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Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2e Review

Christopher Coke Updated: Posted:
Hardware Reviews 0

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 series has been one of the most popular on the market for years, but with the competition getting ever hotter, it was time for an upgrade. Today, we’re looking at the PX7 S2e. With new colors and a brand new signal processor for enhanced sound quality, these earphones are the best sounding and most comfortable yet. If you’re looking for wireless headphones that deliver exceptional sound quality and active noise cancellation, these are definitely worth considering… if you can afford them.


Current Price: $399 (Amazon

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2e - Design and Features

The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 was my first B&W headphone, which I reviewed right here back in 2021. I was already late to the game at that point, and while I really enjoyed it, there were some areas I felt it could be improved. Late last spring, the company released its successor, the PX7 S2, which was said to improve on its design and sound quality. I missed that release due to some personal issues at the time and am coming to the PX7 S2e a full generation removed but with the experience of the PX8 behind me instead.

I share that because, in theory, I should be the perfect person for this pair of headphones. In many ways, it seems like the PX7 S2e is meant to bridge the gap between the S2 and the PX8, enhancing sound quality their sound quality with a new 24-bit digital signal processor for the best sound yet in the PX7 series. Coming from the original PX7, I’m also pleased to see that these offer some noticeable improvements to comfort and a more balanced out-of-the-box tuning as well. 

The design language is very similar; you won’t mistake these for anything other than Bowers & Wilkins luxury headphones. The PX7 S2e uses slim yet lushly passed ear cups trimmed with a stylish fabric. The center of each cup bears the B&W logo on a metal faceplate. An accent ring adds a splash of color between the cup and the pad while the headband matches the color of the headphone.

This release brings with it a fresh new Forest Green colorway that’s quite attractive. Ocean Blue, Cloud Grey, and Anthracite Black are returning options. I’m a big fan of the grey and black, which I tested here, and love its sleek appearance. The fabric lining and subtle accent rings on the earcups really make it look great without also screaming that you’re wearing a $400 pair of headphones to anyone who should pass by.

Like past models, each earcup has a series of controls to use all of its different functions. The right earcup houses a trifecta of these, as well as an on/off switch. The three buttons on this earcup control volume, call controls, pausing and playing music, and navigating tracks. The single button on the left earcup is set to control the headphone’s listening modes, cycling through noise canceling, pass-through, and standard passive isolation modes. 

The battery life on these headphones is good but unchanged from the PX7 and PX7 S2. It supports 30 hours of listening with ANC enabled and will warn you when the battery gets low. It supports fast charging, however, so if you do run short, only 15 minutes on the charger will restore seven hours of battery life, which is a two-hour improvement from the original PX7.

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2e - Build Quality and Comfort

It’s here I should say that the design of these headphones is very similar if not identical to the PX7 S2. If you already own those, you’ll know just what to expect with this upgrade. If, like me, you haven’t experienced those headphones for yourself, you’ll find that they’re quite an improvement from the original S7 and much of the competition at this price point.

The headphones are very robustly made. It’s not uncommon to see headphones use a lot of plastic in the name of comfort, but the PX7 S2e makes excellent use of metal to reinforce the yokes and headband, as well as to provide a sturdy wall around the driver. I wouldn’t recommend it, but these are headphones that look like they could survive a drop. The rigors of daily use shouldn’t be any difficulty.

There have been definitely enhancements made to comfort from the original PX7 too. Even though both pairs are very similar in weight (the PX7 was 310 grams, the PX7 S2e is 307), the S2e is much more comfortable to wear over extended periods of time. Bowers & Wilkins seem to have reworked the balance between grip force and on-head balance because I can ward off hot-spotting for a good couple of hours with these headphones. I also find the leatherette ear cushions to be a touch softer and more comfortable, while also being more isolating. 

Hot spotting and head build-up can still be an issue. I would love to see a full rework of the headband design to completely eradicate it, but I fully admit that I am much more sensitive to soreness at the top of my head than most other people I’ve met. Unless you’re listening for very long periods, you’ll likely find these to be quite comfortable and isolating.

The earcups can also rotate to lay flat around your neck. This is perfect for when you need a break or a quick chat and don’t want to use the headphones’ passthrough mode. They’re slim enough that I could fully turn my head without bumping them with my chin, too, so bonus points for that. 

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2e - Sound Quality and ANC

The build quality and comfort of a headphone only mean so much if it doesn’t actually sound good and this is where the PX7 S2e really shines. This release brings with it a brand new 24-bit digital signal processor for higher-resolution listening through high-res streaming services like Amazon Music HD. The tuning itself has also been improved, bringing it more in line with the flagship PX8 wireless headphones, and offering greater clarity while still leaving room for the PX8 to shine.

The listening experience is driven by a pair of 40mm biocellulose drivers. This material is known for its excellent responsiveness, making it a great fit for high resolution headphones across the industry. Bowers & Wilkins puts them to good effect, angling them inside the earcup so soundwaves more naturally leverage the outer ear and enhance the sense of space in the listening experience. 

Bass is the star of the show here, coming in fast and tight with plenty of power and slam. These headphones are definitely tuned for fun but the bass minds its lane much more than on the original PX7 headphones. It doesn’t intrude on the mids nearly so much, so while these sound warm, they’re definitely more crisp and detailed than those headphones.

As a mainstream set, vocals are critical and the PX7 S2e delivers them with aplomb. Singers come forward and close the distance between you and the rest of the group, perfect for pop and rock. The highs are slightly rolled off but not before percussion and cymbals are able to ring out. The result is a natural sound that’s slightly warm but not blunted. It’s a perfect match for the new high-resolution DSP.

Compared to the PX8, the PX7 S2e is less detailed and clear, but that’s not surprising. The PX8 is a much more expensive pair of headphones that are targeted at audiophiles and enthusiasts. These headphones deliver very well for their price point, easily competing with the Sony WH-1000XM5 and Bose QuietComforts.

The active noise cancellation is excellent. It works best for low-frequency noises and droning sounds like fans, but I was impressed at how much more mid-frequency noise this set was able to cancel out. B&W has always been competitive on this front, but the combination of ANC, moderate clamp force, and sound isolating leatherette cushions worked very well for blocking out office noise and the sound of my kids playing in the other room while working from home. 

I still think Sony holds the crown, but there have been definite improvements made to the ANC algorithm and I would consider these a close tie for second against alongside Bose.

There are some things that are missing here, however. There’s no spatial audio solution, for one. I don’t personally consider this a major loss but it’s a competitive shortcoming, for sure. There’s also no way to use these with a standard 3.5mm cable either, but they can be used wired with PC over USB Type-C. Paired with a Dolby Atmos license, they weren’t half bad for gaming, but I’d still stick with my gaming headset for the best sense of space in competitive shooters.

Final Thoughts

At $400, the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2e are a luxury pair of headphones and deliver on that in nearly every way. They’re well-built, elegant, and sleek, and are stylish and low profile enough to wear out of the house as a daily driver. The sound quality and ANC are the best yet, so while there’s no spatial audio here, the core of the experience and remaining feature set goes toe-to-toe with the best wireless headphones under $500. If you can afford to treat yourself or a loved one, the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2e are an excellent set. 

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.

8.5 Great
  • Sleek and stylish
  • Powerful bass that doesn’t bleed into the mids and highs
  • Plenty of detail throughout the range
  • Solid battery life
  • Improved build quality and comfort
  • Hot-spotting can still be an issue (but takes longer)
  • Very similar to the PX7 S2 overall
  • No 3.5mm option for use with DACs or amps


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