B&W’s upgraded noise-cancelling headphones are here to take on the Sony WH-1000XM5

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Bowers & Wilkins' Px7 S2 are great-sounding headphones, as we said in our full Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 review, and the firm has just upgraded them for 2023. The new Px7 S2e have a significantly upgraded digital signal processing and some new style options to choose from.

The DSP is the main attraction here. The signal processor delivers 24-bit audio from compatible streaming services and has been retuned "to deliver unmatched detail, dynamics and spaciousness". It'll be interesting to hear that, because with the Px7 S2 we felt that the headphones were aiming to be fun and exciting, precise and analytical all at once, and didn't quite pull it off – which is a bit of an issue when the price is as premium as this. The new DSP will hopefully make them more versatile, and add that extra finesse. There's also aptX Adaptive for high-end streaming to take advantage of that DSP, plus USB-C and 3.5mm connections to cover all your key music sources.

Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2e: key features

As before, the Px7 S2e have 40mm custom-designed drive units that are carefully angled inside the cups to ensure consistent distance between each part of the driver and your ear, which B&W says delivers a more natural soundstage. And those cups contain six microphones for the noise-cancelling system: two measuring the drive units' outputs, two listening to the sound around you and two listening to your voice to boost clarity during calls.

The new Px7 S2e headphones are designed to work with the Bowers & Wilkins Music app, which enables you to tweak the EQ, adjust noise canceling settings and switch to other B&W products such as its wireless speakers. The app also delivers direct music streaming from the likes of TIDAL and Qobuz and the headphones have Android Fast Pair for easy connection.

Battery life is a solid 30 hours, equivalent to the likes of the Sony WH-1000XM5, and  you can recharge from flat in about 15 minutes to get seven more hours of listening time – great for traveling, as you don't need to hang around too long to charge up for the next bit of your journey. And if you misplace them, there's Google Find My Device built-in.

The existing colors – Anthracite Black, Ocean Blue and Cloud Grey – have been "evolved and refined", and there's a brand new color option called Forest Green. All four options are available from 19 September 2023, with a price tag of £379 / €429 / $399.

With the improved signal processing, cool colors (including a blue option, much like Samsung) and focus on audio quality, B&W is probably hoping to tempt people buying Sony's flagship headphones into something a little more premium, and a little more audiophile. When it comes to sound quality, we wouldn't be surprised if the B&W has a clear edge – but when it comes to noise-cancellation, we'll bet on Sony, even with the B&W's upgrades. The company has been top of our list of the best noise-cancelling headphones for a long time.

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