The Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2, like its predecessor, sounds phenomenal for true wireless earbuds. This second-gen version is said to have an increased Bluetooth range (up to 25m), and improved battery life. It also retains the unique wireless audio retransmission feature that uses the charging case to relay audio to the earbuds. However, the Pi7 S2 hasn't quite caught up with other premium true wireless earbuds in active noise cancellation, usability, and battery life.
- 9.2mm dynamic drive with balanced armature
- Adaptive ANC
- Audio retransmission from charging case
- Up to 5 hours battery life (with ANC off), additional 16 hours from charging case
The Pi7 S2 look classy and expensive. They are slightly larger than some true wireless earbuds I have tested, and will likely stick out from your ears. They felt secure, and didn't come close to falling out during a jog. But I did find them tiring to wear after an hour or so. There's in-ear detection, which works pretty well. The touch controls on the earbuds are sensitive, and responsive. But you cannot customise the controls using the Bowers & Wilkins Music App, which needs serious improvement. The app frequently fails to detect the earbuds, even when they are already connected to my Android phone. And when it finally connects to the earbuds, the music playback occasionally starts stuttering until I force-closed the app. It also lacks an equaliser. Unfortunately, the app is the only way to enable the earbuds' passthrough or transparency feature.
A neat, and pretty unique feature of the Pi7 S2 is the charging case's ability to retransmit audio. How it works: connect the case to an external, wired audio source, such as an in-flight entertainment system with the included 3.5mm to USB-C cable. The case will wirelessly retransmit the audio signal to the earbuds. This is definitely handy on a plane — no need to use the cheap headphones provided by the airline. You can also use it with older devices, like a desktop PC that lacks Bluetooth, for example. However, I was less impressed by the Pi7 S2's active noise cancellation (ANC). While it does decently at reducing lower-frequency noise, the Pi7 S2 is mediocre at blocking out higher frequencies. I could still hear quite clearly what my fellow commuters on the bus were saying. It's just not as good as the ANC performance of top true wireless earbuds.
But the Pi7 S2 is in a different league when it comes to sound. These earbuds reproduce so much detail that even music that I have heard plenty of times sound new and different with the Pi7 S2. The bass is tight and punchy, while the soundstage is larger, and more defined than many headphones I have tried. Vocals come across cleanly — the Pi7 S2 just sounds fantastic overall. Battery life, while improved over its predecessor, is still not quite up to par with the competition. The claimed uptime of five hours with ANC off is middling. With ANC enabled, I found that the Pi7 S2 lasted about 3hr 40min at around 50% volume.
Given its hefty price (S$729), I had expected more. The user experience is not as seamless or as polished as the earbuds from more tech-oriented brands such as Apple and Samsung. The ANC is also not good enough for the price. There's no point having great sound if the earbuds mostly get drowned out. Battery life, too, could be better. In short, the general usability of these true wireless earbuds fall short of the competition. However, the Pi7 S2 does have a unique selling point of its own with the wireless audio retransmission feature. And if judged by sound alone, the Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 is one of the best out there. It all boils down to what you're looking for. Get it now from Lazada, and Shopee.
Note: Review unit provided by Bowers & Wilkins.
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