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Noise Cancelling Headphone Comparison: Bose 700 UC VS Bowers & Wilkins PX7

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Bowers& Wilkins PX7 & Bose 700 UC

Bowers& Wilkins PX7 & Bose 700 UC

Summary

  • Product Name: 700 UC, PX7 Headphones
  • Manufacturer: Bose, Bowers & Wilkins
  • Review Date: February 07, 2021 00:00
  • MSRP: $379 - 700 UC, $399 - PX7 Headphones
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • *For your convenience, we've included a link to Amazon.com to buy this product. As an Amazon Associate, Audioholics.com benefits from qualifying purchases.

Executive Overview

If you do a lot of traveling on airplanes (scary thought in post COVID-19 world) or want to listen to music in noisy environments, noise-cancelling headphones are the answer. These headphones offer an effective way of tuning out the background noise so you can listen in isolation at safe volume levels while still enjoying very good fidelity. A quick Google search will send their heads spinning; most likely towards a pair of Bose or Sony since they are recognizable brand names even to the faint of ear.  Today we’ll be looking at the very latest designs in noise-cancelling over-ear headphones from Bose 700UC and the lesser known brand in this space, Bowers and Wilkins PX7s. This comparison review will help you decide which noise-cancelling headphones are right for your needs.

Bose 700 UC vs Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Noise Cancelling Headphone YouTube Comparison

Battery Life: Advantage Bowers & Wilkins

At first glance, both headphones are comparable in price, weight, and features, but the B&W PX7 features over 30 hours of battery life, compared to the Bose 700 UC at 20 hours. They both can be found on Amazon for less money than the MSRP which is posted here, so the $11 price difference is negligible with the PX7 often on sale for $349 and the Bose 700 for $339. Stepping up to the Bose 700 UC model adds $100 to the price and a pre-paired Bose USB Link Bluetooth dongle to support compatibility with business communications and collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, & Google Meet. The USB Link allows users to stay reliably connected to their computer and to easily toggle between computer and mobile phone. If you're using these headphones in a business environment where you need to quick connect to multiple platforms for conferencing, then the UC model may be worth the extra $100. However, if you're just using the headphones for normal listening and cellphone calling, save the money and get the regular 700 model. We tried valiantly to get the USB dongle to pair with the Bose headphones but were unsuccessful in our efforts. As a result, we have reservations about paying extra for this feature especially since it's relatively easy enough to pair these headphones with a bluetooth compatible laptop or desktop computer.

Comfort: Advantage Bose

Both headphones did a great job of fitting our ears and isolating the outside world from our auditory senses. Initial impressions with both headphones turned off,we noted the B&W's provided a slight advantage in sound isolation.The B&W listen-through mode seems to be more transparent than the Bose, allowing the user to hear outside noises better. This is extremely useful when you are traveling on an airplane and you are using the noise cancellation at the highest level to drown out the background noise, yet you don’t want to miss your opportunity for a free soda. The Bose does have the ability to momentarily stop the music and disable the noise cancelling simply by holding down on the button of the left earcup.

From a comfort standpoint, we felt the Bose had a threefold advantage of less weight on the head (1.3 oz lighter), slightly less clamping force, and softer padding. This resulted in a more comfortable fit with the Bose over the B&Ws when used for extended periods of time. However, the B&W's held on to our heads tighter which may be useful for those using these headphones while jogging or working out at the gym.

Bose microphonesNoise-Cancelling: Advantage Bose

Bose headphones have long been known for their comfort, noise cancelling ability, and microphone technology which allows for crystal clear phone calls and I would give the edge to Bose in all these areas for this comparison. The B&W PX7 uses 4 microphones for noise cancelling and 2 for voice while the Bose 700 UC uses 6 microphones for noise-cancelling and combines 2 of the noise cancelling microphones with 2 separate microphones dedicated for voice to ensure better vocal clarity when using the headset for making calls. It does this by first isolating your speech and then by suppressing the most disruptive remaining sounds around you. We tested the call feature of both headphones and while both were good, our callers found the Bose to have slightly better vocal clarity with less background noise.

