Review: Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless headphones

“What is the compelling reason to consider the newest P5? Bluetooth — lowly Bluetooth,” Bill Henderson reports for The Gadgeteer. “Well, it was lowly. Not so much anymore. B&W has managed to keep the sound and soul of the P5 intact even after cutting the cord. And that ain’t no easy task.”

“Nothing has changed much from the P5 Series 2. The P5 Wireless uses the same upgraded speakers, sumptuous leather, comfortable headband, retro, yet modern looks and same carrying case,” Henderson reports. “Everything that was good about the P5 Series 2 is present in the P5 Wireless. The only difference is obviously Bluetooth, So let’s talk about that.”

“The P5 Wireless headphone manages to incorporate Bluetooth in a seemingly magical way. Magical because the difference between wired and wireless will only be noticeable to truly discerning ears,” Henderson reports. “I have many Bluetooth headphone which sound good, but they’re not Bowers & Wilkins good. At the risk of sounding (pun intended) snobbish, the B&W P5 Wireless headphones are in a league all their own.”

Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless headphones
Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless headphones

Much more in the full review here.

MacDailyNews Take: There is one other difference: $100. The B&W P5 Wired Headphones cost $299.99 while the B&W P5 Wireless Headphones cost $399.99.


  1. The Apple button layout and functions on their earbuds:

    The P5 Wireless uses a 3-button system at the rear of the right ear cup. The upper button is Volume up and the lower is Volume down. The middle button is Pause/Play. Pressing twice skips forward and three times skips backward.


    Truthfully, I still have issues with Bluetooth that even B&W hasn’t completely erased such as occasional dropouts, disconnections and other audio glitches.

    WHY, I ask the wind, is Bluetooth even considered for headphones? Beats the hell out of me.

    WHY isn’t there an actual AUDIO QUALITY WIRELESS STANDARD already? Is someone bribing the world to put up with CRAP Bluetooth for audio? It’s entire insane.

    No arguments to the contrary will be considered. Do your homework kids and don’t bother me to do it for you.

    1. I am not quite sure what is your beef with current audio over bluetooth (A2DP). It supports bitrates up to 520kbps stereo. For listening on headphones, this bitrate provides more than enough fidelity to deliver high quality audio to the user. After all, let us consider the possible audio source, as well as the listening environment, where bluetooth audio is used. Bluetooth audio compression is certainly not the weakest link in that audio chain.

      1. Well said, I think this backs up your argument on the other thread. People have a right to not agree about overal audio quality but clearly many do consider Bluetooth capabilities perfectly good enough or better than good enough. Indeed if these up market head phones can offer almost indistinguishable sound as compared to their wired counterparts when the overall quality of the physical elements can be so much better and thus will far more readily show up failings attributable to the wireless element alone, then it certainly suggests arguments on the subject of earbuds with Bluetooth being noticeably less good than their wired counterparts, rather trivial.

        1. If you follow the link, the writer said the sound quality of wireless headphones wasn’t important, but the fact that it was wireless was. Which means if you buy a wired headphone for 100 dollars you will get much better sound for your money.

    1. If you find the convenience of wireless more important than the audible difference between wired and bluetooth. Apparently, there are enough people that do and are ready to pay the $100 difference.

      Marketplace defines the price of everything and, when the market is free and restricted, price always precisely reflects the value.

  2. I used to be one of these people. I had the expensive interconnects and tweaked every link in the chain to the max.

    It’s all in your head. Platinum lined 17,000 twist pure copper super helical amazing patented unique weave speaker wires at $500 a foot don’t really do anything. Actual differences quite often are just perceived personal biases manifesting themselves. Sounds that people (even audiophiles) like are almost never accurate representations of the source, but colored in a way as to be perceived as better by the individual.

    If you don’t like the sound of most high end audio, it probably is your brain’s biases and not the equipment. You just didn’t like the WAY it colored the audio.

  3. I bought a pair from the apple store but returned it.

    It sounded fine, but they hurt. Also, the extensions weren’t long enough to reach to my ears so they were always riding a bit high.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.