What do you get if you cross Bowers & Wilkins’ successful P5 Series 2 headphones with Bluetooth functionality? Why, the P5 Wireless of course. Or, as we’ve knighted them, the Aston Martin DB10s of wireless headphones.
They’re the brand’s first fray into wireless cans and, truth be told, we haven’t seen a better debut since Frank Darabont’s big-screen directorial one with The Shawshank Redemption. Being the brainchild of the P5 S2s (or any of the B&W’s well established P Series headphones) can only mean one thing: success.
If these look luxurious, it’s because they are. Discerning listeners, pay heed. They share the same design language: strong twisted aluminium headband; cushy sheep’s leather-coated ear pads (attached by magnets and easily replaceable); and compact, rounded rectangular earcups, which hide 40mm drivers and a hidden socket for wired use when the 17 hours of wirelessness has been drained.
To score top points in a spot the difference next to they’re wired counterpart, you’ll have to circle the right earcup, which has a three-button volume/play/pause/call design, along with a power/pairing slider. Your ears may get a little toasty during a transatlantic flight, but the pads cling onto your head firmly enough to brook the occasional headbang.
If you like your sound authoritative, dynamic and subtle (and who doesn’t?), you’ll feel right at home with these P5s. With the solidity and weight to handle the sturm und drang of Massive Attack’s Angel, the B&Ws tear through electrics with va-va voom, and the determination of a lion with a steak between its chops.
That bassline is taut and deep, and sweeping dynamics and scale give that welcome impression of power. In Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne, there’s all manner of texture to acoustic plucking, and the sombre and strain intended in his deep brooding vocal is plain for the ears to hear.