Bowers And Wilkins PX Review

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The Bowers and Wilkins PX is B&W’s first attempt at wireless active noise canceling headphones. And for their first try they did very well. The Bowers and Wilkins PX sound phenomenal and look like something frank gehry (the architect) would have designed. But they do have their quirks. So, are the Bowers and Wilkins PX right for you? We’re about to find out, don’t forget to like comment and subscribe and you can watch some of my other videos here after you’re done watching this video. 

Lets talk money, the Bowers and Wilkins PX retail for $400 so they’re slightly more expensive than the Sony 1000XM2 and the Bose QC35 II. But you have two colors to choose from, Space Grey and soft gold. And I have to say, they both look great. If you want to pick these headphones up I’ll have links in the description below and I’ll keep them updated so you can get the best deal possible. 

Unboxing the Bowers and Wilkins PX is very similar to unboxing an apple product. You slide the lid off and front and center are the head phones. Underneath you’ll find a Dimond weave carrying pouch that looks just as good as the headphones themselves. But if you plan on traveling a lot with these headphones I would invest in a hard shell carrying case. Inside the carrying pouch you’ll find some documentation, an audio cable and a USB they C cable. 

And speaking of USB type C, the B&W PX are one of the first headphones to actually use the new port instead of a micro USB port like Sony, Bose, and Beats did on their newest headphones. And they should have known better. Next to the USB type C port you’ll find a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack. A little further up you’ll also find the power button that you slide to turn the head phones on or off. And if you press and hold it you’ll put the headphones into pairing mode. And above that is your noise cancelation button. And you’ll also find the larger independent volume up and volume down buttons and in the center is the multipurpose button to control your music playback. Single press to to play or pause, double press to skip a track, triple press to go back a track and press and hold to activate siri. Although they are very raised and have great tactile feed back they can be hard to tell apart at times. Personally I would have preferred if they were textured. 

The overall design and build quality of the Bowers and Wilkins PX is just superb. By far these are my favorite looking headphones. They look very elegant and people have stopped me to ask me what headphones these were. You’ve got a stainless steel body, tight ballistic nylon around the ear cups and headband, and a braided cable running down the sides of the headphones. They’re a pair of very sturdy and well built headphones. The ear cups pivot and swivel very gracefully and the headphones can be laid flat, but unfortunately they do not fold up. Regarding the leather around the ear cups and head band, when I first got the them it felt very cheap and plastic, but after a few days the leather did get softer and smoother. The ear pads themselves are magnetically attached so they’re super easy to remove and clean and they’re just as easy to put back on. 

Regarding comfort, these headphones are not for everybody. Especially for people with big heads like me. Right out of the box these headphones do have a lot of clamping force almost a little more than Beats Studio3’s. But after wearing them for awhile they do break in. But even though the padding on these headphones is plush, there isn’t enough of it. So after awhile of wearing them I do have some discomfort in the jaw area. But thats just me, if you have a smaller head you’re probably going to be just fine. The ear cups them selves are very similar to the Bose QC35 II’s, they do a very good job of encasing your ears and having very little surface area in contact with your head when you have them on. The padding also doesnt rest on any portion of your ear like the Sony 1000XM2 or Beats Studio3’s do. And over heating isn’t a problem. 

Now lets get into the tech specs, these headphones are using bluetooth 4.1 and can be connected to 2 devices at the same time. Which is good, But since B&W decided to use USB Type C on their headphones I think it would have been cool as well if they decided to use bluetooth 5.0 instead. But anyway, they are good for about 40 feet of range. But unfortunately for android users these headphones don’t have NFC. BUT they do have APTXHD audio which I feel is more important since google just announced Fast pairing. And these headphones also connect to an app which I will go into in a minute. While testing these headphones I did notice there was about a half second latency when watching youtube videos with them. So lips weren’t perfectly in sync, but it wasn’t anything too bad. When you power these headphones up and they connect to you device they will play a chime. But unfortunately there are no voice prompts or chimes that tell you when Noise cancelation is turned on or off. 

