Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) has released new versions of its two models of noise-canceling headphones: the Pi5 S2 ($299) and the Pi7 S2 ($399). They’re available from January 25 and feature small but welcome improvements over their predecessors, the PI5 and PI7, which launched in 2021. The company says the two new models have improved battery life and Bluetooth connectivity.
The headphones now come with new color options. The Pi7 S2 is available in satin black, canvas white and midnight blue. The Pi5 S2, which saw a $50 price increase from the PI5, will appear in three new color options at launch: Cloud Grey, Storm Grey, and Spring Lilac, with a fourth color, Sage Green, coming later this spring.
B&W says the updated headphones have better battery life, but it’s only a modest gain over previous versions. The Pi5 S2’s stated battery life is now five hours, up 30 minutes from the PI5’s 4.5 hours. Strangely, the charging case has a smaller capacity than the PI5: only 19 hours instead of 20 (24 hours in total). Meanwhile, the Pi7 S2 also has 5 hours of continuous playback on a single charge, compared to the PI7’s four hours. Its case holds the same 16-hour reservoir for a total of 21 hours of use.
The Bluetooth operating distance is the only other hardware change. B&W claims you can now put 25 meters (about 82 feet) between these headphones and your music source, which is a considerable jump from the 10 meters (almost 33 feet) of the first generation products. It credits a change in material (the beveled aluminum end caps are now plastic) and a change in the design of the Bluetooth antenna. Unfortunately, Bluetooth Multipoint, which was missing from the first generation, was not added.
On the software side of the story, B&W continues to consolidate all of its products under its Bowers & Wilkins Music app. The PI7 and PI5 were controlled through the company’s Headphones app, but this was strictly limited to making changes to the button configuration. Under the Music app, the Pi7 S2 and Pi5 S2 can be managed, along with any other compatible black and white speakers, such as your Panorama 3 soundbar or your latest wireless headphones, the Px7 S2 and Px8. The app also gives users direct access to various streaming services such as Qobuz, Tidal and Deezer.
Apart from these minor changes, all other aspects of the headset remain the same. Both offer active noise cancellation (ANC), transparency mode, IP54 rating for water and dust resistance, and wear sensors for automatic music pause and resume. The Pi7 S2 also retains the clever Bluetooth transmitter function inside its box. Simply connect the case to an analog or digital source with the included cables and the case will act as a wireless link to the headphones using aptX Low Latency, making it a useful option for gamers who need as little time as possible between seeing something on the screen. and listen to it through headphones.