We were waiting to see which company would marry high-quality audio to Bluetooth capability. Most of you might laugh at that idea, but Bowers & Wilkins does not find it so funny. Today their brand new PI5 True Wireless IEMs hit my desk, and I’m here to tell you about them.
- 9.2mm Dynamic Drive
- 10Hz to 20kHz –
- <0.3% (1kHz/10mW)
- Up to 4 hours Bluetooth
- 15 minute charge = 2 hrs Bluetooth
- 20cm USB-C to USB-C cable
- 8g for earbuds, 47g for charge case
Pretty average spec sheet. The battery life is nothing special, but the speed at which they charge is worth noting – fifteen minutes for two hours is speedy and convenient.
- True Wireless technology
- Bluetooth 5.0 with AptX technology
- Wireless and USB-C charging
- A2DP v1.3.1
- AVRCP v1.6.1
- HFP v1.7.1
- HSP v1.2
- BLE GATT (Generic Attribute Profile)
We are seeing nearly all headphones of this type feature ANC. How effective that ANC is will vary from headphone to headphone, but I trust Bowers & Wilkins with my ears. A lengthy list of compatible Bluetooth profiles allows one to experience a vast potential of music, regardless of what type they might be.
Looks and Feel
The charging case for the PI5’s comes in a sleek charcoal coating. The earpieces themselves offer top-tier durability with their metal casings that oddly enough, are super light. And seeing that I’ve had these in for the last hour with a little adjustment, I can attest to their comfort.
Finally, we are onto the sound. Let’s jump right in.
Pretty wide. Well balanced within each range, as well as across them. To say it was flat would not be entirely true, they just lack a sense of immersion. This changes drastically with the ANC. It pushed it wider, gave more depth, with an all-around fuller sound.
Very well-tailored and controlled. This is what I was referring to with flatness though – it lacks push. With the ANC on, the change is dramatic. They become stronger, gaining the push, but losing some definition and control.
Well balanced. Defines each facet of the music without interrupting them. Pretty neutral in the sense that it is definitely there, but not in a way too noticeable. They are amplified a little bit by the ANC, and it could get a little bit out there, luckily this didn’t compromise the music.
The shimmery highs offer clarity and accuracy with a smoothness that made these very enjoyable up here. There is a threshold that when reached, crosses over to a brighter characteristic, but that more greatly depends on what music you’re listening to and how loud it gets. When it reached that point it was still nice. The ANC adds a little more air for them to breathe, only adding to the fun.
To contradict what I said earlier, after A/Bing between the ANC on and off, I have arrived at the realization that the PI5’s come out of the box a bit flat. As I said, I was not immersed in the music – it didn’t pull me in. That all changed thanks to the ANC though. The sound was simply better, and it made for a more enjoyable experience. To be specific, that flatness was wiped away with a stronger bass response and added spatial depth. This pushed the music to greater heights.
I would be happy to recommend the Bowers & Wilkins PI5 to anyone looking for a nice-sounding, dependable True Wireless IEM. The sound as a whole is very good in the sense that it offers all the essentials – width, balance, clarity – and the ANC only makes it better. Though I admit to their flatness, the fact that it comes with a feature that does away with this flatness makes it almost pointless to point out. Touch and hold on the left earphone made it all better. This could also bait the argument, are they good headphones if you need ANC to make them pop? That’s up to you.
For a frame of reference, it’s good to refer to the Sennheiser Momentum TWS 2. Though they are honestly very similar in terms of sound – offering flatness with a set of features and customizations to mold to a sound you want – my personal preference would be the PI5s. They were just fuller (ANC on, of course) and I just had more fun with them. They suited my listening needs in a way I very much enjoyed.
Consider the brand new Bowers & Wilkins PI5 TWS in-ears approved!
Bowers & Wilkins PI5 In-Ear TWS Headphones are available on Audio46