Each new set of true wireless earbuds seems to refine the experience with better ANC, improved sound quality, or longer battery life. But Bowers & Wilkins is introducing an entirely new feature into its truly wireless PI7 earbuds. With the charging case as a wireless adapter, the earbuds can actually stream audio from almost any device, including older devices that don’t have a Bluetooth connection.
It’s an issue that plagues anyone who has flown with a pair of wireless noise-canceling active earbuds. Unlike larger wireless headphones that have a backup cord that allows them to physically connect to the headphone jack on an aircraft’s in-flight entertainment system, wireless earphones can only be connected to a device that supports Bluetooth. That means you’ll have to skip the movie in-flight to get content that you’ve hopefully downloaded onto your smartphone or tablet.
With the new PI7 Truly Wireless Earbuds from Bowers & Wilkins, you can enjoy an arguably more convenient way of suppressing the endless whine of an airplane’s engines while still having a seat-back entertainment system. The USB-C port on the bottom of the PI7’s wireless charging case also accepts a 3.5mm USB-C adapter cable. This means that it can be plugged into almost any existing device with a headphone jack and the sound will be streamed wirelessly to the earbuds.
It’s an incredibly useful and innovative feature that isn’t just useful for frequent flyers. This means that the wireless earbuds can be used with all devices, from handheld consoles like the Nintendo Switch to cars with headphone jacks for passengers to old MP3 players like the classic iPods. This functionality was already available through standalone Bluetooth transmitters that do essentially the same thing. However, the PI7 means that you need one less device to take a trip with you.
The new Bowers & Wilkins also have speaker units with “Dual Hybrid Drive” in each earbud for improved sound, adaptive active noise cancellation that uses six microphones on both buds, support for Siri or Google Assistant and adaptability via a smartphone app. The battery life is four hours of playback time plus 16 additional hours when the charging case is filled with the charging case, a total of 20 hours before you have to search for a power source again. The PI7 also offers fast charging: if you just put the earbuds in the charging case for 15 minutes, you can play for two hours, although it is not known how much the charging case’s streaming function takes on its own battery life.
The PI7 True Wireless Earbuds are available starting today for $ 400, which is $ 100 more than the excellent ones Master & Dynamic MW08sand $ 150 more expensive than Apple’s AirPods Pro. Today Bowers & Wilkins also released a cheaper pair of true wireless earbuds called the PI5 for $ 250. In combination with the charging case, they offer a slightly better battery life with up to 24 hours of playback noise suppression and you also sacrifice the very useful Bluetooth transmission function, which is by far the biggest selling point of the PI7s.