Review: B&W P5 Wireless – A Safe Bet

Disclaimer : We received the B&W P5 Wireless through the Bowers & Wilkins’ press agency. The P5W has been returned in the meantime, I didn’t even have to pay for shipping it back.

B&W

It’s been a while since I reviewed the B&W P7 and the B&W P3, I actually have never reviewed the original P5. The P3 is the only B&W headphone in my personal collection but it doesn’t get a lot of head time to be honest. I do also have a pair of 1991 B&W 600 series speakers but that’s a whole other story.

The circumaural P7 is a pretty good headphone and together with the B&O H6, DT770 AE and NAD Viso HP50 it are great closed over ear headphones. The P5 series are on ear headphones just like the P3, Beyer T51P, V-Moda XS and so many others. I’m not a fan of on ear headphones: the sound quality usually isn’t too spectacular compared to full sized headphones and then there’s the comfort issue. At the same time there do are on ear headphones that actually produce sublime sound and that at the same time are reasonably comfortable. The T51P is the headphone I’m thinking of.

P5W

The P5W weighs only 213gr and it looks stunning like all the B&W headphones do. B&W has used nothing but quality materials and I for one can appreciate the leather and shiny metal look. I’m always wearing different headphones in the office but hardly anyone ever says something about it. With the P5W though I have had several people ask what wireless headphone I was listening to and while they didn’t get a chance to listen to it, they loved its looks. You either love or hate the look of B&W’s units but to me it’s clear the majority of people really dig it. Count me one of them. Build quality is the best and the P5W comes with a nice bag to carry it around and a charging cable as well as the “sound cable”.

Under the removable cushions, I mean ear pads, you will find full range 40mm drivers. The pads, while they look hard, are actually extremely soft and they offer way more comfort than the P3 pads. So the pads do feel really soft but at the same time I haven’t managed to listen to the P5W for really long periods. Usually after about a good 2 hours in to a listening session, my ears really started hurting from the pressure the pads put on them. Relocating the pads only helped for a short period of time. My ears easily hurt but I did manage to listen to the H8 and others for a longer period of time.

What quite surprised me was how quickly the battery charged through the Micro USB 2.0 (Battery Charging, Service & FW update). What surprised me even more was how long the P5W runs on one charge. Now I’m not sure it reaches the 17h claimed but I do know it is really long compared to other headsets I tried.

The P5W uses aptX (standard latency), AAC and SBC Bluetooth. You won’t hear me saying I’m a Bluetooth expert and my Bluetooth experience has been anything but stellar. If I remember well I had the best experience with the wireless Sennheiser RS220, the one a lot of people are (were?) having issues with. When using the Astell&Kern AK120II as source, just stepping out of my office with the DAP on the table already caused dropouts. The AK’s aren’t known for their great BT and when I switched to my Dell Lattitude laptop’s BT connection I did almost manage to make it to the department’s printer area. I don’t think it’s fair to say the P5W’s BlueTooth isn’t good, it simply depends on the power of your BT transmitter. That being said, I did experience more drop outs than with the Beoplay H8 I tested. To connect the P5W to your source, simply turn it on (slide right) and then push in the button for two seconds. Your source should then find the “wireless speaker” and connect. Fairly easy once you figure it out. .

On the right side of the P5W, B&W integrated 3 low profile and easy to use control buttons. Changing volume was really easy and I really like their functionality. I have to admit I didn’t try it on my phone to accept calls.

Sound, right after the click below or HERE

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

7 Comments

  • Reply September 2, 2015

    Eric Thompson

    So do you have any info on if these are exactly the same as the regular P5 II’s sound wise? I assume they would be.

    • Reply September 2, 2015

      dalethorn

      I wouldn’t, because the cup assembly is bigger, and getting the same exact sound is probably impossible without lots of isolation damping, which makes the cups even bigger. But, it could be better than the stock P5s2 if the larger size absorbs sonic peaks in the original design.

      • Reply September 6, 2015

        Eric Thompson

        Figured the inside volume would be the same. I always thought that the P5’s were way to dark sounding (which they were) but a lot of reviewers don’t seem to like the “II’s”.

        • Reply September 6, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          I didn’t like the original P5 🙂

          • Reply September 6, 2015

            Eric Thompson

            I should just pull the trigger on some T51p’s

        • Reply September 6, 2015

          dalethorn

          There are a few well-liked headphones, like the P5 or B&O H6, that have gone wireless or Bluetooth in fatter, more expensive formats. None that I know of have improved things. Which is puzzling actually, since if the designers read most of the reviews on the wired editions, you’d think the least they could do is flatten out some of the worst peaks or recesses in the new editions.

          • Reply September 28, 2015

            Eric Thompson

            Orrrr shove a $25 bluetooth modual in and jack up the price $100 lol

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