Bowers & Wilkins do not precisely do issues on a budget, so the very fact the Pi7 S2 are significantly dearer than all of their nearest competitors won’t come as a lot of a shock – significantly when the Pi7 predecessors they exchange launched on the identical worth two years in the past.
Nevertheless, the best true wireless headphones market is altering, and quick. Charging (at the very least) $100 greater than a few of your closest competitors – which are not precisely low-cost themselves – is a daring transfer in such a aggressive market.
To make it make sense, you actually need to again it up with a efficiency and have set that blows the competitors out of the water. Do the B&W Pi7 S2 succeed? Here is our full assessment.
Bowers & Wilkins/Pocket-lint
Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2
The B&W Pi7 S2 are attractive trying earbuds that provide a wealthy and refined sound. Nevertheless, they’re very costly and we’re undecided the providing right here, when in comparison with the competitors, makes that price ticket make sense.
- Wealthy, refined sound
- Attractive design
- Steady, dependable efficiency
- That worth…
- Noise cancelling is simply okay
- Battery life is missing
- Bass is perhaps an excessive amount of for some
- Dimensions (carry case): 61mm (w) x 28mm (d) x 56mm (h)
- Weight: 7g (per bud), 47g (charging case)
- Black, white and midnight blue
You will not be shocked to listen to that the B&W Pi7 S2 look pretty and really feel supremely effectively made. Bowers & Wilkins does not fiddle with design, and the result’s a fantastic pair of headphones obtainable in a alternative of three colors – canvas white, satin black and the somewhat placing midnight blue of our assessment pattern.
When you’re accustomed to the unique Pi7, effectively, you will not discover a lot totally different right here (other than that blue color, which is new this time spherical). They’re nonetheless the twist-to-fit in-ear design, with the earbud connected to an oval-shaped essential physique that rests comfortably in your outer ear.
That is topped with a classy round endcap, which sits simply outdoors the ear. It is what individuals will see while you’re sporting them – so all eyes are on this for hitting the B&W premium design temporary.
They completely succeed – there is a tactile, ridged end right here, which catches the sunshine superbly, and a metallic ring at its base. The Bowers & Wilkins brand can be written subtly on its underside.
It is greater than only a design determination although – it additionally works as a touchpad for the Pi7 S2’s controls (extra on these in a bit), and as a one thing to grip onto while you’re placing them out and in of your ear (and out and in of the case for that matter).
We discover the match very snug certainly. They do not impress themselves upon you too closely and sit calmly within the ear, with the bud doing the work of making a good seal – you get a alternative of three tricks to discover your match.
They keep put, too. We all know that is been a bone of competition for some individuals, however we have had no issues with them shifting in use in any respect, and discover the 7g weight no issues both – even whether it is heavier than rivals just like the 6.2g-per-bud Bose Quietcomfort II.
The design déjà vu extends to the charging case, which is far the identical as final time spherical. It is curved and palm sized, with a lid that flips open from the highest.
There is a button on the skin for checking the battery degree remaining – you may get a inexperienced, orange or purple gentle to let you know the way near needing a recharge you might be – whereas a small button of the within of the case works because the pairing button. Merely maintain it for a couple of seconds to enter pairing mode.
- 5 hours’ battery life; 21 hours with the case
- Help for aptX Adaptive
- IP54 rated
- Bluetooth re-transmission performance
Not so much has modified on the skin, then, however there have been a handful of modifications on the within. They’re arguably small tweaks, contemplating these have been two years within the making, however do present B&W has listened to suggestions from the primary era at the very least.
A few of the largest complaints had been patchy connectivity and a less-than-stellar battery life.
Each of those have been addressed right here, with a repositioned antenna and extra clear materials for the endcaps enabling the Pi7 S2 to double the Bluetooth vary they’re able to to 25 metres, and a barely improved, if far-from-market-leading, battery efficiency – up from 4 hours to 5.
You may will get one other 16 hours from the charging case for a complete of 21 hours, plus there may be quick charging of quarter-hour for an additional two hours of playback, so that you’re – realistically – unlikely to seek out your self wanting. Nevertheless, in contrast with Sony’s WF-1000XM4’s at eight hours, and the six hours managed by the Bose QuietComfort II, the improve feels a bit of unremarkable amongst its competitors.
You may nonetheless get Qualcomm’s high-res succesful aptX Adaptive Bluetooth connectivity after all, which might help wi-fi playback of as much as 24-bit/48kHz with appropriate gadgets, the identical IP54 score for water resistance, and B&W’s useful Bluetooth re-transmission performance that is nice for frequent travellers.
This implies you possibly can plug the case, through its USB-C port, in to any supply that does not help Bluetooth natively, to introduce wi-fi playback.
This come significantly in useful with an in-flight leisure system, for instance, and prevent from the horrors of these flimsy airline-supplied headsets.
