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Bowers & Wilkins PX7 and PX5 in the double test - Premium sound for every taste

Worlds of sound. With the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 and PX5, we are comparing the two premium wireless headphones from the English sound smithy. The most striking difference is the design. You can read about the other differences between the two headphones here.
Daniel Schmidt, 👁 Daniel Schmidt (translated by DeepL / Ninh Duy), 🇩🇪 🇮🇹 ...

The PX Series is the premium headphones in the Bowers & Wilkins headphone range, and is synonymous with quality workmanship, materials and sound. With the PX7 and the PX5 we are testing the two current models.

The B&W PX7 is a circumaural headphone, while the PX5 rests on the ears and has slightly smaller drivers. The rest of the equipment is largely identical. To find out which headphone is best suited to which user, please read the test here.

Specifications

Bowers & Wilkins PX5 PX7
Wearing method On-Ear Over-Ear
Design closed closed
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0, jack (3.5 mm) Bluetooth 5.0, jack (3.5 mm)
Speakers 35.6 mm driver, full range, 10 - 30,000 Hz 43.6 mm driver, full range, 10 - 30,000 Hz
Input impedance 20 kOhm 20 kOhm
Audio Codecs SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive
Battery capacity 25 hours Bluetooth with ANC 30 hours Bluetooth with ANC
Charging port USB-C USB-C
Weight 241 gram 310 gram
Microphones 2 microphones for calls, 4 microphones for ANC 2 microphones for calls, 4 microphones for ANC
Scope of delivery headphones, 1.2 m stereo audio cable, 1.2 m USB-A-to-USB-C cable, carrying case, documentation headphones, 1.2 m stereo audio cable, 1.2 m USB-A-to-USB-C cable, carrying case, documentation
Price (UVP) 300,- EUR 400,- EUR

Housing and ergonomics - First class quality

The material selection is identical for both Bowers & Wilkins headphones. At the center is the headband, which is made of carbon fiber composite materials. The outer side of the headband is covered with a fabric, which is also used as a design element on the ear cups. The inner padding is made of leather and makes wearing the headphones very comfortable in both cases. The ear pads are also covered with leather and are pressed against the head with light pressure. This is felt slightly higher with the PX7.

The processing as such is excellent. Only the protruding metal elements on the outside of the ear cup of the PX5 lose some of their color coating on the hard edges over time.

The wearing comfort of both headphones is excellent. Here, the personal preference regarding the way the headphones are worn should be the main focus. The PX7 is available in grey and silver, the PX5 in grey and blue.

Features and operation - Bowers & Wilkins headphones leave nothing to be desired

The Bowers & Wilkins PX5 and PX7 have identical technical features. Both support all common audio codecs for Bluetooth, even the current aptX Adaptive. Only on the Sony Codec LDAC must be done without. For this purpose, an active noise cancelling function (ANC) has been integrated and the possibility to perceive the ambient noise via the outside microphones so that it is not necessary to take off the headphones.

The configuration is done via the app, which is available free of charge in Apples App Store as well as the Google Play Store. The app is not available in the AppGallery, but can be downloaded on Huawei devices via Petal Search (APKPure). The app can be used to install firmware updates, adjust or deactivate noise reduction, manage the connected devices or configure the wear sensor. Media operation or call control is performed via physical buttons directly on the respective headphones. These have a short, crisp stroke and always react reliably during testing.

The PX headphones can manage up to eight paired devices.

For the PX5, we recommend reducing the sensitivity of the wear sensor to low, as otherwise, during the test, faster head movements could cause the playback to pause because the sensor was a bit hasty.

Voice Quality and Noise Cancelling - Bowers & Wilkins with strong ANC

The active noise cancellation of the headphones is on a good level with both the Bowers & Wilkins PX5 and the PX7. The latter has the additional advantage of passively shielding the ambient noise better, which is why the overall impression in this respect is wafer thin in front of the PX5. However, we see the competition from Bose and Sony a bit further ahead in this area.

The voice quality during phone calls is okay, but is certainly not a highlight. The wearer is reproduced dull on both models and the Bowers & Wilkins tended to oversteer with volume fluctuations.

Sound - Living sound worlds in the PX5 and PX7

The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 has slightly larger drivers than the PX5 (35.6 mm/~1.4 in) at 43.6 mm (~1.7 in). In terms of sound, both headphones are in a class of their own and are able to convince with their very detailed and powerful reproduction. It makes no difference whether rock or dance music is preferred. Likewise, classical music instruments are reproduced in a very differentiated and clearly separated manner. A little dream!

With the PX5, however, special care must be taken to ensure that the drivers are correctly positioned on the ears, otherwise the bass frequencies in particular will be somewhat shorter. The sound output via the 3.5 mm audio jack is at a similar level. If you own an Android smartphone with the support of the corresponding high-res codecs and the necessary source material, you will notice an audible difference.

Pink noise measurements (PX5)
Pink noise measurements (PX5)
harmonic distortion and noise (PX5)
harmonic distortion and noise (PX5)
Level for left and right channel (PX5)
Level for left and right channel (PX5)
Pink noise measurements (PX7)
Pink noise measurements (PX7)
harmonic distortion and noise (PX7)
harmonic distortion and noise (PX7)
Level for left and right channel (PX7)
Level for left and right channel (PX7)

Battery life - All night long and beyond

Bowers & Wilkins does not give exact specifications about the batteries in the headphones. With 25 or 30 hours, the runtimes are supposed to be very long, though.

In our test with an adjusted volume, the PX5 even put a few hours on top and reached over 32 hours. If the ANC is used, almost 30 hours are still possible. With the PX7, however, the runtimes are a bit shorter. Without active noise suppression, its batteries last just under 30 hours, and with it, it's even almost ten hours less.

PX5 PX7
Battery life (@ 65 dB) 32 h 18 min 29 h 29 min

Conclusion - Ode to Joy

In test: Bowers & Wilkins PX5 and PX7. Test equipment provided by Bowers & Wilkins Germany.
In test: Bowers & Wilkins PX5 and PX7. Test equipment provided by Bowers & Wilkins Germany.

Whether the choice is a PX5 or PX7, Bowers Wilkins engineers have done an excellent job on both headphones, so whether the headphones are worn on the ears or circumaural is up to you.

In everyday use, the PX7s are easier to handle because they are more forgiving of a less than perfect fit. In addition, the wearer recognition was less sensitive in the test for the more expensive model.

Bowers & Wilkins sets the bar high for good sound.

Both headphones have a warm, deep sound that is very detailed and powerfully pampers the ears of their wearers. Thanks to the broad codec support, lossless titles can also be played back excellently via Bluetooth.

 

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Bowers & Wilkins PX7 and PX5 in the double test - Premium sound for every taste
Daniel Schmidt, 2020-11- 8 (Update: 2020-11- 8)
Daniel Schmidt
Editor of the original article: Daniel Schmidt - Managing Editor Mobile - @Tellheim
Already as a little dwarf I was fascinated by my Commodore 16 and ignited my enthusiasm for computers. With my first modem I surfed the Btx and later also the World Wide Web. The latest technology trends have always fascinated me and this is especially true for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. For Notebookcheck, I have been on the ball since 2013 and I am looking forward to the innovations that are still to come and that we will put to the acid test for you.