Enjoy up to 25 hours of nonstop audio playback with these Bowers & Wilkins PX5 on-ear headphones. The custom 35.6mm drivers offer more natural sound reproduction, while adaptive noise cancelling automatically adjusts to your environment for the best possible listening experience. These compact Bowers & Wilkins PX5 on-ear headphones feature carbon fiber composite arms to withstand everyday wear and tear.
Farewell to noise
From a library to Grand Central Station, adaptive noise cancelling automatically adjusts to keep impurities out of the sound.
All-day rechargeable battery
One battery charge and just over a full day of music. If for some reason you need more power, a 15-minute quick charge provides five hours of audio playback.
Perfect call and voice quality
Clear Voice Communication v2 technology provides you perfect call and voice quality.
Bluetooth 5.0 with AptX
PX5 is designed to stream media wirelessly from Bluetooth audio devices, such as smartphones, tablets or personal computers.
In addition to Bluetooth, your PX5 can also connect to audio sources using the supplied 3.5mm audio or USB cables.
Follows your lead
The PX5 obeys your every move. Lift an ear cup to hear what's happening around you and the music automatically stops. Put it back and the music plays on.
Woven carbon fiber composite arms
Mimics the strength and agility of the fastest vehicles in the world, channeling pure sound to you and holding up against everyday wear and tear.
There is a lot to love, and little to dislike about these Bowers & Wilkins PX5 wireless headphones. Let's start with what's in the box. A soft lined carrying case which snuggly secure the headphones in place, along with an inner pouch to hold the included USB-C charging cable and 3.5mm audio adapter. Let's face it, if you're spending your hard earned money on premium equipment, you'll want to protect it. The case is simple, but effective. I place my headphones in the case, close the loop closure, and throw it in my backpack with confidence they aren't going to be scratched or damaged.
The build quality is fantastic. Just looking at these in the box you can tell they are NOT cheap, low-quality headphones. Once you pick them up you know you've purchased a solidly built, premium product. While not overly heavy, there is a little weight which adds to the premium look and feel. The carbon fiber material is modern, beautiful, and strong.
Initially, placement of the headphones on my head felt as though they might be uncomfortable. This was due, in part, to the more rounded headband, which differs from the more traditional "flat" design of most headbands. However, once I adjusted the ear cups to the proper length and gave myself a few minutes, these headphones turned out to be quite comfortable. My longest wear time was just under three hours, and I honestly forgot they were on. They don't feel heavy on the head. The fit is snug without feeling tight, and the ear cups are soft and comfortable.
Initial setup is a breeze. In less than five minutes I had my headphones paired with my phone and was listening to my playlist. It was as simple as powering them on, hitting the bluetooth toggle, and the pairing was seamless and quick. You can pair with two bluetooth devices simultaneously, which I found to be just as easy.
These headphones shipped to me with a 90% battery charge, which is fantastic. I was further blown away by the outstanding battery life. Over the next four days I had approximately 14 hours of actual playback time, actively listening to music, videos, calls, etc. and still had 40% battery life remaining. And I never charged them over that four day period. I suspect this is due, in large part, to the headphones automatically placing themselves in sleep mode while not in use. This is highly convenient, as you don't have to remember to turn them off. You can easily get all day use from a single charge.
Along the same lines, there are some great features such as automatic playback pausing when you remove one, or both ear cups from the ear. Playback restarts once you place the ear cup back on the ear. The headphones can also pause playback when a phone call is received, and resume playback once the call has ended. I found the calls to be clear, and the built-in microphones allowed my callers to hear me clearly as well. You can also connect to devices which may not have bluetooth capability, via the 3.5mm audio cable, or USB-C cable, both of which are included.
The on-ear controls are easy to use, and require a very small learning curve. The toggles are easily definable by touch, responsive, and require minimal pressure to activate, yet are not so sensitive that accidental touch activation is a concern.
