Reviews: Bowers & Wilkins P3 Series 2 On-Ear Headphones

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Product Breakdown

  • Presentation:                   4   out of     5
  • Innovation:                       3   out of     5
  • Usability:                           5   out of     5
  • Comfort:                            8   out of   10
  • Design:                             13   out of   15
  • Quality:                            13   out of   15
  • Value:                                18   out of   20
  • Performance:                18   out of   25
  • Total:                                 82   out of 100

Design and Comfort

The Bowers & Wilkins P3 Series 2 headphones arrived at my office neatly folded up in a plastic clamshell styled case. Made of aluminum and a durable rubber body, it feels extremely rugged for its small size. The headphones mimic the style of the popular P5 headphones, but at nearly half the size, making these headphones lighter and more portable. Although it might not be recommended, I have carried these headphones in my jacket pocket and bag without the case. The included plastic case added too much bulk and didn’t have the same high-end Bowers & Wilkins feel.

The Bowers & Wilkins on-ear headphone line has been notorious for causing fatigue and soreness to one’s ears after extended usage. Unfortunately, the P3 headphones still suffer from this symptom, but the smaller size and loosened clamping force has mitigated the fatiguing. Another thing to think about before buying these headphones is the size. If you are like me and have a larger sized head, these headphones will look a bit awkward when you wear them. The P3 headphones were definitely designed for those with a smaller shaped head. 


 When compared to its competitors, the P3 Series 2 headphones stack up extremely well. I personally prefer these headphones over the Bose Oe2i because of the look and low end but have a harder time choosing between these headphones and the V-Moda Xs. The story changes when comparing these to in-ear headphones, where I prefer the Bowers & Wilkins C5 due to its high sound quality and portability.

The Bowers & Wilkins P3 Series 2 headphones won’t provide the clearest treble or most open sound stage, but they are able to get the job done for day to day usage. The sound signature is more neutral compared to the rest of the Bowers & Wilkins lineup, however, the overall sound clarity in comparison to Bowers & Wilkins’ higher end headphones is not nearly as good. I felt that even the C5 in-ear headphones sounded better than the P3 on-ear headphones, making me question if the C5s were a better choice for portable listening. 

Final Verdict

The Bowers & Wilkins P3 Series 2 ranks well in its class of extremely portable headphones. In comparison to the Bose Oe2i and V-Moda Xs, I chose the Bowers & Wilkins almost every time. If you are thinking about moving from Bowers & Wilkins’ C5 or P5 headphones to the P3s, I wouldn’t recommend it. The sound stage isn’t quite there, and the portability of the C5 in-ear headphones is much better.

Overall, if you are looking for extremely small and portable on-ear headphones, I would recommend these. But for my own personal use, I would much rather carry the Bowers & Wilkins C5 in-ear headphone. To me, in-ear headphones are unmatched in their portability, and the Bowers & Wilkins C5s sound spectacular.

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