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Bowers & Wilkins PX review: B&W's first noise-canceling headphone rocks high-end looks, sweet sound

To maximize sound quality, you can turn off noise-canceling altogether in the app or push a button on the right ear cup to toggle it on or off (however, there's no voice prompt to let you know it's off, you just have to sense it). Another option is to adjust the level of pass-through sound so you can better hear people talking, and B&W promises that it will add further headphone features and improvements over time through software updates. 

The other feature worth highlighting is auto-pause/auto-resume. If you pull an ear cup off your ear, your music pauses and then resumes as soon as you put the ear cup back in place. I found it worked almost flawlessly. The headphones' wireless Bluetooth performance was generally very solid and the integrated microphone worked well as a headset for calls.

Same drivers as the high-end P9

The PX's drivers are the same angled drivers previously found in Bowers & Wilkins' $900 P9 headphone, and that angled design is supposed to create a "more convincing soundstage," according to the company.

Overall, I did think the PX sounded pretty open for a closed-back headphone. It had good clarity and was natural sounding in the midrange and overall. The bass goes deep but I wouldn't say it was super-punchy or ultra-defined. There's some warmth to the headphone, which means it lacks a little sizzle, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, depending on your own personal preference. The sound signature is fixed, with no EQ settings available in the app.

It's important to note that with all of these premium wireless noise-canceling headphones, the sound isn't going to match what you'd get from a good pair of wired headphones that cost the same price -- or less. That said, in terms of sound, these are right there with the competition. They probably sound closest to the Sony WH-1000XM2, which also has a little bit of warmth to its sound. And if you like the sound profile of Bowers & Wilkins previous wireless headphones, including the P5 Wireless and P7 Wireless, you're going to like this headphone.

The PX's only drawbacks are that the headphone is somewhat heavy -- some may choose to see that heft as a sign of its build quality -- and its noise canceling isn't quite on par with that of Bose, Sony and even Beats. While the PX isn't going to be a perfect fit for everyone, particularly those who can't handle its extra weight, it's still an excellent wireless headphone, especially for B&W fans who prefer a warmer sound.    

Close-up of the integrated remote and noise-canceling on/off button just next to it.

Sarah Tew/CNET

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