The audio output from these headphones is FANTASTIC! Crisp, clean, clear sound. Even at lower volume levels the sounds are easily heard. Not that I advocate listening to your audio at high levels, but these headphones have the capacity to reach an extremely high, loud output, while still maintaining their rich, clear sound.
The noise cancelling aspect is awesome! This can be customized to three, well really four different levels. There are three settings (low, high, and auto) so you can adjust the noise cancelling to your specific needs. I found all three to work flawlessly, and just as intended for each of the respective settings. There is also an ambient pass-through toggle which allows you to listen to your audio files, while simultaneously allowing ambient sound to pass through the headphones. Where I actually found this useful was watching TV after my five year old had gone to bed. I was able to turn the volume down on the TV, toggle on the ambient pass-through and hear the program clearly. I did later connect to my TV via bluetooth, but initially the pass-through was a pretty cool way to listen without disturbing my child.
While it is not required to use the headphones, there is a companion Bowers & Wilkins app, available for both iOS and Android. I have this installed on both an iPhone X and Galaxy Note 10+, and they are identical in functionality. There are a few different Bowers & Wilkins apps, so it was a bit confusing finding which app was correct. Initially I installed the wrong app, but once I had the correct app installed, pairing the headphones to the app was quick and easy. The app has a clean, simple, modern design. It's no frills, but you can see battery life, connected devices, add or remove connected devices, adjust noise cancelling levels, change the device name, toggle the wear sensor on and off, toggle voice prompts on and off, set the standby timer, perform software updates, reset the device, control the amount of ambient pass-through, contact support, and add additional headphones.
Overall I am EXTREMELY pleased and happy with my Bowers & Wilkins headphones. Quite simply, these are fantastic. Amazing sound, premium build quality, and well worth the money. I have no qualms about recommending these headphones. You won't be disappointed.
• The whole thing seems to be made from metal and feel incredibly solid. I have no concerns about the durability of these with or without the case.
• The “woven carbon fiber composite arms” feel solid. I don’t have any concern of them breaking.
o Adjustable from someone with a small head to someone with slightly above average head. If you have a large head, I’d be concerned they may not fit well.
o Adjustable arms slide smoothly but with a good amount of force instead of through clicks. There are no marks so you can’t match them perfectly.
o Earcups twist anteriorly ~90 degrees, ~70 degrees posteriorly, Laterally, maybe 10 – 20 degrees.
• Left Earcup holds active noise cancelling button (ANC). Feels crisp and solid. When pressed, I hear a click in the left earcup but just barely.
o Quick press presents three options; ANC High, Low, or Auto and then Off.
o If you long press it allows the Ambient mode to activate. This also lowers the sound of whatever you are listening to automatically. It’s a very smooth process that works great. It also sounds great. Most of the time ambient mode makes things sound very tinny. On this one I still hear a bit of tininess but overall, it is almost like I’m talking to someone normally.
o If you quick press again when the Ambient mode is activated it will automatically go back to whatever the last ANC setting you had.
o You can also go through High, Low, Auto, Off relatively quickly. But not rapid fire. It does lag behind. A slider here like they have with the on/off would have been awesome.
• Right earcup holds everything else. From top to bottom; volume up, play/pause/forward/backward, volume down, on/off/paring slider, USB C charging port, and 3.5 mm port.
o The volume up, play/pause (single press), Forward (double press), backward (triple press) feel crisp and solid without any wobble.
o I love the slider to turn on, off, or pair. Sliding up turns it on. Sliding
down turns it off and holding it in the up most position makes it go into pairing mode.
o Pairing is super easy and very intuitive. It will tell you when it’s trying to pair and once it’s connected. Upon turning it on it will say connected, then connected to device 2. As you can pair this with two devices at the same time (but only get sound out of 1 at a time).
o Play/pause button has a slight hump to it which makes it very easy to find. As the volume up and down do not.
• Last, the earpads themselves. They are very soft. When you press them down, they hold their shape for a short period. That’s when you know they are quality. They are very soft and pillow like and I’ve had no problems wearing them for extended periods.
o The headband was a different story, it is very thin, and gave me discomfort after a couple of hours of use.