What you will not discover right here, are some much-requested additions at this worth – particularly the power to vary quantity on the earbuds themselves, and the power to tweak the EQ.
Each are a disgrace, and do not appear massively tough to implement – significantly for the reason that B&W Music app has been upgraded for the reason that unique buds launched.
It now means that you can higher management the buds’ connections (there is no true multipoint right here however you possibly can manually swap between a few gadgets), entry music streaming providers like Tidal and Qobuz immediately, and tweak the ANC efficiency, relying on the place you might be.
With no quantity management handy, the contact controls stay easy with a sequence of faucets to entry music controls, voice help, ANC management and name dealing with choices. They work effectively, as does the damage recognition, however needing your cellphone handy so as to change quantity is a bit of annoying.
These function tweaks are just about the start and finish of the Pi7 S2’s modifications – every earbud options the identical two-way drivers that the originals did. Meaning you possibly can anticipate a 9.2mm dynamic driver and a high-frequency balanced armature driver – every one independently amplified.
We loved the sound this setup produced two years in the past and that is no totally different this time spherical. Nevertheless, these beforehand talked about strides forwards the business has made does give these buds some new competitors.
What cannot be taken away from these buds is what enjoyable they’re to hearken to. They’re massively musical, and we misplaced time to albums penning this assessment, once we’d deliberate to hear to 1 track. It relies upon how critically you hearken to your earbuds as as to if you take into account their efficiency any additional than that, although at this worth, we’d recommend a extra vital hear is warranted.
The bass response of the Pi7 S2 is admirable for a pair of in-ear buds and those who like their bass loud and proud will actually get pleasure from how the Pi7 S2 deal with the low finish. It is by no means allowed to get unruly, however the bass is undeniably boosted right here – moreso than you may hear within the Bose Quietcomfort Earbuds II, Airpods Professional 2 or Sony WF-1000XM4.
It is not stunning, contemplating B&W’s sound signature with different headphones, however we might say the Pi7 S2 lean a bit of additional into that heat than we’re used to listening to from the model. Take a hearken to Man by Skepta and you will hear that the daring – albeit exact and punchy – bassline is entrance and centre, and at instances feels a contact overwhelming.
It may possibly impress itself, ever so barely, on the midrange too. Whereas that creates a stable, authoritative and assured sound, we might desire to listen to the Pi7 S2 give the midrange the ground when it is imagined to – somewhat than the jostle for the limelight that presently occurs within the decrease mids.
That is to not say that the midrange is missing readability. Really there may be loads of element right here, as could be heard with If I Ain’t Acquired You by Alicia Keys. The piano intro is exact and textured, and vocals are expressed superbly, significantly the place there is not a lot of a battle with a pulsing bassline.
The B&W deal with on dynamics is obvious too, and the Pi7 S2s masterfully exhibit the distinction in tempo and quantity as you’d anticipate them to. It is barely extra specific at greater volumes than it’s at decrease ones, however we did discover ourselves listening to those at 75% quantity and above more often than not anyway.
That is a credit score to them being a snug hear up till a couple of notches earlier than full whack, so for those who crave quantity, you possibly can take them there with out subject. They’ve loads of headroom too, and their total spacious presentation is not put below stress when the amount creeps up both.
Whereas the fastidiously judged treble helps right here, a bit extra sparkle within the high finish would assist to steadiness out that larger-than-life bass response, and provides a bit extra chew and assault to the presentation. They don’t seem to be sluggish, however they do not drive tracks ahead with maybe fairly a lot vitality as we have heard in competitors, just like the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II.
Noise cancelling is simply okay. It should do the job of slicing out the massive low-end visitors sounds that you simply’d need it to, however greater pitched noises or workplace chit chat will creep in.
It is simply bested by the likes of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II and Sony WF-1000XM4, so for those who’re on the lookout for the perfect in ANC efficiency, you are higher served elsewhere.
The B&W Pi7 S2 have arguably taken too lengthy to make too few modifications, in a market that’s shifting and enhancing shortly. The largest subject is their worth – they’re significantly dearer than their closest rivals and we’re undecided they handle to make that make sense.
That is to not say they do not sound good. They do – although you’ll need to be pleased with a low-end that wishes to have a reasonably appreciable say in proceedings. After all they give the impression of being good too, however this does not have fairly the identical swing because it does with over-ear headphones.
ANC is ok, however removed from market main – you’ll need to purchase these for the complete bundle somewhat than noise cancellation, and it seems like different fashions, just like the Bose QuietComfort II or the Sony XF-1000XM4 provide a way more compelling providing – and at a lower cost too.
That is a tough promote for the B&W Pi7 S2. In order for you a pair of premium buds that serve up a wealthy, assured and refined efficiency, you will not be disillusioned – however yow will discover comparable for much less.