We just got a hold of the limited 007 editions of this headphone that celebrates 60 years of James Bond with a unique Midnight Blue colorway and cool little design hits. If you are a Bond fan, this is a beautiful collectible and something you will probably want to snatch up, but it does come with a higher price tag of $799.
We were huge fans of the Px7 S2 that we reviewed a short while ago, so we were intrigued by what the new top-of-the-line Px8 would bring to the table to justify such a hefty price jump from $399 to $699.
So let’s dive into a full review of these amazing wireless headphones in hopes to figure out if they are right for you and your studio, home theater, commute to work, or everything in between.
Build Quality and Design
At a glance, the Px8s are on par with their lower-priced sibling (Px7 S2), but the devil is in the details with the Px8. Bowers and Wilkins do Bond proud with their subtle attention to detail in the materials; much like the original Aston Martin DB3 used in Goldfinger, these are pure luxury and class without even a dash of gauche-ness.
The Nappa leather on the headband and earcups feels buttery and is a significant step up from the leatherette and cloth on the Px7 S2, which is probably not a big deal for most consumers. However, those that pay attention will see the value in the aesthetic/tangible upgrades here and are willing to pay the price.
The arms of the headphone are made from beautifully machined aluminum that is cool to the touch and provides smooth movement when making adjustments. The headphones still maintain a manageable weight at 320 grams/11.3 Ounces and are comfortable for longer listening sessions of 2+ hours.
The 007 edition features a nice little logo hit on the top of the earcup, and the inside features the iconic gun barrel graphic featured in the opening of the films. We also love the red power button indicator to make it pop a bit.
Pro Tip: With materials like leather and aluminum, it’s important to keep your headphones clean. Leather should age well if you take care of it with the occasional wipe-down. Use a spray like Dekioni’s leather cleaner to keep your headphones in tip-top shape
Note: The standard Px8 colors include two colorways, a black and tan model that retails for $699.
So now that we know what’s different on the outside, what’s the change-up on the inside of the Px8s? In lieu of the bio-cellulose paper material used with the Px7 S2, the Px8s receive an upgrade to carbon fiber on the 40mm drivers. This material improves playback due to its rigidity and lightness, which enhances transparency and minimizes distortion. There are also slight tweaks to the motor system, as the carbon fiber cones are thinner and lighter.
Aside from these changes in the cones, there are a lot of similarities in the specs with the Px7 S2.
- 30-hour battery life
- BT 5.2 and aptX Adaptive compatibility
- Four noise-canceling microphones
- Two mics for phone calls
The B&W Px8s is packed with features that are easy to use and access. Let’s start with the fact that they still believe in tangible buttons that are just lightyears better than touch-sensitive earcups/controls. A single button on the left earcup is an easy way to cycle through total noise canceling, transparency mode, or turning ANC off entirely. This button can also be changed in the app to instead toggle on your digital voice assistant like Siri, etc.
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The Bowers & Wilkins Music app is also simple to use and allows you to make tweaks on bass/treble and engage the wear sensor, which, when activated, pauses playback when the headphones are removed.
The app allows users to use it as the primary hub for listening if they are using premium streaming services Tidal, Deezer, or Qoboz. This app also serves as the hub for all your B&W-connected devices, so our Px7 S2s also show up. As cool as this is, we only used the app a little past the initial connection and setup.
The Px8s come with a USB-C to USB-C cable that can be used for charging and wired playback. There is also a USB-C to 3.5mm cable if you want to plug into the headphone jack, but we suggest avoiding using the 3.5mm line altogether as there is a noticeable drop in audio quality. The only real reason to go wired with the USB-C to USB-C is if your headphones are low on battery; otherwise, keep it wireless. Also, another note is that these headphones will not work passively, meaning they must have power on to function, which might annoy some longer-distance travelers, but the 30-hour battery life should be fine for most.
The ANC is solid and equally as good as the Px7 S2s, so you will have peace on most commutes unless you are sitting next to the engines or extremely loud individuals. We used them on a train commute, and when the music played, we could barely hear anything, making it easy to miss your stop!
Taking phone calls on the Px8s is very similar to the Px7 S2s; they work well, are good in a pinch for hoping on remote zoom calls, and can somewhat mitigate noisy backgrounds but finding somewhere quiet is always in your best interest when doing calls or teleconferencing. If you are a regular zoomer and work remotely, consider a cheaper pair of headphones with an external mic, but the Px8s are adequate for calls overall – although it’s the last thing we want to be doing with them!
So How Do They Sound?
The Px8s are tremendous performers regarding audio quality, and they are a pure delight for users that drift into audiophile territory.
We tested with Apple Music and Tidal HiFi streams with various genres to get a feel for the full range of their playback. The Px8s find clarity and details that are beyond other headphones, and this often can expose music that is not produced that well, so be mindful of what you play because these headphones will give you the truth.
We found them exceptional when listening to percussive music like House, Techno, Jazz, and Hip Hop. The bass is tight and punchy without ever being distorted. The highs and mids all work together to bring you a satisfying balance of sound with a nice soundstage, especially noticeable when listening to Jazz.
For music such as indie rock, the 80s, and genres with more vocals, we were also blown away by the clarity and nuances they picked up when listening to bands like Echo and The Bunnymen, New Order, and noisier bands like The Clash.
Bringing out the details in noisy, aggressive music is a huge plus. Still, where you can hear the incredible details in the more quiet genres like ambient, neo-classical, and traditional symphonic performances, it’s mind-blowing sometimes.
Summary, Specs, Pros, and Cons
The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 is an excellent step up from the Px7 S2 in materials and sound quality, and the 007 editions are a super cool homage to a legendary franchise. If you have sensitive ears and can genuinely hear the nuances that a headphone like the Px8 can deliver, pull the trigger immediately (pun intended). If you are not an audiophile or don’t typically hear the subtle differences, and just like really great clear sound, the Px7 S2s will be just fine for you.
If you take the plunge, it’s worth investing in a Hi-Res audio player like something from Astell&Kern or, at the very least, making sure to use subscription streaming services that provide the highest quality of streaming possible like Apple Music, Tidal, Quoboz, or Deezer.
PX8 TECH SPECS
- Bluetooth 5.2 with aptX Adaptiv
- Battery life 30 hours
- Drive unit 40mm carbon cone
- Charging USB-C
- Noise-canceling Yes
- Weight 320g
- Beautiful design and premium materials
- Incredibly balanced sound that brings out all the details
- Tactile buttons
- Excellent case design with cable storage
- Battery life is good but better in headphones that are half the price, like Momentum 4, which features 60 hours
- No full EQ available in the app
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