Written by Cheryl Tan
The first thing that catches your eye with the new PX7 from Bowers & Wilkins is how great they look and feel. The grey fabric covering the sides of the earcups and the top of the headband look and feel premium, while plush leather padding on the earcups and the headband doesn’t look plasticky or cheap.
Bowers & Wilkins has gone with a carbon fibre composite for the arms that has reduced the weight of the headphones slightly from the previous generation, and it has the added effect of making the headphones look really cool and unique. Bonus points for being relatively scratch-resistant, so the headphones won’t look too dinged up if you just toss them into your bag.
And thank god for that, because these aren’t a cheap pair of headphones. At S$619, you definitely want to feel like you’ve got what you paid for. These aren’t as light as the Bose NC 700 or the Sony WH-1000XM3, at 310g, but that added weight does make it feel less like a toy and more like a premium gadget.
Comfort-wise, I didn’t find any pinching on the crown of my head, but the clamping force did put a bit of strain on my jaw after long periods of listening.
Bowers & Wilkins claims the headphones last up to 30 hours on a full charge, which is on par with the WH-1000XM3, and my experience is about on par with that estimate (listening at around 60-70% volume).
Let’s talk about noise cancellation. Right off the bat, I can confirm that it’s not as great as Sony’s, but I personally feel that the ANC on the PX7 is on par, if not better, than the ANC on the Bose NC 700.
I could still hear some muffled chatter from my seatmates on the plane, but most of the engine rumble was removed and I managed to get a decent nap during my five-hour flight.
Sound quality is where these headphones shine, though. The bass was punchy and tight while remaining controlled and well defined. Mids are crisp and clear as well, and I particularly enjoyed songs like Rihanna’s California King Bed and The Revivalists’ Wish I Knew You where the guitar was more prominent.
Vocals were sufficiently weighty and tended to be a bit more forward. Treble was a bit subdued for my taste, but these headphones do bring across sufficient energy and brightness. The soundstage is wide and airy, with excellent separation and imaging.
The one gripe I have with these headphones is that firstly, they don’t fold up into themselves. Only the earcups swivel to fit into the case, resulting in a bigger footprint than the Sony WH-1000XM3.
Aside from that, however, I’m impressed with Bowers & Wilkins supporting aptX Adaptive, which combines aptX HD and aptX Low Latency. I’ve experienced next to no latency issues with these headphones.
Also? These support multipoint so you can connect them to your laptop to stream music from, as well as your phone so you can easily pick up calls if one comes in. This feature is still overlooked by most headphone manufacturers, so I’m very happy with what Bowers & Wilkins has packed into the PX7.
So is it an alternative to the WH-1000XM3? I’d say yes. For people looking for the best ANC, the Sony WH-1000XM3 still wins. But if you’re looking for great sound quality, stylish headphones with a good level of noise cancellation, the PX7 is a worthy alternative. I would go as far as to say that these are my favourite headphones in terms of design.
The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 (S$619) is distributed by The Experts Group in Singapore and is available at their showroom at #04-09, Funan Mall.