Regarding battery life, its pretty average. With noise cancelation turned on I’ve averaged about 24 hours. With noise cancelation turned off I’ve averaged about 30 hours. But unfortunately these headphones can not be used passively so even if you want to use them with a weired connection they need to be powered on. And unfortunately there is no official quick charging. So don’t get caught with these headphones with zero percent battery. 

The PX also features Bowers & Wilkins own noise cancelation technology. And its ok. Its very good at blocking out constant low frequency sounds like AC units, fans, or road noise while you’re on the bus. But everything else manages to get in even when the noise cancelation is set to the highest level. But when you’re playing music you’re still in your own little world. 

But these headphones do have very little cabin pressure and no hissing which is good for people who might want to use them without playing music. And in my testing these headphone picked up no wind noise. Even while I was on the GWB getting B-roll these headphones picked up no wind noise which is just amazing. Cause for comparison, the Bose QC35 are very sensitive to wind. 

Now when it comes to sound quality, thats where these headphones shine. First off they do require a break in period. But afterwards they do live up to the hype. They have a very even sound signature which is what audiophiles prefer. They have deep bass, very well defined miss, and the highs are very crisp. And theres no noticeable sound distortion at higher volumes. 

I feel these headphones are best suited for Jazz, R&B, Pop or easy listening in general; but not so much Rap or EDM. Even though they have a lot of bass you can’t really feel the music like you would with the 1000XM2 or Studio3’s. But none the less they do sound really good and when the low ends kick in combined with the encased ear cups my ears are constantly perking up when I listen to music with these headphones. 

But these headphones do sound very different with noise cancelation turned on or off. I try to listen to these headphones with noise cancelation turned off as much as I can. Even though these headphones still sound really good with noise cancelation turned on you will notice their sound stage isn’t as wide and the lows aren’t as deep. If you’re an audiophile you’ll notice but if you’re a causal user you probably wont care. 

The Bowers and Wilkins PX also feature wear sense technology which are proximity sensors right in the center of each ear cup. The idea is that when you put the headphones on they will automatically power on and start playing music. When you take them off and place them on your desk or around your neck they will automatically go into a low power state. And if you’re listening to music and take one of your ear cups off to listen to someone talking to you they will automatically pause your music and will only resume playing once the ear cups are back on your ears. 

Even though this is very cool and its what I suggested the Beats Studio3 should have had, its not perfect. Sometimes if you just want to adjust the headphones they will pause and play your music. There are some instances where the headphones will randomly start playing and pausing your music even though you clearly have them on. And even sometimes in the middle of these instances they will go into their low power mode even though you have them on. And even if I adjusted the sensitivity of the wear sensors in the app I would still run into the same problems. So I just ended up using these headphones with the wear sense turned off. But maybe this could be just me, maybe my ears are too small. Hopefully this isn’t a hardware issue and maybe Bowers and Wilkins can fix this with a software update in the future.  

like I mentioned earlier these headphones also have their own app. And the app is pretty basic, you can see your current battery status, toggle wear sense on or off, and choose from the various noise cancelation settings. Just like the Sony 1000XM2 the PX allow you specify how much ambient sound you would like to let in. And you can set your own default for each setting. But unfortunately there is no equalizer in the app it self. Even though these headphones do sound great it would have been nice to at least have the option.

Overall I feel the Bowers and Wilkin PX are the aston Martin of headphones. They are beautifully designed and great at somethings but they do have their quirks. They look amazing and they’re all about sound. The noise cancelation is good and theres no cabin pressure or hissing, but they’re not number one. The wear sensor is cool when it works but hopefully it’ll get better with a software update. Remember these aren’t the best for people with bigger heads but if noise cancelation isn’t your number one priority and you just want something that sounds really good and looks unique you cant go wrong with the Bower And Wilkins PX. For their first try they did very well. But for the PX2’s I would like to see more padding on the ear cups and headband, less clamping force, textured volume buttons, voice prompts, and an equalizer built into the app.