Bowers & Wilkins P5 Series 2 On-Ear Headphones
Design, Quality, and Fidelity
Here we will attempt to tackle aspects of the P5 Series 2 that really mean something to you. Should I buy the Bowers and Wilkins P5 Series 2? What do you get in the box? How are they built and how does it feel?
Look and Feel:
The look and feel of the P5 Series 2 really begins with the box experience. I call it an experience as the quality of your purchase really comes through from the moment you open the box. The box itself is very simple flat black, subdued tones and minimalistic graphics with a single picture of the headset on the front and two smaller pictures of the earphones on the reverse. The box is bereft of techical specifications or even whats included inside. Upon opening the box you are greeted first with the actual headset nestled nicely in a hard neoprene shell. Underneath Bowers & Wilkins has included a quilted soft velvet case with magnetic clasp branded with the Bowers & Wilkins Logo, a large warranty and information booklet packet, and a universal cable for use with computers, phones, and Mp3 players.
Back to the headset, which is very svelt in your hands. Touches of leather all around, from the ear cups to the headband and even on the back of the speakers themselves. Silver edged, black anodized speaker housings with the name Bowers & Wilkins in machined aluminum on each and finished with chromed wire right and left attachments to the headband. The headband itself feels very sturdy though being made of plastic and not entirely of metal. Adjusting the headset is smooth and feels solid.
There are two cables included with the P5 Series 2 headphones. Both are rubberized while one includes an iPhone compatible volume adjustment and the other is just a standard headphone cable. Both cables have gold plated ends to help with signal noise reduction and add to the overall sound quality. We would have been happier with braided or fabric covered cables for the P5 but the included rubberized ones work just as well.
Use and Comfort:
I tested the new Series 2 with both an iPhone 5 and as a stand alone headset. When attached to the iPhone the volume control and microphone worked flawlessly. I took and placed several calls to test out the reception as well as function of the included cable. The headset worked very well and the integrated microphone did a good job of cutting out ambient noise while also being functional.
As far as comfort the P5 Series 2 excels in this category. I am usually not a fan of on-ear headsets due to their wear and discomfort over time. The ear cups of most on-ear headsets tends to get uncomfortable as they apply pressure to your ears. Most on ear head sets also dont seal out external noise as well as over ear headsets. The P5 Series 2 did an outstanding job in being comfortable as well as sealing. I used the headsets for several extended periods of music and movie watching and the I forgot that I was wearing the headset several times. They were very comfortable, sealed out much of the exterior noise for an on-ear headset and still allowed my ears to breath which meant I wasn’t left with a sticky sweaty feeling that can occur with other on-ear and over ear headsets after extended use.
The P5 Series 2 earcups are removable and utilize a magnetic design for attachment. This allows the user to replace worn or damaged earcups as well as replace the cable used for connection or remove it entirely.
As for the actual audio fidelity or quality of sound that the P5 Series 2 produces, personally I feel its excellent. Audio quality is so highly subjective however, that I felt it would be better for me to include the opinions of a number of listeners. I brough the headset into an office environment and provided it to ten different individuals who all like to listen to music on a regular basis. The headsets that these testers usually used ranged from cheap 2 channel PC speakers, Beats Audio, Bluetooth Pill Speakers, to a Bose high end headset and an individual using true 5. 1 USB headset. I asked each user to test the headset for an entire day and after to give me a summary of their reactions to the headset. Without exception each user commented on the high quality look and feel of the P5 Series 2 headset, they also commented on its exceptional comfort. 8 of the 10 users said the audio quality far exceeded that of their previous speaker solution and would choose to use the P5 over what they were using before, of the remaining two who thought of their previous solution as better, one was using a Bluetooth speaker and preferred a wireless solution and the other was the Beats audio headset user who preferred stronger base. The user who had previously been using a Bose SoundTrue over-ear headset preferred the P5 Series 2 to his Bose due to comfort and much better sound.
I found the P5 Series 2 was overall an exceptional experience. They are a pleasure to wear and use on a regular basis. Given the experience of listening to them has spoiled me for other small portable headsets. At the end of the day that’s really the conclusion, the P5 Series 2 headset was so good that I found myself taking it with me over other options. It has excellent construction, an attractive build, and wonderful audio. You wont be disappointed in your purchase of the P5 Series 2 from Bowers & Wilkins.
We are happy to give the Bowers & Wilkins P5 Series 2 our Editors Choice Award.
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