Looking for a pair of premium headphones that ooze style and can effectively block out unwanted noise? Something that you can take with you during air travel or the morning commute. If music plays a big part in your life and you’re not afraid to shell out serious cash, the British audio tech company Bowers and Wilkins is a good place to start. Makers of high-end audio equipment, particularly loudspeakers, B&W has been in the business since 1966. The years speak of their talent and expertise.
The Bowers and Wilkins PX look astonishingly good. The exterior is covered in supple leather (either in space grey or soft gold) with a matte finish that gives it a cool vintage look. Its elliptical earpads are narrower compared to most over-ear headphones though. We were initially skeptical that this design choice would compromise comfort, but upon wearing them they actually do an excellent job in surrounding the ear and blocking out noise.
Unfortunately, the headband squeezes a bit, and we wished for more cushioning as we found ourselves adjusting it to remove pressure off the top of our head during extended listening sessions. A little more padding would have gone a long way. It’s also worth noting that these headphones don’t fold up, but the cups do rotate to lay almost flat, and the headband is very flexible, making them easy to store. The control buttons are found on the right earcup, including pause/play, and volume control.
We’re pleased to report that in terms of features and performance, the PX proved excellent. The active noise canceling is courtesy of B&W’s proprietary algorithm, which is adept in eliminating crowd hubbub, air conditioning buzz, the sound of the daily commute, and even a plane engine’s roar. On the PX’s app, there are modes that you can activate in order to fine-tune the PX’s noise-canceling capability, like “Environment Filters” for “Office”, “City “and ‘Flight”, the last one having the most potent noise-canceling power with virtually no audio pass-through.
Music sounded immaculate when listened through the PX. Unlike other active noise-canceling headphones where the frequency played to combat the background noise ruins the quality of the music, these headphones managed to retain the subtle nuances of the music. The PX is outfitted with the aptX HD, an enhanced codec engineered to improve signal-to-noise ratio resulting in lower background noise, so every genre of music we played on them sounded great, with superb bass to boot.
Bowers and Wilkins claims that the PX’s lithium polymer battery can provide up to 22 hours of playback, and they aren’t wrong. In fact, under normal use conditions where they’re paused and removed repeatedly, the headphones’ battery life can be extended to as much as 50 hours. Color us impressed.
Excellent build quality, superb sound, terrific noise canceling, tremendous battery life (we’re running out of superlatives), the Bowers and Wilkins PX headphones are slightly marred by their uncomfortably tight fit. If you wish to see more options check out our best headphones for 2019 and best affordable headphones under $100.
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