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2022 has been the year for audio releases, from Sony’s WH-1000XM5 to the Mark Levinson No 5909 Headphones. That said, one of the most highly anticipated releases from this year has to be the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 wireless headphones and we put them to the test for the week to see if they lived up to their $700 price point.
This meant testing their noise-cancellation features, checking out their comfort level, and even maxing out the battery life to see if I could make it days without re-charging (spoiler alert: I could).
Here’s what I thought of the Bowers & Wilkins PX8 and if they’re worth your buck.
The Memory Foam Cushions Allow for Hours of Long-Term Wear: Px8 Design and Comfort
While the design of the Px8 might seem eerily familiar to the much more affordable Px7 S2 from a distance, they couldn’t be more different up close.
The headphones are available in two muted finishes, including a sleek black or a more subtle tan. The plush Nappa leather trim adds a hint of luxury, and the diecast aluminum arms and metal detailing put these headphones in an entirely different league. If we could judge a pair of headphones from looks alone, these would shoot to the top of our list.
Luckily, the design keeps these headphones comfortable too. The cushioned ear cups and headband fit snugly on your head and can be easily adjusted. You won’t feel any aches and pains even after hours of wearing these headphones — I wore them through an entire workday without feeling any discomfort. It also feels relatively light, as these cans only weigh 320 grams.
Each earcup also features button controls, including a quick action button (more on that later), buttons to skip/pause tracks and toggle Bluetooth.
Noise Cancellation Blocks Voices, Traffic and Subway Vibrations — Px8 Sound Quality
If you’re wondering why this audio essential costs $700, it all comes down to sound quality. The two 40mm drivers are designed to deliver rich, well-balanced sound and they truly deliver.
The noise cancellation on these headphones is pretty powerful — even when music is not playing. It’s kind of like a vacuum-y feeling, where you literally feel the background sound being sucked out — this might be a con if you’re not a fan of heavy noise cancelling, but remember, you can always toggle it off. I was listening to “From the Ashes” by Illenium while my mom tried calling out to me from about 6-feet away. I could barely make out what she was saying, only vaguely hearing her voice in between my tunes. That makes these Bowers & Wilkins headphones perfect for a noisy office or co-working space.
The same stands for using these headphones as you head out the door. I live in Midtown New York and it’s safe to say some of the worst traffic occurs right outside my building after 5 p.m. in the evenings. With the Px8 covering my ears though (and noise cancelling on) the traffic sounds almost far away and blaring horns don’t sound as jarring as they normally would.
As for the sound quality itself, you’ll be thoroughly impressed with the smooth bass and balanced mids and highs. While listening to “Moonlight” by Gaulin, each thump of the beat sounded distinct and clear, without feeling like it was trying to rupture my eardrums. This meant I could listen to multiple bass-boosted songs, without feeling the need to take a break — which I normally would, especially if I had earbuds plugged in.
I personally also liked how these headphones picked up different instruments in “Make You Say” by Zedd offering better depth and clarity than some of its competitors on the market. I also liked how easily the music transitioned from left to right ear, for a more immersive listening experience.
You’ll be impressed with the vocals too, tracks like “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston or even “Dancing Queen” by Abba sounded emotional, full and well-rounded. I’m not the biggest fan of headphones where the vocals sound slightly softer than the beats of the songs themselves, so it was good to hear not just the heavy beats of my favorite EDM tracks like ‘Rapture’ by Daniel Blume, but also hear the vocals loud and clear without having to turn up the volume or google the lyrics.
If you like EDM and want to see just how good this audio essential sounds, listen to Alok’s new single “All By Myself” with them on.
I even used these headphones with meditation tracks and guided meditation podcasts and liked that I was able to ‘zone out’ completely.
No Connection Drops and Battery Life That Can be Pushed to Last Multiple Days: Px8 Connectivity, App Design and Battery Life
Bluetooth connects quite easily: there’s a little button off to the side where you turn your headphones on from — which also turns on Bluetooth for pairing. From there, just pick the Px8 in your device list and you’re good to go.
When you set up these headphones, you should download the Bowers & Wilkins mobile app too. The app will let you know the battery percentage, and help you toggle on/off noise cancellation and pass-through — if you need to tune into your surroundings.
Here, you can also adjust the treble and bass just in case you prefer a more punchy sound — I found the sound to already be pretty well-rounded and didn’t need to make any adjustments but this is a great feature for audiophiles who like to have control over how their music sounds
There’s also a quick action button on the left earcup which you can customize to access the voice assistant or quickly switch to pass-through mode.
As for battery life, I used these headphones for a good three hours daily without them running out. Obviously, if you’re in a situation where that does happen, a quick recharge should boost battery life by up to seven hours.
Of course, there are cheaper headphones on the market that may offer longer battery life, but it’s still enough for a long-haul flight, and the quick charging features are definitely a plus.
Our Verdict: Expensive-Looking Headphones That Deliver on Sound Quality
Look, I’m not saying you have to shell out $700 for pair of good headphones, as we all know you can get a decent pair of cans for $400 or less (I’m looking at you, Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 ). That said, there are some luxury items that are a class apart, and that’s exactly what the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 are.
They deliver exceptional sound — some of the best I’ve ever heard — and look so aesthetic you’d almost want to wear them on just as an accessory. They’ve also got excellent noise cancellation features, a 30-hour battery life and a comfy design that allows for hours of wear.
If you can afford it and want a pair of audiophile-worthy headphones that not just feel luxurious but sound luxurious too, the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 are it.