Active Noise Cancelling (ANC):
• I did not notice a change of audio quality between ANC High, Low, or Auto in comparison to Off.
• I found “High” to obviously work the best. Low and Auto were “meh” for me.
• Passive noise isolation for these is already fantastic. Then you add the ANC and it’s on another level.
• Test 1. Turn on my fan, shower, faucet, and flush the toilet in bathroom with the door closed. The only thing I could hear was my faucet and the draining water and just barely. This was with music at 25%. But at 50% I couldn’t hear anything at all.
• Test 2. Driving in my car. Rolled down my windows a bit while driving on the highway with vents on high. With the headset on at 35% volume I could hardly hear the wind/road noise. Mostly just my engine.
• For some noise cancelling, especially when nothing is playing, I get a pressure in my ears from the ANC but with these I don’t get that feeling at all.
• Most people will think these have great sound. If you’re an audiophile you’ll know they are not quite up to spec. They do not come close to either my Sennheiser HD650 or Hifiman HE400i but do better than any of my other headphones such as the Sennheiser HD598 or Audio Technica ATH-M50x.
• I would classify the sound signature as fun (meaning they pump you up and get you into the music), they are more forward, with an intimate soundstage. They have good detail and for the most part are clean and clear. Very mildly muddy if listening critically. They have good punch. Imaging was good (meaning not terrible but not great). I was not able to hear all the nuances of songs as they are slightly dark meaning the high range is not as prominent as the mids/lows.
• The bass is solid/great along with the mids/highs. Due to the bass being prevalent if you are listening critically it may sound mildly muddy at times.
• I did try them for gaming because why not? If you are playing causally, they did well. But if through Bluetooth there will be some delay and even greater delay if you are on a device that doesn’t support aptX. If you are playing competitively or trying to get fully immersed, I would pass on it. As you can’t hear footsteps and the directional sound was just good not great. You also, can’t hear the nuances of games. But the sounds you do hear are punchy and clean.
• I would also say the overall sound is accurate. Meaning vocals/instruments do not sound processed or fake.
• You can use this via A. Bluetooth, B. 3.5 mm, and C. USB C. However, noise cancelling doesn’t appear to work with 3.5 mm or USB C.
• Sound quality is great. It’s not audiophile and it’s not perfect but for a portable set of cans they do an admirable job.
• Comfort. Earpads are great but the headband gets sore after a short period of using.
• Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX. At this price I expected a higher version. (aptX -> aptX Low Latency -> aptX HD -> aptX Adaptive).
• Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) works great. Makes the world quiet which I like. Passive noise isolation is also great.
• Buttons are intuitive, feel great, work great, and do not wobble or provide excessive sound when used.
• On/Off/Pairing slider should be a standard among all Bluetooth gear.
• Overall construction is solid, and I am not afraid of it breaking even if I just throw it in a bag and go.
• Ambient mode works well, sounds good, and it automatically lowers whatever you are playing and does it without any problems.
• I was able to be connected to two Bluetooth devices and hardwire connect to my computer and have sound from any of the three sources but only one at a time. ANC does not work when hardwired in.
• Call quality is great for both you as the listener and to who you are talking about. Clear on both sides.
• When on a call it will disconnect the other Bluetooth device until the call is over and then reconnect automatically.
• Smells like new shoes. NICE!
• Battery life is great. I’ve had no problems. The 15 minutes quick charge providing five hours of play time is also greatly appreciated.
• Carrying case is high quality along with the cables provided.
• The app itself is quite polished but could still use some work. But since it is better than the mass majority I’ll leave it as a positive. I used it on the iOS. Once connected everything is mostly straight forward. I did have some problems listed below in the cons.
• Very easy to connect to a new device and turn on pairing.
• Overall ease of use is excellent.
• After 15 minutes of no use they turn off automatically. Then when you press a button it will turn back on but there is a large delay. Or at least the one time that actually happened and I tried it.
• AptX isn’t supported on Apple devices (which is Apple’s fault out of greed). Therefore, you will notice a delay when watching media on your Apple devices which could be distracting to some. Also, wouldn’t be good for mobile gaming on iOS devices due to the audio delay.
• Wear sensor needs a lot of work before it becomes viable. It’s a neat idea and I want it to work well. Hopefully, a firmware update will fix the following issues.
o When you lift up the earcup it will take a second or two before it pauses. Then when you put it back down it plays in about a second. Which is fine I could live with that but would prefer it to be a lot faster. As if you are lifting the earcup you probably want to hear what is happening right then not seconds later as you’ve already missed it.
o When you take the headphones off it will pause and then when you put them back on it plays. This works well but there is a massive defect. If you don’t have anything playing and you take off your headphones and then put them back on it will resume audio. Whether you have anything setup to be playing or not. Which is why I will leave this feature off until it is fixed.
o Last, I was able to lay down with them playing music with the feature on and it didn’t stop playing which was good.
• Headband gets uncomfortable quickly. Needs more padding.
• Won’t fit large heads.
• If you’re a perfectionist, the headband slides and have no markings so you can’t match both sides perfectly.
• If you are wanting an audiophile sound or listen critically skip these. As they are tuned for fun/excitement not critical listening. But still sound great overall.
• iPad app for their software is not full screen.
• Original connection to the app itself didn’t work well. It says to slide the Bluetooth up to pair with the app. I had to do this several times for both my iPhone and iPad. Perhaps I was doing it wrong.
• In the app itself it has slide tiles? Not sure if that is a good description. But I would be looking for a back arrow and instead I was supposed to be swiping down. Not intuitive for me.
• No EQ Settings in the app. Not needed but would have been appreciated.
These are expensive. It’s up to you if they are worth the price of admission or not. But for what they are and what they do they do it very well. I’d give them between a 7.5 - 8 out of 10.
Bowers & Wilkins pulled off a superb pair of wireless headphones with the Bowers & Wilkins PX5!
Build Quality: The build quality of these headphones is absolutely amazing as well as the packaging they came in. You can tell Bowers & Wilkins put in work to make sure the headphones arrived untouched and in the best condition possible with the excellent packaging. You can feel the quality build of the product when you remove the headphones from the box and hold them in your hand. Everything from the carbon fiber composite arms to the cloth/leather head band are absolutely stunning. These headphones are definitely built to last.
Noise Cancellation: The noise cancelling is second to none on these headphones. With three young children in my household, it is typically quite loud in my home. I can put these headphones on and escape in to a secluded realm of music or even an audio book with no outside noise disturbance whatsoever. I also like that the noise cancellation feature is adjustable with a “Low/Auto/High” selection depending on your preference.
Wear Sensor: The wear sensor was a very clever addition to these headphones and works excellent. Just lift a cup and whatever you are playing will pause until you place the cup back on your ear. I do have one complaint and that is with the location of the play/pause button on the right ear cup. I find that when I lift the right ear cup to engage the wear sensor my thumb hits the play/pause button resulting in the un-pausing of audio thus negating the function of the wear sensor. This is easily avoidable by utilizing the left ear cup for wear sensor functionality however being right-handed, it is more natural to lift the right ear cup. I also find myself accidentally hitting the right ear cup buttons when removing the headphones.
Battery Life: Without doing a formal battery test on the headphones, I can easily see these lasting the advertised 25 hours. I have charged them once when I initially opened them and have not had to charge them since. I have used the headphones to listen to music as well as audio books off and on for about two and a half days and the battery is around 85%. Excellent battery life so far!
Comfort: This is my first time owning a pair of “on ear” headphones vs “over the ear” headphones, I have to say with the wonderful build quality of the ear cups, they are quite comfortable. They do fit a bit tight on my head but I don’t really mind as it prevents them from falling off if I am working out with them on or if I have to bend down to pick something up. I like and prefer a snug fit. The adjustable arms also keep their setting very well and you have to use a bit of force to adjust them which keeps them from falling out of adjustment.
