Bowers & Wilkins Pi5 s2 – On par with theApple AirPods, or better?

Audio

Bowers & Wilkins Pi5 S2

Pros

  • Sturdy case with good magnets that keep the lid from just opening and the earbuds from falling out
  • 5 hours of listening fun with the earbuds, and an additional 19 hours to charge
  • Fast charging is possible: 2 hours of listening after 15 minutes of charging
  • The Active noise canceling does a pretty good job
  • Great sound, sounding deeper than the Apple AirPods Pro 2
  • Wear sensor – when you take it out, the music is paused
  • USB-C for both charging and listening

Cons

  • The Pi5 S2 falls into the category of the Apple AirPods Pro 2 in terms of price. With a small 283 euros, they are on sale
  • No equalizer in the software (app)
Bowers & Wilkins Pi5 s2 Review

Introduction

Bowers & Wilkins has released the second version of the Pi5. In-ear headphones with good sound, whether the Bowers & Wilkins Pi5 s2 is as good; you can read that here.

Dutch review can be found here

Specifications

Let’s kick off with the specs.

Size & Weight
Net weight
6g for the earbuds, 47g for the charging case

Dimensions (Carrying Case)
61mm (w) x 28mm (d) x 56mm (h)

Technical details
Wearing style
In-ear True Wireless headphones with active noise canceling

Technical features
TrueWireless technology
Bluetooth 5.0 with AptX Adaptive technology
Active noise canceling
Wireless charging and USB-C charging
Fast charging is supported

Bluetooth codecs
aptX™
AAC
SBC

Bluetooth profiles
A2DP v1.3.1
AVRCP v1.6.1
HFP v1.7.1
HSP v1.2
BLE GATT (General Attribute Profile)

Frequency band
Transmit mode: 2402MHz to 2480MHz, ISM band
Receive Mode: 2402MHz to 2480MHz, ISM band

RF output power
<10.0dBm

Drivers
9.2mm Dynamic Drive

Microphones
2 microphones per earbud for calls and ANC

Battery type
Rechargeable Lithium Ion (earbuds and charging case)

Battery life & charging
Up to 5 hours for the earbuds (with ANC off)
Additional 19 hours from the charging case
15 minutes of charging = 2 hours of playback

Wireless charging support
Yes

Waterproof
Yes – IP54 (earbuds only)

Inputs
Bluetooth

Included accessories
80cm USB-C to USB-C cable
Small / Medium / Large ear tips

Finish
Storm Grey
Cloud Grey
Spring Lilac

Unpack

It is time to unbox the Bowers & Wilkins Pi5 S2 2!

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

Bowers & Wilkins supplies the following with the Pi5 S2: 80cm USB-C to USB-C cable, Small / Medium / Large ear tips, and manuals.

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

The case looks neat, it resembles the previous versions. The lid closes well and the in-ears are firmly attached.

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

The Pi5 case has an LED that displays the (battery) status.

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

The earbuds have multifunctional buttons on the sides. With a simple tap/touch on the earbuds, an action can be performed. For example, by clicking once (on the left or right) a song can be paused or a telephone can be answered. By pressing the left one for 1 second, the noise canceling is adjusted.

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

When opening the case, a small button is immediately visible. This button allows the Pi5 to be paired with a device (for example notebook, tablet, or telephone).

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

On the inside of the case, it is illustrated how to put the in-ears in an ear – by turning it too, otherwise, the microphone will not pick up sound.

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

Below the illustration are the details about the Pi5 S2.

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

At the top of the right in-ear, you can see that there is a microphone in the earbud. There are two microphones per in-ear.

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

What’s nice about the Bowers & Wilkins Pi5 S2 is that there’s a small cushion inside the in-ear and a grille to keep earwax from getting into the Pi5 S2.

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

Software

The Pi5 S2 uses the Bowers & Wilkins Music app (available in the Android and iOS stores).

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

The front page of the Pi5 S2 is focused on being able to quickly adjust the noise reduction (turn on/off) or play music via TuneIn radio stations. Of course, more can be added by adding other music.

The various Bowers & Wilkins products can be adjusted via the settings page. In this case, I was recently able to review the Px7 s2, and it also appears here in the app.

