Over the past few years, Bluetooth headphones have entered the market. High-end brands such as Bowers & Wilkins decided to stay out of the market because the company claimed Bluetooth did not provide the ability to deliver high-quality audio. B&W has entered the market with the help of aptX which delivers higher quality audio – however devices such as the iPhone do not support aptX. The P5 Wireless headphones bear a resemblance in hardware to the P5 Series 2 headphones (Wired). The wireless headphones are in the luxury price range at $400, a $100 increase from the wired P5.
The design of the wireless headphones is basically the same as the P5 Series 2. It sports the aluminum design along with leather ear pads that provide an elegant design. It is evident that B&W carefully thought through the design challenges of a wireless headphone. For example, below the right ear pad, the MicroUSB charging port is cleverly hidden. In the event, the headphones run out of battery, one of the ear pads can be removed to insert an audio cable. The headphones come with a beautiful quilted case to store the headphones with a hidden compartment to store the charging cable and audio cable.
When testing the P5 wireless headphones on an aptX supported device, the audio quality was incredibly clear. Compared to the wired versions of the P5, it was hard to tell a difference in audio quality. On non-aptX devices (such as the iPhone), there was a marginal change in audio quality, but the difference was only noticeable to trained ear.
The P5 wireless headphones are not noise cancelling headphones, but it does a good job for the most part. The only time I notice a difference is on flights when noise cancelling headphones are necessary. One benefit of the P5 wireless headphones not being noise cancelling is the extended battery life, it is reported to play for 17 hours (compared to Beats Studio Wireless noise cancelling headphones at 9hrs). If noise cancelling is a must, these headphones are not for you. In my testing, I didn’t notice a huge difference except on airplanes. I preferred the 8-hour battery life gain since I rarely ran out of battery and it gave me one less thing to worry about charging.
The P5 wireless is a beautifully designed headphone that delivers a high-quality audio experience. These headphones require some compromise and this experience is not for everyone. But, if you are looking for high-quality headphones that block most noise and desire longer battery life, these are the headphones for you.