CNET First Look
Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless: Top-notch on-ear headphones cut the cordIt isn't cheap, but the wireless sibling of the highly rated P5 Series 2 is one of the best on-ear Bluetooth headphones.
[MUSIC] I'm David Carnoy from CNET.com and welcome to another first look video. Audiophiles tend to prefer listening to music through wired headphones but that hasn't stopped certain venerable audio companies including Bauer's and WIlkin's from jumping on the wireless bandwagon and introducing Blue Tooth headphones. This is a P5 wireless and for all intents and purposes, it is a dead ringer for the wired P5 series 2, but it is 400 dollars, costs a 130 dollars more then that model. Like its wired sibling the P5 wireless is comfortable folded on your head phone, so not exceptionally so. And it really does have the look and feel of a higher end headphone with a swanky design. It's a mix of retro and modern styling. At 213 grams it weighs 18 grams, or 0.6 ounces, more than wired P5. Three buttons on the right ear cup allow you to control the volume, skip tracks forward and back and answer calls Yes, there is a built-in microphone, and call quality was decent. The headphone offers aptX's Bluetooth streaming for compatible devices. aptX is supposed to deliver better sound quality, though it's debatable how much of an impact it has. Like the wired P5, this headphone has removable ear pads. Adhere magnetically, which is nice. And a cable is included if you wanna go wired, in case the internal battery dies. That battery is rated for 17 hours of continuous music playback, which is quite good. And it's also worth mentioning that a nice carrying case is included. This headphone has the same drivers that are in the wired P5 Series 2. And those drivers are based on the drivers found in Bowers and Wilkins top of the line P7, an over the ear headphone. This wireless version retains the same well balanced sound profile. And overall I thought it sounded excellent for a bluetooth headphone. They're not quite as open as some of the high end over ear models that I've tested, but the headphones deliver a relatively clean detailed sound with deep punchy base And you can listen to them for long periods without getting listening fatigue. Sure, the wired P5s sound a little more dynamic, but it's almost impossible to find a Bluetooth headphone that can compete with a top-notch wired model. In the end, my only hesitation about these headphones is the price You can get other premium, on-ear wireless headphones, such as the Plantronics BackBeat SENSE and Bose SoundLink On-Ear Bluetooth, that cost significantly less and are lighter and more comfortable. They don't have the build quality of this headphone. And depending on your ears and musical taste, they may not sound quite as good. But it's a close race. So if you get a chance, try before you buy. I'm David Carnoy, and that's the Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless. Thanks for watching. [MUSIC]