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Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 Review

Luxury Listening

Christopher Coke Posted:
Hardware Reviews 0

Bowers & Wilkins is one of the biggest names in the audio world, and with good reason: its products have been widely acclaimed for years, spanning everything from tower-style loudspeakers to true wireless earbuds. The Pi7 S2 is the latter, a pair of truly wireless earbuds that promise hi-res sound, stylish looks, and a unique smart case that can plug into a headphone jack and instantly make it Bluetooth compatible. They don’t come cheap, but they sound great and work with just about anything. 


  • Current Price: $399 (Amazon
  • Wearing style: In-ear noise canceling True Wireless headphones
  • Ky features: 
    • True 24-bit audio connection
    • 2-way drive unit design
    • High performance DSP
    • Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX™ Adaptive technology
    • Adaptive ANC
    • Audio retransmission from charging case
    • Wireless and USB-C charging
    • Fast charging support
  • Bluetooth codecs
    • aptX™ – Adaptive
    • aptX™ – HD
    • aptX™ – Classic
    • AAC
    • SBC
  • Bluetooth profiles
    • A2DP v1.3.1
    • AVRCP v1.6.1
    • HFP v1.7.1
    • HSP v1.2
    • BLE GATT (Generic Attribute Profile)
    • Frequency band
  • Drive units: 9.2mm Dynamic Drive with Balanced Armature
  • Microphones: Three microphones per earbud for calls and ANC
  • Battery life & charging
    • Up to 5 hours for earbuds (with ANC off)
    • Additional 16 hours from charging case
    • 15 minute charge = 2 hours playback
  • Battery type: Rechargeable Lithium-ion (earbuds and charging case)
  • Wireless Charging Support: Yes
  • Waterproof: Yes - IP54 (earbuds only)
  • Inputs
    • Earbuds: Bluetooth
    • Charging case: USB-C & 3.5 mm analogue jack (wireless audio retransmission via charging case)
  • In box accessories
    • 80 cm USB-C to USB-C charging cable
    • 80 cm 3.5 mm jack to USB-C audio cable
    • Small / Medium / Large ear tips
  • Net weight
    • Earbuds: 7 g (each)
    • Charging case: 47 g
  • Dimensions (Carry Case): 61 mm (w) x 28 mm (d) x 56 mm (h)

Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 - What Is It?

The Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 is a premium pair of true wireless earbuds from industry stalwart, Bowers & Wilkins. The company has been a mainstay in the Hi-Fi world for decades, delivering some truly exceptional (and truly premium) audio products. While loudspeakers are a bit out of our wheelhouse, I’ve been able to test quite a few of its headphones, including the Px5, Px7, the recent Px8, and of course, the original Pi7.

The Pi7 S2, then, isn’t a completely new product. Instead, like we’ve seen a lot over the last couple years, it’s a refresh that takes a popular design and brings it up with the times in terms of features. This go-round, all of the core features are intact: slim, stylish design; comfortable fit, good active noise cancellation, and the audio re-transmission case. This new model comes with improved battery life, improved connection stability, integration with the Bowers & Wilkins Music app, and three new colorways.

It’s been more than a year since we’ve visited these earphones, though, so let’s start with the basics. Bowers & Wilkins made its name on delivering great sound, and you should know that is the focus here. Each bud contains two drivers: a dynamic driver and a balanced armature, each driven by its own amplifier to ensure a clean, distortion-free sound. The buds also support the aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec, which allows for 24-bit/48kHz true, high-res listening. 

The buds also feature adaptive active noise cancellation. Through a trio of microphones on each ear piece, it’s able to monitor outside and internal noise and dynamically adapt its noise cancellation to match your actual surroundings. These microphones can also be reversed to deliver a natural-sounding passthrough mode, and of course, capture your voice cleanly for calls while also filtering out a decent amount of background noise. 

One of the most interesting features the Pi7, and now the Pi7 S2, brought to the table was its audio re-transmission case. A special USB-C to 3.5mm audio cable allows you to plug the case directly into the headphone jack of any device that doesn’t support Bluetooth on its own — or that does and you want to hear it in higher quality than it’s capable of transmitting. Then, the buds can connect to the case for a low latency, high-res listening experience. Whether that’s an airplane, a Nintendo Switch, or even a PC for low latency gaming, it works well and adds high-speed wireless to devices where it wouldn’t otherwise be possible. 

The buds are controlled with capacitive touch multi-function buttons beneath the face of each ear piece. Single taps of either bud play or pause tracks, double and triple taps skip or repeat them, and tapping and holding will turn noise canceling on and off or summon your virtual assistant. 

The changes this time around are mostly internal, but B&W does offer some gorgeous new colorways. My sample was sent in the Midnight Blue color, which is a deep navy with a gold ring around the base. There’s also Satin Black and Canvas White, which pair those colors with silver and gunmetal exteriors. Each is very nice.