Ease of Use: The headphones are simple to use. I followed the pairing instructions and paired them to my Pixel 3 XL phone with no issues. I appreciate the physical on/off switch accompanied with the Bluetooth pairing switch. I have had absolutely no issues with the Bluetooth connectivity since the initial pairing. As soon as I turn on the headphones, they automatically pair and are ready to play audio. Its as simple as that. The button on the left ear cup allows for simple adjustment of the noise cancellation and the audio feedback through the headphones tells you what setting you have selected. On the right ear cup, you have your volume up, play/pause, and volume down buttons which provide an easy method of adjusting your audio from the headset. They come in real handy if your phone is in your pocket. The charging port is USB-C which is an absolute game changer! I love USB-C and am so thankful Bowers & Wilkins implemented USB-C charging on these.
App: The Bowers & Wilkins app for these headphones is very simplistic, easy to use, and contains no bloat. It is a very straightforward application allowing you to easily make adjustments to the headset such as noise cancellation, Bluetooth connections, wear sensor adjustments, and software updates. All of these settings are very easy to find given the simplistic design of the app.
All in all, I am very pleased with this headset. The sound quality continues to stay true to the always excellent quality of Bowers & Wilkins audio products. With the exception of the button placement on the right ear cup, this is an absolutely amazing pair of headphones!
This is a very impressive looking pair of headphones! From the construction of a headband to arms that hold ear cups, to the ear cups itself - they look thought thru, nothing sticks out. Ear cushions are super soft and foamy,
inner side of a headband made of the same soft leather material, outer side of the band is soft fabric. These are on-ear headphones. Make sure to try these on before you buy them especially if your head is on the larger side as clamping force may cause some level of discomfort over time.
Button controls are typical for the wireless headphones - 3 multi-function keys and a combination power/pairing slider on the right side and a noise cancelling control button on the left. USB-C port for charging and a 3.5mm wired input connectors are on the right.
One feature that I do like a lot is automatic pause when headphones are removed or at least one ear cup is pulled away - that is super handy as you don't have to hit a pause in case you need to talk to someone. Playback resumes automatically once ear cup is back.
Sound - in my opinion B&W could do better. I understand that noise cancelling headphones will affect sound a little bit when noise cancelling is used, however in this case - sound becomes worse when noise cancelling is turned off! I've noticed that bass virtually disappears on noise cancelling levels other than High. Mid range and highs are very decent on any noise cancelling settings.
Noise cancelling itself works as expected, there are 4 settings: High, Low, Auto and Off. Headphones will turn it on "High" after you power them on every time no matter what the setting was before last power off.
Bluetooth connection - B&W PX5 support Qualcomm aptX HD codec which means virtually no loss in sound quality due to the Bluetooth, 2 simultaneous bluetooth connections are supported.
Mobile app - is pretty basic but functional, you can choose Noise Cancelling Level, "Wear sensor" sensitivity setting, turn Voice Prompts on and off, set standby timer. I was not able to tell the exact battery percentage from looking at the app.
Very nice soft carrying case is included in the box, charging and audio cables have a designated pocket in a case.
Overall - it's a very decent choice if you don't mind on-ear design. Noise cancelling performance is great and 25 hour battery life is enough for a long flight, however sound quality could be improved (it's not bad, it's just not what I expected from B&W). I hope it's just the matter of the software update.
This pair of headphones live up to the expectation of a great audio product coming from premium brand. This is my first B&W pair that I own, however I have tried other B&W pairs from the store. I also own several pairs from Audio Technica, Sony, AKG, and Bose.
B&W is a premium audio brand and the design and features of PX5 reflect just that. The headphones came with an app that you could download to assist you to pair the headphones with your phone or tablet. Pairing was easy as the app works great in guiding you to make the connection. You can also control the headphones features from the app such as the noise cancellation feature and the sensor. The headphones, as expected for a pair in its price range, came with a case that looked stylish and elegant.
