Name: Bowers & Wilkins P5 Mobile Headphones
We've been excited about the new P5 Mobile Headphones from Bowers & Wilkins ever since they were announced. Bowers & Wilkins are a brand that we associate with high quality audio and beautiful design, we hoped that their headphones, part of their New Media line, would live up to the B&W reputation. After using our P5 Headphones that we were given to review, we have confirmation that the B&W standard continues to be upheld.
The packaging for the P5 is solid. Even the box feels well constructed and has a nice feel in your hands. After opening the box we discovered that the headphones came with a quilted pouch to be kept in when not in use. I have used this pouch, stowing it in my purse while on errands, and I have to admit, it is a nice touch that is indeed handy.
Inside the box there is also an alternate cord, in case you are not using an iPhone or iPod Touch, and would prefer to use the mic-less cord. Swapping out this cord is simple. Since the earpads are magnetically attached, removing them to swap the cord takes only a few seconds. With the iPhone cord already in place, we were ready to use the headphones.
Features: One of the first things we noticed was how incredibly soft the earpads are. Made of leather from some of the finest New Zealand sheep the earpads feel as great as they look. The brushed metal accents look luxurious. These headphones, like all Bowers & Wilkins products, are made out of great materials and it evident even at a quick glance. Often when you wear a pair of on-ear headphones there can be a slight pressure, a "too tight feeling," that is uncomfortable, thanks to the smooth rotation of the ear pieces on the P5 this does not happen.
The sound quality of the P5 is far superior to the the last on-ear headphones that I wore, the Bose On-Ear headphones, and they are also almost double the price. I noticed new sounds in some of my favorite songs, like the small resonating note from a background xylophone, that I had not caught while listening with my old headphones. The sound from the P5 is so full and rich it felt like it was possible to reach out and touch the sound.
Using the P5 as a headset also works incredibly well. All of the people I called while using these headphones did not realize that I was using a headset. There was none of the awkward, "You're using a headset aren't you?" sort of conversation. The mic picks up the voice well while avoiding picking up all the noise that is going on in the background.
Another great feature of these headphones is that they are sound isolating. I am not a fan of noise canceling headphones as I don't like the sound that the noise canceling tech makes. With these headphones on outside noises were dulled and it made for a much more peaceful subway ride.
The largest complaint that we have with these headphones is how they fit on the ear. Granted, the fit issues would not be a problem for someone with average sized ears, but thanks to my very tiny ears the headphones were not nearly as comfortable as they should be. The super soft padding on the earpad misses it's mark on my ears because of their diminutive size. Where my ear should feel padding, it hits the center speaker portion. What this means is that after about 15 or so minutes they start to become more than a bit uncomfortable.
I also wear glasses, with a smaller than average head, and these headphones are not comfortable to wear when I am wearing my glasses. In case you are wondering just how small my head is, let me share the following tidbits about myself, I am able to wear hats made for small children and eyeglasses made for children do not look awkward on my face. If you cannot share cranium accessories with the nearest preschooler than these headphones should fit you well.
Summary: We love the look, feel, and sound of these headphones. The sound quality is true to the Bowers & Wilkins reputation and is outstanding. The aural experience is simply fantastic and these are one of the best pairs of headphones that we have ever used.
We think these $300 headphones are great and we would recommend them to anyone with at least an averaged sized noggin.
(Images: Joelle Alcaidinho)
Full Disclosure Notice: Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes. Our full notice is here.