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The British manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins has impressed its customers many times, and it did so with PX5, too. The PX5 on-ear headphone is an artistic piece of technology designed to last; beautifully crafted, the noise-canceling model we have here won't challenge the likes of Bose 700 in a noise reduction battle. Though, the materials and especially the workmanship will ensure victory. The headset has a fantastic construction, is well-built, and will last for a long time. Along with an excellent passive shielding behavior, the ANC can differentiate between a decent listening experience and an immersive one.
Bowers & Wilkins PX5 On-Ear ANC Headphones Review
1. Overview - not finished
Type: Over-ear Noise Cancelling Headphones | Bluetooth: 4.0 | Battery: 30 Hours | Charging: 4 Hours | Drivers: Dynamic | Drivers-Size: 45 mm | Weight: 385g
Bowers & Wilkins are available in dark & blue colors. Regardless of choice, both versions look incredible. For both versions, a fabric cover will be supplied to the kit, as well as a USB Type-C cable for charging, an audio cable, and a standard 3.5 mm jack.
Bowers & Wilkins has everything we wanted. Earcups with aluminum and fabric on the outside. A frame made of carbon that has a uniquely cool pattern. And high-quality leather on the earpads—elements that separate the PX5 from the rest. The splendid workmanship, which can undoubtedly be called royal, contributes a lot to this impression. The fabric and leatherette cover of the headband is sewn excellently, just as the ear pads.
The earcups have sensors, the sensitivity is adjusted in the application. When you take off the headphones, the audio content (music or movie) pauses. Once you put them back on, the content resumes. If this feature is not something you fancy, the sensors can be disabled.
People who buy the PX5 love the headphones for their light construction and because they’re compact. The latter is also an aspect favored by girls and people with smaller ears/heads. Although the Bowers & Wilkins PX5 is lightweight, weighing 254 grams, it feels firm, solid, and premium. No matter how rough it’s handled, the headband can withstand a lot of abuse.
If you’re traveling and flying across the country often, the larger PX7s might suit you better. But for the city, the PX5s are insanely comfortable and probably the best on-ear headphones for commute and downtown walks. They’re highly portable headphones, can fit in a jacket pocket, and work with most mobile audio sources—just plug the USB-C cable into your smartphone or MP3 player and enjoy music. The Bowers & Wilkins PX5 on-ear headphones offer comprehensive and complete sound reproduction that’s incredibly detailed and enjoyable and allow you to watch movies and play games without issues. Its performance is even more enhanced, provided the device you connect the headphones support aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec.
The cups cover the ears wholly and remain in place. The headband adjustment here is ordinary, without miracles. The PX5 is controlled via mechanical buttons on the right and left earcups. The recording quality of the built-in microphone is good. You can talk in a quiet room and have a clear, intelligible conversation.
Due to the good passive noise insulation, you should take off your headphones outdoors for safety reasons. In the hot temperature of summer or in a warm, poorly ventilated room, ears are susceptible to sweating after around 1 hour.
The PX5 is controlled via mechanical buttons on the right and left earcups. The usual physical buttons cannot be missed; the sensors also cannot be touched accidentally. On the right side, there are buttons for controlling the volume and a function key with which the playback (start/pause, previous/next) can be controlled, and an on/off switch, which is used for Bluetooth pairing.
The right earcup houses the USB Type-C port for charging, while the left earcup has the ANC with the three levels of noise cancelling.
Since Bowers & Wilkins PX5 uses one of the freshest Qualcomm chips at the time of its release, you have Bluetooth 5.0, a high connection speed, a reliable connection, and good work when used with two gadgets at once. You can connect the headphones to two devices simultaneously, ideally a smartphone and a laptop or a smartphone and a tablet. To listen to music from one device and receive calls from the other.
Bowers & Wilkins PX5 supports aptX codec and aptX Adaptive. For games and watching movies, aptX Adaptive is the adequate choice as it oughts to replace the wired cable and provide a lower signal transmission delay than aptX; meanwhile, it also has a higher bit rate, making the sound quality better during wireless transmission. The tricky thing is that you’ll only enjoy the benefits of aptX Adaptive with devices that are compatible with it.
B&W PX5’s autonomy is plenty, offering roughly 25 hours of playtime. The charging is fast, and you can also fast charge the headphones and get 5 hours of battery life in 15 minutes. Another positive aspect of PX5 is that you’ll be able to use the headphones while charging. However, the analog connection does not help if the battery is empty. The internal battery is charged via a type USB C socket, which is excellent since USB-C has an advantage over the standard micro-USB sockets: You don’t have to pay attention to the plug’s correct orientation. It always fits.
An application designed for PX5/PX7 can adjust the sensors’ sensitivity of the earcups in the “Wear sensor” menu, rename the headphones, update the firmware. In general, everything is beautiful; the headset pairs easily and has no flaws regarding Bluetooth.
For the active noise reduction system’s operation, PX5 is equipped with four microphones (6 if you count the additional microphones used for voice transmission). The system design is standard. Microphones deliver sound in antiphase, due to this very loud noise being suppressed but smoothed out.
The active noise reduction can be turned on/off with the help of a physical button and offers three modes of noise reduction: High, Low, Auto. Not much difference can be noticed. High Mode is the most efficient, whereas in Auto Mode, the sounds created by keyboard typing and people conversing subside slightly, so you can just stick with the “High” or “Auto” options.
Even without activated noise canceling, the PX5 attenuated ambient noises unusually strong for an on-ear model. The closed-back enclosure of the earcups is efficient in terms of passive noise cancellation; the leather fits snugly against the ear, reducing the sounds in the background noticeably even without ANC. The headsets cannot work via wires without battery life. But you can activate the noise-canceling function with the headset connected via wires.
Bowers & Wilkins PX5 drivers’ potential is high. Besides the elegant design, the headsets 35 mm drivers are also configured as needed: with enough volume and plenty of details. It’s delightful how easy the PX5 handles every genre of music. No adjustments are required in the EQ – everything is cool here. It’s somewhat difficult to describe how good the sound quality is. It seems to me that the PX atmosphere is well-conveyed, much better than the early models.
PX5 has a lot of details and excellent bass. The sound profile of the noise-canceling PX5 sounds good with both simple streaming services, including the most expensive Tidal subscription. Vocals are excellently reproduced, jazz is not straining at all, has good dynamics and attack. Every instrument can be heard. Paying attention to the overall sound reproduction, the mid-range seems slightly more emphasized than the other two frequency bands.
Compared to the PX, one can recognize the comprehensive sound character in almost any track. Bluetooth audio rendering is also fantastic, thanks to the custom drivers and the most modern Qualcomm chip.
Bowers & Wilkins released a great wireless headphone that features a capable noise-canceling system. Besides the technical components, it’s bestowed with refreshing materials, a strong assembly, and excellent sound quality. Everything is top-end, modern, in compliance with all the latest trends, even after 1 year. If you like on-ear headphones, you will be greatly pleased by PX5. Though, if your preference is slightly shadowed by the need for a large, over-ear headset, PX7 is the better choice.
PX5 might be an old model that was ravingly fashionable in the past that can still make a fashion statement in 2021, the headset remains one of the best well-crafted and stylish-looking wireless models with noise-canceling.
All in all, it’s a fantastic wireless on-ear headphone with an active noise reduction system that won’t make you regret putting it into your shopping cart.