There’s no shortage of choices in the true wireless earbuds category, with options available on the low end, the high end, and all the spaces in between. If you’re a Bowers & Wilkins fan, you were probably wondering when the high end audio brand will throw its hat into the fray. Apparently, that happens now with the release of the B&W PI7.
Why did it take them so long? According to the outfit, they wanted to “set a new standard for audio performance” if they were going to enter the space and, with this product, “we truly believe we have achieved that.” While that’s going to be hard with the quality of the high-end options already in the market, it does bode well for the outfit to have that kind of confidence in their first entry to the space.
The B&W PI7 are true wireless earbuds that boast dual hybrid drive units in each ear, consisting of a 9.2mm dynamic driver and a balanced armature driver, each with their own individual amplifiers. We know, that sounds like a configuration you’ll do for a traditional loudspeaker (just with bigger drivers), but that’s exactly what they went with here. According to the outfit, this creates a sound that delivers detail and realism that can’t be rivaled by its current crop of competitors, so you don’t lose any fidelity in exchange for the completely wire-free convenience.
As with many current audio gear, it gets Adaptive Noise Cancellation, so you can focus on your music with none of ambient noises in your vicinity getting through. For the ANC, by the way, it uses three microphones in each earbud to pick up the noises and filter them out. And yes, those same mics go to work filtering out background noise during your phone calls, too.
The B&W PI7 comes with Bluetooth 5.0 as with all newer wireless earbuds, with support for Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive wireless transmission technology, so audio is streamed in full quality (24-bit) in a perfectly synced manner, even when you’re listening to music in a crowded gym with plenty of folks using their own wireless audio gear. If your music source doesn’t support aptX Adaptive, the earbuds also play nice with aptX HD, aptX Low Latency, aptX Classic, AAC, and SBC codecs.
The earbuds, by the way, have individual batteries rated at four hours of playback, with a 15-minute fast charge on their charging case feeding it enough power for another two hours of listening. And if you’re going on the road, the case can hold up to 20 hours of extra charge, so you can stay out all day and night without losing your music. There’s also a unique quirk to the charging case, which you can use to connect to an audio source via cable, then wirelessly retransmit that to the earbuds. We don’t know if this saves power, but we’re hoping that’s the end result. Other features include a frequency range of 10Hz to 20 kHz, IP54 water resistance, and voice assistant support (Siri and Google Assistant).
The B&W PI7 is available now, priced at $399.