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New Bowers & Wilkins ANC Buds Improve On Greatness

Bowers & Wilkins’ updated PI7 S2 and PI5 S2 true wireless ANC earphones are arriving this year and they will push the British brand’s reputation for premium sound equipment, with longer battery life and improved sound quality.

When B&W announced the PI7 and PI5 noise-cancelling earphones in April 2021, it signaled the brand’s entry into the earphone market – and it was certainly an auspicious entry, only strengthened with these S2 models.

Both sets feature improved wireless connectivity, with a new antenna design which supports increased Bluetooth range to 25m.

Both pairs also come with improved battery life, up to five hours listening time. There’s also a 15-minute quick-charge function that will sort you with an extra two hours listening time. Plus, the charge case provides 16 extra hours for the for the PI7 S2 and 19 hours for the PI5 S2.

Both sets are also fully integrated with the Bowers & Wilkins Music App, which provides a seamless user experience – set-up, configuration of noise cancellation modes, wear sensor adjustment, and a range of audio settings.

They support hi-res streaming via Qobuz, Tidal, Deezer and other services, as well as offering extra user adjustments, plus both include a simple one-button interface allowing you to perform several tasks. There’s also Siri or Google Assistant voice support, depending on the connected device.

The PI7 S2 kicks on with the Wireless Audio Retransmission the first model sported, which lets users connect to an external audio source – for instance an in-flight entertainment system – and then retransmit audio to the earbuds through the smart charging case.

They also kick on with Qualcomm aptX Adaptive, meaning 24-bit/48kHzsound can be transmitted from compatible services and devices.

The PI7 also features 9.2mm drive units, joined by a high-frequency “balanced armature” driver, with each of the four drive units – two for each bud – actively driven by its own amp.

While the PI5 S2 is the little brother here on paper, it’s no slouch in performance, with TWS tech and a 9.2mm driver in each bud.

They also support CD-quality playback with aptX wireless transmission from an aptX-compatible device, plus there’s user-selectable noise-cancelling and ambient pass-through modes, and two built-in mics per earbud for ANC and phone calls.

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