The P5 Wireless is an incredibly classy pair of Bluetooth headphones with the signature Bowers & Wilkins sound
Headphones subtype: On-ear wireless, Plug type: 3.5mm headset jack plug, Weight: 213g, Cable length: 1.2m
You would be forgiven for thinking Bowers and Wilkins has been rather slow to adopt Bluetooth wireless audio. The T7 Bluetooth speaker was the company’s first foray into the standard, having launched in January this year, but the result was both fantastic-looking and excellent sounding. That’s also largely how I feel about the P5 Wireless headphones.
On the surface, the P5 Wireless doesn’t look drastically different to Bowers & Wilkins’ P5 series 2 sans a cable, which in itself is no bad thing. You get the same supple sheep leather earpads that made the P5 supremely comfortable, as well as a padded leather headband. Silver accents on the earcup backing with brushed metal Bowers & Wilkins logos look the part too. Combined, the P5 Wireless is a seriously classy-looking pair of headphones.
The earcups slide up and down aluminium rails, so it was easy to find a height adjustment that felt comfortable. I also found the headband didn’t exert a lot of pressure on top of my head, nor did the earpads crush my ears even after longer listening periods. The earpads have what Bowers & Wilkins describe as “an optimised grille pattern”, which allow the air to move more efficiently for superior sound.
The earpads are secured with magnets and can easily be popped off, which you’ll need to do if you want to connect the included 3.5mm wired cable. This lets you carry on listening even when the built-in battery has run out of juice, or connect the headphones to wired devices that lack Bluetooth.
The only minor design flaw I had was with the remote control buttons built into the side of the right earpad. They feel a little tacky, which is in stark contrast to the rest of the headphones. They also sit rather flush, with very little feedback, so it’s not always easy to tell if your presses are being registered.
The pair of integrated microphones let you use the P5 Wireless for handsfree calling when paired with your smartphone. Microphone quality was great, with my voice picked up clearly on calls. You’re able to answer and reject calls using the remote buttons, as well as activate voice commands such as Google Now or Siri.
The P5 Wireless supports Bluetooth 4.1, with the less-lossy aptX codec, so you’re not sacrificing sound quality to cut the cord. Battery life while used over Bluetooth is a fantastic 17 hours as well, meaning I only needed to charge it sporadically. Charging is handled over Micro USB, so chances are you might be able to use your smartphone or tablet’s power adapter – saving you needlessly carrying extra chargers while you’re travelling.
A luxurious padded travel case is included, too, which is handy for stowing the headphones and any cables. It’s a seriously fancy travel case that matches the headphones for classiness.
The P5’s signature sound has been retained along with the overall design, as the Wireless has the same 40mm drivers that produce a delightfully crisp sound. There’s just enough warmth from the lower frequencies, which are still well controlled and avoid dominating the mix. The sound never became muddy or lacking in depth, whether I was listening to jazz, electronic or rock tracks.
The P5 Wireless builds upon what made the P5 great and adds the convenience of not being tethered by a cable, which is something you really appreciate once it’s gone. They’re supremely well-built with a fantastic design and luxurious feel. You’ll just need deep pockets to afford them as, at £330 and £80 more than the P5, they are undoubtedly pricy.
|3.5mm headset jack plug
|3.5mm cable, soft carry pouch
|One year RTB