Bowers & Wilkins PX
FOR Detailed sound; impressive noise-cancelling; good battery life; fine build AGAINST Nothing at this price
ver since Bowers & Wilkins’ first headphones arrived in 2009, the company hasn’t looked back. These PXS – the company’s first wireless headphones with built-in noisecancelling – are the latest in a long line. Constructed predominantly from lightweight aluminium and using what B&W calls a “ballistic nylon shell” to cover the outer earpads and the top of the headband, the PXS feel solid yet portable. Subtle details, such as the way cables run down channels into each earpiece, the smooth rotation of the earpads, and even the texture of the B&W logos all give the impression of a quality product. The elliptical earpads are quite narrow compared with those on some rivals, but once in place they create an excellent seal from the outside world. You can’t completely fold them; instead, the earpads go flat so you can slide them into the carry pouch. Pull away the magnetic pads and you get a better idea of the PX driver design. They use a 40mm full-range driver, based on technology developed for B&W’S high-end P9 Signature headphones. Like the P9s, the drivers inside the PXS are angled to fire directly into your ears. B&W claims this helps you get more of a traditional stereo image.
A right pairing
Pairing is achieved through the slider on the right earpiece. A row of buttons controls volume and playback. The middle play/pause button has a slight bump to help you feel your way around.
There is no automatic test tone or measurement-taking as with the Sony WH-1000XM3’S, but fire up the B&W Headphone app and you can fine-tune the PXS’ Environment Filters. Labelled Office, City and Flight, each one tweaks the noise-cancelling and amount of external audio allowed through. It’s similar to the Sony app, but that switches modes automatically, depending on your activity, whereas the PXS’ requires a manual switch.
B&W has used proximity sensors to supercharge the PXS' user experience. Lift the headphones off your head and the music pauses automatically. Put them back on and the music kicks back in. Lifting one of the earpads pauses the music, which is ideal if you need to have a quick chat with a work colleague. It’s a smart and neatly executed feature that helps the PXS stand out from the crowd.
With noise-cancelling, the B&WS do a great job of cutting out office chatter and the drone of your daily commute. And for their transparency, detail and an even tonal balance, you won’t be disappointed either. It's an appealing presentation, with music sounding as though it’s coming at you head-on rather from the sides, which seems to validate the design of those angled drivers.
The B&WS follow the melancholic melody of Linkin Park’s Leave Out All
The Rest with expert precision. The shift from fragile and emotional verse to explosive chorus is delivered with both finesse and purpose. The big bass kick that hugs the track has a nice heft to it, without overpowering the track, and the amount of punch and precision ensure an impeccable sense of timing.
The quality of the PXS only enhances B&W’S reputation. Excellent wireless sound quality, decent noise-cancelling and a rewarding user experience make the PXS a fantastic audio package.