Bowers & Wilkins took its time in entering the TWS earbuds space, but the company is persevering, nonetheless. Its latest earbuds are the PI5 and PI7, which expand the PI series from the PI3 and PI4 that Bowers & Wilkins already sells. Little separates the PI5 and PI7 save for the latter’s gold accents and, of course, the huge disparity in price. While the PI5 costs £199/€249/US$249, the PI7 comes in at £349/€399/US$399.
Understandably, the pair differ in the features they offer. The PI5 supports Qualcomm aptX and can output at 16-bit/48 kHz, which is respectable for a mid-range pair of earbuds. However, the PI7 supports Qualcomm aptX Adaptive, a replacement for aptX HD. Additionally, Bowers & Wilkins claims that the PI7 can maintain a 24-bit connection at 48 kHz.
Both earbuds support active noise cancellation and wireless charging through their bundled charging cases. The PI7 has a few tricks that the PI5 lacks, though. On the one hand, the PI7 has six microphones to the PI5’s four that should provide superior call quality and noise cancellation. On the other hand, the USB Type-C port on the PI7’s charging case supports input from a 3.5 mm jack for devices that do not support Bluetooth audio, such as the Nintendo Switch. Once you have connected the charging case to a device, ‘Audio Retransmission Plus’ will send the audio onto your earbuds.
Both earbuds have 9.2 mm drivers, although Bowers & Wilkins has complemented the drivers in the PI7 with high-frequency ‘balanced armature’ drivers. The PI5 and PI7 support Google Assistant and Siri, for reference.
The PI5 is currently available in charcoal, although a white model is on its way. By contrast, Bowers & Wilkins already sells the PI7 in both colours.