The most notable boost for its Pi7 S2 and Pi5 S2 is an increase in battery life, extended by five hours for each model, bringing them to 16 and 19 hours respectively.
The new buds will integrate with Bowers & Wilkins Music app, much like the Px7 S2 and Px8 over-ears, with set-up, settings configuration the ability to stream hi-res audio straight from the app to the earbuds possible from services such as Qobuz, Tidal and Deezer.
The Pi7 S2 continues to offer the Wireless Audio Retransmission feature the original brought to prominence, allowing users to connect the charging case to an external audio source and retransmit audio to the buds. Voice support is also possible with this feature, with compatibility with either Siri or Google Assistant.
There’s no mention of Snapdragon Sound, the Pi7 S2 appears to be sticking with aptX Adaptive for higher quality audio and a stickier connection to a source device. This hi-res fidelity is also helped by each bud be able to transmit audio at 24-bit/48kHz between them.
The Pi7 S2 has 9.2mm drive units partnered with a balanced armature driver with teach of the four drive units powered by its own amplifier. Adaptive Noise Cancellation monitors noise levels and adapts the performance to produce the best noise cancelling possible. The ANC system is paired with six microphones, with three in each earbud, to provide crystal clear sound with phone calls.
There’s no Adaptive ANC for the Pi5 S2, with users able to modify the strength of the noise cancelling as well access to an ambient pass-through mode. It also settles aptX Bluetooth, which B&W says is capable of transmitting audio at CD-quality levels, with its sound produced by single 9.2mm bespoke driver.
The S2 versions also mean bring new finishes with a Midnight Blue joining black and white finishes for the Pi7 S2, and the Pi5 S2 available in Cloud Grey, Storm Grey, Spring Lilac, and Sage Green (the green finish arrives later in 2023). What hasn’t changed is the price, £349 / €399 / $399 / AUD$700 for the Pi7 S2 and £249 / €299 / $299 / AUD$450 for the Pi5 S2. The earphones are on sale starting January 25th, 2023.
While we enjoyed Bowers & Wilkins previous efforts in the true wireless space, they weren’t the best at their respective price points for performance. Here’s hoping the S2 models hit a greater level given the true wireless market has been elevated since the launch of the B&W’s earphones by the likes of the Sony WF-1000XM4 and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II.