aren't blocked out as well. We also did subjective listening to check our results. We're investigating this and will update our review once we have the results.

7.6
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
35.86 dB

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8's leakage performance is good. Leakage is spread throughout the frequency spectrum but is slightly more noticeable in the high-mid to low-treble range. That said, if you're listening to audio at high volumes in a moderately noisy environment, it isn't noticeable to those around you.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
Mic Yes
7.1
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
151.02 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
2.84 dB
HFE
7,136.96 Hz
Weighted THD
1.44
Gain
-12.7 dB

The integrated mic has a satisfactory recording quality. Your voice sound natural and clear, although a bit thin. However, you won't have trouble being understood.

7.0
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
17.27 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 mic's noise handling performance is also okay. The mic can separate speech from moderate ambient noise well, but there's a small dip in voice quality. When it comes to loud and inconstant noise, speech can briefly be lost, but the noise doesn't completely overpower your voice.

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

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8's battery performance is excellent. The manufacturer advertises them to last 30 hours, and we measured over that, though keep in mind that battery life varies depending on use. Luckily, if you want to stretch out their playback time, they have a standby mode that helps conserve battery life if you forget to turn them off. They also have a quick charge feature that advertises 15 minutes of charge time to supply up to seven hours of playback. That said, if you want to use them wired with their analog to USB-C cable, the headphones must be on, so you can't use them passively.

7.0
Active Features
App Support
App Name Bowers & Wilkins Music
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
Two Band EQ
ANC Control
On/Off
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping Yes
Surround Support
No

The Bowers & Wilkins Music app is decent, and you can see a video of how it works here. Although it isn't as robust or feature-loaded as other apps like Sony | Headphones Connect, it offers customization options like ANC controls, bass and treble sliders, and button mapping. You can also check the headphones' battery life, adjust the multi-device connection or app stream quality, and toggle on and off settings like auto standby and wear sensor.

Connectivity
8.3
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.2
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
228.67 ft (69.70 m)
PC Latency (SBC)
178 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
216 ms
PC Latency (aptX HD)
186 ms
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
24 ms
Android Latency
50 ms

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 have great Bluetooth connectivity. They support multi-device pairing so you can stay connected to your smartphone and PC simultaneously. The app also stores previous connections so you can switch between them. However, the main device will always take priority if you're playing audio from it, and you'll need to pause the audio on one device to play it on the second. Otherwise, the audio will switch back to the first device. If you're using the analog to USB-C cable, you can still use multi-device pairing, too.

These headphones support multiple codecs, which is handy if you like to stream audio in high quality or with lower latency. These headphones have high latency via SBC, aptX, or aptX HD, so if you're looking to keep latency lower via PC, you'll want to use aptX Adaptive, which has lower latency and falls within good levels. Latency via iOS and Android is also significantly lower, ensuring that audio and visuals stay in sync while streaming video.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
8.3
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
USB-C
Detachable Yes
Length 3.94 ft (1.20 m)
Connection
USB-C
Analog/USB Audio Latency
62 ms

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 come with a 1/8" TRS to USB-C cable that's 1.20 m long and a USB-C to USB-C cable that's 1.19 m long. Their latency falls within good levels using the double USB cable, so your audio and visuals stay in sync. While connected via analog to USB-C, you can also use the ANC controls. However, using wired USB mode will turn off Bluetooth.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio Only
Wired USB
Audio Only
Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones can connect to PCs via Bluetooth with full audio and mic compatibility. If you connect them via analog or wired USB, you can only receive audio and can't use their mic.

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

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 only support audio via analog on PS4 and PS5 or USB on PS5. You can't use their mic with any of these connections, though. While 3D audio works, you will have no audio controls from the headphones themselves, and you'll need to adjust them via the console volume settings.

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 connect the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 to your Xbox console by plugging their analog cable into your controller's AUX port. However, you'll only receive audio and can't use their mic. If you're looking for a more immersive audio experience, you can use Dolby Atmos, but it requires a license. In addition, you won't have any audio controls, so you'll need to manually adjust them using the console's volume settings.

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