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The bowers and Wilkins PX are a pair of beautifully designed active noise canceling headphones. But lets see how they compare to what I feel are the best ANC headphones on the market right now for 2017 and 2018, the Sony 1000XM2. Will the PX take the title from the 1000XM2’s? Lets find out! Don’t forget to like comment and subscribe and you can watch either of these headphones individual reviews here after you’re done watching this video.
Remember, this isn’t a full review on either of these headphones, I’m just trying to point out the most important differences between them so I can help you with your purchase decision. Regarding price, the Bowers and Wilkins PX are slightly more expensive than the Sony 1000XM2 retailing for $400. Where as the Sony 1000XM2 currently retail for $350. But Sony routinely put their products on sale so who knows, maybe they’ll randomly go on sale for $300 sometimes. So, if you want to pick either of 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. Check them out cause you might get lucky.
First off, lets go over build quality and design. Obviously these headphones look very different from one another and I feel the B&W PX are the best looking headphones I’ve reviewed on the channel so far. The PX have a stainless steel body, ballistic nylon around the ear cups and head band, leather that feels very smooth and soft after its been broken in, and theres a threaded cable that runs down the sides of the headphones. The ear cups swivel and pivot very smoothly and theres no cracking or squeaking when flexing the headband. They’re a pair of very well built headphones that are just as much a fashion statement as they are audio equipment. Where as the Sony 1000XM2 are more about functionality. The premium materials used on the PX does make them a little heavier weighing at 335 grams where as the Sony 1000XM2 weigh in at 277 grams. Its not a big deal but it is noticeable. The 1000XM2’s are mostly made out of plastic, have a thin stainless steel headband, and they have synthetic leather on the ear pads, headband, and outer portion of the ear cups. The ear cups also pivot, swivel, and fold up very smoothly and theres no cracking or squeaking when flexing the headband. But the built quality on the Bowers and Wilkins PX is just on a whole other level. Now regarding the headband cracking issue on the Sony’s I know some people might be wondering about. After 2 months of heavy usage I’m happy to report theres still no cracking on the 1000XM2’s.
Now when it comes to comfort, the Bowers and Wilkins PX are not for the cranially gifted… as in if you have a big head like me they’re not for you. The PX have a good amount of clamping force and even after they’ve been broken in they do cause me some discomfort in the jaw area after a while of wearing them, but if you have a smaller head you’ll be fine. Where as the 1000XM2’s will fit basically everyone. But the ear cup designs are very different. They both go over your ears but the 1000XM2’s feel more cramped with a whole bunch of padding pressing against your head where as the PX do a much better job of encasing your ears. The encased design of the PX give your ears a lot more room and the padding doesn't over heat as much. And just putting it out there, the Bose QC35 II are still more comfortable than both of these headphones. The ear cups have a similar encased design as the Bowers and Wilkins PX but they have much less clamping force than both the Sony and B&W.
Ok, lets get into tech specs. Both of these headphones are using bluetooth 4.1 and they both have APTXHD audio. But the Bowers and Wilkins PX have a USB type C port where as the Sony 1000XM2’s are still using a micro USB port. Also, the B&W PX can be connected to 2 devices at the same where as the Sony’s can only be connected to one device at time. And for premium headphones in 2017 and 2018, being able to be paired to multiple devices at one time should be a no brainer and sony should have thrown in a USB type c port instead of using the older port. But the Sony 1000XM2’s can be used passively with a wired connection where as the PX have to be powered on even if you want to use a wired connection. Also the 1000XM2’s have NFC where as the PX don’t, but since google just announced fast pairing I don’t think its that big of an issue.
Now when it comes to battery life, the Sony 1000XM2 is the winner. With noise cancelation turned on I typically average 32 hours of playback time. With noise cancelation turned off I typically average about 38 hours. Where as the B&W PX has an average battery life compared to other headphones on the market. With noise cancelation turned on I average about 24 hours of playback times and with noise cancelation turned off I average about 30 hours.
And unfortunately, the Bowers and Wilkins PX doesn’t have quick charging. Which could be a problem if you find yourself with a dead battery while traveling. But the Sony 1000XM2 does have quick charging, but its not the best out there. If you plug them in for 10 minutes you should get about 70 minutes of playback time. Its better than nothing.
