B&W updates PI7 earbuds with better battery life for the same price

    Two years after releasing the first pair of true wireless earbuds, Bowers and Wilkins are here with two updated models. The $399 (£349 / €399) PI7 S2 is the more expensive of the two, with dual drivers, more microphones and the ability to use their charging case to transfer audio from a wired source (such as an in-flight entertainment system ) when Bluetooth is not an option. There’s also the step-down $299 (£249 / €299) PI5 S2.

    Both earbuds now offer five hours of listening on a single charge. That’s more than four hours for the original PI7 earbuds and 4.5 hours for the original PI5s, though it falls short of our current best wireless earbuds, the Sony WF-1000XM4, which offer eight hours of playback, as well as the six-hour AirPods Pro 2. The case of the PI7 S2 offers an additional 16 hours, while the PI5 S2 offers 19 hours.

    The PI7 S2 offers five hours of playback time from the buttons themselves.
    Image: Bowers and Wilkins

    B&W also boasts of “upgraded wireless connectivity” on both pairs of earbuds, increasing their Bluetooth range to 25 meters (about 82 feet). But the actual wireless codecs listed as supported are the same as last time – aptX Adaptive for the PI7 S2 and the lower aptX for the PI5 S2 – and there’s no sign of support for the newer aptX Lossless.

    Other differences between the PI7 S2 and PI5 S2 include an additional built-in microphone on the former, which has three microphones per earbud instead of two. The PI7 S2 also has a dual driver configuration, which typically provides more detailed sound, as opposed to just a single driver on the PI5 S2. Finally, the more expensive model comes with adaptive noise cancellation, which adapts to your environment, versus active noise cancellation on the PI5 S2 (which can be configured manually via the companion app).

    Both earbuds are available from today. The PI7 S2 is available in black, white or blue, while the PI5 S2 is available in two shades of gray, lilac and – coming later this spring – green.

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