Bowers & Wilkins

PI7 Wireless In-Ear Headphones

What does it take to create category-defining True Wireless in-ear headphones? It takes the highest-resolution sound quality with 24-bit connection, Qualcomm aptX™ Adaptive, and dual-driver audio. Advanced, adaptive noise-canceling, plus two separate microphones per earbud for perfect call quality. The experience continues with a smart, quick-charging wireless case, offering industry-first wireless audio retransmission.

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$399.00
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High Notes

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Premium Look with a Comfortable Feel

The choice of two high-end metal finishes and three different sizes of comfortable silicone ear tips offer a nice level of customization and will make you want to wear these in-ears all day.

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Focus on the Music with Outstanding Sound Quality and ANC

With B&W’s signature 9.2mm dynamic drivers, high-res Bluetooth aptX audio, and impressive active noise cancellation, we really felt the music came alive without any distractions from the outside world.

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Cutting-Edge Features Maximize Ease of Use

Bowers & Wilkins really packed a lot of great features into these small headphones! With support for both wireless & USB-C quick-charging, an intuitive and simple UI, and the industry-first wireless retransmitting case with the PI7, we felt like these will be on the cutting edge for years to come.

About the Bowers & Wilkins PI7

Company and Product Overview

Bowers & Wilkins, the iconic high-end speaker manufacturer from England, just released two True Wireless in-ear headphone models with Active Noise Canceling technology — B&W PI7 and PI5 True Wireless in-ear headphones — and after an extensive period of research and development, we were one of the first to receive the new models from Bowers & Wilkins to write this review before the official launch.

With True Wireless (TWS) In-Ear Headphones becoming increasingly more popular today, many of these compromise on the sound quality for wireless convenience — so, B&W knew this issue would need to be addressed before they could consider launching a True Wireless in-ear headphone capable of delivering the world-class sound quality and technology the brand is so well-known for.

Packaging, Design and Build Quality

In the box, Bowers & Wilkins includes a smart charging case that stores and recharges the earphones for you while offering some minimal protection. We like how each earphone slides into place inside the case and magnetically locks into their charging ports to make storage and charging simple, quick, and easy.

On the front panel of the smart case, a large LED indicator light will illuminate green, blue, or red to show the status of the battery or Bluetooth pairing mode. When you open the lid on the top panel, there is a small round button that activates Bluetooth pairing mode so you can pair it up with your smartphone. Below the LED indicator light, a large oval-shaped button will connect the earphones to the Bowers & Wilkins Headphones app when pressed.

The smart case has a cool trick hiding up its sleeve. When you want to switch to music playing from a laptop or another audio source, the smart case can function as a wireless retransmitting device that will transmit high-resolution audio up to 24-bit/48 kHz to your PI7 in-ear headphones.
There’s a USB Type-C digital audio output on the bottom of the charging case, and this allows you to connect a laptop using the USB-C audio cable that comes included in the box. Making this connection allows you to playback high-resolution audio up to 24-bit/48 kHz. This is a really cool feature that makes this setup ideal for both on-the-go listening but also for your use at your desk — very cool! For laptops or any audio source with a headphone jack, Bowers & Wilkins also included a USB-C to stereo miniplug cable to accomplish the same application.

The PI7 has high-end hard metal enclosures that just look fantastic. For less than $400, the flagship model PI7 is available in a charcoal and silver finish or a gloss white and silver finish. Overall, we really like the high-end look of these in-ears. Their classic, understated designs incorporated well with just about any wardrobe we chose, and they come with three pairs of ear tips that helped us tailor the fit just right.

Comfort

There’s a fit for just about everyone. The PI7 metal enclosures are compact enough to fit comfortably in the ear and come with three soft silicone ear tips for small, medium, and large ear canals. In our testing, the fits were extremely comfortable to wear for all-day use — however, we found the ear tips were more suitable for everyday listening and lighter exercise routines.

Like almost all in-ear headphones, when we increase the intensity of our workout with rapid motions, we noticed the great tight-fitting seal did loosen up just a bit, and we’d occasionally find ourselves touching them to make sure the seal was tight. Having said that, when seated stationary at our desks or going on a walk around town or normal activities, the soft silicone tips did an excellent job reducing ear fatigue and lasted for hours on end without the need for a break to remove the earphones. Once you find the right tips for your ears, these are some of the most comfortable in-ears on the market.

Performance

We tested the PI7 in a variety of scenarios like riding in the car, crossing a busy street, and taking calls at the office. Since audio quality is something that’s typically overlooked in a lot of other wireless earphones, we listened to a lot of different styles of music with the new PI7.

