Everything in regards to the Bowers & Wilkins PI7 in-ear headphones is a daring assertion. From their premium look to their lengthy record of options and specs to their unapologetic $399 value. Casual listeners may actually benefit from the audio high quality these true wi-fi earbuds supply, but the worth locations their accessibility solely inside attain of essentially the most severe purchasers.
All of those daring selections give the PI7 a really “business casual” vibe. The value level actually performs a job in that notion. That they’re positioned for the rich enterprise individual. But, even the Bluetooth earbuds’ most intelligent function factors towards shoppers who are sometimes on the street for work. These earbuds can use their charging case to hook up with locations that solely have a 3.5 mm audio jack—like an airplane.
Like their audio high quality, these B&W earphones may attraction to anybody. Is their audio high quality actually that good, and are their intensive record of options well worth the hefty value? Let’s dig in.
The Look and Feel of PI7 In-Ear Headphones
Decked out in a matte-black plastic and contrasting shiny silver lid, the PI7 battery case is glossy and stylish. It has knowledgeable look to it, despite the fact that its plasticky really feel within the hand reduces the notion of high quality. The case has a USB-C port on the underside for charging, but it can be set on a Qi charger for wi-fi replenishing of its battery.
The earbuds themselves aren’t particularly tiny and are noticeable as they protrude out of your ears. They aren’t hidden, but in addition they do not draw undesirable consideration. Their general measurement is in keeping with loads of different wi-fi earbuds.
Wearing the PI7 for prolonged intervals of time is comfy sufficient. They did not trigger me a lot ear fatigue, but I additionally by no means forgot they had been there. There are three ear tip sizes within the field with the medium ones already connected to the earbuds. In discovering my match initially, I used to be having a little bit of hassle getting seal with the left ear, so I swapped out that aspect’s rubber ear tip with the bigger measurement and obtained a greater match.
While these earbuds can be utilized for train with an IP54 ranking for delicate water and dirt resistance, they weren’t safe sufficient in my ears for my typical 3- to 5-mile runs. I’ve little doubt they might work for some individuals—I simply wasn’t certainly one of them. In common, these appear to be extra fitted to stationary listening, the sort you would possibly do at an workplace desk or on a airplane.
The Sound of B&W PI7
The featured specs are spectacular on paper. The earbuds have a 9.5 mm dynamic driver and balanced armature. There are 4 devoted amps and a devoted digital sign processor. There’s additionally adaptive energetic noise-cancellation and ambient pass-through help.
In observe, they sound actually good, but I wasn’t notably blown away. I used to be anticipating the sound to be top quality, and it delivered on that expectation. The excessive value does increase the bar on efficiency minimums.
The adaptive energetic noise-cancellation was in all probability the least spectacular side of those in-ear headphones. It labored adequately, but to not the energy that another manufacturers supply. You can toggle the noise-canceling or ambient pass-through options with gesture controls on the gadget itself, but you may as well accomplish that via the app.
The app is surprisingly polished, and I had no issues with it regardless of its low iOS App Store ranking. Ambient pass-through is useful for with the ability to totally hear different individuals speak while not having to take away the earbuds out of your ears. There are two microphones on every earbud to help with this and different options. The mics will assist with clear telephone name audio, too.
Listening to music sounded fantastic. There is 24-bit sync expertise and aptX help in case you’re streaming from a tool that additionally has these skills. Otherwise, you will get the utmost throughput that Bluetooth can accommodate.
Beyond my typical playlist I exploit to check audio units, I ventured into a brand new group of hip-hop songs from Jason Chu & Alan Z’s new album, Face Value. The single “Model Minority” contrasts the highs of a piano with the tune’s tougher and deeper beats for a full and wealthy sound. The PI7 earbuds reproduced the track’s addictive groove flawlessly.
I attempted a variety of musical genres, and every was reproduced faithfully. Classical music has a pleasant resonance, whereas rock is completely crunchy.
The most fascinating function is audio retransmission utilizing the case. The concept is you could nonetheless use these wi-fi earbuds to pay attention on units or in locations that do not have Bluetooth—solely a wired headphone jack. One particular place can be an infotainment system on an airplane. I attempted this on a laptop computer as a result of I’m operating out of units that also have a 3.5 mm jack. It’s a neat function for positive. After making an attempt it out, I’m not satisfied it’s a necessity, although. For one, the sound was noticeably worse, whereas the amount was considerably decrease. I’m not fairly positive why this was and tried utilizing numerous audio sources, but it remained the identical.
Should You Buy Bowers & Wilkins PI7?
It’s laborious to see how the PI7 wi-fi earbuds are worth at their $399 retail value, despite the fact that they sound nice and pack in loads of conveniences. There’s simply nothing so distinctive that may’t be achieved for much less cash. For instance, there are third-party dongles that may carry out the Bluetooth audio retransmission trick.
If that you must have Bowers & Wilkins branded wi-fi earbuds or can discover a terrific deal on sale, then make the leap. Otherwise, the worth doubtless will not be there for most individuals.
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