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Make no mistake, wires are still essential for traditional headphones when audiophile-quality performance is demanded, but for on-the-go listening, premium earbuds offer convenience, simplicity and comfort. Yet anyone looking for a pair of the latter faces a bewildering array of choices. That challenge just got easier with two brand-new designs announced today from Bowers & Wilkins, whose Pi7 S2 and Pi5 S2 represent the second generation of the brand’s acclaimed True Wireless models.
True Wireless means just that—no wires connect the devices to an audio source, or to one another, as do many others that require a wire linking left and right channels. Thus untethered, one can go about one’s business free of, well, entanglements. The Bowers & Wilkins Pi S2 series are true miniature marvels, enclosing transducers, microphones, control functions and a battery in the body of each minute earbud. The Pi7 S2—the flagship model—boasts four 9.2 mm drive units, coupled to a high-frequency “balanced armature” driver. And each drive unit is driven by its own amplifier. The Pi5 S2 uses a solitary 9.2 mm drive unit in each earbud.
The original Pi7 and Pi5 were designed to deliver hi-resolution performance across the frequency spectrum, and both S2 models add enhanced connectivity and battery life to these already accomplished headphones. Inside the body of each device, a re-engineered antenna increases Bluetooth range up to about 82 feet to ensure an even more stable connection.
As battery life has been extended to five hours before needing a recharge, listening sessions can last the duration of a coast-to-coast stateside flight. And a quick-charge function allows these little cans to add two hours with just 15 minutes of charging.
Both models integrate the Bowers & Wilkins Music App, which supports high-resolution streaming via services such as Qobuz, TIDAL and Deezer directly from the user’s mobile device. These earbuds can also connect to an external source like an in-flight entertainment system, making them ideal for frequent flyers. A one-button interface on the earbud controls everything, and is coupled to voice-assistant support with Google Assistant or Siri.
The casework and fine finishes make each earbud a small fashion statement, to the extent that anyone can see them. The Pi7 S2 ($399 per pair) is offered in Satin Black, Canvas White and Midnight Blue, while the Pi5 S2 ($299 per pair) comes in Cloud Grey, Storm Grey, Spring Lilac and Sage Green.
Click here for more photos of the new Bowers & Wilkins in-ear wireless headphones.