The name Bowers & Wilkins is no stranger to the discerning audiophile. This England-based company has been manufacturing premium home, audio speakers, since 1966. Their car audio systems are found in luxury cars like Maserati, BMW, McLaren, and Volvo. But Bowers & Wilkins is not just high-end audio components. The attention to design is evident in every aspect of their products making them as artful as they are audiophile.
The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Carbon headphones are the latest edition of their flagship PX7 Active Noise Cancelling headphones released in 2019. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the release and success of their first headphone design, Bowers & Wilkins has taken the original PX7 (an over the-ear-design with custom 43.6mm drivers) and added a new carbon black finish with diamond-cut detailing and short strand carbon fiber frames. These new details make for a great new look and feel. They also serve to reduce weight to give added comfort during long listening sessions.
For $399, The PX7’s come in a beautifully molded, gray fabric-covered, hard-shell case with an embroidered Bowers & Wilkins logo. The PX7’s earcups rotate back flat to allow a much slimmer profile when stored. Accessories also include a quick-start operating card, manual, 3.5mm cable for a traditional, wired connection as well as USB-C to standard USB (USB-A) charging cable that also allows audio to pass through while simultaneously charging. These features are especially great for those of us with laptops or phones that no longer have a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Technically speaking, The PX7 Carbon Edition headphones deliver on all counts. With both Qualcomm aptX Adaptive and Sony’s LDAC codecs for higher-res audio, they deliver a premium Bluetooth listening experience capable of up to 96kHz/24-Bit resolution.
The PX7’s battery offers a hefty 30 hours of active noise-canceling on a single charge exceeding that of some of its closest competitors like the Bose 700 (20 hours) or Sennheiser’s Momentum 3 Wireless (17 hours). Got a Zoom meeting and you’re low on battery? A quick 10-15 minute charge will give you an extra 5 hours of run time. This is a great bonus feature that is not found on the Bose 700 model.
Another feature I found useful is the ability to pull one of the earcups away from your head and pause the music until it is placed back over your ear. This feature is also found on the Sony WH-1000XM4, but not the Bose 700.
Audio quality on calls through my iPhone X Max could be better. I noticed that audio during phone calls and zoom meetings felt a little “pinched”. This is likely due to the noise-canceling algorithm. I have no doubt this will improve as Bowers & Wilkins updates its firmware over time.
One other minor complaint I have about the PX7’s is the location of the volume and call answer/disconnect buttons on the back of the right earpiece. Sometimes, adjusting them or removing them from your head results in accidentally adjusting the volume or disconnecting a call. Not a huge issue, but worth mentioning.
PX7 users will want to download the free accompanying Bowers & Wilkins headphone app on Apple’s App Store or Google Play. This allows you to customize your listening experience with 3 different noise-canceling modes as well as a slider to adjust the perfect amount of ambient noise you receive.
The app also offers soundscapes featuring 6 different relaxation sounds that, when combined with the active noise-canceling creates a relaxing, stress-reducing atmosphere. The sleep timer is also a thoughtful feature that makes this really practical as a way to lower stress and promote sleep. It would be really nice to see Bowers & Wilkins add more soundscapes to this part of the app as time goes on.
The app also serves as a way to receive firmware updates and change other settings such as voice prompts, standby mode, and the wear sensors which tell your headphones when to turn on and off based on when it detects that they are being worn.
For those looking for the best in audio resolution combined with active, adaptive noise-canceling with the freedom of Bluetooth, look no further than the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Carbon.