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(Pocket-lint) - Bowers & Wilkins entered the active noise cancelling headphones market with a bang, getting five-star reviews and awards for its PX over-ears in 2017.

Now it has a whole family of successors to chose from, with the over-ear PX7 cans, neckband alternative PI4 and this pair of on-ears, the Bowers & Wilkins PX5.

In design terms, the PX5 is the closest in look to the previous model, albeit in a slightly smaller, on-ear form factor rather than over. The brushed aluminium plates on each ear are similar, as are the materials used - at least, on initial inspection.

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There are a couple of major differences though. The arms are no longer made of metal, with carbon fibre used instead to create a lighter, more comfortable pair of headphones. And, the material used contains a water resistant technology infused into the fabric itself. You could wear them generally therefore, rather than just on a plane, for example.

Indeed, that's a good indication why the line has been expanded to include on-ears. Their lightness, durability and comfort mean that these are designed for a general commute, rather than long haul travel. They therefore complement the PX7 over-ears well which, in our minds at least, are better suited for planes and other uses where more immersive sound is required over longer periods.

That's not to say the PX5 'phones are slouches when it comes to active noise cancellation though. From our brief listening test during the B&W launch event in London, we were impressed how much ambient noise is reduced, allowing for clean, unhampered audio to remain crisp and involving, even at low volumes.

Some external ambience creeps in of course, but not so it would spoil your enjoyment on a Tube, say.

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There is a 35mm driver in each ear, with the soundscape being wider and more front-facing that many rivals, thanks to the same sort of angled units found in the predecessor. There is also a boasted 25 hours of battery life with ANC switched on, plus fast charge capabilities. And, thanks to the use of aptX Adaptive technology and a partnership with Qualcomm, the PX5 should prove as capable wirelessly as when wired.


To recap

From our brief listening test so far, we can already tell that the active noise cancellation tech used in the PX5 headphones will be good for commutes. And, the audio signature is of typical high Bowers & Wilkins standards. We can't wait to test these further.

Writing by Rik Henderson.