Though these are on-ear headphones, comfort is still good. The shape of the ear pads are elliptical and they fit well on the ear. The headphones press quite a bit more to the ear than I would have liked them, however, I suppose after extended amount of time wearing the headphones the pressure will loosen up a bit.
PX 5 headphones are packed with features that work great. Wear sensor is flawless though the audio cut off time is not instantaneous. The wear sensor is a great feature that save you from the hassle of turning on and off the headphones everytime you want to use it. Noise cancellation works great, you can adjust the NC level from the app. You can also hear ambient sound if you wish and it's controllable from the app. The headphones are also rated for extended listening time, though I don't have the chance yet to use it all day long until the juice runs out.
Audio quality is good and more to the natural side. The noise cancellation is effective in blocking outside noise so you can focus listening to the audio you're playing. Prince Ali from Aladdin in FLAC format sounded elegant yet still glorious. PX 5 was able to capture all of the instruments in the sound track. Bass was not overpowering and in control. I would prefer just a bit more dynamics, however bearing in mind that these are a noise cancelling pair, the sound signature is consistent for such headphones.
Overall, this is a great audio product for a noice cancelling headphones and gives me a good impression of B&W as a premium audio brand.
The Bowers & Wilkins PX5 Adaptive Noise Canceling (ANC) Headphones are a refreshing take in the noise canceling headphone arena.
Bowers & Wilkins pride themselves in producing top quality products, and the PX5 headphones deliver in spades. Inspired by the world's fastest cars, the headphones have woven carbon fiber composite arms, and machined aluminum housings. Your ears are treated to leather wrapped memory foam pads with a distinctive 'L' and 'R' printed inside each cup.
Charge them up, turn them on, pair them with the Bowers & Wilkins 'Headphones' app (and NOT the PX app) and you are good to go. The headphones are incredibly comfortable, I've worn them 8 hours a day at work some days without any issues at all. Being as the cups sit 'on' your ears and not 'over' your ears, I don't have an issue with sweating like I have had with other ANC headphones.
When putting them on, I expected to have a vacuum like experience from the ANC in these headphones. I didn't get that initial feeling, but the noise canceling functionality does work well, just not as prevalent as the class leading Sony WH-1000XM3 noise canceling headphones.
Bowers & Wilkins have introduced a 'smart' element into their headphones that controls your input with 'wear sensors'. Basically the headphones monitor the atmospheric pressure around your ear, and if you lift the cup off of your ear, they will pause the music for you, if you put them back on your ear, they will resume playback of your music. This is a really nice feature, and it worked flawlessly most of the time. That was until I yawned. Then my music turned off, and turned back on as I finished yawning. I adjusted the sensitivity of the wear sensors in the app and that alleviated the problem. Then I noticed if I was eating with them on, the wear sensors would start and stop the music as my jaw moved. That became somewhat irritating, so I turned off the wear sensors whilst eating (thankfully the app offers that dynamic control, rather than leaving you frustrated).
The ANC button on the left cup has a good, solid feel to it, and switches between High, Low, Auto and Off settings for the noise canceling functionality. I didn't notice a huge difference between Low, Auto and Off, with High being the best setting. On the right cup, you have three buttons, one for volume up, one for volume down and one multifunction button for pause and play. If you press it twice, you can skip to the next track, and if you press it 3 times you can play the previous track.
The app allows you to change the levels of noise canceling as well, if you'd rather do that than press the button on the headphones. You can turn on and off the voice prompts, you can set a 'turn off' standby timer, adjust the wear sensor sensitivity (or turn it off) and rename your headphones. You can also adjust the ambient pass through, should you not want to completely noise cancel your surroundings, and it has a convenient slider to dial in the desired setting.
As for the sound quality, they sound very nice, but not perfect. They have a nice, broad sound stage, with some great mids, quality treble, but the bass is not as strong as I would like, especially from aluminum ear cups. The sound has nice clarity as it comes from the factory, but that is the only way that you can listen to them. There is no adjustability in the app at all to dial the sound in to how YOU would like it, you can only listen as Bowers & Wilkins intends you to.
