With the PI5 and PI7, the sound forge Bowers & Wilkins has presented two new additions. The two in-ears are nothing less than a premiere from the manufacturer of expensive hi-fi products. More precisely, these are the company’s first true-wireless headphones. The two newcomers are not only supposed to offer familiar functions that we already know from other manufacturers. There is also an amazingly exciting feature that we do not know from the competition yet. We take a quick look at the two new headphones in mini format.
Bowers & Wilkins is late to the party
If you take a look at the available providers of wireless in-ears, you quickly realize that the selection is already huge. The practical hi-fi companions gained popularity at the latest when Apple launched its AirPods. After that, the small headphones really flooded the market. Bowers & Wilkins, the high-priced sound manufacturer from the United Kingdom, was not yet one of them. But this changes with the PI5 and PI7.
With the two new pairs of headphones, the British company is now entering the popular segment. Of course, the hi-fi experts place great emphasis on high sound quality this time as well. A very special feature is to come with the case of the PI7. This can almost be called revolutionary. It is nevertheless obvious. Consequently, you almost have to ask yourself why the other manufacturers have not yet come up with the idea.
Bowes & Wilkins does not only demand the high price for high audio quality. The company also wants to score in terms of design and build quality with its small in-ears. The basis is a case, which is composed of metal and high-quality plastic. This is a massive side blow to market leader Apple. After all, both the PI5 and PI7 stand out from the Californian’s white earpieces in terms of workmanship at first glance. A driver with a diameter of 9.2 cm is supposed to provide a rich sound for each headphone. Of course, the British promise nothing less than an “excellent sound” here.
In order to provide for the most lossless wireless audio transmission possible, both PI5 and PI7 support aptX. Since this codec does without any additional compression of the transmitted data, this promise should probably work out. Of course, modern in-ears in this price range should not lack active noise cancellation. Accordingly, Bowers & Wilkins equips at least the PI7 with adaptive noise cancellation. It is adaptive because it should be able to dynamically adapt to ambient noise according to the manufacturer. In quiet moments, you should therefore not have to endure loud noise.
Practical transport box
The absence of cables results in a crucial point for True Wireless in-ears. Each pair requires a suitable transport box, which usually also serves as a charging station for the small headphones. This is no different with the PI5 and PI7. However, the case also offers another feature for the PI7 premium headphones. It can be used as a kind of “Bluetooth dongle”. Imagine you have a music source that you can’t connect to your PI7s via Bluetooth. To solve this problem, you connect the audio source to the transport case of the small headphones via USB cable. Now the case can forward the sound to the PI7.
We haven’t seen this from any other audio manufacturer yet. For example, owners of a Nintendo Switch, which does not have Bluetooth on board, will be happy about this smart feature. Unfortunately, there is also reason to complain. For example, both the PI5 and PI7 seem to offer a comparatively low battery life that the competition can only laugh about. While the PI5 has the lead over the PI7 with up to 4.5 hours, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, for example, offer a much longer battery life of 7:42 hours. However, only a practical test will show whether the specifications really correspond to reality or Bowers & Wilkins prophylactically prefers to stack the deck low.
Prices and availability
Who is interested in one of the two new headphones, can already strike now. Since April 21, PI5 and PI7 are optionally available in anthracite or white. The prices are definitely in the premium class. While the PI5 comes along with an RRP of 249 euros, Bowers & Wilkins demands a proud 399 euros for its PI7. How long the manufacturer can maintain this high RRP is questionable.