Compared to most earphones on the market, the B&W PI7 presents a much wider soundstage with deep bass across a wide range of frequencies from 10Hz to 20kHz. Like B&W’s PX line of noise-canceling over-ear headphones, B&W utilized the same engineers as the team that was behind their prestigious 800 Series Diamond speakers. These are the same speakers used at Abbey Road Studios, and we think this is what sets both the PI7 and the PI5 apart from other in-ear headphones.

When you step up to the flagship PI7, you get the added bonus of the high-frequency balanced armature tweeters in each earphone, and we liked how this really allowed us to experience more dynamic details popping out in hi-res music files. The 20kHz top-extension you get from both models really came alive with the PI7, especially on music with a lot of natural acoustic instruments such as horns, violins, guitars, and voices. If you want to experience the extra dynamics that almost pop out right in front of you, Liro Rantala’s “Helsinki,” is a really good track to hear this natural presentation of details popping out in the mid to high frequencies, a rhythm, and pacing that got our feet tapping along to the music.

Next, we tested the noise cancellation. In terms of lower frequencies like the low-end “hum” of a car or the sound of a train passing by, the PI7 did not block out noises as well as larger over-ear headphones like the B&W PX7 Noise-Canceling headphones -- but, having said that, the performance was comparable to the best noise-canceling in-ear headphones on the market.

We were impressed by how effective the Active Noise-Canceling tech in the PI7 was at automatically adapting to the ambient noise in our changing environments. It did a great job automatically analyzing and canceling out the higher frequency sounds. When we were out and about in a noisy street with honking cars, sirens, and people talking, the PI7 performed well at reducing all the distractions so we could focus on the music. When we wanted to hear the sounds in our environment, the PI7’s Ambient Pass-Through feature came in handy when it was time to pause the music and have a conversation without taking out the earbuds.

In terms of noise-canceling on phone calls, we tested them in the car, walking across the street while taking business calls, and in the office. In all of these scenarios, people on the other end consistently told us the reduction of background noises was substantially better, especially when we were walking around in a busy downtown environment. People told us our voices sounded clear during the call, and on conference calls, fewer people were asking us to mute if there was wind or other noises in the background.

We think your ears will appreciate the level of comfort you get with these in-ears. Even though we wouldn’t recommend the PI7 or PI5 for overly aggressive workouts where you have rapid head movements, we do think they work extremely well if you enjoy in-ear headphones for long power walks, a light jog, or any activity where you don’t have to move your head around too quickly or too frequently.

If you like using in-ear headphones with noise-canceling to help you stay in the zone, then either the PI7 or PI5 will be a nice improvement for anyone wanting to use them for less extreme fitness activities. As a bonus, the more stable fit from the soft silicone ear tips created a better sealing experience compared to all the plastic options flooding the market. The sound stayed locked in and the ear tips did a great job preventing outside noise from entering the ear canal. Not only did this improve the listening experience, but the tight sealing condition improved the passive noise isolation with both models as well.

Product features

True 24-bit connection

True high-resolution audio performance with a 24-bit connection between the left and right earbud, for superior sound quality. Now you’ll hear your favorite music and movies as they were meant to be heard.

aptXTM Adaptive

The latest in high-resolution wireless audio that adjusts dynamically to optimize performance and connection reliability, whether you are listening to music, watching movies, or playing games.

Dual Hybrid Drive Units

Small but powerful two-way drive units in each earbud that work just like high-performance speakers to create rich, immersive sound, from deep and powerful bass to expressive and detailed high notes. So you can hear your music as the artist intended.

Quad amps and advanced DSP

To enhance the performance of Dual Hybrid Drive Units, each unit is driven by a separate amplifier combined with an advanced DSP engine, tuned by the world’s most respected audio engineers.

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Because you use headphones for much more than just listening to music, each high-performance earbud benefits from two separate microphones with advanced technology to ensure that your calls are always crystal clear.

Smart Charging Case

A quick and convenient wireless charging case allows you to transport one less cable around with you throughout your day. Simply charge your PI7 case on any available wireless charging pad to continue listening to the highest quality sound on the go.

Quick Charge Support

Whether you want to get back to your music or have an urgent call, Quick Charge Support gives you convenience throughout the day. A quick 15-minute charge offers you a further 60-minutes of listening and communication time.

Audio Retransmission Case

A truly transformative feature and an industry first, the PI7 case doubles as a unique retransmission system, allowing you to retransmit the audio to your PI7s. The only True Wireless headphones that allow you to connect directly to an audio source.

