Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless Headphones Review

Reviewed Aug 22, 2016 at 11:47 am
Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless Picture
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.

Our Verdict

6.8 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.

6.9 Neutral Sound

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.

See our Neutral Sound recommendations
6.8 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.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
7.3 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.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
6.7 Office

Decent for office use. They won't block all the ambient noise in a loud office environment but don't leak too much.

See our Office recommendations
6.9 Wired Gaming
6.0 Phone Call
  • 6.8 Mixed Usage
  • 6.9 Neutral Sound
  • 6.8 Commute/Travel
  • 7.3 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.7 Office
  • 5.3 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.9 Wired Gaming
  • 6.0 Phone Call
Pros
  • Good audio reproduction.
  • Compact, wireless design.
  • Sturdy, durable build.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • A bit tight on the head.
  1. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  3. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  4. Update 9/28/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  5. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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Test Results

Design
Design
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
Design
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
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
iOS
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Decent
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
N/A
Noise Cancelling 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
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 2 C
6.4
Design
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
Design
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
Design
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
Design
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.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
1.3 db
Treble Amount
-2.91 db
6.7
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.7 dB
Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.3
Sound
Bass Accuracy
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
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.21 dB
Low-Mid
-0.03 dB
Mid-Mid
-1.8 dB
High-Mid
2.48 dB
6.8
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.45 dB
Low-Treble
-1.24 dB
Mid-Treble
-3.93 dB
High-Treble
-5.29 dB
7.6
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.33 db
Dips
1.74 db
8.7
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.14
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.21
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.04
Weighted Phase Mismatch
7.1
3.1
Sound
Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
4.91 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
-0.11 dB
PRTF Distance
3.04 dB
Openness
5.2
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.6
7.7
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.155
WHD @ 100
0.188
Isolation
4.7
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-11.17 dB
Bass
0.75 dB
Mid
-8.37 dB
Treble
-26.65 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
Isolation
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.

Microphone
5.4
Microphone
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
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
13.24 dB
Active Features
8.7
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
16.26 hrs
Additional Charges
0
Total Battery Life
16.26 hrs
Charge Time
1.7 hrs
Power Saving Feature
Yes
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
Yes
Charging Port micro-USB

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
Active Features
App Support
App Name N/A
iOS N/A
Android N/A
macOS 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.

Connectivity
8.0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
4.1
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices
NFC Pairing
No
Line of Sight Range
87 ft
Default Latency
191 ms
aptX Latency
167 ms
aptX(LL) Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 4.04 ft
Connection 1/8" TRS
Wired Latency
0 ms
Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
N/A
USB Input
N/A
Line In
N/A
Line Out
N/A
Optical Input
N/A
RCA Input
N/A
Dock Charging
N/A
Power Supply
N/A
In the box
In the box

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

Compared to other Headphones

Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless Price

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