The difference in noise-cancelling may not be a deal killer for most, but people who are fussy about choosing just the right level of noise cancellation will like the 10 levels of the Bose over the 3 levels of noise cancellation from B&W. We tested the noise-cancelling feature of both headphones and the Bose was definitely better in this regard than the Bowers and Wilkins but that's not to say the latter was bad. It's just that the Bose noise-cancelling is that good thanks to their adaptive eight-microphone system.

We have had some trouble with the new Bluetooth 5.0 pairing ability when switching from one device to another, but in this case, many reviewers are amazed at the connection ability of the Bose 700 UC. Audioholics President Gene DellaSala says, “The Bose pair instantly upon being turned on. It's almost freaky how fast that happens.” However, he had trouble with pairing the Bose USB dongle and was unable to test that feature while comparing these two headphones.

Many customers also emphasize the problematic touch controls on the Bose headphones over the ergonomically designed B&W PX7. The PX7 have traditional controls for volume and forward/reverse buttons on the right earcup. We actually preferred the Bose capacitive touch sensors on the right earcup for these functions and they worked fine in our testing.

Sound  Quality: Advantage Bowers & Wilkins, Sorta

The Bose offers bass, mid and treble controls via their app but the B&W does NOT. Regardless of how we adjusted the tone controls of the Bose 700 UC, we felt the B&W PX7 beat them out in sound quality. The PX7s were just more fun and more engaging to listen to. The Bose seemed to be more tonally neutral but weren't always able to supply satisfying bass response with some program material like the B&Ws did. Listening to Steely Dan Aja streaming from Tidal was just a more satisfying experience on the PX7s than the 700s but they both provided an enjoyable listening experience. If you listen to mostly orchestral music, you may prefer the more neutral sound of the Bose headphones.

The Bowers & Wilkins have a much fuller sound, more bass, just richer. Subjectively I like the sound of the B&W better but the comfort and noise cancelling of the Bose are better than the B&W.

-- Gene DellaSala, President - Audioholics

Conclusion

The difference between the Bose 700 UC and the Bower and Wilkins PX7 comes down to features and user preferences.  If you are looking for extra comfort and the ability to make clearer phone calls, than the Bose is the headphone for you.  If you are interested in musical bliss while muting the world around you for over 30 hours, than go with the B&W PX7. Either way you can't lose. The Bose 700s and Bowers & Wilkins PX7s are both excellent noise-cancelling headphones in their own right. Last point to consider, the B&W PX7s are sometimes on sale for under $300 making them an incredible value since it's rare to find Bose below their list price.


Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Bose 700 UC
Enclosure Closed back Closed back
Noise Cancelling Yes Yes
Mic Yes, 6
Yes, 8
Wireless Yes Yes
USB Audio Yes No
Bluetooth version 5.0 5.0
Battery life 30 hrs 20.7 hrs
Weight 10.6 oz 9.3 oz
Price $399 $379 (Black)
 
Tell us in the comment section below what your favorite noise-cancelling headphones are. Did you go Bose, Bowers & Wilkins or the Sonys?  We wanna know.
 
About the author:

Tony is our resident expert for lifestyle and wireless products including soundbars. He does most of the reviews for wireless and streaming loudspeakers and often compares soundbars in round ups and helps us cover the trade shows.

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Recent Forum Posts:

MacCali posts on February 08, 2021 21:18
I really enjoy my M&D MW65 ANC, seems like no one is talking about them. Normally they run for 500 but I got them for just over 400 with tax Black Friday.

Something to really consider. They claim to be “Be” drivers, I think possibly they are coated. But they are really smooth, and perform fairly well frequency wise. And I come from a wired headphone background.

Ive tried the Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC, Sennhieser 458 and Momentum, and the Sony MX4. The only thing close in sound quality was the Beyerdynamic. I’m almost certain they wipe the floor with airpods max.

I did consider the B&W, but the MW65 sealed the deal for me.
gene posts on February 07, 2021 01:44
Looking for a new pair of noise-cancelling headphones? The choice can be daunting, but if you're budget is in the $300-$400 range we've taken the well known Bose 700 UC and directly compared it to the Bowers & Wilkins PX7. We found that both headphones have associated strengths and weaknesses in terms of sound quality, usability and effectiveness of noise-cancellation.

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Read on to discover which headphone may be right for your needs.

Bose 700UC vs Bowers & Wilkins PX7
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