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Reviewed on Aug 22, 2016

Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
6.6
Mixed Usage
7.0
Critical Listening
6.7
Commute/Travel
7.0
Sports/Fitness
6.8
Office
5.7
TV
5.3
Gaming
Type : On-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The P5 Wireless are well-crafted, wireless headphones with a sturdy build and a compact, easy-to-use design. They deliver a good, balanced sound quality, an efficient battery performance and they don't leak much. However, they can feel a little tight on your head, and they also don't prevent ambient noise from seeping into your audio.

Test Results
Design 7.4
Sound 6.9
Isolation 5.7
Microphone 5.7
Active Features 7.6
Connectivity 5.4
Pros
  • Good audio reproduction.
  • Compact, wireless design.
  • Sturdy, durable build.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • A bit tight on the head.
Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
Update 9/28/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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7.4

Design

The P5 Wireless are stylish-looking headphones with a great build quality. The materials used in their build feels premium and the metal frame is sturdy and durable. They have a good control scheme, they're wireless and stable enough for moderate physical activity, but they're not sports-oriented headphones. However, they're a bit tight on the head and don't fold which makes them a little harder to carry around even if they're quite compact.

Style

The P5 Wireless have a sleek and polished design. They're well-crafted headphones that make use of premium materials in their build. The headband and ear pad are covered in a stylish black leather that adds to the high-end appeal of these headphones. They have small square ear cups and a unique metal frame that's quite eye-catching.

7.0 Comfort
Weight : 0.48 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0.79 lbs

The P5 Wireless are moderately comfortable headphones but can feel a bit tight on your head. The ear pads are well made and covered in leather, which feels good on the skin. However, they're thinly padded, that, coupled with the on-ear design makes them feel slightly uncomfortable and tight at first. You get use to the fit but they won't be the most comfortable headphones for long listening sessions, especially, if you wear glasses.

7.4 Controls
Ease of use : Good
Feedback : Decent
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : No

The P5 Wireless have a simple and efficient control scheme. They provide call/music, track-skipping, and volume controls. The buttons offer decent tactile feedback but they are a bit narrow, which could be bothersome for larger hands.

8.2 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 2 C
6.4 Portability
L : 7.5 "
W : 5.6 "
H : 1.63 "
Volume : 68.9 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

These headphones are moderately portable. They're compact on-ear headphones that lay flat to take less space. They will fit in most bags and larger purses, but unfortunately, they don't fold to reduce their footprint, which makes them a bit cumbersome to carry on your person.

7.0 Case
Type : Pouch
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

Comes with a stylish pouch that will protect the headphones from scratches and minor water damage. However, the pouch is soft and will not shield your headphones against hard falls. The pouch design is also not waterproof.

8.0 Build Quality

The P5 Wireless like the P5 S2 and P7 are well-built headphones. They have a durable yet lightweight metal frame that's sturdy enough to withstand moderate physical stress. The ear pads magnetically attach to the ear cups and can be replaced if damaged by regular wear and tear. They're are also sufficiently dense and won't break easily from a few falls. However, the thin hinges that connect the frame to the ear cups are the weakest point of this robust and long-lasting build.

7.0 Stability

These headphones are above the average stable. The on-ear design of the P5 clamps on to your head with enough tension that they won't easily fall during physical activity. They're also wireless, which frees you of the hassle of tangling audio cables. However, they won't maintain a stable fit under strenuous conditions like running or intense exercises at the gym.

Cable
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.04 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS

Comes with a 1/16" to 1/8" TRS audio cable with no inline controls and USB charging cable.

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6.9

Sound

The B&W P5 Wireless are a decent sounding pair of closed-back on-ear headphones. They have a very good, and deep bass, a very good mid-range, and an okay treble. Additionally, their mid-range is slightly recessed, and their treble sounds a bit veiled. Also, their performance is not very consistent from person to person, and like most other closed-back headphones, lack an open soundstage.

8.4 Bass
Std. Err.
:
2.4 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
:
3.43 dB
Mid-Bass
:
2.46 dB
High-Bass
:
2.18 dB
8.3 Mid
Std. Err.
:
2.21 dB
Low-Mid
:
-0.03 dB
Mid-Mid
:
-1.8 dB
High-Mid
:
2.48 dB
6.8 Treble
Std. Err.
:
4.45 dB
Low-Treble
:
-1.24 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-3.93 dB
High-Treble
:
-5.29 dB
6.7 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.7 dB
8.7 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.14
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.21
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
2.04
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
7.1
3.2 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
4.91 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
-0.11 dB
PRTF Distance
:
3.04 dB
Openness
:
4.8
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
3.6
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.01 dB
6.8 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
3.07
Weighted THD @ 100
:
13.62
5.7

Isolation

The P5 Wireless like the P5 S2, are passively isolating headphones. This means they can only block noise depending on the quality of seal you can achieve with the earpads. Unfortunately, the on-ear pads are a little small  letting a lot of ambient noise seep into your audio. They don't leak much, but poorly isolate you from your environment, which is not ideal for loud, noisy commutes.

