The true wireless category isn’t showing any signs of slowing down (the Apple AirPods are nearly a consumer product category all their own) and audiophile favorite Bowers and Wilkins is helping to set the pace with new updates to their Pi5 and Pi7 options. The new models build upon the success of the first-generation options, which were launched in April 2021 and marked the brand’s first entry into the True Wireless (TWS) market.
The Pi7 S2 hopes to maintain the hi-resolution sound of its predecessor while making upgrades to connectivity, earbud battery life, and user experience. Things are also expanding with the color ways, as B&W will introduce three new premium finishes: Satin Black, Canvas White, and Midnight Blue. The Pi5 S2, on the other hand, has been upgraded with a wider range of finishes, including Cloud Grey, Storm Grey, Spring Lilac, and Sage Green (the last two colors will be available in spring of 2023).
One of the most significant upgrades in the new models is the enhanced wireless connectivity. A re-engineered antenna design has increased the Bluetooth range to up to 25m, promising a more stable listening experience. In addition, the earbud battery life has been improved, now offering five hours of listening time before a recharge is required. Both models also offer a quick charge function, which delivers an additional two hours of listening time from just a 15-minute charge. The charging cases for each model provides additional battery life, with a further 16 hours available for Pi7 S2 and 19 hours available for Pi5 S2.
The Pi7 S2 and Pi5 S2 are fully integrated with the Bowers & Wilkins Music App, which allows for set-up, configuration of noise cancellation modes and wear sensor adjustment. It also supports hi-res streaming capability direct from a mobile device to your earbuds via services such as Qobuz, TIDAL, and Deezer.
Both models also offer a Wireless Audio Retransmission feature, originally introduced in the first-generation model. This feature allows users to connect to an external audio source, such as an in-flight entertainment system, and then wirelessly retransmit audio from that source to the earbuds via the Smart charging case. The earbuds can be controlled via a straightforward one-button user interface, a single capacitive button on each earbud that can perform multiple tasks. Additionally, both models offer voice assistant support via either Siri or Google Assistant, depending on the connected device.
Also worthy of note, the Pi7 S2 utilizes “9.2mm bespoke Bowers & Wilkins drive units, joined by a high-frequency ‘balanced armature’ driver, with each of the four drive units in the system actively driven by its own amplifier”, somewhat of a rare bird for a True Wireless driver architecture.
Both earphones are available direct from the B&W site, with the Pi5 S2 retailing for $299 and the Pi7 S2 for $399.
More info: Bowers and Wilkins Pi7