Bowers & Wilkins continues to forge new paths through the audio jungle, bringing along their trunks full of high-end ethic and high-performance sensibility to help civilize the undisciplined hoards of audio mediocrity. Now part of the Sound United family of brands, B&W hasn’t skipped a beat as they continue to address both new products and new product segments as first revealed to the press seven months ago.
Yesterday, the company launched a pair of true wireless earbuds that completely embody the company’s unique bespoke design style in both industrial design and technological innovation – meet the PI7 & PI5.
See Bowers & Wilkins new PI7 & PI5 earbuds…
Let me start by saying I have not yet heard these new true wireless earbuds from B&W, I can only relay what I’ve been told about them. About seven months ago, the company convened an online press presentation where they first revealed preliminary information about these new earbuds. From what I could tell, the press was captivated by what they saw and heard about these new earbuds…and that includes me.
B&W Appears to Have Done Their Homework
It is interesting that, as tiny as these things are, you clearly get a feel for a higher standard of fit and finish – the crisply machined edges, and the exquisite materials and finishes just seem to boldly project their bespoke heritage. And while loudspeaker makers who ostensibly have lots of knowledge and technology surrounding great sounding transducer design have been known to turn out terrible sounding headphones and earbuds, I do not expect that to be the case with these earbuds.
It looks to me that Bowers & Wilkins clearly did their homework and knew their efforts in this late-comer approach to a huge and hugely popular product category would be closely scrutinized. The company promises that their extra years of research will help upend the more common reality of competitive makers who have compromised sound quality to deliver wireless convenience. They say they have delivered their “famous True Sound promise of absolute performance to the True Wireless In-Ear Headphone category.” Did they pull it off? I wouldn’t bet against them, but it remains to be
The Flagship PI7
Of the two models, the PI7 is considered the flagship. It supports Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive wireless transmission from compatible mobile devices which offers high-resolution music transmission from the appropriate service, such as Qobuz. And thanks to its 24-bit/48kHz wireless transmission between the headsets, the PI7 makes the most of that high-resolution music signal. Thanks to these two factors, B&W says the PI7 is one of just a few true wireless sets on the market that can support high-resolution music all the way from your source to both of your ears.
Don’t let that small form factor fool you, B&W says that while the diminutive PI7 fits easily in your ear, its performance specifications are nearly identical to that of “an advanced conventional loudspeaker.” Each of the earbuds features a 9.2mm bespoke B&W drive unit, accompanied by a balanced-armature high-frequency driver. And each of those drivers are independently driven with its own amplifier. With this design, the company says, you get “exceptional control, superlative dynamics and deep, accurate bass.”
This flagship model also includes a cool Adaptive Noise Cancellation system. With a total of 6 microphones (3 in each earbud), the PI7 constantly monitors the surrounding environmental noise, analyzing and adapting to present the listener with the best possible listening experience. Those six microphones, by the way, also offer exceptional performance when making phone calls.
The Step-Down PI5
B&W says the new PI5 uses TWS+ technology for robust, high-quality earbud-to-earbud synchronization. There is a single bespoke 9.2mm Bowers & Wilkins driver unit in each earbud.
The company says the PI5 delivers CD-quality sound thanks to its use of aptX wireless transmission of music from a compatible mobile device. It also offers a user selectable noise-cancelling system plus an ambient pass-through mode. The PI5 offers two microphones in each earbud for superlative call quality.
Other Remarkable Features of Both of the PI7 & PI5
The company has included an impressive list of features in these models, as you might expect. Here then is a list of some of the top additional features.
- Both of these models are configurable via a companion B&W app
- Both use a simple one-button user interface, which the company says can “perform multiple tasks simply and elegantly”
- Both can be operated with Siri or Google Assistant, based on the connected device
- Both can be simultaneously paired with multiple devices for seamless switching of sources
- Both can be wirelessly recharged and work with a wide range of suitable accessories
- Both can work with charging cases that can recharge them up to four additional times. PI5 runs 4.5 hours on a single charge, PI7 runs 4 hours on a single charge
One More Trick up PI7 Sleeve…Plus Pricing & Availability
There is one more kind of cool trick the PI7 can do. It’s charging case can interface with typical airline headphone outlets – either 3.5mm or USB cable – and then it turns into a wireless transmitter, sending that signal to the PI7 earbuds. So you’ll be able to watch the airline movie with a much upgraded sound quality.
Both the PI7 and PI5 became available starting on Wednesday April 21st. Both of them are available in either White or Charcoal finish. The PI7 sells for $399 MSRP and the PI5 sells for $249 MSRP.
Learn more about these True Wireless earbuds and all that Bowers & Wilkins has to offer by visiting: bowerswilkins.com.