Multiple Device Pairing

PI7s supports pairing to multiple devices so that you can transition between your phone, laptop, tablet, and other devices. Your music, movies, and conversations will follow you wherever you go.

Simple 1 Button UI

Single-button control that supports multiple functions and is simple to use. Because feature-rich should also be easy to use.

Voice Service Support

Summon your favorite virtual assistant quickly and easily with a push of a button, because assistance should be anything but complicated.

Adaptive ANC

State-of-the-art active noise cancellation adapts to your surroundings, monitoring the noise around you and automatically adjusting to ensure that your music is all you will hear.

Overall Recommendation

Overall, the PI7 is for everyday use and not for intense running or biking. We would recommend going with a sweat-resistant option with over-the-ear loops if you are considering an in-ear headphone for highly active workouts where normal in-ears would risk falling out. Having said that, there is no question the PI7 looks way more premium than all of the cheaply-made plastic earphones out there from everyone else.

If you want a really comfortable in-ear headphone to use for listening to music all day at work, or on the go, then we think the Bowers and Wilkins PI7 will provide a good sealing condition with excellent noise isolation that does a great job blocking out the ambient noises all around you even with the active noise canceling feature disabled. Compared to almost everything else out there, the PI7 looks and sounds fantastic, plus their flawless connection with smartphones and computers makes them ideal for quick and easy everyday use. We also think the ability to play through the case itself is super cutting edge and this is a real differentiator for an in-ear headphone at this price point.

If you're making the investment, and you have an appreciation for beautiful design, and the best sound quality available, you might as well get a great-looking pair with premium, classic and understated aesthetics that will look great with any style or wardrobe. We also think that if you are going to invest in a premium pair of in-ears with the great look and sound of Bowers and Wilkins, if you can afford the extra dollars to get the PI7s, you should. Even though they are more expensive we think they are the better value and certainly will bring a unique and high-end look compared to every teenager wearing Apple Airpods.

Either way, you’ll be really happy you made the choice with an in-ear headphone from Bowers & Wilkins. We hope you’ve enjoyed this review, but if you have any questions about the new PI7 in-ear noise-canceling headphones from Bowers & Wilkins, feel free to give us a call, chat with one of our experts at audioadvice.com, or stop into one of our Raleigh or Charlotte North Carolina showrooms.

TECHNICAL FEATURES

  • True 24-bit audio connection
  • 2-way drive unit design
  • High performance DSP
  • Bluetooth 5.0 with aptXTM Adaptive technology
  • Adaptive ANC
  • Audio retransmission from charge case
  • Wireless and USB-C charging
  • Fast Charging Support

WEARING STYLE

True Wireless in-ear headphones

BLUETOOTH CODECS

  • aptXTM Adaptive
  • aptXTM HD
  • aptXTM Low Latency
  • aptXTM Classic
  • AAC
  • SBC

BLUETOOTH PROFILES

  • A2DP v1.3.1
  • AVRCP v1.6.1
  • HFP v1.7.1
  • HSP v1.2
  • BLE GATT (Generic Attribute Profile)

FREQUENCY BAND

  • Tx mode: 2402MHz to 2480MHZ, ISM Band
  • Rx mode: 2402MHz to 2480MHz, ISM Band

RF POWER OUTPUT

<10.0 dBm

DRIVE UNITS

9.2mm Dynamic Drive Unit with Balanced Armature Drive Unit

MICROPHONE

Three separate microphones for calls and Adaptive ANC per earbud

FREQUENCY RANGE

10Hz - 20kHz

DISTORTION

<0.3% (1zHz/10mW)

BATTERY TYPE

Rechargeable Lithium Polymer (ear buds and charge case)

BATTERY LIFE

  • Up to 4 hours for earbuds
  • Additional 16 hours from charge case
  • Total 20 hours

FAST CHARGE

15 minute charge for 2 hour battery life

WIRELESS CHARGE SUPPORT

Yes

WATERPROOF

Yes (IP54) - Ear buds only

INPUTS

Bluetooth

IN-BOX ACCESSORIES

  • 20cm USB-C to 3.5mm audio cable
  • 20cm USB-C to USB-C charging cable
  • Small / Medium / Large ear tips

DIMENSIONS (CHARGE CASE)

60mm (w) x 28mm (d) x 57mm (h)

WEIGHT

  • 7g per earbud
  • 61g charge case
  • 75g combined
More Information
Weight0.17 lbs
FeaturesBluetooth Enabled, Noise Cancelling, Voice Control, Wireless
Included Accessories2xPI7 ear buds, PI7 charging case, ear tips (S/M/L) , charging cable, audio cable
Warranty2 years; Is only valid for the original owner. It is not transferable.
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