Reviewed on Aug 08, 2016

Bowers & Wilkins P7 HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
6.3
Mixed Usage
7.2
Neutral Listening
6.1
Commute/Travel
6.1
Sports/Fitness
6.2
Office
5.4
Wireless Gaming
7.1
Wired Gaming
6.4
Phone Call
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Bowers & Wilkins P7 are well-built and sturdy headphones. They deliver a good and balanced sound. They're comfortable and have a decently stable design. However, they only block noise passively, which is not sufficient for loud environments, and they also leak quite a bit.

Test Results
Design 7.2
Isolation 5.8
Microphone 6.8
Active Features 0
Connectivity 3.8
Pros
  • Good audio reproduction.
  • Comfortable and stable fit.
  • Sturdy, durable build.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • High leakage.
  1. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  2. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  3. Update 10/2/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  4. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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7.2

Design

The B&W P7 are well-crafted premium looking headphones. They have a simple yet eye-catching design with, well-padded and comfortable ear cups. Their build quality is durable, and they're stable enough, to not easily slip off your head. However, they're a bit bulky and not designed for sports. They're also a little tight especially on larger heads, which can get slightly uncomfortable.

Style

The B&W P7 look luxurious and high-end. They're stylish and make use of premium materials in their build quality. The frame is metal, the earcups and headband are covered in a black leather finish that further highlights their premium appeal. They're a lot bulkier than the P5 and therefore do not look as sleek, but they will still stand out in a crowd.

7.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.7 lbs
Clamping Force
:
1.3 lbs

The Bowers and Wilkins P7 are comfortable headphones. They're well-padded and the earcups, although a little small, fit well around most listeners ears. However, they can feel a little tight on the head because of the rigid headband. Also, the square earcups can cause slight discomfort for some listeners during long listening sessions.

6.8 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
iOS
Ease of use : Okay
Feedback : Mediocre
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 B&W P7 have good control scheme. They provide call/music, track skipping, and volume controls. The buttons also have a nice clicky feel to them. Unfortunately, the inline control module is a relatively thin cylinder, which makes the buttons slightly harder to distinguish by feel alone. However, you get used to it fairly fast.

6.8 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 4.5 C
6.0 Portability
L : 5.12 "
W : 7.09 "
H : 2.76 "
Volume : 103.7 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The B&W P7 are a little on the larger side for over-ear headphones. They fold into a more compact format but will still be too big and cumbersome to comfortably carry around on your person. They will fit into a backpack and some larger purses or handbags, but they won't fit into any pockets, even wider jacket pockets.

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 regular wear and tear. It also doesn't add much bulk to the headphones. Unfortunately, the pouch will not shield the headphones from water damage or hard falls.

8.0 Build Quality

These headphones feel sturdy and durable. The frame of the headband and the hinges are completely metal and can withstand a fair amount of physical stress. The ear cups are also dense enough, to not get damaged from a couple of drops. However, they're connected to the rest of the frame by relatively thin hinges, which are the weakest points on these headphones. Additionally, the audio cables that connect to the earcups are somewhat exposed and could get damaged from wear and tear.

6.5 Stability

These headphones are sufficiently tight on the head, to not fall off during mild physical activity. However, they're not sports headphones. They're a little bulky and will sway, potentially slipping off your ears, if used at the gym. Also, the detachable cable will pull the headphones of your head before disconnecting if it ever gets hooked on something, which is slightly disappointing.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
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Sound

They have a very good and extended bass, a nearly flawless mid-range, and a decent treble. However, their bass is on the heavy side, and their treble is veiled. Additionally, they are sensitive to positioning preference and their performance could vary noticeably from person to person. They also don't have an open and spacious soundstage.

Sound Profile
Neutral
:
7.2
Bass-Heavy
:
7.8
Warm
:
8.1
Bright
:
4.2
7.6 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
1.48 db
Dips
:
1.37 db
6.6 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.71 dB
7.9 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.2
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
1.52
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
2.42
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
7.19
5.5 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
3.98 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
2.27 dB
PRTF Distance
:
13.05 dB
Openness
:
4.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
3.6
8.3 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.150
WHD @ 100
:
0.086
5.8

Isolation

The B&W P7 only isolate passively with the seal created by the earcups. They're able to block some high-frequency noise but unfortunately, it's not enough for loud environments. Unless you play your music at high volumes, you will still be able to hear the chatter of a busy office and the rumbling noise of a train or bus. Sadly, they also leak quite a bit, so people around you will be able to hear your music, especially, at higher volumes.

5.2 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-13.68 dB
Bass
:
0.96 dB
Mid
:
-9.43 dB
Treble
:
-33.39 dB

Poor overall isolation. Since these headphones don't have active noise cancelling, the passive isolation provided in the Treble Range by the ear cups is quite good. But it 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
:
40.17 dB

Poor leakage performance. The majority of leakage sits between the 400Hz-9KHz frequency range which is broad. The overall level of the leakage also relatively loud, which contributes to the poor leakage score of these headphones.

6.8

Microphone

Integrated
:
No
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A
7.3 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
515.36 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
2.98 dB
HFE
:
13867.58 Hz
Weighted THD
:
0.68
Gain
:
23.51 dB
6.3 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
15.25 dB
0

Active Features

No active features.

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
Continuous Battery Life
:
N/A
Additional Charges
:
N/A
Total Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
Charging Port : N/A
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.

3.8

Connectivity

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Default Latency
:
N/A
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A
0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
9.5 Wired
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.26 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS
Wired Latency
:
0 ms
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
Audio + Microphone
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox Analog
:
Audio Only
Xbox Wired USB
:
No
Xbox Wireless
:
No
0 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

  • Bowers & Wilkins P7 Headphones
  • 1/8" to 1/4" Adapter
  • Audio cable (x2)
  • Carrying pouch
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

6.3 Mixed Usage

The B&W P7 are above-average everyday headphones. They're well designed and sturdily built. They also deliver a good, well-balanced sound quality. However, their poor passive isolation means they won't be versatile enough for all environments.

7.2 Neutral Listening

The Bowers & Wilkins P7 deliver a good, balanced audio reproduction for neutral listening. They sound a little bit closed due to their closed-back design but reproduce the bass, mids, and treble frequencies accurately. They're also moderately comfortable for long listening sessions.

6.1 Commute/Travel

Mediocre for commutes. They're comfortable and have a decent control scheme, but the noise isolation is not sufficient for loud environments.

6.1 Sports/Fitness

Average for sports use. They're moderately stable and can fold to fit into a backpack. However, they're a bit too bulky for strenuous exercise.

6.2 Office

Mediocre for office use. They won't block the ambient chatter of a busy office, and they also leak quite a bit. On the upside, they're comfortable to use for hours.

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