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!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart 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
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- 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
- FTIT Specialist - Application Blueprinting Engineer ( Developer)NSW
- CCSenior Software Engineer/ DeveloperSA
- FTService Desk Analyst / Security EngineerQLD
- TPAutomation Test EngineerQLD
- FTTest AnalystVIC
- CCJDE ERP Technical ConsultantVIC
- FTAGILE Implementation ManagerNSW
- CCAPI DeveloperQLD
- FTDatabase Administration Team LeaderQLD
- CCFinancial AnalystNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Automation TesterQLD
- TPXamarin DeveloperQLD
- TPProject Manager - SAPQLD
- FTFront End DeveloperVIC
- FTPrincipal Product Manager | Cloud | Managed ServicesNSW
- FTUI DeveloperVIC
- CCSenior Technology SpecialistACT
- FTSenior UX DesignerVIC
- TPInfrastructure Project ManagerVIC
- CCOnsite Level 2 Desktop SupportNSW
- FTFront End DeveloperVIC
- FTPractice AdvisorACT
- TPiOS DeveloperNSW
- CCProject Engineer (Microwave)SA