Bowers & Wilkins PX5: premium finish with premium sound?

British audio manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins launched a new range of headphones a few months ago. The new line of ANC headphones came in the form of the PI3, PI4, PX5 and the PX7. In this review we discuss the on-ear model from the series, the PX5. How good are these premium headphones and how do they compare to the competition? Read the answer in this Bowers & Wilkins PX5 review.

Bowers & Wilkins PX5

Price: 299 euros

Battery life: 25 hours with active noise canceling, 15 minutes charge for 5 hours of listening

Frequency range: 10Hz – 30kHz

Impedance: 20 kOhms

Functions: Active noise canceling, wearing sensor, Ambient Pass-Through

Connections: Bluetooth with aptX Adaptive, USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack

Weight: 241 grams

Included: 3.5mm stereo cable, USB-C cable, instruction book, storage case

8.5 Score 85

  • Pros
  • Low tones well present
  • Good ANC
  • Beautiful premium design and finish
  • Very comfortable
  • Negatives
  • High tones not great
  • Not foldable

Comfort and design

Once you put the PX5 on your head you have to recognize that you are dealing with a truly premium model. The composite material of woven carbon fibers looks very nice and also feels sturdy. In terms of appearance, these headphones are also one of the nicer ones on the market. This applies to both the blue and the gray version, although the gray model has my light preference.

The PX5 is comfortable. You can feel that the material is a bit rigid, but it is certainly comfortable. The shells fall well on your ears and the headphones stay in place at all times. Even when you are running through Amsterdam Central to catch your train just in time. With 241 grams, the PX5 can be called quite light. Long listening sessions are no problem at all with these headphones.

Control and app

This device is operated by means of five buttons. These buttons are present on the ear cups. One on the left earcup, with this button you control the active noise canceling. There are four buttons on the right shell. Two of these knobs are for controlling the volume. The third button is multifunctional, so you can use this button to pause your music or go to the next song. There is of course also an on and off button on the headphones, with which you also control the pairing of the bluetooth. The buttons are very easy to reach with your thumbs. As far as I'm concerned, this just works well. The layout is correct and the buttons give good physical feedback. In addition, the headphones let you know by voice when you have changed a certain setting.

Also very handy is the fact that the music is paused as soon as the wearing sensor detects that you remove an ear cup from your head or take off the headphones. The PX5 will then go into sleep mode and will wake up (and continue playing) as soon as you put your headphones back on. Touch control is something that is missing from the PX5. With other headphones on the market, it is possible to pause the music or adjust the volume using certain gestures. I myself have always been a fan of physical buttons and do not call the lack of this 'feature' a loss.

The PX5 can also be used with an application. Here you can make settings in, for example, the sensitivity of the wearing sensor or make changes to the degree of noise reduction. Software updates also come via this application to further optimize the headphones. For example, I received an update in which the wearing sensor and the Ambient Pass-Through were improved. I will come back to this when discussing active noise canceling.

With the PX5 it is possible to remember two bluetooth devices. As soon as one of these devices turns on bluetooth, the headphones will establish the connection. Did you turn off the PX5 and then turn it back on? Then it connects to the most recent device. Switching between the two devices is also flawless.

Audio quality

The sound coming out of the headphones is nice and warm. The low tones are reproduced well and music becomes very spacious. Hip-hop and electronic music, for example, sound very nice. Your audio experience really gets a lot better. The sound quality is best via a wired connection. However, it must be said that a good sound quality is also achieved via a bluetooth connection. The AptX Adaptive technology ensures that the bluetooth connection works well for music, but also for watching movies and series or playing video games. There is no delay between picture and sound.

Since the PX5 focuses a lot on the low tones, the high tones come out a little less well. You have to take into account that these are ANC headphones with bluetooth and not studio headphones that are connected to an amplifier. There is certainly something to be said for the handiness and flexibility of the PX5.

The low weight and comfort of the headphones might indicate a relatively lower sound quality, but the 35.6mm drive units do a good job.

How good is the ANC?

The ANC works very well. Compared to other on-ears, the PX5 does an excellent job in this area. Even some over-ear headphones Bowers & Wilkins gives way with this model. Ambient noise is dampened very well on the high anc setting. Both sound of, for example, birth and voice are almost no longer audible. In addition, the active noise canceling can be set to three different positions, and the application even offers the option of further changing the ANC level itself. There are 4 microphones available to control the ANC. In addition, there are two microphones present to make telephone calls possible.

A nice feature is the Ambient Pass-Through. This mode makes it possible to still hear your ambient sound well. Very useful when you want to cross a busy street or hear the voice calls on public transport.

Battery life

The description states that the headphones must charge for 15 minutes for 5 hours of listening pleasure. You can fully charge it in 3 hours. Fully charged, the PX5 should last 25 hours. He does that in practice. Note, however, that this applies when the headphones are connected to another device via a cable. When you use the ANC function via Bluetooth, you lose about two to four hours on the battery life.

Compared to other on-ear models, this is an excellent battery life. The good battery life and fast charging means that the PX5 scores well in terms of listening time.


The PX5 does almost everything right. The sound is warm and layered and the low tones are reproduced well. The headphones are very comfortable and look very stylish. In addition, the battery life and good active noise canceling make this one of the top on-ear models on the market. The only two downsides are that the high tones come out a little less well and that the PX5 is not collapsible. This makes it slightly less handy than other products on the market. Despite that, the PX5 remains a stylish and versatile headphone with a very good sound. Bowers & Wilkins shows that on-ear headphones are not always inferior to an over-ear model.

We also reviewed the over-ear headphones the PX7.

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