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Bowers and Wilkins px8 Review: Premium Wireless Headphones

Bowers and Wilkins px8

Our evaluations and opinions are not influenced by our advertising relationships, but we may earn a commission from our partners’ links. This content is created independently from TIME’s editorial staff. Learn more about it.

updated: July 9, 2024
edited by Amber Katz

During the making of my soul music music documentary, Lee Fields: Faithful Man, I listened to hundreds of hours of music and audio cues—which definitely brought home the importance of quality headphones! Whether you’re working in the studio, picture locking your latest film, or just want premium-quality audio for your phone calls with the family, a great pair of headphones is an essential daily tool. I had the opportunity to test out the Bowers and Wilkins Px8, so read on for the details about these wireless over-ear headphones and whether they’re right for you.

Unboxing and first impressions

The packaging from Bowers & Wilkins Px8 is clean and elegant, with a sleek headphone case that’s sturdy enough to provide protection during shipping.

Inside, the case has a storage container for charging accessories, and conveniently features a magnetic clasp to ensure they stay in there tightly. Overall, the case feels thoughtfully designed. As for the actual headphones, you can immediately feel that the ear pads are incredibly soft. They’re made of thick memory foam and encased in premium Napa leather, so they provide the high-quality fit and feel you would expect from a product in this price range.

Pros and cons

The design of the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 is modern and stylish — but where the Px8 really excels is in the area of noise cancellation. The ability to truly isolate yourself into a near-silent space to hear your music and phone calls is rare, and the option to adjust that noise canceling level is a fantastic feature.

The sound these headphones provide is warm without being overwhelming, and without changing the music you love. The app was more useful than I initially expected, and the generous battery life was a pleasant surprise. These wireless headphones also provide a bluetooth range of up to 30 feet, allowing freedom to roam.

The cons are few and fairly minor. The headphone design could be slightly more user-friendly; there aren’t many indicators on the outside for what each button does. While most are intuitive, I’d have preferred markings to indicate function. Same goes for indicators for right and left ear. While there is a marker inside the ear cups, it isn’t as easy to see as if it had been placed somewhere on the exterior. That said, it’s something you can adapt to after a few uses. The fit of the headphones may be a bit snug for some users, but it’s also something that clearly aids with noise cancellation. The Px8 is also not waterproof or even water-resistant, but most over-ear headphones of this type are not.

Price:

$699.00 at Amazon

$699.00 at Bowers & Wilkins

Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Over-Ear Wireless Headphones

Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Over-Ear Wireless Headphones

Key features

  • Active noise canceling:

The Px8 features an all new active noise canceling headphone design that does a superior job of blocking unwanted noise. Even in noisy environments, the headphones provide the feel of true isolation.

  • Mic:

With six microphones, the Px8 excels in call quality and noise cancellation. In addition, two of the six mics are adjustable, making phone calls even easier, no matter where you are.

  • Battery life:

With a generous 30 hours of battery life on two hours of charge, the Bowers & Wilkins is impressively portable. With quick charge support, you can also get a full seven hours of usage from a brief 15-minute charge.

  • App:

Bowers & Wilkins also has a downloadable mobile app for extra features. The app allows you to connect to services like Tidal, Pandora, Soundcloud, Deezer, and more. The noise cancellation features can be controlled or completely turned off, and the EQ controls can also be adjusted. The app offers online and call support as well.

  • Customization button:

The Px8 features a customization button that allows you to change noise-cancelation options or trigger the voice assistant, all of which can be managed in the settings section of the app.

Customization button

Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Wireless Headphones: Are these a good fit for you?

For those in the market for top-tier wireless headphones that are over-ear, the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 has few rivals. At times, the noise cancellation can almost feel like too much, so it helps tremendously that this feature is adjustable, making the headphones even more versatile. But when you need full noise cancellation, this feature is incredibly helpful, whether you’re on a plane or in the subway.

As for portability, they’re lightweight enough to feel comfortable toting them around just about anywhere. The Px8 produces pure, uncompromising sound, leaving your music untouched, while using active noise canceling.

Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Over-Ear Wireless Headphones

Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Over-Ear Wireless Headphones

Performance

  • Sound:

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 does a great job of not compromising the original sound. Their noise canceling capability allows your music to shine. In addition, the frequency response is on par with competitors in the luxury headphone category.

  • Battery life:

Right out of the box, the battery life is impressive. 30 hours of usage on a two-hour charge is great. I also found the Auto-Standby feature helpful, which puts your device in a low-power state after 15 minutes of not being used.

  • Bluetooth range:

The Bluetooth range is just over 30 feet, which is among the best in its class. As long as you’re not finding yourself behind too many walls, you should have freedom to roam. If the Px8 is your first pair of wireless headphones, this will make it difficult to think about returning to a wired world.

  • Quality:

With an amazing sound response, elegant look and design, and a well-crafted case, the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 is an impressive headphone.

Design and build quality

Build quality

The build quality for the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 is reflected in their attention to detail. These headphones are designed to reduce distortion and improve high-frequency detail, while the generous 30-foot Bluetooth range and impressive noise cancellation make them an on-the-go essential. The ear pads are made of thick memory foam encased in rich Napa leather, for a luxurious listening experience. The fit is snug but comfortable and helps in the superior noise cancellation. Inside, the angled carbon cone drive units improve stereo imaging, which allows for unprecedented accuracy. The headphones’ net weight without the case clocks in at 320 grams.

Controls

The controls are fairly simple, and although they aren’t well-labeled on the exterior of the headphones, they quickly become easier to use after a few times. Once I discovered you can use the customization button to control the amount of noise cancelation, I found myself doing this all the time. The active noise cancellation is an incredible feature when you need it — I loved feeling so isolated while listening to music, podcasts, or phone calls — but I found that over time, it could be a bit overwhelming to be that secluded by extreme noise cancellation, so it’s great to be able to make adjustments.

Case

The same spirit that went into the design of the headphones also echoes through the accompanying case. The Px8 comes with a slick black case that is simple and elegant, but appears tough enough to hold up over time. It measures 189 mm wide, 233 mm deep, and 233 mm tall. Whether you use it for rugged travel or simply an occasional storage spot for the headphones, this case should last for the long haul and will be ready to protect your investment.

Final verdict

Sometimes the best compliment you can give to a pair of headphones is you forget you have them on. After wearing these carefully constructed and comfortable headphones for a while, they seem to disappear and feel like a part of the daily experience. With their soft ear pads and incredibly luxurious fit, it’s easy to get used to walking, working, or anything else in these headphones. Considering their comfort through long hours of use, these would also make a great gaming headset.

Listening to old familiar albums on these headphones, I often found myself hearing those records in a different way. With the active noise canceling feature fully engaged, it felt as if a blanket had been lifted from the music, adding more clarity and depth to songs I know well. These headphones add neither bass nor high-end frequencies while still accentuating both. It’s also impressive to know that when I want to adjust the EQ, I can easily do so from the B & W app.

In look, sound, and comfort, the Px8 headphones have few competitors. The Px7 S2e model from Bowers & Wilkins is close in both construction and sound quality, but if you’re really searching for headphones of the highest quality, the Px8 is the way to go. They’re pricey, but for those searching for a premium headphone that’s sleek, well-constructed, and packed with features, it’s hard to top the Px8.

Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Over-Ear Wireless Headphones

Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Over-Ear Wireless Headphones

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