B&W’s new ANC wireless headphones just schooled Apple AirPods Max

Apple's best noise-cancelling headphones are good, but B&W's Px8 are even better

B&W Px8 wireless headphones
(Image credit: B&W)

As much as I love my Apple AirPods Max, I have to accept that they're not the best headphones in their price bracket – especially at their full RRP. The Sony WH-1000XM5 are less flashy and have better noise-cancelling, and the reviewers' consensus is that the new Bowers & Wilkins Px8 have a definite edge when it comes to sound quality. The B&W headphones may cost a little more, but they deliver a lot more in terms of sonic fidelity.

In our review we were, as always, very honest: "delivering a product that looks to all intents and purposes like a £379 product and charging £599 for it is a bold strategy," Simon Lucas wrote. But if you want to hear where your money went, "these are exceptional headphones in every regard."

B&W Px8 wireless headphones

(Image credit: B&W)

What's new in the B&W Px8 ANC headphones?

I don't think the Px8 look cheaper than their price tag, although their design and colour scheme is quite different from rivals. There are lots of nice touches here including nappa leather on the ear cups and ear pads, and the cast aluminium arm is nicely precise and impressively light. 

The big change over previous B&W headphones is in the drivers. These B&Ws have carbon fibre cones instead of bio-cellulose, which you may know as paper. Carbon fibre is very light and very rigid, and B&W says using it in the Px8 delivers reduced distortion and improved transparency; the rest of the drive unit is largely unchanged bar some changes due to the lower mass of the carbon fibre.

The spec sheet includes must-haves at this price: Bluetooth 5.2 and aptX adaptive, four noise cancelling mics and two more for voice calls. Battery life is around 30 hours, so they'll get you through even the longest flight.

These are expensive headphones, I know, but if you're serious about sound you should definitely check them out: B&W's built its reputation on sound quality, and the Px8s come close to delivering headphone perfection.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).