Bowers & Wilkins has been stepping up its headphone game over the past few years. The company is known for its high-end audio products — and its recent headphones are no exception to that rule. We recently reviewed the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 over-ear headphones, finding that they had a lot to offer. Now, it’s time to take a look at the in-ear style Bowers & Wikins PI3 headphones.
At $200, the headphones aren’t necessarily cheap — but are they worth the cash? We put the headphones to the test to find out.
The first thing to notice about the Bowers & Wilkins PI3 headphones is their design, and they’re pretty good-looking headphones. They offer a neckband-style design, and are available in a few different colors — including blue, silver, space gray, and more. We’re reviewing a gray model and they look quite good.
On the left side of the neckband, you’ll get a power button, while the right arm is where you’ll get playback controls and a USB-C charging port. We’re glad Bowers & Wilkins went for USB-C here.
The build-quality of the headphones is relatively good too. They’re built largely from silicon, and never felt like they were going to break during use. Other nice touches are here too — the earbuds can attach to each other magnetically, which is handy for when they’re not in use.
In the box, you’ll get a solid selection of accessories. There’s a USB-C charging cable, a carry pouch, and a selection of a total of three pairs of ear tips and three pairs of fit wings.
Any in-ear headphones can have some trouble with comfort, but these headphones aren’t bad at all in that respect. The neckband itself is lightweight and fits well, while the earbuds feel fine in the ears, despite being slightly large. The wing tips help keep the headphones in the ears too — which is a nice touch.
The headphones sound pretty good too. There’s plenty of bass to go around, decently-tuned midrange, and a good amount of clarity and detail in the high end.
Let’s start with the bass, which is heavy and thick, ensuring that kick drums can easily cut through a mix and bass guitars sound nice and smooth. The bass response is quite good despite the fact that these are in-ear headphones — which likely has to do with dual-driver setup.
The midrange is well-tuned too. There seems to be a slight scoop in mid response, but low mids are still warm and high mids are still there enough to give vocals and guitars enough presence.
Perhaps the best thing about these headphones is the amount of clarity in the high end. That, again, is likely thanks to the dual-driver system, but it means that music sounds crisp and detailed.
The Bowers & Wilkins PI3 headphones connect to your listening device through Bluetooth 5.0, and we found that the headphones retained a good connection throughout our testing.
When it comes to battery life, you’ll get up to 8 hours of playback on a charge. That’s not a ton — and we wish the headphones had a longer battery life. Even some true wireless headphones have a longer battery life than these.
Generally speaking, the Bowers & Wilkins PI3 headphones have a lot to offer. The headphones look good, sound good, and offer a range of features. We do wish the battery life was a little longer, but it’s not a deal-breaker — and the pros still definitely outweigh the cons.
Because of its excellent features and sound quality, we’re awarding the Bowers & Wilkins PI3 headphones the Headphone Review Silver Medal.
|Bowers & Wilkins||$199.99|
|Frequency response||10Hz – 30kHz||Active noise cancellation||No|
|9.2mm||DRIVER SIZE||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Driver type||Balanced Armature||On-ear controls||Yes|
|Rated impedance||Unknown||Magnet material||Unknown|
|Total harmonic distortion||<0.3%||Water resistance||Unknown|
|Rated input power||Unknown||Battery life||8 Hours|
|Maximum input power||Unknown||Wireless distance||10m (33ft)|
|Wireless connection||Bluetooth 5.0||Cable length||N/A|
|Wired connection||No||Case type||Carry bag|
|Weight||31g||Colors||Space Gray, Blue, Gold|