Bowers and Wilkins P5 Wireless review

Stunning wireless audio...but with a connectivity catch

Bowers and Wilkins P5 Wireless
Stunning wireless sound

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As I said at the start, the P5 Wireless cans are some frustrating headphones.

Sat at my desk right now, they sound fantastic. I love the depth and clarity of the audio, and the aptX connectivity means I can get the most out of the wireless connection too.

On the go though I all too often find that great experience muddied by audio drop outs.

Bowers and Wilkins P5 Wireless

I'm still using them, however. For much of the time the connectivity is not an issue.

But then you'll turn your head to the side, breaking line-of-sight, and lose half a second here or put a hand to your ear, covering the antennae, and lose half a second there.

For a £330 pair of Bowers and Wilkins headphones it doesn't seem like the overall wireless experience is quite good enough. They definitely feel like its first Bluetooth headphone offering.

We liked

First and foremost, the sound quality is superb.

I'm not sure they're quite as good as the superb P5 Series 2, but they are so close it was only through testing the two together, one after the other, that I could sense any difference.

I'm also really impressed with the battery life too. I can't remember when I last charged the set I'm using at the moment - and because of that aural fidelity I've used them a lot!

Being able to wire them up if you do run dry is really handy, though you do lose the control functionality on the ear-cup.

Bowers and Wilkins P5 Wireless

We disliked

The audio disconnects are only occasional, but incredibly noticeable when they do happen.

You can offset them by rearranging where you keep your audio device when you're walking around, but it's frustrating that you have to fit yourself to the headphone's foibles rather than them to yours.

The price is also another concern - at £330 they are really quite expensive.

Considering you can get the P5 Series 2 for just £200 if you shop around that's quite a hefty price premium for the inconsistent wireless connectivity. And for £330 I'd have to say the plasticky, sometimes sticky, wireless control buttons don't feel of particularly great quality either.

I'm also not 100% sold on the on-ear side of things. As a glasses wearer it can get a little uncomfortable wearing them for serious lengths of time.

Final verdict

I love the audio quality. Listening to a Hi-Res Audio version of Brothers in Arms I've got goosebumps puckering my skin.

The audio is rich, the spatial separation is impressive and tonal quality across the board is quite beautiful. Even with Knopfler's almost whispered croaks…

But I can't get over those connectivity problems.

They will rear their head when you leave the house and take the P5 Wireless on the road and that can seriously ruin your high-pricetag, premium listening experience.