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

If we look a little further into the settings of the Pi5, the noise reduction and pass-through can be adjusted.

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

Naturally, product information can also be found and the linked services can be managed.

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

The app works fine and has plenty of options. The only thing missing in my opinion is an EQ. The Pi5 S2 is very neutral, yet it is sometimes nice to boost the undertones a bit, or not at all…

Wireless

Wirelessly, the Pi5 S2 has a decent range. I manage to walk through my apartment without the case – and therefore purely with the earbuds – without the sound dropping out. Of course, it could also be that I live in a cardboard box, but fortunately, that is not the case.
Anyway; it works fine without loss of quality.

Calling and operation

Is it possible to make calls with the Pi5 S2? Of course! Only…. it is important that the ears are turned properly – otherwise, you can hardly be heard.
See the difference in the image below: if the earbuds are not turned properly, the microphones will not pick up properly.

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

My voice was very audible to the other colleagues who have to hear my gibberish during the meetings.

Noise cancelling

The Bowers & Wilkins Pi5 S2 has active noise canceling, and that’s a nice feature. People sometimes talk/laugh at the office (just work!), and then it’s nice to be able to shut yourself off for a while. The music is not distorted by the NC, by the way.

What you have to consider as a user is that the noise canceling of in-ears simply does not work as well as a full-fledged headset/headphones. Headphones also insulate around the ear. In the case of in-ears, the sound still enters (though greatly muffled) and travels outside your ear canal.

Whether this is one of the best noise canceling headsets, I dare not say – where I have not yet had the opportunity to listen to the two others from Bose and Sony. Purely from the experience of the 30+ audio reviews I’ve already done, I can say that the NC sounds pretty good. And then we haven’t even talked about the quality of the music. After all, that is also important.

Music and usage

In terms of music, I can be quite short: the Pi5 S2 sounds good. I think they sound better than the Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Gen. They still lack some character – and low tones. The Pi5 sounds a lot better in that case. And that also sounds great right away. It is not the case that your eardrums are blown away by the bass, it is simply present.
The Pi5 S2 sounds very neutral, but there is no further EQ to set. The option is not in the app – a missed opportunity, if I say so myself.

When listening to Liquid Drum & Bass, for example, the music is perfect in my opinion – and yes, this is of course also a personal thing. The bass is well present and the tones are very good.

If you go a bit rougher, then the Pi5 S2 is just very good. And that is special in my opinion. Quite frankly; I know there is also a Pi7 S2, but I don’t know why you should get it. The 5 comes out well. The 7 may come next, and will also work out the difference between the 5 and 7.

Conclusion

With the Pi5 S2, Bowers & Wilkins has put a very fine set of headphones (in-ears) on the market. The tones that these little earbuds can produce also show why Bowers & Wilkins has such a name.

As stated earlier in this review. I also have Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Gen and they are just easy/nice in terms of integration. In terms of sound, they are a step behind the Bowers & Wilkins Pi5 S2.

I have been able to use the Pi5 S2 for several months now – great even if you just had a child and have a sleeping child on your chest. With the earbuds, I could listen to music, watch movies and even play on the PlayStation 5 – connected via the TV. The sound was just nice. Full bass, and full sound and they are also comfortable, which is also important. In the hours I’ve used the Pi5 S2, I’ve never had the feeling that they weren’t comfortable in my ears, nor have they fallen out. In addition, the fit has not changed from the previous version, and for good reason.

The different noise-canceling levels also work well. Whether you walk in a crowded mall or sit on a train, it is simply ‘filled up’. The thing is; headphones that sit completely over your ears do isolate better, so there is even less ambient noise ‘leaking’ – than with in-ears (that still happens a bit).

In terms of the quality of the earbuds and case, I am also very pleased. The earbuds are sturdy – and so is the case. It has good magnets, so the earbuds do not have to be fished out of a pocket every time, good battery life, and (most importantly) good audio quality.

So, if you are wondering if the Pi5 S2 are worth it? I can say wholeheartedly.. yes they are.

The Bowers & Wilkins Pi5 S2 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me.

BOWERS & WILKINS PI5 S2 REVIEW

Let’s start a discussion

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