The Sony WH-1000X line and its various iterative improvements over the years have become somewhat a brand unto itself, and deservedly so (I owned a pair of the WH-1000X2s for numerous years until carelessly losing them en route while abroad). Bowers & Wilkins seems to be undeterred by the crown donned by Sony, and in doing so have dared to aim to take on the brand for top status within the highly competitive wireless headphones category, delivering subjectively an even finer degree of detail in the form of the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2.

The Px7 S2’s premium combination of design, its attention to material and fit, and its audio acumen aims to match or even exceed the WH-1000X series in nearly every measure. First impressions are positive; these cans look and feel worthy of their $399 price tag, par for the course within the premium wireless consumer segment where wearers might commute, work, and relax all in the same pair throughout the day.

Available in staid black or gray, we’re partial to the headphones in its regal and reserved blue iteration. The color better showcases some of the more subtle detailing where the applied fabric and memory-foam-filled leather cups meet. The layered material surface, each with their own subtly distinct feel and look – pebbled, perforated, smooth, textured, or glossy – all add up to a tastefully luxurious and sleek design.

The physical controls laid out across of each ear-cup offers easy access to Bluetooth pairing, power, volume, and Voice Assistant without needing to visually hunt for them.

Wireless headphones are only a convenience if they’re charged to perform. Bowers & Wilkins have fortunately given their flagship cans 30 hours of battery life, essentially well enough for most circumstances where they might be used from morning to night. Thankfully fully recharging only requires two hours. If you’re in a rush you can plug these cans in for a 15-minute quickie (sort of like fast charging an EV vehicle) and still eke out seven hours of listening time, a real plus for travelers who might only have a short layover before boarding another connecting flight.

These Bluetooth 5.2 and USB-C headphones support SBC, AAC, aptX adaptive, aptX HD for higher-quality wireless performance. Six microphones measuring ambient noise, the output of each drive unit, and two dedicated to boost voice clarity for clear conversations upgrade the active noise cancellation abilities in noisy environments.

Wearing any headphone for several hours leads to some fatigue. The Px7 S2s are noticeably unobtrusive. The headphone’s pair of 40mm bio-cellulose drivers are held snugly onto wearer’s ears with a pair of lightweight carbon fiber arms; they should fit comfortably across a spectrum of typical head sizes.

In the sound department, Bowers & Wilkins have engineered a balanced and smooth sound, one leaning toward neutral rather than one colored by an objectively tweaked emphasis. An app allows users to further fiddle with the sound using bass and treble sliders within an EQ settings options screen, but even unchanged, these sound tonally balanced.

For those who work from home and have to combat intrusions of noises related to traffic, domestic sounds, barking dogs, and other annoyances,  you should be well served by the active noise cancellation capabilities of the Px7 S2. It doesn’t completely erase them from perception, but smooths both high and low frequencies to an ignorable presence you’re aware of, but unbothered by.

Beyond its jumbled alphanumeric name, Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 headphones are a personal audio accessory delivering of an exceptional degree of clarity, refinement, and long-wearing comfort, especially for those seeking active noise cancellation as the rule rather than the exception in their daily listening habits. That it looks and feels so good while in use makes it a stylish standout for those seeking headphones you’ll wear during and after hours.

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