Bowers & Wilkins Px8 initial review: The best B&W wireless headphones yet?

When B&W launched the new Px7 S2 noise-cancelling headphones back in June, it teased that there would be something even better coming later in the year – its flagship headphones, and most advanced headphones yet, the Px8.

Ahead of the official launch, we got a sneak peek at these impressive over ears, and a quick listen too. Keep reading for our first impressions and keep an eye out for our full review very soon.


  • 189mm x 63mm x 233mm
  • 320g
  • Leather and aluminium design
  • Black and tan colour options

Flagships headphones need a flagship design, and the Px8 don’t disappoint. Anyone who remembers B&W’s P9 Signature headphones from 2016 will recognise a similarly luxurious build here.

For a start, the headphones sit on a sturdy cast-aluminium arm structure with a matching aluminium logo plate on the earcups. There’s tactile raised lettering for the Bowers & Wilkins logo and a bright diamond-cut edge that all helps give these headphones that premium look and feel you’d expect from B&W.

That’s only bolstered further by a soft Nappa leather finish across the earcups, headband and memory foam cushions, which is lovely to the touch and feels much more luxurious than the more rugged Saffiano leather of the P9s. Whether it will be as durable remains to be seen, but we love the way they look. In terms of core design, it’s not unlike the design of the Px7 S2, but just a level up in materials and craftmanship.

On the right earcup there are the physical controls, consisting of a Bluetooth pairing switch, volume up and down controls and a ridged universal button that you can map in the app’s settings. This could be used to launch your voice assistant, pause your music or to toggle ANC on or off, whichever you would find most useful.

There is no 3.5mm jack input here, but there is USB-C with a USB-C to 3.5mm cable included for wired listening (though they will still need to be charged) as well as a standard charging cable – all stashed in carrying case.

With the Px8s you get a choice of black or tan leather colourways, the latter having cream accents on the cushioning. Speaking of which, the comfort and fit is up a notch here too. It’s subtle but definitely noticeable when A/B testing against the Px7 S2 – and they’re a comfortable pair of headphones.

This is helped by the fact that B&W has managed to keep the weight down despite the more premium materials. Weighing in at just 320g, that’s only 17g heavier than the Px7 S2.

Features and battery life

  • Noise cancellation
  • Bluetooth 5.0, aptX Adaptive support
  • Up to 30 hours battery life
  • Fast charging

The B&W Px8 are noise cancelling headphones, and use the same Bowers & Wilkins-optimised noise cancelling technology as the Px7 S2. Six high-performance mics work together to deliver the best results, with two measuring the output from each drive unit inside the earcup, two reacting to the ambient noise in the outside world and another two helping to provide voice clarity for calls while suppressing noise.

As with Px7 S2, the performance of the system has been improved from B&W’s original Px7 by moving the two external microphones closer together, adjusting the angling of each microphone to improve voice capture and changing the position of the second mic to reduce wind noise interference.

B&W doesn’t offer levels of noise cancellation like some competitors do, and instead keeps things simple with on, off and pass-through. We didn’t get long with the headphones and had no opportunity to really put the noise cancellation to test, but there was a clear deadening of all chitter chatter and room noise as soon as we put them on. If the performance on the Px7 S2 is anything to go by, the ANC in use here will prove very effective indeed.

The Px8 support the very latest Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity and use Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive wireless technology to ensure the best possible sound quality from compatible phones, tablets and computers. It’s not quite lossless, but will support music up to 24-bit/48kHz for “better than CD” sound quality.

From a battery life perspective, B&W has matched the Px7 with up to 30 hours of battery life. That means over a day’s worth of playback with ANC on, with a fast 15-minute recharge for up to seven hours of additional listening time if you get caught short.

There is a wear sensor, that will pause your music when you lift an earcup and put them into a deep sleep when removed for an amount of time. They will then jump into action wherever you left off whenever you put them back on again.

As before, the Music App simplifies the connection of the Px8 to a mobile device, supports the fine-tuning of the sound through adjustable EQ, and allows owners to configure their preferred noise-cancelling mode and wear sensor sensitivity, all while monitoring the headphone’s charge levels.

There are also some changes here, to introduce the support for more music streaming services from within the app, and also the ability to easily switch between B&W devices when listening at home. We didn’t get to play with this during our demo, but will give you a thorough rundown on it in our full review.


  • New 40mm Carbon Cone drive unit
  • Angled drivers
  • Improved distortion across frequency range

Of course, performance is what counts and the B&W Px8 is looking to push sound quality on from that in the Px7 S2 with an all-new 40mm Carbon Cone drive unit.

Inspired by the Carbon Dome units in the B&W 700 Series loudspeaker range, it aims to deliver a low-distortion sound across the frequency range with a focus on making resolution, detail and timing even better than that heard in the Px7 S2. So much so that B&W is saying this is the best sound quality the company has ever delivered from a pair of wireless headphones.

Similarly to the P9 Signature headphones, the Carbon Cone drive units in Px8 are carefully angled inside each earcup to ensure the entire driver’s surface is at a consistent distance from the listener’s ear, to ensure the soundstage is accurate.

We had a very quick listen to the Px8 and B&W’s dedication to detail and timing in the Px8 is clear to hear, with an expert handling of the complicated rhythm of Organ Doner by DJ Shadow. Rich lows were expertly delivered alongside a stunning midrange clarity observed in Solange’s Crane in the Sky. There’s detail on top of detail here, enough to hear the leading edges of notes, explicitly enunciated, and a dynamism that helps you to really feel the rise and fall of the music.

They also do a really good job, as far as headphones can, of taking voices away from your ears and placing them into a space in front of you for a more immersive performance. We are looking forward to spending more time with them to bring you our full thoughts in our full review very soon.

Original Article