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1 Tweak To Greatness - Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2e Headphones

In this article, we're diving into the essentials of tech-savvy travel, focusing on an often-overlooked but crucial item: travel headphones. As someone who frequently travels, I have come to appreciate the significance of good headphones. Typically, I pack two types - in-ear headphones for their unobtrusiveness, especially useful when trying to sleep on a plane, and over-ear headphones for their comfort and superior sound quality. Moreover, over-ear headphones eliminate the need for constant charging, a real hassle on long flights like my upcoming 13-hour journey.

For years, my go-to choice has been the Sony WH-1000XM3. Despite being somewhat outdated, these headphones offer excellent noise cancellation, making them a comfortable travel companion. However, the recent release of Bowers & Wilkins' updated PX7 S2e model – 'e' signifying an evolved version – caught my attention. I managed to get my hands on these and am excited to compare them with my Sony MX3s over the next two weeks.

When unboxing the PX7 S2e, the first thing that strikes you is the quality of the packaging and contents. The carrying case is sleek, and although the included manual seems overly detailed for headphones, the quick start guide is simple and user-friendly. The headphones themselves have not dramatically changed from the original PX7s, with the main improvement being in sound processing. They still feature the same 40mm drivers, six microphones (four for active noise cancellation), and boast a 30-hour battery life with Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity. Notably, there's no audio jack, but they include a USB-C to 3.5mm audio cable.

Design-wise, the PX7 S2e headphones exude a premium feel, surpassing the Sony MX3s in aesthetics. Their magnetic flap for cable storage is a thoughtful addition, addressing a minor inconvenience I've experienced with my Sonys, where cables fall out when opened incorrectly. However, the Bowers & Wilkins model lacks an adapter for airplane screens, something included with the Sony headphones.

Another point of comparison is the folding mechanism. The Sony headphones' compact design requires unfolding before use, which can be fiddly, while the PX7 S2e's larger size allows for a simpler 'throw-in-and-go' approach.

Colour options for the PX7 S2e are notably unique, with choices like Anthracite Black, Cloud Gray, Ocean Blue, and Forest Green. I opted for the Ocean Blue variant, which I find the most visually appealing. It's important to note that these headphones are positioned as Bowers & Wilkins' entry-level option, with their PX8 model being twice as expensive. Priced at $399, the PX7 S2e is a premium investment compared to the now more affordable Sony model, which originally retailed at the same price.

In my upcoming travels, I'll be evaluating these headphones based on comfort, sound quality, noise cancellation, ease of use, and any additional features. While Sony offers spatial audio, a feature I seldom use, my primary focus remains on comfort and sound quality. After all, no matter how advanced a headphone's features are, comfort is key for enjoyable, long-term use.

Let's see which one emerges as the ultimate travel companion for tech-savvy audiophiles.


With the holiday over - it's back to work and I'm excited to share some updates. First let’s start with the audio quality. Initially, I noticed a distinct difference compared to my Sony headphones. The new headphones seemed to lack that extra bass that I prefer, especially considering these are over-ear headphones. I was concerned this would be a persistent issue, but thankfully, the mobile app came to the rescue.

With a few tweaks in the app, enhancing the bass by three levels, the headphones transformed, delivering a rich, full-bodied sound. It's clear why Bowers and Wilkins opt for a more natural sound tuning - it's a quality choice, yet I appreciate the flexibility to adjust the bass and treble to personal taste.

Talking about the app: it is fairly user-friendly and offers a range of customization options. It's not just about adjusting bass and treble; you can also adjust noise reduction levels to your liking and configure the custom button. The app enhances the usability of the headphones, allowing users to personalise their listening experience to a great extent.

Comparing these headphones to my older Sony pair, the Px7 S2e stands out with its superior sound separation. Even my wife, who isn't typically focused on audio nuances, noticed and preferred them over the Sony model. This separation became clearer at higher volumes, where it seemed as though there was additional headroom too.

The comfort of these headphones is another highlight. They fit snugly, offering ample cushioning, and their larger size and straightforward design make them comfortable to wear around the neck when not in use. They have a modern look that feels both sophisticated and durable. The overall build gives a sense of premium quality, and the headphones feel sturdy in hand. If you put both of the headphones side by side, Bowers and Wilkins definitely stand out. And it’s not just because of the colour. The attention to detail in the design, from the texture of the materials to the smoothness of the hinges, adds to the premium feel of the product.

There is one caveat though - while using them on the plane I noticed that depending on how I positioned my head, a small gap occasionally formed, allowing the hum of the plane to seep through. This wasn't a major issue and could be managed by repositioning the headphones or slightly increasing the volume.

Now, regarding noise reduction, they don't quite match up to Sony, but this is a minor point considering the overall sound improvement. Once again - a slight volume increase effectively compensates for this.

I do like the physical button placement for controls as well as power slider, but volume up and down buttons take some time getting used to. I often paused my music accidentally while trying to adjust the volume. Additionally I missed the touch-sensitive earcup feature for passthrough audio from Sony. The button alternative works well enough, however I wish it was more obvious which mode you are in.

Next up is battery life, which can be tricky to evaluate since everyone has their preferred volume levels. However, from my experience, it was quite a challenge to drain the battery completely. These headphones can comfortably last for several days of listening, and, with the fast-charging feature included, running out of battery is hardly an issue.

When it comes to bluetooth range, both headphone models perform comparably. They work well when moving around the room, but if you have solid walls, you will likely have signal drop off when you go to another room. So don’t expect to do your meetings and walk around the house without your phone or laptop close by. Which leads us to microphone quality. Have a listen to these sound samples produced by both of the headphones (please check out the video above).

To summarise, these Px7 S2e headphones strike a great balance between sound quality, comfort, and functionality. While they have a few areas for improvement, particularly in noise cancellation and control intuitiveness, they excel in sound customization, battery life, and overall build quality. They are a more expensive alternative to your Sony and Bose dominant market but in my opinion provide a more premium product. I would recommend going to a showroom and testing them out to see what I mean.


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