Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 vs PX7: What's the difference?

Bowers & Wilkins' second-gen PX7 headphones bring new features, but just how do they differ from the original S2?

 Bowers & Wilkins PX7 vs PX7 S2 on T3 colour background
(Image credit: Future / Bowers & Wilkins)

If you're looking for some of the best active noise-cancelling headphones in the land, then Bowers & Wilkins' premier offerings have probably already appeared on your horizon. The British audio-maker's original PX7 headphones were sublime, but now there's a new generation in town: the PX7 S2

So what exactly is the difference between the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 and PX7 S2? Here we'll break down what's new in the second-gen cans compared to the original ANC over-ears and which ones you should consider to best suit your needs. 

PX7 vs PX7 S2: Design

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 close-up in blue and gold

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

Although to look at the PX7 S2 doesn't look dramatically different to the original PX7, the second-gen cans have been tweaked for better fit and comfort, Bowers and Wilkins tells T3. 

The headphones' "redesigned form and shape" give a better seal to the outside world, while sitting on your head better whilst you wear them, and into the case better when they're stowed. That case is also slimmer and has a pouch for cables, unlike the original. 

Technically the PX7 S2 are lighter than the originals too... but only by a mere three grammes (310g v s 307g). It's not a weight difference that you'll feel, but the addition of better padding and memory foam in the earcups that will certainly make a difference. 

Both headphones are available in black (Carbon) and light grey (Silver), while the originals also feature a dark grey (Space Gray) offering, the last of which is replaced by a blue and gold finish (descriptive name TBC) for the PX7 S2 only.

Both feature a range of physical controls, including pause/play, volume up/down, and a single additional custom button. However, the PX7 S2 didn't take the opportunity to add touch controls, it's very much about the buttons for both pairs of cans.

PX7 vs PX7 S2: Features

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

While the original PX7 offered Bowers & Wilkins sound signature only, the PX7 S2 are a little more customisable thanks to the addition of a new app (for iOS and Android) that includes equalisation (EQ) adjustment. 

It's a simple EQ slider, though, not a multiband adjustment that you can change with precision, to keep things simple and not disrupt the sound to excess (it's +/-6dB max for independent bass and treble only).

Feature-wise the two headphones offer the same in terms of file handling, including aptX Adaptive technology for Hi-Res music streams (that's up to 24-bit/48kHz for both models).

The PX7 S2 also change the active noise-cancelling (ANC): there's a new algorithm, the mic placement has been adapted, and it's a simple on/passthrough/off selection rather than the original PX7's more complex number of selection options.

PX7 vs PX7 S2: Performance

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

The PX7 and PX7 S2 look largely the same from the outside, and while you might think that's echoed on the inside, the PX7 S2 does bring updates drivers and design tweaks too. 

Principally it's that the 40mm drive units have been revised, with "updated magnets and motor systems to reduce distortion", Bowers & Wilkins tells T3. That ought to make for an elevated audio experience. 

Arguably more important than the drivers' adjustments, however, is that Bowers & Wilkins has repositioned the way they sit in relation to your ears in the PX7 S2. The goal here is to give a more focused sound.

In terms of battery there's no change in longevity, with both PX7 and PX7 S2 said to deliver 30 hours of playback per charge with ANC activated. However, the USB has been updated for the PX7 S2, meaning you can charge quicker – it's now two hours to refill, rather than three hours. 

PX7 vs PX7 S2: Price & availability

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

Both the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 and PX7 S2 are available to buy right now, with the latter going on sale from 29 June 2022. The older model retailed for £/€349/$399/AUD$599 at launch, while the S2 is a little pricier in the UK/EU, at £379/€399, but the same $399/AUD$599 in other key territories.

That's not a giant price leap, like we've seen in the Sony WH-1000XM4 vs WH-1000XM5, for example, and the extra few quid for a better fit and comfort, simplified ANC, plus the EQ control within the app, seems a sensible option if faced with buying one or other brand new. 

That said, if you can find the original PX7 for a reduced price then it's a top deal to be had, no doubt – see the widget embedded below for current pricing information.

Mike Lowe
Mike Lowe

Tech Editor at T3, Mike handles all things tech – from phones, tablets and laptops, to gaming and computing. He's been working as a consumer technology journalist for the best part of 15 years, previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for 10 years, and has provided freelance work to publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more over the years. In addition to his tech expertise, Mike is also a bit of a travel fiend, having travelled the globe extensively for both personal and work-related pursuits. You'll always find him setting up a new mobile phone, or critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next get-away.