In comparison, the Sony WH-1000MX3 have full user control over the complete sound field, including spatial awareness as well. Hopefully this can be added to the Bowers & Wilkins app as a future update, giving full personal control to the soundstage. Otherwise the headphones are left without a nice kick in the ear from the bass in the music you're listening to.
My 'goto' track for testing new audio products is Disturbed's version of 'The Sound of Silence'. It has a nice, soft intro leading to strong powerful vocals further into the song, piano, guitar, an all together well rounded song.
With a 25 hour battery life, and a quick charge feature that charging for just 15 minutes adds another 5 hours of listening time to your headphones. Really love that feature, knowing you can 'top them off' so quickly is fantastic. Nicely done!
The headphones come with a USB-C charging cable and a 3.5mm cable so that you can use them as wired headphones as well, when you're on an airplane for example.
Now, with how incredibly well made these headphones are, I was a little disappointed with the 'carrying' case for them. Its a very tight, cardboard or plastic wrapped in a woven grey material 'pouch'. It doesn't feel like it will offer much protection to the headphones at all, especially along the bottom where the earcups will sit. And it's very fiddly to get the cables in and out of the little pocket inside the pouch. And worst of all, there is no little carrying loop or tab to put on your finger, so you need to carry this with your whole hand and not a finger. just not very practical or convenient, after how incredibly well made the headphones are.
These headphones have impressed enough to continue to be used day in and day out at work, where nice ANC coupled with low volume listening (in a work environment) trump booming bass at a loud volume. They are also great to look at, lightweight and very comfortable for a full 8 hours of wearing and don't mess your hair up too much! If Bowers & Wilkins would just dial an equalizer into the app, so I can set the headphones up exactly how I want them, I could see them getting a solid 5 stars.
First, it is important to clarify that I am not an audiophile. While I use earphones every day (exercise, daily commute, concentration work, yard work, travel, etc.), I have always been extremely pragmatic about earphones: don’t care about sound quality, they just have to work, all the time. Recently, I began looking for earphones with noise cancellation, seamless Bluetooth connection, and better sound to improve my experience when using earphones in general.
Enter the Bowers & Wilkins - PX5… In one word: Wow!
Verdict: these headphones simply provide a premier, first class experience, from start to finish. These are now my go-to listening device. LOVE them!
The unboxing of the headphones immediately showcases design and quality. The headphones are beautiful, blending complementary colors and materials. The carbon fiber frame of the headphones is a great choice for style and durability… Ultimately, these headphones just look awesome. The box includes the headphones, a travel case, a charger, a 3.5 mm to 3.5 mm cable, a quick start guide, and instructional booklet. Even in the mundane things, nothing was overlooked by Bowers & Wilkins. For example, the travel case has an extra-soft interior to preserve the leather earcups, and the cables and charger come with velcro-type strap management!
The first-time Bluetooth connection was flawless. I just pressed the power button and heard the (crystal clear) voice that said the headphones were ready to connect. I found the headphones on my smartphone and in less than three seconds they were connected.
I chose a variety of music to test sound quality, and sadly realized how much I had been missing with cheap earphones. What an experience: crisp and beautiful sound, and nothing else! I didn’t realize that noise cancellation is automatically on when you turn-on the headphones so finally the kids had to tap me on the shoulder because I couldn’t hear anything else. I’ve never used noise cancellation so I didn’t realize how effective it is… The sound quality combined with noise cancellation of the PX5 delivers absolute peace… nothing around you in the world but music! I couldn’t even hear myself talk!
What I love:
- Extraordinary sound augmented by noise cancellation that deliver perfect peace
- Noise cancellation levels are easy to adjust, with an auto-adjust mode, and pass-through mode that turns the music all the way down and actively listens to outside sounds.
- Buttons are easy to find and intuitive
- Wearing sensor!! The headphones pause your music when you remove them, and play when you put them back on, how cool is that!
