Meet the latest Apple AirPods rivals with a clever trick up their sleeve

4 mins read

Apple has some new AirPods-style rivals to contend with and these gadgets feature something the US firm can’t currently match. Premium audio firm Bowers and Wilkins has just announced the launch of its first wireless earbuds which come with a nifty trick up their sleeve. The all-new PI7 earbuds not only feature impressive sound and adaptive Active Noise Cancellation, which changes depending on where you are using them, but also a clever changing case that will end the nightmare of using AirPods-style buds in places such as planes.

That’s because the neat little smart case can connect to an external audio source – such as an in-flight entertainment system – by 3.5mm or USB cable and then wirelessly retransmit audio from that source to the earbuds. That’s definitely something the AirPods can’t yet match and could be a feature Apple might want to consider in the future.

Other extras coming to the PI7 include Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive wireless transmission which offers high-resolution music transmission from suitable streaming services, such as Qobuz.

There’s also a 4-hour battery life with things instantly boosted back to full once popped back in their charging case and they are fully compatible with the Alexa and Google voice assistants.

They sound pretty impressive but like all of Bowers and Wilkins products, they aren’t cheap.

READ MORE: Apple unveils a new iPhone 12 with a refreshed look and it’s out this month

When they arrive later this year you’ll need £349 in your bank account which is £100 more than the premium AirPods Pro.

If that sounds a bit rich then Bowers and Wilkins is also launching a slightly cheaper version called PI5 which will cost £199.

These earbuds also feature ANC – although it’s not adaptive like the PI7 – and there’s a 4.5-hour battery life plus great sound via a 9.2mm bespoke Dynamic drive unit. A water-resistant design and access to Google and Alexa also feature.

You don’t get the same clever charging case so forget tuning into a movie on a plane but you will have little extra cash in your pocket as they are clearly far cheaper.

Speaking about its new earbuds, Bowers and Wilkins said: “After an extensive period of development, Bowers & Wilkins is proud to launch two new products that bring the brand’s famous True Sound promise of absolute performance to the True Wireless In-Ear Headphone category.

“Both the new PI7and PI5 offer all the sound quality that music lovers have come to expect from a Bowers & Wilkins product, coupled to an extensive array of smart and convenience features, exceptional call quality and beautiful, premium design.”

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