When you think of the crème de la crème of speakers, the name Bowers and Wilkins, aka B&W, might come to mind. For those of you who have not heard of Bowers and Wilkins, they are basically the Rolls-Royce of speaker manufacturers.
Since 1966 Bowers and Wilkins have been making some of the world’s best loudspeakers. With over 50 years of experience behind them, they now have some of the best sounding headphones on the market.
B&W’s PX wireless headphones are stylish yet durable. They have active noise cancellation (ANC) and great battery life, to just name a few things. They came out in 2017, and audiophiles loved them. Are they still worth the money four years later, or can you find better headphones for less money nowadays?
Let’s find out in our in-depth Bowers & Wilkins PX Review…
Attention to Detail
The B&W PX headphones we have in front of us are the space-gray version. Upon opening the box they come in, you will find them laying with their ear cups flat in a protective molded case. One of the first things you will notice about these headphones is the unique weave pattern along the headband running down around the ear cups.
This intricate weave design makes the PX headphones look aesthetically pleasing. It is made from ballistic nylon, one of the most durable and abrasion-resistant fabrics out there. So, right away, these are some of the most durable headphones out there.
Connecting the headband to the ear cups, you have an all-metal frame that is adjustable. It slides smoothly in and out yet stays securely in place even when you are jogging. Along the metal arms, you have a braided cable that connects the ear cups. These metal arms curve around to the back of the ear cups and allow them to swivel ninety degrees.
Stylish and secured…
As we mentioned, each ear cup features ballistic nylon as well. A shiny reflective B&W logo is on the outside of each ear cup that adds to the headphones’ overall premium look.
When you are not using the headphones, you can place them in the included soft microfiber pouch. This pouch has a magnetic clasp and offers enough room to store the charging cable and the 3.5mm auxiliary cable alongside the headphones.
B&W prides itself on its attention to detail. The PX headphones, while they might not look flashy, they certainly look classy and elegant. They are a great example of “less being more.”
The B&W PX headphones weigh in at 355 grams. While this is not the heaviest pair of headphones on the market, it is by no means considered lightweight nowadays.
Well-fitting, but lightly padded…
When you slide the headphones on, you notice that the metal headband is rather flexible and springy. This allows for the PX headphones to accommodate many head shapes and sizes. The leather ear cups have a hollowed-out design that aids in breathability. While your ears might warm as you wear these headphones, they will not make your ears sweat.
They are also very thin and lightly padded. You do not get a pillow-like feel from the ear cups, but they are still exceptionally comfortable. Four magnets hold the ear pads securely in place. You can slide them off, allowing you to clean them if they ever get dirty.
While you can wear these headphones for hours on end, you may feel some pressure on the top of your head. This is because when it comes to headband padding, these headphones do not have much. That said, they are some of the best fitting headphones available.
As for controls, Bowers and Wilkins have kept things pretty simple. All the controls are on the right ear cup. You will find a power switch that allows you to pair the PX headphones to a Bluetooth device. The first time you turn the headphones on, they should enter pairing mode automatically.
Above the power switch, you will find an environmental filter button. This button essentially lets you turn ANC on and off. Your volume and playback controls are located just above the environmental filter button. The play/pause button allows you to skip tracks, answer and reject incoming calls, and access your voice assistant.
A useful app…
If you head to your respective app store on your cell phone or tablet, you will find the Bowers and Wilkins Headphones app. This app lets you choose between three different preset levels of ANC.
It also allows you to enable voice pass-through. That way, you can still hear what is going on around you without having to take off the headphones.
On the very bottom of the right ear cup, there is a 3.5mm auxiliary port, an LED indicator, and a USB-C charging port. When the B&W PX headphones are fully charged, you can expect a playback time of up to 22 hours. That is even with the ANC turned on.
If you turn ANC off, battery life jumps up to 29 hours. Plug these headphones in via the 3.5mm cable, and they can last for up to 33 hours with ANC enabled. Therefore, these are some of the best battery life headphones you can buy.
As battery life diminishes, you will notice the LED indicator on the bottom of the right ear cup change color. You can also check the remaining battery life through the Bowers and Wilkins Headphones app.
Right out of the box, they came partly charged. To recharge them, you will want to use the included USB-C and an adapter. Expect to wait around three hours for the headphones to go from empty to full again. Unfortunately, they do not have a quick charge feature that other headphones at the same price point do.
You can use the headphones while they are charging, but you may need to get a longer USB cable. Overall, the B&W PX headphones maximize battery life well. They have proximity sensors integrated into the ear cups that aid in conserving the battery.
When you take the headphones off your head, they will switch to standby mode after two minutes. You can adjust the proximity sensor sensitivity in the app as well.
Once you hit play on your favorite track, you will immediately be graced by spatial-sounding audio. Vocals come across in the forefront, with instruments sounding as if they are in the distance. If you play live music, you get the sense that you are in the middle of the crowd. This leaves you with a very immersive listening experience.
The overall sound profile produced from the PX’s 40mm speaker drivers is nice and balanced. However, the sound profile is not adjustable since you will not find any equalizer settings available in the B&W Headphones app.
Bass comes across without being overpowering, no matter the genre of music you are listening to. High and middle frequencies are nice and clean as well, without ever sounding harsh.
The clamping force of these headphones generally provides excellent noise isolation with minimal leakage. Sound clarity will differ somewhat from user to user, though.
If you wear thick eyeglasses, you may notice that the ear cups do not seal as tightly against your ears. This allows for some noise to leak out while making the bass sound a bit watered down.
With these headphones seated securely on your ears, the ANC works well. We found that when set to Flight mode, these B&W headphones blocked out 22db of low-frequency sound. This covers the typical amount of sound you hear from a plane engine.
When you set the ANC to Office mode, you will only hear conversations in your immediate vicinity. City mode, on the other hand, is a mix of the other two ANC modes. Street sounds are present but muffled, allowing you to be aware of what is going on around you. All of this makes these some of the best ANC headphones on the market.
Calling and connectivity…
Thanks to the integrated microphones on offer, you can use the headphones for hands-free calling. When doing so, you will want to be in a quiet room since the mics struggle to block out ambient noise.
It is also worth noting that these headphones have Bluetooth 4.1 technology. Once paired, they have a very stable connection even when you are over 30 feet away from your device.
Bowers & Wilkins PX Review – Pros and Cons
- Stylish and durable.
- A spatial sound profile.
- Long battery life.
- Thin padding.
Looking for Something Else?
If you want headphones, we got headphones. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Bluetooth Headphones for Commuting, the Best Headphones for Skiing or Snowboarding, the Best Headphones with Microphone, the Best Lightweight Headphones, and the Best Podcast Headphones you can buy in 2021.
Also, take a look at our comprehensive reviews of the Best Lightning Headphones for iPhone iPad, the Best Bluetooth Headphones Under $200, the Best aptX Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Headphones with Google Assistant Integration, and the Best Neckband Headphones currently available.
Bowers & Wilkins PX Review – Final Thoughts
The Bowers and Wilkins PX headphones are some of the most stylish headphones available. They are not the cheapest headphones, though. This is a case of “you get what you pay for,” and with the B&W PX, you get a balanced spatial sound. As long as you do not prefer bass above all else, these headphones will not disappoint.
Battery life is also superb coming in at 22 hours with ANC enabled. ANC performs well no matter if you are in the city, the office, or on a plane. Even though they are four years old, they still outperform many other headphones in the same price range. Our only complaint is that we wish the headband had more padding. Other than that, there is not much to fault.
So, until next time, happy listening.