As Google follows Apple’s removal of the headphone jack, wireless headphones seem suddenly more relevant. The buds designed for the iPhone X and Pixel 2 are as down-the-middle crowd-pleasing as anyone could hope for, but those obsessed with sound will be looking for something tailor made for music; A pair that can produce a bigger sound stage than the afterthought amplifier included in their phone. For their performance, their style and their smart use of technology we’ve found the Bowers & Wilkins PX headphones to be the best on the market. Pros and cons below, but first here’s our hands-on video:
The over-ear design of the PXs make them bulkier and therefore less convenient for travel than the other wireless option from Bowers & Wilkins – the on-ear P5 wireless. However, that same form factor makes their performance (in both sonics and noise cancellation) and their comfort, a step up. They feel incredibly solid, substantial without feeling heavy, and there is no head-in-a-vice feeling. B&W moved the headphone jack from under the magnetic ear cup to right outside for easier access. Buttons on the right cup make for easy play/stop/pause and volume control, and for toggling noise cancellation on and off.
The angled drivers create a strikingly full and detailed sound stage, as is to be expected from Bowers & Wilkins. Music feels very present. Streaming lossless (Tidal over Spotify) really showcases this higher level of detail, but the digital up-sampling and privacy of the over-ear cups make anything sound better on the PXs… and for 22 hours on a single charge.
The three environmental filters – office, city and flight – do their job well. You can stay aware of your environment at the office so no one needs to tap you on the shoulder, while you can successfully knock out all surrounding noises on a flight. There is a slight hit on sonics when engaging the environmental filter, but this is to a degree the nature of active noise cancellation. The passive noise cancellation of the ear cups will be sufficient for many people.
The wear sensor is a terrific feature as you can not only pause and play your music by lifting and returning the cup to your ear, but you can tune the sensitivity of this feature via the accompanying App. The App can also fine-tune noise cancellation, and to look up your serial number if you ever need to troubleshoot.
You can also be listening to music on your iPad and pause it to pick up a call coming in from your separate synced iPhone, then resume listening via iPad seamlessly.
You’d have to spend a lot more than $399 to get a better sounding wireless headphone, and it wouldn’t offer all of the features of the PX. Bowers & Wilkins’ science-first approach to sound makes them a leader in audio, but it’s the look and feel of their headphones that round out what we consider to be the best option in wireless headphones at the moment.