So guys, call it what you will, bias, prejudice or bad ears, but somehow we’ve had a love hate relationship with Bowers and Wilkins. And some of you have told us that we’ve been unfair to the Px8. So, fine. Let’s do it again. The Bowers and Wilkins Px8 revisited.
Our History with Bowers and Wilkins
Before we get started, a little history lesson. Our very first Bowers & Wilkins product was sent to us, the PI7. We started the video with: “What do you across get for 400 bucks?”. There were a lot of things wrong with it. For us – just sound isn’t good enough when it comes to wireless products – it’s a convenience thing. Battery life, noise cancelling, connectivity, fit – everything matters. For example, we gave the AirPods Pro 2 a good review – something we bought ourselves and the Bose QC 2 a more neutral review – also something we bought with our own money. We also didn’t say great things about the Moondrop Alice – another product that was sent to us by a company. Are we ‘biased’? You decide!
After the PI7, the next product we really wanted to review was the Bowers and Wilkins PX7 S2. This was a bit of a shame – because the model we purchased just didn’t work properly – the microphones didn’t work so we couldn’t test the phone calls. Some of you commented that we shouldn’t have tested the ANC on them either because there could have been something wrong with the ANC mics. Well – we did anyway and you know what – it was… fine. Not great but fine. Overall, again – we thought this was a good product, just not great value-for-money.
What we LIKED about the Bowers and Wilkins PX8
What about the PX8? We bought that ourselves this time. And you know what? There were a lot of things that we liked. We loved the looks, build quality and buttons. Bowers & Wilkins always have personality in the design department. Premium materials, unique looking design and buttons that work. But.. yes, you knew there was a but coming. And so did these guys. So let’s recap the other aspects of the Bowers & Wilkins PX8.
Apart from the looks, build and buttons it does a few more things right. It comes with an excellent multipoint implementation. The dual connection was very reliable in our testing and you can see a device list in the app. You can even initiate pairing from the app instead of doing some special button sequence.
And speaking of the app, it gives you a few settings! You get your ANC controls, a basic EQ, and a few extra tweaks. And there’s the sound. We liked it! A very spicy sound signature and that’s what makes the PX8 a fun pair of headphones. And if you’re hard of hearing or go hard with music, then the PX8 is for you. Don’t try this at home kids – but they get really really loud! Finally, the transparency mode is decent. Tier C. Putting it in the company of the PX7 S2 and B&O H95 and HX. They’re better than headphones such as the Bose 700 and QC45 but worse than Sony XM5
and Focal Bathys though.
What we HATED about the Bowers and Wilkins PX8
And here’s where the PX8 just failed to deliver, The ANC is embarrassingly bad. Almost the lower Tier at Tier E. We ranked the PX7 S2 there as well. Bowers & Wilkins need to really up their game in this space!
And another area where the PX8 is behind its times is battery life. You get 25 hours with ANC on. This used to be a respectable number like 3 years ago, but now we’re seeing headphones with twice that number. And maybe you plan to use these headphones at home only – then you’ll be ok to use them for phone calls. You can forget about using them in any more adventurous situations than a quiet home. As per usual the Bowers & Wilkins have gone for a hard clamp on the PX8. Not very comfortable if you’re wearing them for longer periods of time.
Finally, there’s some good news. It has smart pause. Other high-rollers in THIS video don’t even offer such a basic feature. But the bad news: it’s disabled by default and for good reason. It doesn’t really work as it should. Even on the least sensitive setting it just randomly pauses audio even when you’ve got the headphones on and you’re not even moving much.
So what’s our conclusion – well, THIS was our conclusion, – so guys, we don’t ‘hate’ Bowers and Wilkins – it’s a great company. We are convinced that their products are good – but they are considerably overpriced, and that doesn’t change whether they send us the product or we buy it for ourselves.
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