AirPods Pro 2 vs. Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2: Which should you buy?

Apple finally introduced the AirPods Pro 2 earbuds in the fall of 2022. Nearly identical to its predecessor, the newer product is packed with many new features. The all-new Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 earbuds are also very similar to the model that came before it. In this case, however, fewer changes were made from generation to generation. So how do the earbuds compare? It's time to find out. 

AirPods Pro 2 vs Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2: The specs

Airpods Pro Rock And Roll In Hand

(Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

You can't go wrong with either of these true wireless earbuds. Both are high-quality and packed with top features that will keep your music playing for many years. Your choice will largely be determined by which devices you plan to use with them. 

The Apple AirPods Pro 2, not surprisingly, when paired with an iPhone or iPad, offers more features than the Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2. By contrast, if you own an Android-based device, your better choice will be the flagship earbuds by Bowers & Wilkins. The choice is a little more complicated if you plan on using your earbuds with Android and Apple devices. 

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Header Cell - Column 0 Pi7 S2AirPods Pro 2
ColorsSatin Black, Canvas White, Midnight BlueWhite
Battery lifeUp to 5 hours of listening timeUp to 6 hours of listening time
Battery life (case)up to 16 hours of listening timeUp to 30 hours of listening time
Fast charge15 minutes in the case provides 2 hours of listening time5 minutes in the case provides around 1 hour of listening time
ChipQualcomm QCC5126 chipsetApple H2 headphone chip
Bluetooth versionBluetooth 5.0 with aptX AdaptiveBluetooth 5.3
Active Noise Cancelation (ANC)YesYes
Transparency modeYesYes
Voice SupportYesSiri
Charging portUSB-CUSB-C
ProtectionIPX4 IPX4
Tracking functionalityNoYes (Find My)
Weight (earphones)7 grams each5.3 grams each
Weight (charging case)47 grams50.8 grams

As you can see, the AirPods Pro 2 and Pi7 S2 offer similar features. Both, for example, include active noise cancelation and a transparency mode, voice control, splashproof and dust-resistance, and more. Furthermore, both come with a charging case that can be used wirelessly or connected via USB-C. In addition, Apple's product supports MagSafe. 

Beyond this, there are clear differences. Fully charged, the AirPods Pro 2 holds six hours of playtime, with the charging case holding an extra 30 hours. Five minutes add an hour of listening time thanks to fast charging. Other features include personalized Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking, automatic switching between Apple devices, an Adaptive EQ, and impressive touch controls. Regarding Bluetooth codecs, the AirPods Pro 2 only supports AAC and SBC. 

Turning to the Pi7 S2, these earbuds are available in three colors: Satin Black, Canvas White, and Midnight Blue. The included charging case holds up to 16 hours between charges, with five hours available on the earbuds. A 15-minute charge to the case provides two hours of extra listening time. These buds support many Bluetooth codecs, including aptX Adaptive, aptX HD, aptX Classic, AAC, and SBC. However, only AAC and SBC work on Apple devices. 

AirPods Pro 2 vs Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2: All about the device you're using

AirPods Pro 2 with lanyard

(Image credit: Apple)

And that's where the biggest rub is when comparing the AirPods Pro 2 and Pi7 S2: many features don't work, depending on which device you plan on using the earbuds with. 

Most dramatically, you can only listen to AirPods on a non-Apple device via Bluetooth. This means no "Hey Siri," no easy pairing process, limited touch capabilities, zero ear detection, and only AAC/SBC. Meanwhile, a Pi7 S2 paired with an iPhone or another Apple device limits the Bluetooth codecs that can be used. 

Thanks to the Bowers & Wilkins app, however, most of the earbuds' features work across various devices, including adjusting noise canceling, transparency, and streaming quality settings.

AirPods Pro 2 vs Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2: What about the sound?

Bowers & Wilkins Pi17 S2

(Image credit: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore)

We've tested both sets of earbuds, and they both sound fantastic. We said of the AirPods Pro 2, "Redesigned amplifiers and drivers in the AirPods Pro 2 deliver the best-sounding in-ears Apple has ever produced." 

For the Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2, we noted, "from a full-ranged bass to a highly detailed treble to comfortable mids, these earbuds can keep pace with similar products on the market, including ones from Apple, Bose, Bang, and Olufsen BeoPlay, and more."

AirPods Pro 2 vs Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2: The choice is? 

No surprise, if you only plan on using earbuds with iPhone, iPad, Apple HomePod, and Mac, the better choice is the AirPods Pro 2. Better still, they are the cheaper solution. If you aren't using an Apple device, you're probably not reading this; select the Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 or look at another of our best true wireless earbuds

Finally, if you plan on going between iPhone, Mac, Windows, Android, or some combination like that, your best bet might be to go with the Pi7 S2. It's a more flexible product in terms of compatibility. However, it will cost you much more, so you might want to wait until there's an early sale. 

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.