5.1 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-11.17 dB
Bass
:
0.75 dB
Mid
:
-8.37 dB
Treble
:
-26.65 dB
Self-Noise
:
15.63 dB

Poor overall isolation. However, considering these headphones don't have active noise cancelling, the passive isolation provided by the ear cups is decent. Treble isolation is good but as expected, the passive isolation only becomes effective past 400HZ and does not really block any low/bass frequencies. Isolation in the mid-range is also below average.

6.9 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
40.41 dB

Decent leakage performance. The majority of leakage is in the 2KHz-7KHz frequency range, which is relatively narrow. The overall level of the leakage is also decent, making these headphones perform above average in Leakage.

5.7

Microphone

Integrated
:
Yes
In-line
:
No
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A
5.3 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
369.71 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
7.13 dB
HFE
:
3466.89 Hz
Weighted THD
:
6.896
Gain
:
30.17 dB
6.1 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
13.24 dB
7.6

Active Features

The P5 Wireless have one of the better power saving features for active headphones despite not having a bundled app. They will automatically switch off after 10 mins of inactivity that coupled with the already decent battery life means they rarely run out of juice when used casually for shorts burst of audio. They have an average wireless range and also support the aptX codec, but Unfortunately, they still have noticeable latency when listening to videos or playing games.

8.4 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
:
16.26 hrs
Charge Time
:
1.7 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
Yes
Audio while charging
:
Yes
Passive Playback
:
Yes

The P5 Wireless deliver a solid 16 hours of battery life with a few battery saving features that reduce how often you have to charge them throughout the day. They have a built-in auto-off timer that switches the headphones off within 10 minutes of not using them. They can also charge while playing audio so if you're on a train, plane or at your office with access to a power source then you can play and not worry about battery life. This makes them decent headphones to use on long flights or road trips and they also do not take long to charge.

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

No compatible app.

5.4

Connectivity

6.8 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
4.1
Multi-Device Pairing
:
2 Devices
NFC Pairing
:
No
7.2 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
iOS
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio Only
PC Compatible
:
Audio Only
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
7.5 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
34 ft
Line of Sight Range
:
87 ft

The P5 Wireless have decent obstructed range but a below-average range in direct line of sight. They maintained a strong, stable connection up to 30 ft when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room. However, they're not the most far reaching headphones in direct line of sight. Their audio cut out surprisingly short of some less expensive wireless models, which may be due to the thick casing of their well-built ear cups but feels a bit disappointing. They also don't offer NFC but luckily aren't too much of a hassle to pair with most devices.

3.0 Latency
Default Latency
:
191 ms
aptX Latency
:
167 ms
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

In the box

  • Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless Headphones
  • 1/8" to 1/4" Adapter
  • Audio cable 
  • Carrying pouch
  • Manual

Conclusion
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

6.6 Mixed Usage
Decent as mixed usage everyday headphones. They have a sturdy wireless design and a good sound quality. Their poor noise isolation makes them not ideal for loud environments but at sufficiently high volumes, it shouldn't be too much of an issue.
7.0 Critical Listening
The P5 Wireless deliver a balanced audio reproduction that caters well to bass and instrument-heavy music. They don't have a spacious soundstage due to the small closed on-ear design, but their sound reproduction won't disappoint as long as you find the on-ear design comfortable.
6.7 Commute/Travel
Average at best for commuting. They have a good control scheme, and they're decently portable headphones. However, they struggle to block the ambient noise of loud environments and won't be ideal if you have a busy daily commute or plan to take them on a noisy flight.
7.0 Sports/Fitness
Above-average for sports. They have a compact wireless design with an efficient control scheme. They're also moderately stable enough for jogging and some light exercising. However, they're not the most comfortable, and the on-ear pads get a little steamy when you sweat a lot.
6.8 Office
Decent for office use. They won't block all the ambient noise in a loud office environment but don't leak too much.
5.7 TV
Mediocre for home theater use. They have fairly high latency which won't be ideal for watching movies. They're also not the most comfortable headphones to wear for long periods of time.

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