One of my favorite pairs of headphones is the Bowers & Wilkins P7 which I reviewed early last year. Now I’ve got the Bowers & Wilkins PX in hand, and I’ve got to say, they took everything I liked about the P7 and added even more features: a sleeker style, adaptive noise canceling, 22 hours battery life, and intuitive commands.
As always, opening a Bowers & Wilkins box is a treat. Nestled inside you’ll find the headphones; under the tray holding them, there’s a quilted cloth travel bag, a USB-C charging cable, and a headphone cable in case you ever need it. There are also booklets containing safety and warranty information, info on the Bowers & Wilkins headphone app (for iOS and Android), headphone registration information (which includes an offer for free music), and a quick start guide. Let’s take a look …
The Bowers & Wilkins PX headphones are made with a ballistic nylon headband with ~0.5″ leather headband pad and ear pads; the cups are made of ballistic nylon; the ear cup arms are made of metal, and there are metal accents on the headband. They weigh 11.7 ounces. and the headband can be adjusted to reach from 12″ to 15″. The overall design is sleek, and the headphones look impressive and dare I say it? Expensive.
The PX headphones fold flat, but they do not fold into themselves like the P7s did. While they are easy enough to slide into a backpack, I can’t help but miss the more compact when folded form-factor of the P7s.
The Bowers & Wilkins PX headphones are available in two colorways: blue with gold (PX Soft Gold) or black and grey (PX Space Grey). I really like the subtle differences in the PX Space Grey, but if you are looking for something flashier, the PX Soft Gold will definitely work.
The headband is comfortable, but there is a bit of squeeze to the headband that may be tighter on those with wider heads. On the smallest length setting, they fit my head perfectly; I can wear them all day with no discomfort, and I’ve slept while wearing them on planes.
As with all of their headphones, the B&W branding is evident on the ear cups. I don’t find it obnoxious, but some might.
There are no controls on the left ear cup. On the right, you’ll find a microphone, a Type-C charging port, a headphone jack, an LED indicator, a sliding power/Bluetooth button, noise cancelation on/off, a volume down button, and a multifunction button that answers or hangs up the phone when pressed once, or it will play/pause the music when pressed once, fast forward the music to the next track when pressed twice, or reverse to the previous song when pressed three times. The last button is a volume up button.
To clarify the operation of the power/Bluetooth button, when you turn the headphones on for the first time by sliding the power button forward, they will automatically enter pairing mode and a blue LED will flash. If you need to pair a second device, you’ll press the power button and hold it until the blue LED flashes.You can pair up to eight devices to the headphones, and you can be connected to two devices simultaneously. To turn the headphones on, you simply slide the power button forward and hold it until a green LED glows; to turn the headphones off, you slide the button again and a red LED will flash three times. Due to their proximity sensors (assuming that you have that option turned on in the app), the PX headphones are designed so that you don’t ever really need to turn them off, though.
The earcups are heavily padded; they measure about an inch thick, and they are very comfortable on my ears. On their own, they do much to block outside noise, but if it’s not enough, or if you are in a noisy environment, you can activate the noise cancellation by pushing the button.
Each headband side is discreetly marked with an L or an R.
I like the oval earcup design better than the rectangular design of the P7s; it perfectly fits over my ears without looking bulky. I also like the blackout design versus the shinier chrome.
When charging the Bowers & Wilkins PX, a green LED will blink until the headphones are fully charged; at that point, the green LED will solidly glow. The headphones arrive with about a 50% charge, and it doesn’t take long to top them off. It’s worth mentioning that you can also play audio through the headphones when they are connected and charging via the USB-C cable on a computer — no Bluetooth necessary.
The PX have sensors built in to help you manage your power and automatically play or pause the music depending upon whether they are on or off your ear. Sensors built into the center of each cup intelligently determine if you are using the headphones or if you have removed them — even just by lifting one side off your ear to better hear someone speaking. If they are off for longer than two minutes, the headphones will turn themselves off to conserve the 850mAh Lithium Polymer battery. I’ve gone for days with heavy listening without needing to recharge — the 22 hours battery life sounds about right.