Bowers & Wilkins P5 (Series 2): For elegant sound
Stunning headphones undermined by a single caveat
- Fantastic audio
- Good looks
- Sleek in-line Apple controls
- Not suited for long listening sessions
- Doesn't come with a spare cable
- More expensive than most rivals
Price$ 449.93 (AUD)
Bowers & Wilkins has taken the technology from its large P7 headphones and implanted them into its second generation P5. The headphones are designed for use with smartphones when out and about, and even though they’re a petite pair of headphones, they’re sure to please the most demanding of audiophiles.
Every angle is flattering to the B&W P5. Supple leather dresses the band and the on-ear cups. Sculpted metallic arms cris-cross in what serves as both a dazzling design trait and an ingenious resizing mechanic. Enlarging the headphones is only a matter of sliding the arms up further into the headband, or down towards your ear.
Then there’s the swivel joint, two metallic cylinders stacked on top of one another, elegantly turning the cups inwards without deforming the P5’s sense of symmetry. When its time to take the headphones off, they slide as is into the Bowers & Wilkins carry bag.
ComfortRead more: Marshall Major headphone review
Making a beautiful set of headphones isn’t enough. The hard part is making a great pair of headphones without the drawbacks. And we’re displeased to report the second-gen headphones are not without shortcomings.
On ear cups tend to press tight against ear lobes in an effort to keep noise out and seal music in. The P5’s genuine leather cups shield noises admirably, with credit owed to the taut headband which reigns in the cups.
Bowers & Wilkins has lavished the brace in cushiony leather in a bid to make these headphones comfortable. And they are comfortable, as if your ears are being gingerly cupped, until the minutes turn to hours.
After a hearty two hour listening session, you’ll find your ears hard pressed. The cupping morphs into a grind, while the supporting headband weighs heavy. Most people won’t be able to tolerate the P5 over long listening sessions, as they would Bose’s QuietComfort 25 or Sennheiser’s Momentum.Read more: Sennheiser HD8: A DJ's review
On ear headphones are notorious for generating heat. The design, coupled with the rich leather of the P5, are cause enough for these headphones to sweat.
The top-end P7s from Bowers & Wilkins are large, leather clad headphones; however, they’re destined for expensive amplifiers and comfortable lounge chairs. The P5 have to be more comfortable because people won’t be lounging around; they’ll be getting stuff done on the go.Read more: Marshall Monitor headphone review
Keeping the sessions under two hours will reap rewards for the second-gen P5 intoxicates when it comes to the playback of music. Bon Iver’s Holocene is a tapestry of musical layers, each one handled with precision and tact, from the overt guitar to the subtle nuances lurching in the background.
Armin Van Buuren’s In and out of love is a concoction of punchy bass, electro notes and harrowing vocals. The P5 plays this tune with clarity, volume and transparency. No frequency dominates the soundstage; rather, the P5 strike a balance with all.
Amp the volume to max, hit play on Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and bodied bass — the kind that too often eludes earphones — will massage your eardrums.
No matter if you’re listening to music, watching a movie or just holding a phone call, the Bowers & Wilkins P5 are suited to all occassions. The only drawback is reserved for people interested in long listening sessions as these headphones begin to irritate after use for two straight hours.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- Apple's AirPods could deliver audio with multiple wireless protocols
- First look: Nuheara IQbuds smart Bluetooth ear buds do more than just music
- Convoy International restructures business focus
- Beats Solo2 headphones go wireless for $399
- Astro A38 review: A staggering price to pay for convenience
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSystems Support EngineerQLD
- FTSecurity ConsultantQLD
- CCSAP CRM Functional AnalystSA
- CCSenior Business AnalystSA
- FTService Desk AnalystNSW
- CC1st / 2nd Level Help Desk SupportNSW
- FTSales Lead - Healthcare systemsVIC
- FTSenior Wintel EngineerNSW
- CCAMI ArchitectWA
- FTProject Manager - Data MigrationNSW
- FTTest Analyst - HCMSNSW
- FTSecurity ConsultantVIC
- FTFront End Web DeveloperACT
- FTVDI EngineerACT
- TPProgram Manager - 12 month contractQLD
- FTRegional Market Manager - Wide Bay RegionQLD
- TPIteration Lead - .NetQLD
- FTSenior MS Dynamics CRM DeveloperVIC
- FTNetwork EngineerSA
- FTPERMANENT Business AnalystsACT
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Sales Operations AnalystNSW
- CCNetwork EngineerQLD
- FTHelp Desk/ Desktop SupportSA