Bowers & Wilkins PX7

By December 13, 2019 Headphone

 

Hugely impressive noise-cancelling headphones

The PXs were among the first headphones to support Qualcomm’s aptX HD Bluetooth – a high-quality codec that enables the wireless transmission of 24-bit hi-res audio – but the PX7s and their siblings, the PX5 on-ears and PI3 and PI4 sporty earbuds, are the first aptX Adaptive headphones to hit the market.
Announced at IFA last year, the next-gen Bluetooth technology combines the 24-bit/48kHz capability of the now widely adopted aptX HD w

ith the benefits of aptX Low Latency (improved synchronicity of audio and video content between your source and headphones).

So, if you’re using the PX7s for gaming or smartphone apps, the sound in your ears should be instantaneous. The aptX Adaptive codec has also been designed to improve the robustness of the wireless connection by taking into account the external environment around you to reduce the frequency of drop-outs.

The other headline feature is noise-cancelling. Here, pressing the button on the headphones’ left cup allows you to cycle through modes (‘low’, ‘medium’ and ‘high’) by. ‘Low’ is fine for keeping office chatter and background noise out, while ‘high’ effectively cocoons you in silence, even during the noisiest real-life scenarios.

Want to hear a plane announcement or dip into a conversation quickly without having to take the headphones off? Pressing and holding the noise cancellation button for two seconds will initiate an ambient mode.

While the original PXs boasted 22 hours of wireless ANC playback, the PX7s increase that battery life to 30 hours – in line with the class-leading Sony WH-1000XM3s. A 15-minute charge via the USB-C port provides five hours of audio playback.

The PX7s are clear evolutions of their predecessors, with a branded badge and fabric finish on the elliptical earcups. There have also been some revisions to the design in the name of improved comfort.

Most crucially, the arms are now made from a custom carbon fibre composite that is lighter than the metal used in the PXs’ design. While we’ve always found the PXs comfortable, they were heavy enough to take a toll on your head during longer periods of listening – but at 310g, compared to 335g, the PX7s do feel notably lighter. The headband is well padded, while earpads clamp with a calculated pressure and provide a good seal.

Elsewhere, the cables are now hidden within the band, and the earcup’s central oval badge is now flush against the new, softer fabric for a more streamlined aesthetic. The Space Grey finish survives, although the PXs’ Soft Gold has been swapped for a sophisticated Silver. We’re pleased to see big ‘L’ and ‘R’ graphics inside the respective ear cups, too.

The PX7s look and feel a little cheaper than their predecessor, but we’d take them for their extra comfort. Ultimately, they’re still one of the more striking pairs of headphones on the market.

Apart from the noise-cancelling button, the playback buttons are located on the right earcup in a logical configuration. The power slider initiates Bluetooth pairing mode, as well as play, pause and skip track and volume controls in a three-button strip. As with the PXs, the PX7s have a proximity sensor, so when you lift an earcup from your head, music is automatically paused – while returning it to your ear conveniently restarts playback.

What’s less convenient is the PX7s’ inability to fold into a more compact form for slinging in a bag. The cups only twist flat to fit into their oval carry case.

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