- Extreme comfort: I wore them for hours without thinking about it
- Seamless Bluetooth… they just work, every time. Connects to my phone is less than 3 seconds.
- The range is liberating: I left my smartphone on a table and freely roamed the first floor of the house. I walked from room to room, without any loss of sound or quality, at one point getting as far as 70 ft without any sound degradation!
What I don’t love:
- I accidentally press the control buttons every time I adjust the headphones. Luckily they don’t require a lot of adjustments
- I would prefer pass-through mode to pause sound, so that I can resume where I was, specially if listening to a podcast. Alternatives to interact with the outside world are to just pause the sound, but there is not active listening in this case. Or just removing the headphones which will pause sound. I did find that you can activate pass-through mode and then hit to pause button, which will allow active listing and sound paused at the same time.
- Pass-through mode activates by holding the noise-cancellation button for two seconds, but this is a considerable amount of time when someone is waiting for a response. A dedicated toggle button (like the power button) on the same side as the noise cancellation button would be better.
- This is nitpicky but it would have been incredible if they provided a direct 3.5 mm to lightning cable for iPhone and direct 3.5 mm to USB-C for Android
So I'm reviewing this from an on the go perspective, running most of my media from a Google Pixel 3, not a home media centric product. Although it does perform the later fairly well.
There are two things that stood out to me right away. The first was how comfortable these headphones are. The clamping pressure is the best I've seen (felt), tight enough to comfortably seal over my ear without becoming unaligned by rapid head movements. Light enough to wear for hours and with no dull ear pain, a first for me with over the ear headphones. A surprisingly effortless wear experience that isn't hampered by prolonged use or my thick rimmed glasses.
A feature of note with these headphones is the auto pause function. If the ear cups are held away from the ear for around 1-1.5 seconds, the media is paused until the unit can sense your ear again (paused and restarted my movies as well). While there is no way I could find to turn off this feature, you can adjust the sensitivity by using the Bowers and Wilkins phone app. From my experience this didn't cause any issue with me. All my adjustments didn't register long enough to accidentally trigger the auto pause, but others may find issue with it.
If for some reason you want media to play with the set off your head you can press the play button on the headset itself and it will resume playing with the set off your head but this must be done every time the auto pause triggers.
Noise cancelling works well. High setting cuts out the hum of air conditioning units a few feet from my head. Completely off I can hear murmurs of the television 25 ft away.
Build quality is great. There is no fear of over extending the headband. Articulation points are smooth. Calls come through clearly with no interference. Battery life says 20 hours and I can't disagree with that. Hour and a half of prolonged use with a few more off and on, left uncharged overnight with a few more off and on hours later the next day and they didn't give out. My Pixel 3 would need charging long before these headphones will.
A far as sound goes, these headphones have a mostly neutral sound profile. As a listener I tend to trust the sound the engineers and artists give their music and what they want to emphasize. A well mastered track comes out nicely through these units. Having said (typed) that, bass and the Low end seem to be understated but that can be remedied a bit by adjusting EQ settings. My Kendrick Lamar and Kid Cudi needed a bit more punch, The menacing bass of Childish Gambino's This is America (you know the part) doesn't hit as hard as it should while the Highs and Mids in that track come across great. I find that syth style music are great on these. Think along the lines of Stranger Things score or 2002's Solaris soundtrack. Pop comes out great. The sugary Katy Perry's and Melanie Martinez' come out well layered.
In the end I am left quite impressed with comfort of these headphones. Once the initial adjustment is set I don't think I've ever had to fidget with them for a good long while, other than removing them to talk to someone. That and the majority of my music collection coming in sounding great with only a few bass heavy or tracks songs needed adjustment make this pair something I can definitely use on the daily on the go or in home.
Hands on: Bowers & Wilkins PX5 Wireless On-Ear Headphones review
Bowers & Wilkins have just released no less than four new wireless headphones – and its PX5 Wireless On-Ear headphones are aimed at those who want the immersive sound of over-ears without the bulk. Kitted out with Qualcomm's aptXFull Review
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