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Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 Wireless Earbuds: Review

Do the Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 True Wireless Earbuds deliver the outstanding performance of their larger on-ear siblings?

Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 True Wireless Earbuds Peaking Out of Charging Case in Midnight Blue

Every month we take a look back at our TWS coverage and almost shudder at how much there is yet to cover. The category is growing at an exponential rate and it will never be possible to cover it all. For every pair of true wireless earbuds that we cover or review — we turn down 5 or 6 other media requests. It behooves us to cover the products that we feel offer the best performance, features, and value for the money in a category that will grow by 2027 to almost $20 billion USD.

Time moves fast in the category and it doesn’t feel like it was all that long ago that I reviewed the Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 TWS Earbuds. The British manufacturer has a long and established history of award-winning loudspeakers and they are quickly becoming one of the leading high-end wireless headphone brands with the success of the Px7 S2 and Px8 over-ear models.

Focal and Bowers & Wilkins have positioned themselves to dominate the $450 to $1,000 market and we have every reason to believe that they will succeed.

Those expecting the new Pi7 S2 to be a revolutionary upgrade as opposed to a natural evolution of an already good product will be slightly disappointed.

Bowers & Wilkins have taken what was an extremely good product and focused on improving its weaknesses’ — and succeeded to say the least.

The Pi7 S2 are the flagship model at $399 USD and competing against some of the most successful models in the category from Master & Dynamic, Sony, Bose, Apple, and Sennheiser.

For those who don’t want to spend $400 USD on a pair of true wireless earbuds, the Bowers & Wilkins Pi5 S2 offer strong sonic performance but without all of the features of its more expensive sibling. Our review of these excellent earbuds are coming soon.

In the Box: Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 True Wireless Earphones in Midnight Blue

The Skinny

The Pi7 S2 don’t overwhelm one with too many extras in the box; the package includes the charging case, earbuds, 3.5mm to USB cable, and USB charging cable. Bowers & Wilkins have included 3 sizes of ear tips in the packaging; one surprise is that the earbuds now come with a new blue ear tip (along with the white and black) that matches the earpieces.

The charging case is also color-matched to the earpieces with the body matching the white/black/blue portion of the earpieces and the lid of the case matching the gold metal outer shell of the white and black earpieces. The blue model shares the gold metal accent on the case lid, but uses a bright blue metal on the outer earbud control ring.

The earpieces are still quite similar to the original and if you don’t have both side-by-side the changes may go unnoticed. The earpieces use an oval-shaped polymer inner shell with the nozzles exiting the leading end with a distinct upward rake.

Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 True Wireless Earphones in Midnight Blue Pair

Immediately behind the nozzle is a small circular vent, followed by the L/R indicator and a series of three contact points for charging with two larger contact points above and below the line serving as magnetic hold points to keep the earpieces locked in when charging.    

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There are two vents on the outside ring of the inner shell; one that runs most of the length of the upper surface and a second on the leading edge. On the new model it is marked with small white dot next to the front facing vent.  

The faceplates have a large round metal control button that rests on the forward portion of the inner shell leaving about one-quarter of the inner shell exposed at the rear.

On the blue model, a gold band separates the control button from the shell beneath. The black and white models use the gold/bronze button but omit the accent ring. The Bowers & Wilkins branding is elegantly printed on the side of the control button with no gaudy logos on the faceplate.

Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 True Wireless Earphones in Black and White

The Kishkas

The major differences between the Pi7 and Pi7 S2 models can be found internally; the new model utilizes a Bluetooth 5.0 chipset with support for aptX Adaptive and is backwards compatible with the aptX and aptX HD codecs.

Bluetooth aptX Adaptive offers the potential for true 24-bit audio transmission for improved sound quality; when source devices and wireless headphones can actually transmit and decode music at 24-bit/96kHz or 24-bit/192kHz — wired headphones will have a much harder time selling themselves.

AAC is also supported for Apple OS and iOS users. The chipset supports adaptive ANC as well as a pass-through mode for situational awareness. Sound duties are handled by a 9.2mm dynamic driver and a single balanced armature driver to enhance the treble range.  

Each driver has its own amplifier tuned specifically for the driver with the crossover placed before the amplifiers rather than using a single amplifier and a crossover between the amplifier and drivers. This helps reduce noise and further improve sound quality.

Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 True Wireless Earphone in Midnight Blue Bottom

ANC and phone calls are handled by 3 microphones per earpiece; situational awareness on the Pi7 S2 is definitely improved when it comes to being able to enable the Ambient mode and engage in conversations with co-workers and other pedestrians.

Battery life is a critical selling point for any pair of true wireless earbuds and poor performance is a justifiable reason to consider something else; Bowers & Wilkins took some heat for the battery playtime of the original model and have made some substantial improvements with the Pi7 S2.

We ran our standard test three times from a full charge to see if the promised 5 hours of playing time (ANC disabled) and 3.5 hours (ANC turned on) was accurate. Bowers & Wilkins claim that the new battery offers a 50% level of improvement over the older model.

How did it fare?

Battery life was almost exactly as advertised with nearly 5 hours with ANC disabled and 3.5 hours with ANC enabled depending on listening levels and ANC strength.

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Charging Case for Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 True Wireless Earphones in Midnight Blue

The charging case adds 3 complete charges and the earpieces support quick-charge; a quick 15 minute recharge will net another 2 hours of use time (ANC off) .  

