One other high-quality listening expertise with an enchancment felt by way of consolation, however there are nonetheless areas the place the Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 fall in need of the cheaper competitors.
- Glorious, refined audio
- Higher consolation ranges than authentic
- Robust wi-fi connection
- Clear name high quality
- Strong sufficient noise cancellation
- Battery life is under common
- Match just isn’t the tightest
- Restricted app options
Adaptive ANCAdapts noise-cancelling energy relying on externa sounds
24-bit connectionAssist for hi-res audio
Wi-fi audio retransmissionCharging case can transmit audio from exterior machine to headphones
After ready a number of years for Bowers & Wilkins to launch its first true wi-fi within the Pi7, it has taken solely two for the model to observe it up with the Pi7 S2.
They exchange the predecessors and match up with their over-ear siblings in supporting Bowers’ Music app. That’s together with a couple of enhancements equivalent to a tweaked design, new finishes, and longer battery life.
In any other case, they’re the identical true wi-fi earphones with audiophile sensibilities. However the market hasn’t stood nonetheless for the reason that Pi7 debuted, so has B&W’s newest earphone exceeded expectations or is it taking part in a sport of catch-up?
- Extra comfy than the unique
- New colors
- Robust water resistance
- Not the tightest match
Bowers hasn’t seen match to alter a lot in regards to the design however on the floor of issues, effectively, the floor has modified.
The fabric that cushions towards the internal ear is noticeably smoother. With the unique, I discovered its onerous floor usually induced a boring ache over longer durations however that feeling of discomfort is decreased with the Pi7 S2.
Although consolation ranges are improved, these nonetheless aren’t the perfect match, and neither do they provide the tightest seal. Whereas a change to an even bigger ear-tip caused higher consolation ranges and a safer match, the Pi7 S2 nonetheless had a behavior of coming unfastened strolling about, and that may negatively influence the noise-cancellation and audio.
Water-resistance is rated at IP54 (buds solely), just like Jabra’s Elite earphone vary, and it goals to repel splashes of water and defend towards low ranges of mud.
There’s no change to the contact controls, that are stored easy by way of inputs and have the identical tactile really feel to them. The case is similar too: curved, compact and pocketable.
What has modified are the color choices with Midnight Blue (this pattern) becoming a member of white and black variations. The blue model appears to be like terrific – these stay one of the vital trendy earbuds available on the market.
- Beneath common battery life
- Excessive-res audio help
- Glorious name high quality
Bowers say it has boosted the battery life over the unique from 4 to 5 hours however that’s not the complete story. That quoted determine is with noise cancelling off, and there’s one thing unusual occurring with the battery life ranges too.
Two hours streaming a Spotify playlist introduced the earphones all the way down to 54%, which signifies you’ll get little greater than 4 hours with noise-cancelling on. What’s odd is the best way the battery life depletes. On three events I famous it dropped to the low eighties earlier than leaping again to the nineties. I can’t say I’ve seen that behaviour earlier than.
Total, there’s 21 hours of cost (16 within the case) and that’s with noise-cancelling off. All you get is an additional hour of battery life over the unique Pi7, which is a meagre acquire. Quick charging (quarter-hour for 2 hours), and wi-fi charging are supported.
Wi-fi codecs embody SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX-HD, aptX-LL and aptX-Adaptive, and also you’ll solely discover the aptX variants suitable with Android units. The Adaptive model helps 24-bit/48kHz audio resolutions and has the added aspect of adjusting the bitrate so the connection doesn’t crumble in busy sign areas.
I’ve discovered the wi-fi efficiency to be very sturdy – very like Bower’s over-ear headphones such because the Px8 – with solely minor stutters encountered at Waterloo and some glints in different areas.
The PI7 S2 additionally help 24-bit/48kHz transmission between every earbud, making these one of many few Hello-res audio succesful buds available on the market. The one shock is that Bowers didn’t see match so as to add help for Snapdragon Sound, however I think about it’s not as simple so as to add because it was to write down that sentence.
The Pi7 S2 observe the over-ear siblings in shuffling to the Bowers & Wilkins Music app. That is the corporate’s new residence for its wi-fi audio system and headphones, with companies equivalent to Tidal and Qobuz built-in straight into the app.
The format is nice, principally involved with curating music playlists for customers to get pleasure from. By clicking on the cog on the backside, entry is offered to settings, although choices are few with the means to regulate the ANC, transparency mode and toggle the wear and tear sensor on and off. Customisation can be skinny, with not even the means to alter the controls or EQ offered. This gives the look of a inflexible and managed expertise.
Opening the app can, every so often, trigger a quick stutter when music is taking part in, which is similar to what occurred with the outdated app. One other curio is how the ANC settings work.
There may be Adaptive, On and Off settings to select from, which is sensible, however what doesn’t is there’s no approach to swap between noise-cancelling and transparency modes on the earbuds themselves. Except I’ve missed one thing, the one technique to decide on the transparency mode is by opening the app. I couldn’t even change between the three modes, as holding the contact floor solely jumps between the chosen ANC mode and off. In case you have it set t ‘On’, you possibly can’t swap to ‘Adaptive’. I discover that unusually unintuitive.
For what it’s value, the noise-cancellation is efficient however reliant on reaching a superb match, sustaining its seal (which isn’t all the time the case) and tweaking the quantity. Utilizing them within the bustling centre of Amsterdam and evaluating them towards the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, the Pi7 S2 weren’t as profitable in dismissing noise. I might nonetheless hear individuals and automobiles, and whereas they weren’t loud sufficient to distract, I used to be nonetheless conscious of what was round me slightly than sinking right into a bubble of isolation.
