Bowers & Wilkins PX7 review: Beautifully designed but only average noise canceling

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Over the past nearly ten years of reviewing headphones on my website, I have had my hands on almost every brand of ANC headphones. I have used AirPods Max, Bose QC35, Sony XM3, Beats, etc. The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 noise-canceling headphones are my first experience with this prestigious brand, and I wanted them to be better.

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

There are so many fabulous ANC headphones on the market right now, and I think the Bowers & Wilkins are at the top of the list. But they fall just short of knocking down the industry leaders. Still, there is a lot to love about the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 headphones. Let’s get into the full review.

Specifications

The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 has the following features and specifications:

Wearing StyleBluetooth Wireless Over-Ear Headphones
Technical featuresAdaptive Noise Cancellation
Ambient Pass-Through
Wear-Detection Sensor
Bluetooth® audio – Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX™ Adaptive
USB-C charging & audio interface
3.5mm auxiliary audio interface
Bluetooth CodecsaptX™ Adaptive
aptX™ HD
aptX™ Classic
AAC
SBC
Bluetooth ProfilesA2DP v1.3.1
AVRCP v1.6.1
HFP v1.7.1
HSP v1.2
BLE GATT (Generic Attribute Profile)
Drive units2 x ø 43.6mm full range
Microphones4x mics for ANC and 2x mics for telephony (CVC2 – Clear Voice Communication v2)
Frequency range10Hz to 30kHz
Input impedance20 kOhms
Distortion (THD)<0.3% (1kHz/10mW)
Battery TypeRechargeable Lithium Polymer
Battery Life & Charging30 hrs Bluetooth with ANC, 5hrs with 15min charge
InputsBluetooth, 3.5mm stereo jack, USB-C audio
FinishesSpace Grey, Silver, Carbon
Weight310 grams
Bowers Wilkins PX7 Techaeris 3-min
In The Box

What’s In The Box

  • Bowers & Wilkins PX7
  • 1.2m Stereo Audio Cable
  • 1.2m USB-A to USB-C Cable
  • Hardshell Storage Case
  • Manual and Documentation

Design

I will start the design portion of this review off with the included hardshell case. The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 headphones can be folded flat to fit this surprisingly slim case. The case is covered in a lovely fabric with the Bowers & Wilkins logo in a raised rubber material near the bottom.

The case is flat on the bottom but has a slight curve on the top. It’s very ergonomic and easy to hold and carry. The zipper is solid and operates smoothly with no hanging. The inside of the case is simple, with a small pouch that holds your charging cable and AUX cable. This is one of the nicest headphone cases I’ve ever seen, certainly much better than the AirPods Max bra case.

The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 design is one of the most beautiful on any pair of headphones. The curvy design language is elegant and sophisticated. The materials used throughout are very high quality. The top of the headband is covered in a tightly woven fabric that works its way down to the earcups.

The headband’s underside is nicely padded with a comfortable material that sits well on the top of my head. The arms have an elegant shape and are made of a woven carbon fiber composite that should hold up well over time.

Bowers Wilkins PX7 Techaeris 8-min
Great looking cans!

The front of the earcups are made of aluminum, with the Bowers & Wilkins logo gracefully adorning them. The earcups are padded well and very comfortable, but the cups do not seem replaceable. There are controls on the bottoms of both earcups, which we will cover in the next section. I appreciate that the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 has a sliding on/off switch.

Overall, the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 headphones are some of the best-designed headphones I’ve used. They are also among the most comfortable, especially on the head. I appreciated that the headphone arms seem to be designed to fit larger heads. The earcups also articulate, adding to the comfort by allowing the cups to move with the shape of the wearer’s head.

Ease of Use

I appreciate the ease of use that the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 offers. It is as simple as turning them on, finding them in your Bluetooth settings, and pairing them. Bowers & Wilkins includes an app with the headphones, which we will cover in the next section.

The buttons I mentioned in the design section are handy and straightforward. I especially love that the power button slides. Here’s a rundown of the functionality of these buttons.

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 review: Beautifully designed but only average noise canceling
PX7 – ControlsThe following buttons on the right earpiece are used for media playback
FUNCTIONACTION
Play or pausePress the Multi-function button
once
Play to the next trackPress the Multi-function button twice in quick succession.
Note: functionality is dependent on the source device
Play previous trackPress the Multi-function button three times in quick succession. Note: functionality is dependent on the source device.
Increase VolumePress the volume + button.
Lower VolumePress the volume – button
The following buttons on the right earpiece are used for phone call functionality.
Answer or end callPress the Multi-function button once.
Answer an incoming callWhen an incoming call occurs, press the Multi-function button once.
Decline an incoming callWhen an incoming call occurs, hold the Multi-function for 2 seconds.
Switch between two callsWith two calls active, press the Multi-function button twice.
Merge two callsWith two calls active, hold the Multi-function button for 1 second.
Toggle muteWhile on a call, press the Multifunction button three times.
The following button on the left earpiece is used for ANC and Ambient Passthrough.
Noise CancellingThis button is located on the left earcup and will toggle through four settings (High, Low, Auto, and OFF)
Ambient PassthroughThis is the same button as the ANC button and can be controlled by pressing and holding the button for 2-seconds to enable and then holding it again for 2-seconds to disable.
The status LED indicator is located on the right earpiece
ILLUMINATIONOPERATIONAL STATE
WhiteBattery charge > 30%
AmberBattery charge between 30% and 10%
RedBattery charge < 10%
Red FlashingBattery charge insufficient for headphone operation
Blue FlashingPairing mode enabled
Blue (2 sec solid)Pairing successful
Blue flashing (calls)Incoming call
Green flashingRapid charging
Green solidBattery charge full, trickle charging

The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 also have wear sensors in both earcups enabling intelligent battery conservation by entering standby when removed from the head. The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 automatically wakes and connects to the last connected Bluetooth device when worn again.

