Bowers & Wilkins’ latest headphones better Sony WH-1000XM5 in one key way

The second-gen PX7 bring a new design and features to take on Sony's active noise-cancelling king, the WH-1000XM5

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 in blue and gold finish
(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

When it comes to the best active noise-cancelling headphones, Bowers & Wilkins has always had its name among the best. The audio brand has now revealed its all-new PX7 S2, the second-gen of its PX7 headphones, which feature a tweaked design and one killer new feature compared to the originals.

No, I'm not talking about the fetching new blue-and-gold design, as pictured above, but that Bowers & Wilkins' updated app (available for Apple iOS, Google Android and web) has now added customisation so you can control the equalisation (EQ). 

That's a feature that was sorely absent from the original B&W PX7 cans and features in the likes of favourites such as the Sony WH-1000XM5. Bowers & Wilkins has clearly been listening to customers' demands, adding a treble and bass slider to easily adjust the sound profile of its latest headphones' sound profile.

More importantly than that, however, is that T3's esteemed reviewer and audio expert reviewed the PX7 S2 and thinks they beat the WH-1000XM5 in one key way: sound quality. No, the Bowers' pair isn't as adept with active noise-cancelling (ANC). But when it comes down to pure sonics, the PX7 S2 take some beating.

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2: What's new?

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

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

The PX7 S2 feature a tweaked design compared to the originals, with a focus on improved comfort, less clamping force in the fit, and more padding from the memory foam to deliver a floaty, air-like feel when wearing these over-ear headphones.

That's not all that's new, though, as the PX7 S2 compared to the original PX7 feature an updated ANC system: Bowers and Wilkins has simplified the system for its second-generation, offering a straightforward on/passthrough/off system only. That enhances the experience over the original headphones, avoiding any overcomplications to adjustment.

While the PX7 S2 don't extend the longevity of the headphones (it's 30 hours per charge), there is a new faster-charging facility via USB-C, meaning a full charge in two hours (not three hours, as per the original PX7). Just 15 minutes at a plug can deliver a claimed seven hours of playback. 

So how much will you have to pay for all this wonderment? The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 begin their retail life at £379/$399/AUD$599. That's slap bang in the same territory as the Sony WH-1000XM5, so it's battle of the big guns in this ANC headphones space. 

Take a look at the embedded widget below to see the best places to buy one or the other. Which you pick, however, will likely depend on whether you value stronger ANC (go WH-1000XM5) or trust Bowers & Wilkins sound heritage (go PX7 S2). 

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike has been writing about consumer technology for 15 years and is T3's Tech Editor. As a phones expert he's seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone products (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech aficionado his beat for T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a stone unturned that he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for a full decade, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.