It’s holiday shopping time and you are probably wondering which headphones are the best to gift yourself, ahem, I mean your friends and family. Hopefully this review can narrow down a few options for that commuter in your life. “Bowers Wilkins PX vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review.”
Bowers Wilkins PX vs Sennheiser PXC 550, Battle of the Bluetooth ANC Headphones
Bowers Wilkins PX vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review – Build & Design
Both headphones are sturdy and good-looking with their own aesthetic. Bowers & Wilkins takes a modern and minimal approach to its outer hardware while Sennheiser is a black-on-black sleek shell. The PX looks very fancy with a plush leather headband and extenders featuring an exposed cable situated between two metal sliders. I’m not doing this justice at all. It makes for a truly captivating look. The swiveling and rotating ear cups are oval shaped. The attached cushions are of a sturdy, premium, and tough leather that’ll soften over time. It’s rather thin for my taste, but great for those whose ears overheat easily. Bowers & Wilkins PX is also touted as possessing a lightweight frame, but the metal accouterments would say otherwise. It is a bit heavy, at least for me. It also applies a clamping pressure that is too much for my liking, but I also have a small head and wear glasses on the norm. Maybe this issue can be resolved by stretching the headset over books for a few nights.
Sennheiser PXC 550 is lighter and softer. Both possess premium leather, but the PXC 550 is fashioned as feeling soft and “fluffier” than the aforementioned PX, if you will. It’s also lighter. I prefer this fit. It’s snug. The ergonomically-shaped ear cushions feel like pillows and the headband fits just right on my small head. Honestly, it’s so nice and cozy. However, this cozy fit may be too warm for some. To each her own.
Bowers Wilkins PX vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review – Features
Both ear cups are built to work wirelessly and engage in active noise cancelling. Yay! The PX will get you about 22 hours of use (Bluetooth & active noise-cancelling on) while the PXC 550 will get you about 30 hours. As for ANC, both headphones give users the ability to adjust their noise filter, which is awesome. They do so in different ways. Bowers & Wilkins PX is fixed with an ANC on and off button on the headphone. Through the Bowers & Wilkins mobile app users can choose which preset (office, city, flight) they’d like to use when they turn ANC on. Sennheiser PXC 550 is similar in nature, but allows you to choose the level of the preset through their CapTune app and use the ANC button on the side of the headphone to access on, off, and the your preset level. I think this is a much more seamless option for me. Sennheiser’s ANC at maximum level is also stronger than that of Bowers & Wilkins PX. The degree of ANC is pretty good though, especially with this being the company’s first ANC headphone.
On that note, BW outdid themselves with the additional features. As a newcomer, they also opted to include a sensor which picks up on when the headphone is removed and placed back on the head. However, this sensor was too sensitive for me and as a result kept turning my music on and off. The sensitivity can be adjusted in the BW app, with two options, but even then, it was too sensitive for me so I turned it off. Crisis averted. It’s a cool feature, but one that won’t work for me. Sennheiser PXC 550 runs a similar feature. Their headphone automatically turned on once the ear cups have been rotated to the “on” position which is when you’re going to place them on your head. Off is when the headphones are laying flat.
Sennheiser PXC 550 is also built touch sensors in the right ear cup for adjusting the music, switching tracks back and forth, and answering calls while the Bowers & Wilkins PX features a few different buttons. I like the touch sensors because they are easy to use. BW PX’s buttons aren’t terrible, but the positioning of BW’s buttons didn’t work for me. Every time I tried to adjust the ear cups I found myself accidentally turning off the Bluetooth. This might not be an issue for some, but it was for me.
Bowers Wilkins PX vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review – Sound
I’d say the sound between these two cans are very different, but beautiful. Bowers & Wilkins PX provides a neutral, accurate, open, and lush yet light tone while the Sennheiser PXC 550 offers a warm, rich, full, and detailed sound. The PX headphone seamlessly transitions between lows, mids, and highs, while maintaining this light and flowy sort of tone. Bass and sub-bass is present, but shallow in this regard. However, this might just be an audible difference for bass heads. In comparison, the PXC 550 sounds more robust. The 550 is like steak with a side of asparagus and the PX is like a yummy salad full of vegetables, onions, tomatoes, quinoa and a few slices of grilled chicken – just as filling, and delicious, but a much lighter meal.
Bowers Wilkins PX vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review – Specs
Bowers & Wilkins PX
Run Time: 22 Hours
Frequency Response Range: 10Hz-20kHz
Impedance: 22 ohms
Drivers: 40 mm
Sennheiser PXC 550
Run Time: 30 Hours
Frequency Response Range: 17Hz-23kHz
Impedance: 46 ohms
Bowers Wilkins PX vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review – Overall Performance
Both headphones do a great job of getting the basic function of a wireless active noise-cancelling headphone done. They connect, support a pretty decent battery life (22 hrs vs 30 hrs), and put a muzzle over your surrounding environment. Both headphones allow users to choose from varying degrees of noise cancelling, which I like. The PXC 550’s ANC levels are accessible on the headphone while Bowers & Wilkins PX’s modes are accessible through the mobile app on your phone. Both headphones apply a good degree of ANC set at maximum volume, but the PXC 550.
Bowers & Wilkins PX is available at a competitive price from authorized retailers on Amazon.