Worn on an airplane, at Ikea and on a number of prepare journeys, I encountered an analogous vibe. The Pi7 S2 present strong suppression towards persistent and ambient sounds however voices and basic exercise nonetheless handle to interrupt by way of. Bowers would doubtless keep the road they don’t need the ANC to unduly have an effect on the music efficiency, however at £349 a pop I’d count on extra.
The PI7 S2’s charging case retains the audio retransmission characteristic the unique. Join the USB-C-to-3.5mm cable offered within the field to the charging case and plug it into something that has a 3.5mm jack, and audio is routed by way of the case to the earbuds.
It stays a intelligent thought and works with little to no latency watching YouTube movies on my laptop computer. It’s matched (otherwise you would possibly say pinched) by the cheaper LG Tone Free UT90Q, however I couldn’t get the characteristic to work on the UT90Q it doesn’t matter what I did, whereas there have been no issues with the Pi7 S2 in any way.
Name high quality is great. Having carried out two calls on completely different days, the particular person on the opposite finish of the road stated they couldn’t hear a lot background noise at a busy meals market I used to be milling in. My voice got here throughout as clear although I did have to boost the quantity to listen to them throughout noisier moments.
Strolling on busy roads and never a lot noise was heard on their aspect both. They did point out when it did get loud my voice went excessive pitched, and anybody who is aware of me is conscious my voice is as removed from excessive pitched as you may get.
Sound High quality
- A refined, slight heat presentation
- A large, detailed soundstage
- Wealthy treble efficiency
Lots can change in a few years, however there was little purpose for Bowers and Wilkins to alter something the place the sound was involved. The unique was one of many greater high quality listening experiences within the true wi-fi market and the Pi7 S2 takes on the baton.
There don’t seem like any modifications made, and any I do hear may very well be put all the way down to the varied ear-tips used. The buds’ character hews to the identical musical method as its predecessor. They’re not involved with being flashy or excitable and are personified by a way of refinement with no matter music passes by way of the 9.2mm/balanced armature drivers. I wouldn’t describe them as a impartial listening expertise, as there’s a slight heat and richness all through the frequency vary.
That maybe robs them of some dynamic heft and influence, however there’s no doubting these are a fluid, musical and fascinating hear. Ashley Henry and Makaya McCraven’s Darkish Honey (4The Storm) contains a wealthy copy of the trumpets, McCraven’s fast drumbeats are delivered with good tempo, and the Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 sustain with the rhythm with out coming throughout as muddy.
Rhythmically they’re greater than adept, accelerating to a music’s tempo or downshifting when referred to as for. The cymbal crashes aren’t the crispest of their definition, the Pi7 S2 aren’t notably sharp or brilliant however the devices on the high finish of the frequency vary are simply recognized, informative and richly showcased. The midrange is residence to voices which might be easily described equivalent to Shara Zoe Ahmed Gure’s vocals within the Darkish Honey observe, Kendrick Lamar’s rap in United in Grief or Lenny Kravitz’s in Fly Away.
Bass carries weight, although to not excitable quantities. The Pi7 S2 aren’t earbuds to get recklessly carried away however with TNGHT’s Larger Floor streamed on Qobuz there’s a superb punch that helps solidify the decrease frequencies, moreso if you happen to’re utilizing the bigger ear-tip. However it’s not nearly punch, the Pi7 S2’s bass is different and textured which helps to explain a wide range of tracks and genres.
The soundstage is described in pleasingly large phrases, and there’s a way of scale and expansiveness that immerses. You’ll need to companion these earbuds with a high-quality music subscription to get the perfect audio potential.
Must you purchase it?
In case you have audiophile tastes: Subscribe to the likes of Tidal and Qobuz? Then you definitely’ll need to give the Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 an audition.
For those who assume £349 is an excessive amount of: Round 4 hours battery life, with strong however not class main noise-cancellation. You’d count on extra worth in return for parting with a lot money.
The Pi7 S2 are extra of the identical, which is each good and not-so-good. The refined design modifications produce a much less fatiguing sense of consolation, and all the things I appreciated from the unique stays simply nearly as good with this sequel. In any other case, the Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 are a small enchancment, and integration with the Music app is slightly odd.
The noise-cancellation efficiency cuts by way of the chatter however don’t count on it to succeed in the suppressive heights of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II.
The wi-fi audio retransmission characteristic stays cool, however I’ve seen it seem on at the very least one cheaper true wi-fi, which begins to poke questions on the Pi7 S2’s perceived worth. They sound nearly as good as earlier than, however is that sufficient to justify the worth?
I don’t assume it does. These are a high-quality listening expertise, however as an total bundle they’re not the perfect and at this worth, that’s the place they must be.
How we take a look at
We take a look at each set of headphones we evaluate totally over an prolonged time frame. We use trade commonplace checks to check options correctly. We’ll all the time let you know what we discover. We by no means, ever, settle for cash to evaluate a product.
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Examined with actual world use
Battery drain checks carried out
There’s no room for Sony’s LDAC codec on the Pi7 S2, which as an alternative helps aptX-HD and aptX Adaptive to offer a better high quality listening expertise.
Bowers and Wilkins Pi7 S2
Bowers & Wilkins
SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX-HD, aptX-LL, aptX Adaptive
9.2mm Dynamic Drive with Balanced Armature
Satin Black, Midnight Blue, Canvas White
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ANC (Energetic Noise Cancellation) makes use of an array of microphones in a headphone to detect the frequency of the sound coming on the listener, with the ANC chip creating an inverse wave (i.e. opposing sound) to suppress any undesirable exterior noises.