Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 Review | Wireless earphones optimized for high-resolution music playback



– great sound quality
– Comfortable to wear for long periods of listening
– The battery capacity of the case is sufficient

– Average call quality
– ANC performance well below the competition
overall degree

Noise cancellation performance is disappointing, but great for Android users with streaming services that support hi-res music.

ⓒ Foundry

Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) has released the latest flagship wireless headphones in the Pi7 S2 ear. Although the design has not been completely overhauled, such as using the same drivers as the model released in 2021, many other areas have been improved, especially battery life and Bluetooth range. Above all, providing a great listening experience is very significant for users who prioritize the sound reproduction quality of headphones. But when you consider the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) feature, EQ options, and price, the decision becomes difficult.

B&W speakers have been highly regarded, setting the standard for British hi-fi audio for almost 60 years. B&W entered the power speaker market in 2006 with the release of the iPod-compatible Zeppelin speaker (the Zeppelin has now been updated to support Bluetooth and AirPlay). And in 2013, it introduced wireless headphones, and in 2021, it introduced the first generation in-ear monitor. The Pi7 S2 is the latest product.

Basic Components and Functions

Second generation headphones are available in satin black, canvas white, and striking midnight blue colors. The Midnight Blue version is full of personality as the silicone tip, earbud body, and touch surface are united in a lovely blue colour. The black and white versions have a silver touch face. After you put the earbuds in your ears, the color of the product is invisible. Others have to get very close to find out. The case of the blue version is the same color, and the lid is metallic gold. The white and black versions feature silver lids in white and black cases, respectively.

From left: midnight blue, canvas white and satin black ⓒ Bowers & Wilkins

The silicone ear tips are available in three sizes. The playing time is 5 hours, an hour longer than the previous one. A 15-minute charge provides up to 2 hours of playtime, and a fully charged case provides up to 16 hours of playtime. The case supports both wired and wireless charging via the included USB-CiC cable.

According to B&W, the connection range of the Pi7 S2 is 25m. Outdoor test results achieved this range. However, in a home or office with thick walls, the range of the Bluetooth signal will be greatly reduced. The Pi7 S2 was also tested in the room where the sound cut off after crossing a few rooms.

Each earbud has a 9.2mm driver and a balanced armature driver driven by separate amplifiers. Bluetooth 5.0, which is in charge of connection, has aptX Adaptive technology applied and also supports aptX HD and aptX Classic. Apple’s preferred AAC codec and the plain SBC codec are also supported.

ⓒ Foundry

Since each earbud has three microphones that power the noise canceling system, I expected a better phone call experience. Contrary to expectations, however, the call experience was not great. During the test, the other party expressed dissatisfaction with the sound, and when they switched to the AirPods 2, they consistently responded that the sound quality had improved.

The function of the ANC also fell short of expectations. It works well and works well in slightly noisy environments, but it cannot compare to the powerful ANC feature offered by the Apple AirPods Pro 2, Sony WF-1000XM4, and Boss Quiet Comfort Earbuds II.

Software and other features

ⓒ Foundry

All B&W products are controlled by dedicated music apps for iOS and Android. In the case of the Pi7 S2, you can check the battery level of the earbuds and the case in the app. You can also adjust the level of noise cancellation to the amount of noise in your surroundings by choosing the built-in ANC settings or the automatic settings. If you enable auto setting, you can adjust the transparency of Pi7 S2 through the pass settings. Transparency refers to the volume of ambient sound that blends with the music playing in the headphones.

The dedicated music app remembers all connected devices. It’s fine to connect to different operating systems, and you can set the Pi7 S2 headphones to automatically connect to the most recently used device when you take them out of the case. Streaming quality can also be adjusted by distinguishing between listening via Wi-Fi and using mobile data, which is relatively low in terms of data capacity (the higher the streaming quality, the more data is used).

There’s no way to control the EQ settings in the dedicated music app, but the sound design is so good that I didn’t really want to adjust it in my case. The same goes for ANC settings. I’ve tried changing the default settings, but haven’t noticed much improvement.

The Pi7 S2 has features I haven’t seen in other headsets. This is a feature first introduced in the first generation Pi7. The included USB-Ci-3.5mm analog audio cable allows you to stream any audio source to the case and back to your headphones. The most common use is to listen to in-flight entertainment without wired headphones plugged into the seat armrests on an airplane.

ⓒ Foundry

However, the ANC B&W technology implemented in the Pi7 S2 is mediocre, so it does not take advantage of the charm of this feature. It’s good to use in a slightly noisy office environment, but it’s great for filtering out airplane engine noise in flight.


If sound quality is more important than ANC performance, the Pi7 S2 is an excellent choice. Once you put them in your ears, you’ll have to turn your head back wide to make sure they fit, but once they’re in place, the listening experience is magical.

ⓒ Foundry

Listening to the remastered version of New Order’s 1985 album ‘Low-Life’ at Qobuz was notable. On ‘Perfect Kiss’, there is a section where the synth drums and cowbell sounds fade out, which I hadn’t heard on the earlier LP or CD versions of this album. The bass was even lower at the end, and it choked the soundstage, where you could hear frogs near the end of the song.

This is the feeling of listening to the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Only the AAC Bluetooth codec is available on the iPhone 13 Pro Max. After switching to an Android device, specifically a OnePlus 10T, and listening to the aptX adaptive codec, the sense of immersion increased even more. If the sound quality on an iOS device is described as ‘great’, on Android it’s 10 plus.

While listening to ‘Hell Is Round the Corner’ from Tricky’s 1995 album ‘Maxinquaye’ via a lossless Apple Music stream, I heard an eerie sound from the sampled LP. It was a sound I couldn’t hear with the AirPods Pro. I was equally impressed when listening to rock, pop, jazz and classical music. Listeners looking for exaggerated bass might prefer the sound tuned for the older Beats genre, but most listeners will be happy with the Pi7 S2 headphones.

For users of low-resolution music streaming services like Spotify, there are hundreds of sub-$100 earbud options that provide decent sound quality even when the stream quality drops. B&W’s target audience is listeners who enjoy at least CD quality music. To take full advantage of the technology built into the Pi7 S2, you need a high-resolution audio source.

ⓒ Foundry

The Pi7 S2 can’t match the versatility of the AirPods Pro. The ANC feature of the AirPods is much better, and the easy pairing between Apple devices is a plus. However, in terms of sound quality, the Pi7 S2 is much better than the AirPods. If sound quality is your primary concern, the Pi7 S2 is well worth the hefty $399 price tag.

Should I buy the Pi7 S2?

As an Android user, if you have a smartphone that supports aptX HD or aptX Adaptive codecs, listen to high-resolution music, or subscribe to high-resolution music streaming services such as Amazon Music HD, Qovuz, or Tidal, the Pi7 S2 is great listening ears, it’s a bird It has attractive color options that distinguish it from AirPods, and it provides Apple-like sound quality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.