True Wireless Earphones – Bowers & Wilkins vs Bang & Olufsen

At Astral, we represent the world’s finest brands in Audio Video. This often puts us in the uncomfortable position of having to suggest or choose between competing brands.

Distinct brands have their unique brand identity, and this is reflected in their respective products.

As a first in a series of articles we will be to comparing the True Wireless Earphones from Bowers & Wilkins and Bang & Olufsen, two Titans in the Audio World.

On one hand, Bowers & Wilkins is known as a speaker company that consistently offers great sounding audio products with a sound signature that is familiar amongst all audiophiles. On the other hand, Bang & Olufsen is an up-market brand renowned for its incredible design, meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship.


Bowers & Wilkins

The first True Wireless Earphones launched by Bowers & Wilkins are the PI5 and its bigger brother the PI7 . These earphones will be compared to Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay EQ and Beoplay EX .

The feel of either of these 4 sets of earphones is incredibly detailed and luxurious. The extended battery life and ease of use are now standard requirements which one would surely expect to find from such premium brands.

The Bowers & Wilkins PI5 will impress anyone with incredible sound quality from a pair of 9.2mm dynamic drivers, Qulacomm’s TWS+ Technology for a stable and reliable connection between the left and right earbuds. AptX Audio Support ensures a great connection between the source and headphones. Advanced Active Noise Cancellation filters out sound interruptions from your surroundings. It is not adaptive; however, you can adjust the level of cancellation you need according to your environment.

The Bowers & Wilkins PI7 really stand tall as the big brothers to the PI5 , featuring two amplifiers and two drivers in each earbud ( a 9.2mm driver for the bass & mid frequencies and a separate Balanced Armature driver for the higher frequencies). Unrivalled high-resolution audio driven by a 24-bit connection with Qualcomm aptX Adaptive. These beauties feature an advanced noise cancellation that automatically adapts to your surroundings. No less than 3 microphones per earbud assure uninterrupted sound and call performance. (Qualcomm’s Adaptive ANC and cVc2).

An added feature included with the B&W PI7 is the Smart Case re-transmission. The supplied USB-C to 3.5mm jack allows you to connect the case to an audio source (such as in-flight audio) and this is transmitted to your earbuds.

Both the PI5 and PI7 include wear sensors. One extremely convenient advantage would be to avoid wasting the batteries unnecessarily. Once you remove the earbuds from your ears, the earbuds go in sleep mode automatically to resume connection to the last Bluetooth device when wearing them again!

Bang & Olufsen

Now let’s delve into the Bang & Olufsen True Wireless Headphones. These are not their first true wireless earphones. B&O had previously launched the Beoplay E8 , ranging from E8, E8 v2, E8 v3 and E8 Sports. Now they launched the newly designed Beoplay EQ and Beoplay EX .

The first impression when seeing the Beoplay EQ is the impressively small size of the actual earbuds! They are tiny especially compared to B&W’s PI5 and PI7 . This is mostly due to a smaller driver (6.8mm vs 9.2mm) This difference in driver size, according to the specifications result in bolder low frequencies from the PI5 than the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EQ . The PI5 boasts 10Hz lower in the frequency response. However, like all audio products, one has to listen to the end product. The PI5 sound amazing, granted, but listening to the miniscule Beoplay EQ surprised me with layered depth and great solidity, normally expected from larger enclosures.

The charging case of the Beoplay EQ is simple, elegant and extremely well refined. Crafted in anodised aluminium with a rubber base for QI Charging. The Beoplay EQ boasts 6 microphones as opposed to 4 on the Bowers &Wilkins PI5.

The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX are the only IP57 earbuds in this article. All other earbuds are IP54. The difference is that while you can splash water accidentally on all of the above earphones, the IP57 can withstand being immersed in water up to 1mtr deep! Not enough to go swimming perhaps, however, a life saver in case of accidents! The 9.2mm Electro-Dynamic driver delivers a punchy yet detailed sound; true to the B&O signature sound. The 6 MEMS microphones assure great phone call clarity.

In Conclusion … As expected from Bowers & Wilkins and Bang & Olufsen , all four true wireless earbuds are outstanding in terms of design, sound quality and features. The one to pick from the four, deeply relies on your preference in terms of design and sound timbre.