A full recharge from a completely drained battery took almost exactly 2 hours; the LED on the case indicates charge status of both the case itself and the earpieces.  

One thing to note — the LED status on the case when it is charging without the earpieces inside represents the charge status of the case only.

Using the Pi7 S2

When we reviewed the original Pi7 S2, the mid-sized ear tips proved to be the best fit for me and created a proper seal. Assuming that Bowers & Wilkins did not change the ear tips, we opted for the same ones and also plugged the charging case in overnight so that the earbuds were fully charged in the morning.

Getting started means either connecting the earpieces to your source device using either Bluetooth, or plugging the the 3.5mm to USB or USB to USB cables into the source device and case — using the charging case to provide connection to the earpieces.

Why would one do this?

This lets users leverage using their wireless earbuds with laptops or older source devices that do not support Bluetooth aptX Adaptive without losing signal quality. The case can even be used with additional pairs of Bowers & Wilkins headphones so that you can share the sound with a friend or even swap between IEMs and headphones if fatigue becomes an issue.

Both features worked rather well on the original Pi7 and the upgrade to 24-bit aptX Adaptive on the S2 promises to be a significant upgrade.

The original Pi7 ranked in my top 5 TWS models at the time of the original review and it would have been rather disappointing if the new Pi7 S2 did not offer a similar or improved level of performance.

Using the same playlist from the original review, I started with the Cowboy Junkies’ Trinity Sessions to judge the soundstage performance of the new earbuds.

Closed wireless earbuds struggle with recreating the soundstage and that’s rather common regardless of price. Bowers & Wilkins have managed to buck the trend with the Pi7 S2; soundstage depth, width, and height were quite pronounced on the recording and one could easily discern the space around the band and the echoes inside the church in Toronto.

The low end performance of the original Pi7 was not its best attribute; bass notes could come across as slightly thick and without enough speed and definition. The Pi7 S2, however, has a very different tuning; bass notes are much clearer with a surprising amount of impact. The driver doesn’t rattle the inside of your head, but low end extension has a lot more definition and there is no bleed from the upper bass into the lower midrange.

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Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” demonstrated the strong midrange resolution of the Pi7 S2, but also the improved low end performance and top end energy that allowed the strings to really come alive throughout the performance.

The overall sonic signature is still a mild “V” with good layering; which is even more impressive when one considers that it is a single driver handling the bass and midrange. The detail retrieval from the mid bass through the top end is very strong and far more than I experienced with the original Pi7.

If you are familiar with the Bowers & Wilkins loudspeakers and on-ear headphones, the new Pi7 S2 is a very strong step forward in regard to mimicking the tonal balance and presentation of those products.

Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 True Wireless Earphone in Midnight Blue Back

ANC Performance?

The Pi7 S2 offers adjustable ANC and that’s a smart move on the part of Bowers & Wilkins; the ability to disable, adjust the strength based on levels of ambient noise, and enable ANC and pass-through mode at the same time is a huge win for these wireless earbuds.

Being able to disable ANC when it is not required improves overall sound quality when listening and it saves battery life. A lot of battery life.

Overall, the ANC was quite effective when it came to cutting out most office noise, whilst retaining the ability to have clear conversations with co-workers.

The pass-through feature is very important; parents should make sure that their children have this function turned on (regardless of brand) when using wireless earbuds and walking home from school. If you can’t hear dogs barking, traffic, or other pedestrians — you are putting yourself in danger and risk having an accident.

Adults should be using this feature as well. This mode enabled me to listen to music at lower volume levels while engaged in other activities and maintain excellent situational awareness. 

Sony still holds the ANC title and if that matters to you more than overall sound quality — the Sony WF-1000XM4 might be the better option for you. If you put more emphasis on the sonic performance of wireless earbuds, the Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 is vastly superior to the top Sony model. Better resolution, clarity, detail retrieval, and a more spacious sounding presentation.

Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 True Wireless Earphone in Midnight Blue Packaging


If you already own the original Pi7 wireless earbuds, the Pi7 S2 might feel like an upgrade — but not necessarily a huge one.

The improvements in ANC and battery performance are significant in our opinion; the category is moving forward in both of these categories and it’s hard to justify asking $400 if you can’t deliver the same level of performance as the best products.

Bowers & Wilkins still trails on the battery life part, but they have definitely made a huge improvement over the original model and that will matter to a lot of users.

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Where these put some distance between themselves and other models in the category is what makes them truly worth $400 — the sonic performance is outstanding. If you’ve read our reviews of the award-winning Px7 S2 and Px8 wireless headphones, it is clear that Bowers & Wilkins have figured out how to make world class wireless headphones. They are getting closer and closer on the wireless earbud front as well.

Where to buy: $399 at Amazon |

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  1. Joe

    March 19, 2023 at 1:00 am

    Sorry, Some innacuracies, besides obvious battery and slightly better with Pi7 S2, they are identical to the older Pi7 (S1)… Which already had 24 bits 96khz with aptx adaptive Hd, other reviews say noise cancelling is the same.

  2. Colin

    March 20, 2023 at 6:40 am

    It’s essentially the same as the original, but the signal strength, battery life, and some other usability features are enhanced. Still no other TWS can beat it on sound quality and since I bore with the inconvenience of the original PI7 due to its superior sound quality, the s2 is a worthwhile upgrade, given you can sell the original in the second hand market.

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