Last year, I declared the Bowers and Wilkins PX7 S2s to be incredibly difficult to beat. However, the company has now released a new version of these headphones—the PX7 S2e. Though the original version is still available, its stock is expected to dwindle and eventually disappear. The PX7 S2e, priced at £379 in the UK, is essentially the upgraded version of its predecessor. While both models share the same design, accessories, and case, the major difference lies in the improved sound quality of the S2e. Bowers and Wilkins claims to have incorporated insights from their flagship PX8 wireless headphones to deliver sound that is unparalleled in its class. In this article, we will explore whether or not this claim holds true.
Design and Comfort
The PX7 S2e headphones feature a stunning design that exudes elegance. The prominent branding of Bowers and Wilkins on the product is justified given the company’s reputation for exceptional sound quality. The headphones are available in black and white, with additional color options. Despite its price point, the PX7 S2e feels premium and outshines competitors such as the XM5s and Bose headphones. Comfort is also a priority, as these headphones offer ample padding for extended wear. The physical buttons on the headphones are a welcome addition, eliminating accidental touches often associated with touch controls. The accompanying sturdy case remains unchanged, featuring a magnetic flap to store cables and other accessories. Battery life is impressive, with up to 30 hours of usage and a quick 15-minute charge providing 7 hours of playback.
Noise Cancelling and Transparency Mode
The PX7 S2e retains the excellent noise cancelling capabilities of its predecessor. When worn, the world around you fades into near silence, without creating a claustrophobic sensation. Furthermore, there is minimal hissing present, which is a sought-after feature in noise cancelling headphones. Although the transparency mode on the PX7 S2e falls slightly short when compared to the AirPods Max, it still performs exceptionally well. This feature allows external sounds to enter, ensuring awareness of the surroundings, especially during phone calls. Speaking of phone calls, while over-ear headphones are not typically ideal for this purpose, the PX7 S2e handles calls adequately, allowing clear two-way communication.
Comparing the PX7 S2e to its predecessor, the S2s, it is important to note that the S2s are still an outstanding pair of headphones. However, upon close examination, the S2e undoubtedly delivers a superior listening experience. The S2e shares the bright sound signature and wide soundstage of the S2s but with added control, fullness, and excitement. This is most evident when listening to Pop Evil’s “Breathe Again”, a demanding track renowned for its compressed and dynamic sound. The S2e handles the song admirably, providing a huge, enjoyable sound while retaining clarity. Other aspects, such as the mid-range, also benefit from tweaks, resulting in increased depth, control, and a more balanced sound overall. While the S2e sound more similar to the pricier PX8, it is essential to note that these differences become apparent only when directly comparing the headphones.
Firmware Upgrade and Conclusion
The burning question for owners of the S2s is whether a firmware update will be available to replicate the S2e’s improved sound. Unfortunately, Bowers and Wilkins has remained non-committal on this matter. However, for those considering the purchase of their first pair of Bowers and Wilkins headphones or looking to upgrade from an earlier model, the PX7 S2e is highly recommended. The sound quality, build, and comfort justify the price, making them an excellent investment. Should your budget allow, you may also want to explore the PX8 for an even more elevated audio experience.
Overall, the Bowers and Wilkins PX7 S2e presents a significant sound upgrade over the S2s, making them a top contender in their price range.
|Feature||PX7 S2s||PX7 S2e|
|Design||Elegant and premium||Elegant and premium|
|Color Options||Not specified||Black and white, with additional color options|
|Comfort||Ample padding, suitable for extended wear||Ample padding, suitable for extended wear|
|Transparency Mode||Not specified||Exceptional but slightly inferior to AirPods Max|
|Sound Quality||Bright sound signature, wide soundstage||Superior to S2s, with added control and fullness|
|Battery Life||Not specified||Up to 30 hours|
|Price (UK)||Not specified||£379|