Bowers & Wilkins P5 On-Ear Headphones Review


Editor rating

4/5 on July 18, 2016 Reviewed by: Mark Torrent

User's rating

298 reviews


  • Powerful bass
  • Wide soundstage
  • Luxurious design
  • Excellent build quality


  • Cost


If you are lucky enough not to mind the price of these headphones, then you are looking at a fantastic purchase that can bring you a lot of pleasure and help you appreciate your favorite music with all of its nuances. Just make sure that your favorite genres revolve mostly around powerful bass and you are good to go.

When it comes to manufacturers of premium headphones, Bowers & Wilkins is often the first company that comes to mind. After all, they have been manufacturing some of the most stunning headphones and loudspeakers since 1966. The P5 hi-fi headphones feature special drive units created to produce a natural sound with well-defined bass.

Design and Build Quality

The headphones have almost a sensual quality to them: the way the stainless steel curves as it connects the earcups with the headband, the unorthodox construction of the earpads, or the soft leather that would feel right at home around a dashboard of an expensive Italian sports car.

Indeed, when you buy Bowers & Wilkins, you get nothing but quality and durability. Of course, we mustn’t forget about comfort. The padding allows you to listen for a very long time without taking a single break, which is something that we can’t say about many on-ear headphones.

Included in the package is also a cable with an in-line microphone. The quality of the microphone is on par with the rest of the headphones, and its sound quality is almost indistinguishable from the microphone on our smartphone.

Sound Quality

Judging by the looks alone, one might easily expect to be greeted with that recognizable audiophile sound signature. You know what we are talking about: neutral sound, tamed bass, and sparkly highs. The P5 are nothing like that. These elegant, expensive-looking headphones have one of the wildest representation of bass that we ever come across.

The bass is powerful, plentiful, and seemingly without a bottom end. No matter what music we tested the headphones with, they always handled it beautifully and made us not want to share the headphones with others.

The passive noise isolation is surprisingly good, despite the fact that the headphones don’t really provide any actual isolation. The leather is soft enough to conform to the shape of your ears and prevent outside noise from leaking in and vice versa. Neither microphonics nor sibilance is an issue, and we can conclude that the overall impression we got from the P5 is very positive.

What’s in the Box

When you buy a luxurious product, you have every right to expect equally luxurious packaging. That’s why we were surprised to find out that B&W included only a 1/4″ plug adapter and spare cable without an in-line microphone. Well, to be fair, you also get 3 months of membership to B&W’s Society of Sound when you register your headphones, but we are not sure how happy that makes us.

Leave a Reply