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Hands on: Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones review

Class-leading wireless connectivity

What is a hands on review?
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Early Verdict

With fantastic audio fidelity, a comfortable fit, and class-leading aptX Adaptive technology, the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones could give the likes of Sony and Bose a run for their money. However, they're pretty expensive and their noise cancelation could be stronger.

For

  • Wide, open soundstage
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Support for aptX Adaptive

Against

  • Very expensive
  • Noise cancelation could be stronger

Bowers & Wilkins has released four new wireless headphone models, including over-ear and on-ear models, as well as in-ear neckbuds.

Their premium flagship model, the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones, are the most expensive of the bunch, promising support for Hi-Res Audio and well as super low latency video playback. 

We heard the over-ear headphones in action, and so far, we're impressed by what we've seen.

Price and availability

The new PX7 headphones cost $399.99 / £349.99, which works out at around AU$590 – we're still waiting on official Australian pricing and availability, but we'll update this review as soon as we get confirmation. 

Bowers & Wilkins headphones are typically more expensive than the competition, but there's not a huge difference in price when you compare them to the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Headphones, which top our list of the best headphones and cost $349 / £300 / AU$499.

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Design

The PX7 are designed to be lighter than previous Bowers & Wilkins headphones, with a carbon fibre and plastic composite used to create the headband; the brand says this material is just as strong as traditional aluminum, but offers more flexibility at a much lower weight. 

Memory foam earcups provide a soft cushion against your ears, as well as creating a good seal that physically blocks environmental sound from ruining your music. 

When we tried the headphones on for size, we found them to be really comfortable, with a lightweight feel. 

You won't find touch controls on these cans; instead the outer housings of the earcups sport physical buttons that allow you to control your music playback and the strength of the active noise cancelation feature.

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Features and battery life

The calling card of the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones, is their use of Qualcomm's aptxHD Adaptive codec, which is designed to deliver "robust, low latency, high resolution wireless technology", according to the company.

The first consumer headphones to do this, the PX7 promise seamless switching between listening modes, so you get high-fidelity audio when listening to music, and no lag issues when you're watching videos or playing games – something current Bluetooth technology isn't able to do.

We didn't have the chance to test these headphones while streaming video, but we'll be sure to test this feature when we carry out our full review.

Battery life comes in at 30 hours (when listening to music with ANC turned on), while a quick-charge feature gives you five hours of audio playback from a 15-minute charge. 

There are four different noise cancelation modes, including high, low, auto, and off – there's also a button on the earcup to temporarily halt noise cancelation when you need to quickly hear your surroundings. When in auto mode, the headphones automatically adjust the level of noise cancelation based on your environment. 

With proximity sensors built into both earcups, these cans pause your music when you take the headphones off, resuming once you place them back over your ears.  

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Sound performance

Despite spending only a brief period with the over-ear headphones, we're impressed by what we've heard so far. 

Listening to Billie Eilish's You Should See Me In A Crown, we found that bass frequencies were thumpy and warm without overpowering the higher frequencies, while the trebles carried over lots of detail and clarity. 

Generally, the soundstage felt very wide and open, avoiding that 'closed-off' sensation that less advanced headphones sometimes struggle with, and providing an accurate representation of the music.

While listening, we also toggled through the various noise cancelation modes; the highest setting didn't quite block out environmental sound entirely, but as we were in a very loud environment, this is to be expected. We'll be sure to test this feature more thoroughly when we carry out our full review.

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Verdict

So far, we've found a lot to like about the Bowers & Wikins PX7 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones; they look great, feel very comfortable to wear, and the inclusion of aptX Adaptive technology means that they're just as good for listening to Hi-Res Audio as they are for gaming or streaming videos. 

They also sound fantastic, with a detailed, open soundstage and warm bass frequencies – battery life is also excellent. They are very expensive though, and you can get fantastic noise-canceling headphones for less.

We'll need to carry out more thorough tests before we can give a definitive verdict, but don't be surprised if these cans make it on to our roundup of the best over-ear headphones.

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.