B&W’s slick new earbuds can’t beat Apple and Sony in one key area
Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) has announced updated versions of its true wireless headphones but the Pi7 S2 will be a tough sell for many thanks to one key element.
There’s a lot to like about these earbuds and they do outpace the AirPods Pro 2 in terms of offering Hi-Res Audio but the asking price of $399/£349 may well be too high in the year of our Lord 2023 when the cost of living crisis shows no signs of alleviating.
That’s a full $150/£100 more than Apple’s top-tier wireless earbuds and now Sony has dropped the price of the WF-1000XM4 to $279/£199, the Pi7 S2 are $120/£150 more expensive.
It’ll be tough for B&W to challenge Apple and Sony when the price is this high.
Bowers & Wilkins
If you do have the money then the Pi7 S2 are seriously good-looking earbuds and I don’t just mean the new Satin Black, Canvas White and Midnight Blue colourways. They also come with an impressive spec sheet including 9.2mm bespoke Bowers & Wilkins drive units, an increased Bluetooth range of 25m, longer five-hour battery life, six microphones and automatic active noise cancelling (ANC).
There’s also support for Qualcomm aptX Adaptive with the codec enabling Hi-Res 24-bit/48kHz streaming from compatible services and Wireless Audio Retransmission meaning you can connect to things like in-flight entertainment systems via the charging case.
Bowers & Wilkins
While that might be enough to tempt some, the premium price will put many off. The saving grace here is that the Pi5 S2 come at a more reasonable price of $299/£249.
Although they lose out on the Qualcomm aptX Adaptive and Wireless Audio Retransmission, the charging case offers 19 hours of juice which is three more than the Pi7 S2.
They will come in Cloud Grey, Storm Grey, Spring Lilac, and Sage Green colourways and both new models will go on sale from 25 January. If you are looking for affordable wireless earbuds that have Hi-Res Audio then the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro 2 might be of interest.