Regarding noise cancelation, I like them both very much for two very important reasons. They both have very little to no cabin pressure and they don’t have any hissing when you’re not playing music. They both pick up very little wind noise as well. But the Bowers and Wilkins PX does pick up less wind noise than the 1000XM2. Actually… the PX pick up the least amount of wind noise of all of the ANC headphones I’ve tested so far. You can also adjust how strong you would like the noise cancelation to be on both of these headphones through their apps and you can also adjust the amount of ambient sound you would like to let in. Which is good for safety reasons if you’re walking around in the city or so people can still get your attention if you’re working at the office or at school. But over all, the noise cancelation on the Sony 1000XM2 does out preform the noise cancelation on the Bowers And Wilkins PX. Although the PX do a really good job of blocking out constant low frequency sounds its not as good at blocking out chatter like the Sony 1000XM2. Also if you want the 1000XM2 can automatically adjust the noise cancelation depending on what you’re doing.
Even though the Sony 1000XM2 does have the better noise cancelation, the Bowers and Wilkins PX has the better sound quality. In general the PX have an even sound signature which is what audiophiles prefer. Even though you can adjust the EQ of the 1000XM2 directly from its app… something you cant do with the PX unless you use a third party app… the definition, clarity, and soundstage of the sony isn’t as good as the B&W PX.
Going back to the design of the ear cups on the PX, they do a better job of encasing your ears and provide an over all better listening experience. The lows get much deeper and the highs are much more precise. But this is with noise cancelation turned off on both headphones. If you turn noise cancelation ON then the sound quality on the PX does deteriorate a bit. The Sound stage narrows up a bit and the lows aren’t as deep.
Where as the 1000XM2 sounds equally as good with noise cancelation turned on or off. So both headphones with noise cancelation turned on are pretty evenly matched. The PX only noticeably sound better than the 1000XM2 when noise cancelation is turned off. But none the less, both of these headphones sound good… I’m just trying to be hyper critical.
Both of these headphones also have some unique features to consider. The Bowers and Wilkins PX have wear sensors, and they’re basically proximity sensors in the middle of each ear cup. The idea is that when you put them on they’ll automatically turn on and play music and they’ll automatically go into a low power mode when you place them around your neck or place them on a table. And if you have them on and take one ear cup off to listen to someone talking to you they’ll automatically pause your music so you can hear your surroundings and they’ll resume playing when you put them back on.
although in theory this is cool, its not perfect just yet. Sometimes the headphones will start pausing and playing your music randomly. But hopefully Bowers and Wilkins will fix this issue with a software update soon. But personally I prefer to use the headphones with the wear sense turned off.
And the Sony 1000XM2 have quick attention, and this is my favorite feature by far. If you have your headphones on and someone is talking to you all you have to do is cover the right ear cup and the headphones will lower the volume of what ever you’re listening to and let all of the ambient sound in. So you can talk to someone without having to remove your headphones. And when you uncover the right ear cup everything goes back to normal.
Like I said, I love this feature and it much sleeker than Bowers and Wilkins solution. Also real quick when it comes to the microphone on either of these headphones the 1000XM2 sounds better but if you want to hear a microphone test on either of these headphone check out their full reviews.
Picking a winner here is going to be harder than usual because I really like both of these headphones. But if I had to pick just one I would go with the Sony 1000XM2. Excluding comfort, cause like I said earlier the Bowers and Wilkins PX aren’t the best for people with bigger heads. The Sony 1000XM2 have the better battery life, they give you more customization options through their app, and the noise cancelation is slightly better. I feel the 1000XM2 is the safe option for most people. But the Bowers And Wilkins PX are still a great pair of ANC headphones for people who’s main concern is sound quality. Like I said earlier, the PX sound better than the Sony’s but only with noise cancelation turned off. And the PX are the best looking headphones I’ve reviewed so far. When it comes to my ANC headphones standings is would go first place Sony 1000XM2, second goes to B&W PX, and third goes to the Bose QC35 II. But again, this isn’t a full review on either of these headphones I’m just trying to point out the most important differences between them so I can help you with your purchase decision. If you want to learn more about either of these headphones tap the icon on the top right to watch their full reviews.