The new colors compliment the design of the buds nicely. They’re small and are designed to nestle sleekly into each ear without sticking out too much. They’re not designed to get attention for their size, but all three have the kind of premium aesthetic you would expect at this price. The buds are also IP54 rated, so are safe to wear to the gym and work up a sweat in. 

Inside, the buds now sport improved battery life of up to five hours, an improvement of an hour from last generation. The charging case provides an additional 16 hours of listening. They also support fast charging. Fifteen minutes in the case will net you about two additional hours of listening. The case also supports wireless charging, so you won’t need to plug in if you already have a wireless charging dock. 

The other upgrade comes with the internal antenna. Compared to most true wireless earbuds that allow you to travel about 15 meters away from your phone, the Pi7 S2’s new transmitter lets you move up to 25 meters away. In practice, I found this to be a bit less (around 20 meters) with walls in between, but it’s still about double that of other true wireless earbuds I’ve tested in that scenario. 

All in all, the changes are small and are not worth upgrading for if you already have the original Pi7s, but if you were considering them, choosing the S2 model is a no-brainer, and I appreciate Bowers & Wilkins’ dedication to ensuring its products are refreshed with current features and capabilities. 

Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 - Listening and Daily Use Impressions

I’ve been living with the Pi7 S2 for the better part of two weeks and compared it directly with the Bose Quiet Comfort II and Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds, as well as a handful of others (don’t ask me how many pairs of true wireless buds I have in their own storage case my wife is asking me to move out of our bedroom). The Pi7 S2s are simply some of the best sounding truly wireless earbuds on the market today. 

When it comes to sound, Bowers & Wilkins knows its stuff. I actually prefer the tuning of these buds to its over-ear Px7s and, to some degree, even the ultra high-end Px8s. The out-of-the-box sound is bass rich and mainstream friendly, but they’re not overwhelming and draw out plenty of detail from the mids and highs. I wouldn’t call these balanced because they definitely tilt warm, but this is a very good example of a heavy v-shaped tuning. 

The bass notes reach low and have great punch and rumble. For hip-hop and pop, there’s great body that really fills out songs. Mids are a bit recessed, vocals are tinged warm but not overly forward. Highs have decent air and presence but aren’t sharp. Instead, they’re tuned up enough to sound lively and vibrant. As a fan of bass but an even bigger fan of detail, I think the Pi7 S2s do a good job with this style of tuning, and the drivers are up to the challenge.

Fit, on the other hand, was a bit of a challenge for me. Even with the smallest tip, the left bud always felt a bit too tight. This is surely unique to me but worth noting for users with smaller ears. 

The active noise cancellation is good but not great. It blocks out a good amount of droning sound, like HVAC systems, and even cuts into the mids a bit to silence the sounds of keyboards in an office or gaming setting. Voices still tend to come through, but the passive isolation of the buds lowers them enough that even with low volumes of music, they’re difficult to hear. 

The re-transmission case is excellent. Apart from my switch, I don’t have many devices I use regularly that don’t support Bluetooth at this point, but I found that they were a great fit for my gaming PC. For whatever reason (I blame my metal-framed monitor), Bluetooth connections are very unstable if I move away from my desk, and latency makes it almost impossible to play games if I’m not poised at my keyboard. 

The case completely solves that and makes gaming with the Pi7 S2s a real possibility. I simply plug the case into my PC’s headphone jack, connect the buds, and my transmission issues disappear. What’s more, the latency is much better than traditional Bluetooth, so gaming is an actual possibility.

Battery life is improved but still disappointing. Five hours with ANC off just isn’t competitive and makes these buds feel like a better fit for listening at home in short bursts than actual daytime companions. Speaking for myself, if I’m buying a pair of top-tier ANC earbuds, I want to be able to use adaptive ANC non-stop. That’s just not possible here without charging them one or more times just to make it through a single workday. 

I also wish Bower & Wilkins would open up customization options in the app a bit more. There’s no in-app EQ, which is surprising because its other headphones offer bass and treble sliders. There’s no adjustment for the ANC either. Thankfully, both are tuned pretty well right out of the box, but it would have been nice to see some more personalization options.

Final Thoughts

The Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 earphones are great sounding, high performing earphones that can transform any device into a high-res Bluetooth streamer. They also look the part of a premium set that costs $399. But at the current price, with the battery and customization limitations, they just don’t offer enough to make sense for mainstream listeners. Instead, these buds are targeted at listeners that have expendable income and don’t mind spending extra for the premium flourishes the Pi7 offers. 

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. Some articles may contain affiliate links and purchases made through this will result in a small commission for the site. Commissions are not directed to the author or related to compensation in any way.

  • Hi-Fi sound quality
  • Very stylish
  • Good ANC
  • Audio retransmission tech is very good
  • Improved battery life
  • ANC is only decent
  • Battery life is still too short
  • Limited app options
  • Very expensive


Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight