Bowers & Wilkins, who doesn’t know it? Bowers & Wilkins has been at the top of the list for audio equipment for many music lovers for years. But not just for speakers… Bowers & Wilkins also focuses on headphones. In this review, therefore, we take a look at the PX5. A new topper from Bowers & Wilkins? I’ll figure it out!
Let’s kick off with the specs.
Bluetooth Wireless: On-Ear Headphones
Adaptive Noise Cancellation
Bluetooth® audio – Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX™ Adaptive
USB-C charging & audio interface
3.5mm auxiliary audio interface
BLE GATT (Generic Attribute Profile)
Drive Units: 2 x ø 35.6mm full range
Microphones: 4x mics for ANC
2x mics for telephony (CVC2 – Clear Voice Communication v2)
Frequency Range: 10Hz to 30kHz
Input Impedance: 20 KΩ
Distortion (THD): <0.3% (1kHz/10mW)
Battery Type Rechargeable: Lithium Polymer
Battery Life & Charging: 25 hrs Bluetooth with ANC, 5hrs with 15min charge
Inputs: Bluetooth, 3.5mm stereo jack, USB-C audio
In-Box Accessories: 1.2m stereo audio cable, 1.2m USB-A to USB-C cable, Storage Case
Weight: 241 grams
It is time to unpack the Bowers & Wilkins PX5!
What is a warm welcome, in this case, is that the Bowers & Wilkins PX5 comes in a soft storage case. The pouch cannot be rolled up but can be flattened.
I think the Bowers & Wilkins PX5 looks very fancy. The fabric finish on the speakers (and headband) adds an extra sense of detail. I see plenty of headphones that are only made of plastic, which sometimes looks pretty cheap. This not only looks elegant but is also beautiful.
The soft case contains the explanation for using the PX5. In addition, a USB-A to USB-C cable is included to charge the PX5 and a 3.5mm to 3.5mm jack to use the PX5 wired. These all fit in a side pocket in the case.
The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 has a hard case. But because the PX5 is a bit smaller, it is also nice to use a soft case, so that it can be carried even more easily.
The Bowers & Wilkins PX5 is also quite flexible. This is easy to stretch over the box, without putting a lot of pressure on it. That is very nice, the headset is also not very hard on the ears – something that is important with an on-ear.
Tip of the week; if the headphones are still too tight, hang them (for example) on tension overnight – for example by hanging them over an armrest of a couch.
As on-ear headphones, the PX5 has quite a small sound box. The difference with the PX7 can be heard, but… not bad for an on-ear (I’ll come back to this later).
In addition to the finish of the ear cups, I am also impressed by the other materials. The arm is made of woven carbon fiber, the headband has the same material as the ear cups (on the outside), and the inside is finished with goat leather.
On the left earcup, you see some holes next to each other (there are a number of them in the earcups). The microphones allow the PX5 to listen to its surroundings to make the noise canceling work optimally.
Let’s start with the right earcup! I will come back to the controls that are possible with these buttons later.
From left to right are the following buttons/inputs;
– Volume up,
– Volume down,
– Slider on/off and search for Bluetooth devices,
– USB Type-C to charge the headset or play music (via a PC, for example),
– 3.5mm connection, to connect a mobile, laptop, or the like,
– Microphone (for calling).
There is a small LED between the ‘volume down’ and the on/off switch.
This LED shows the following:
– White Battery level > 30%
– Orange Battery level between 30% and 10%
– Red Battery level < 10%
– Red Flashing Battery level too low; the headphones cannot be used
– Blue Flashing Pairing Mode Enabled
– Blue Pairing was successful
– Blue Flashing Incoming Call
– Green Flashing Fast Charging
– Green Solid Battery fully charged
There is only one button on the other earcup. This one can adjust the noise canceling (min/max etc.).
How extensively do you test headphones, you ask? Well, quite extensive! While reading/studying/and moments where I just listen to music. And that month in, month out! 🙂
At least, I have been able to use this PX5 for several months now.
The PX5 uses the Bowers & Wilkins Headphones app (available in the Android and iOS stores). Pay attention to which app you take, the old one (the previous app is still there). The logo below is the correct one! 🙂
Make sure the PX5 is turned on. If it is not found yet, make sure you push the slider up a little more, so that the Bluetooth gets activated. After this, the headset is easy to find through the app.
I just call ‘him’ PX5 Bowers & Wilkins, fine!
When the PX7 has a software update, this is immediately reflected in the app!
In my case, I had to recharge the headphones, and then I did manage to do the update in 10 minutes!!! Unfortunately, it is not fast.
Okay, now we can play in the app! There are several ways of noise reduction. Including; off, low, auto, and high. Automatically adapts to the environment. With more noise, the ANC will work ‘harder’.
Via the settings, you can select which devices the headphones should automatically connect to.
What I think is cool is that soundscapes have been incorporated into the app. For example, you can listen purely to the sound of the sea, rain, or fire in a forest (in addition, there is an option for a timer in the top right, so the soundscape can be played from 5 minutes to 1 hour, or just infinitely! :D).
Just no music for a while, pure peace, and background noise. The quality of these samples is good too. It’s cool that the sound is also divided left and right. After all, it is also recorded in stereo, and that makes it just that little bit cooler.
On the bottom left is the soundscape with rain and soft thunder. For a moment it felt like I was back in the Drakensberg in South Africa. What a great feeling that gives.
For the rest, there are other options to access such as the wear sensor, voice prompts, standby timer, software update, information about the headset, and the possibility to reset everything.