The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 will auto-pause during media playback when either earpiece is lifted from the ear. Playback will auto-resume when the earpiece is placed back on the ear. I appreciate this feature as I get interrupted multiple times a day when working, and it is nice to have that auto-pause feature.

Overall, using these is straightforward, even with multiple buttons and functions; it is simple to get a handle on.

App/Software

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 review: Beautifully designed but only average noise canceling
Screenshots of the Bowers & Wilkins app

The app included with the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 headphones is straightforward and clean. The app allows you to name your headphones, adjust the wear sensors, turn voice prompts on or off, set the standby timer, update the software, and reset the headphones.

You can also adjust the notice cancellation and ambient passthrough in the app, and you can even choose from soundscapes. Soundscapes are a nice touch from Bowers & Wilkins. Sometimes you want some soothing natural sounds and not music; this offers those.

There are no controls for EQ or any sound presets to choose from. This is fine; sometimes, these apps can get convoluted, and it’s good to be simple.

Overall, the app is easy to use, and no one should have any issues with it. The most important part of this app is keeping your Bowers & Wilkins PX7 headphones updated.

Sound

Bowers Wilkins PX7 Techaeris 5-min
Drivers

So now we come to it, sound. Let me start with the good. The sound on the PX7 is very good. The soundstage has a bit more bass than I like, but it’s not enough to make me say the sound is horrible. I would have preferred the bass frequencies to be pulled back just slightly. Sometimes, especially in bass-heavy songs, the stage feels overdriven.

That’s not totally a bad thing because I am fully aware that many other users appreciate the bass pushed forward slightly. While more dominant than I like, the bass here is acceptable enough to me that these are very useable.

The mids and the highs sound balanced and sit well in the mix when the bass isn’t driving over them. Volume levels are great as well. The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 can be pushed to the max without breakup or sound degradation. But I always keep my volume at 50 – 60%, which sounds perfect on these headphones.

Ambient passthrough, which I don’t use very often, also works nicely. The mics engage and allow the room to come into your ears while still allowing you to enjoy your music. It works just as well as most of its competition. Apple’s AirPods Max, by far, has the best ambient passthrough quality, but the PX7s are good too.

So here we go. I believe the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 headphones struggle with active noise cancellation. Hear me out! If you were to buy the PX7s as your first pair of noise-canceling headphones, you would be amazed and thoroughly satisfied with their performance.

But if I am being honest, having used ANC headphones from Sony, Apple, Bose, and others. The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 fall just short of the competition. And that’s not to disparage them in any way, but honestly, there are headphones with better ANC in this price range. I wanted the PX7s to excel with their noise cancellation because there are so many other things I love about them.

Overall, the sound quality is excellent, even though the bass frequencies are tuned a little too heavy for my liking. Mids and highs are excellent. Ambient passthrough works well. Unfortunately, I had to ding the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 headphones on one of its key features, noise cancellation. It’s not horrible; it’s just that the PX7s are competing at the same price point as other premium ANC headphones, and those others are simply better in this one key feature.

Reception/Call Quality

Bluetooth reception is industry standard, no surprises here. It works fine; it will start cutting out 30-40 feet from the source, perfectly normal. The call quality is also excellent.

Battery Life

30-hours of battery life is the claim made by the Bowers & Wilkins PX7, and they live up to that just fine. This battery life is competitive and on par with other headphones in this range and with this feature set.

Price/Value

Priced at US$399, I believe the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 are worth the asking price for those who want a pair of headphones that sound excellent and have noise canceling that is good enough. For users who have never used a pair of ANC headphones, you will be delighted.

Wrap Up

There is a lot to love about the Bowers & Wilkins PX7. These headphones have a lot of great features; they are well designed, well made, super comfortable, sound amazing, and look fantastic. Their one flaw, which may not apply to everyone, is the average noise-canceling capability.

But I’ve said it a few times already; if these are your first ANC headphones, you will be amazed. If you’ve used other ANC headphones from other makers, you may be underwhelmed with the ANC. Remember, though; mine is but one opinion across the interwebs; seek out others and come to your own conclusions.

Last Updated on June 21, 2022.

Bowers & Wilkins PX7

US$399

Design

9.5/10

Ease of Use

9.5/10

App/Software

9.0/10

Sound

8.0/10

Reception/Call Quality

9.5/10

Battery Life

9.0/10

Price/Value

8.5/10

Nailed it

  • These are at the top of the heap when it comes to design and looks
  • High quality materials used
  • Very very comfortable
  • Easy to use and setup
  • The app is simple and doesn't overthink the experience
  • Excellent reception and call quality
  • Good battery life
  • I like that B&W used an actual switch for power on/off

Needs work

  • Noise canceling is not up to snuff with its competitors
  • Sound quality leans in favor of the low end. Bass lovers will appreciate this but I prefer a neutral soundstage
  • The price is on par with its competition but given the ANC is not, you may want to consider alternatives
Bowers Wilkins PX7 Feature Image Property of Techaeris Jerry the puppy-min
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