There is an option to turn the sensor on/off. When on, the sensitivity can be adjusted to; less, normal or more.
Wireless, the PX5 has a decent range. I can walk all over my apartment – I don’t live very big either – and the music just keeps playing throughout the apartment, through several walls, without loss of quality! A nice addition, if I do say so myself.
Calling and controls
Can you make calls with the Bowers & Wilkins PX5? Yes, of course! The PX5 sounded just fine to several people. It’s not studio microphone quality, but I don’t expect that either. I just want to be able to have a conversation with someone without taking off my headset. And that goes well with the PX5!
The PX5 has quite a few options/options. And that is easy to select via the buttons.
Play or pause
Press the multifunction button once.
Press the multifunction button twice in quick succession. Note: the functions depend on the source device.
Press the multifunction button three times in quick succession. Note: the functions depend on the source device.
Press the Volume + button.
Press the Volume – button.
Answer an incoming call
During an incoming call, press the multifunction button
Reject an incoming call
During an incoming call, press and hold the multifunction button for 2 seconds.
Switch between two calls
When two calls are active, press the multifunction button twice.
Merge two calls
Press the multifunction button for 1 second when two calls are active.
Press the multifunction button three times during a call
While doing my shopping, I walked through a mall and supermarket several times, and then I notice how nice the noise canceling of the PX5 is. You are cut off from the noise around you. Even if there is no music on, you have peace. Wonderful!
The great thing about the Bowers & Wilkins PX5 is that when the music is turned on in combination with the NC, the sound is not immersed in the sound of the NC. The quality of the audio remains good in my opinion!
I’m willing to bet that the PX5 also sounds great on an airplane!
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 other two 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 mentioned the quality of the music. After all, that counts too!
Music and usage
In terms of music, I can be quite short. I think this is a monster – in a positive sense.
The song below is one of my favorites, especially in this combination. Despite the low quality of the YouTube video, it can be found on Spotify and Tidal, among others.
The instruments sound beautiful (especially the violins and drums). The deep voices of Luciano Pavarotti and James Brown come through beautifully. This recording has been listened to several times, even with the standard earbuds of the iPhone 8 Plus. And believe me, you can hear the difference. The PX5 makes it look much fuller and more beautiful. Close your eyes and you feel that you are there… It doesn’t get any closer than that, unfortunately…
Right now I’m listening to Hugh Laurie’s St James Infirmary and I’m sitting here enjoying the quality. The piano sounds wonderful, and the cello in the background provides the necessary bass.
DJ Leks (also known from The Sound of Artee) has put another new mix online and it goes well with a Bowers & Wilkins PX5 on a Friday night. It puts you right into a good party mood. Nice to be sitting at home then… Thanks, Leks!
What I find a big advantage of the headphones is that there is not a huge difference between the sound/music with or without noise cancellation. In other NC headphones, I heard a huge amount of noise, which negatively affected the audio. In this case, I notice that much less.
Yes, there is a slight difference because there is a kind of wall around you, but the sound/music is not affected by this.
And before you know it, you’re listening to the next one for an hour and you feel like jumping around your room like a 7-year-old.
The PX gives a great deep bass that ensures that I can enjoy music. Whether it’s jazz, classical, pop, or hardstyle/hardcore, the PX5 surprised me.
Like the PX7, I have been able to use the Bowers & Wilkins PX5 for a reasonable time, and I am always struck by how nice the Bowers & Wilkins headphones are. The quality of the materials is high, and the quality of the audio is good. The lows really come through in my opinion when you listen to heavier songs. Speech on the mids and highs also sounds nice.
Given the price of the Bowers & Wilkins PX5, I think it’s a hoot that it sells for around 200 euros. The quality is good. The pouch is handy and it comes with Noise Cancelling. If you just want to listen to good music and you travel a lot (in the future again) – which makes NC handy – then these are the ideal headphones.
Still, I notice a slight difference between the PX5 and the PX7. This is also because the PX7 is an over-ear, and this is an on-ear. The PX7 is slightly more open in terms of sound. That’s also because the ear cups are larger than the PX5. And yet… still I prefer the PX5. The PX5 is handy, small, and almost half the price of the PX7. For 200 euros you actually just have premium headphones from Bowers & Wilkins. Who wouldn’t want that?
Whether you listen to Hard With Style by Headhunterz or Music for adults by Johan Derksen or a complete Tidal playlist, I can enjoy hours with these headphones… and I did.
You know that feeling when music automatically makes you thigh along? A good pair of headphones do that. You are not annoyed by the sound. You hear quality, and you enjoy that. With the song by James Brown & Luciano Pavarotti, I swayed. Music moves you, and the Bowers and Wilkins PX5 certainly succeeds in that!
The software is clear, easy and in my opinion, provides a nice extra. Being able to listen to ambient environments.
In addition, it is also very nice that the PX5 has a built-in sensor. If you lift one earcup for a moment, the sound is immediately paused. This way you can hear what is being announced on the train in no time. Hanging the headphones around the neck also makes the music/movie or the like pause. By the way, the sensor can also be adjusted – or even switched off – via the app.
The built-in battery is good for up to 25 hours of wireless listening (using ANC). A 15-minute fast charge also provides an additional 5 hours of listening time. Perfect for during breaks at work!
Honestly, I can’t think of another negative point on the price and the lack of a software-based EQ either. In the case of headphones of this caliber, it is not necessary at all to adjust the EQ. Bowers & Wilkins have put down a beast of headphones, and it shows!
The Bowers & Wilkins PX5 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me.