Bowers & Wilkins P7 Review
These are the flagship wireless headphones from Bowers & Wilkins , and are essentially a wireless update for their premium P7 headphones released back in 2013. They are advertised with the premise of being ‘perfect sound – without the wires’ – let’s take a look & see if they can live up that lofty claim.
Bowers & Wilkins P7 wireless – Build quality, Construction
Straight out of the box it’s clear that the quality of construction is epic. Beautiful leather with quality contrasting stitching on the lightly padded (but chunky) headband. The aluminium earpads are super soft, with top quality leather material covering the pads. The hinges & adjusting mechanism are brightly finished stainless steel & provide a unique twist to the design that just looks fantastic.
The folding mechanism is a nod to portability as the Bower & Wilkins P7 wireless are not a compact headphone, but the hinge is excellent in operation & feels solid. It feels wrong to push & abuse them, but they stood up well to the creak & crunch test with no signs of weakness.
The Bowers & Wilkins P7 stand right at the top of the leaderboard in terms of build quality & construction – way above the likes of the competition from Bose & Sony, and just pipping our other highly stylized headphone favorite from Sennheiser, the Momentum Wireless. If you are looking for specialness, these have it in spades.
Bowers & Wilkins P7 wireless – Features & Comfort
The Bowers & Wilkins P7 wireless connect over bluetooth 4.1 to just about any phone / audio player with bluetooth, and feature the performance boosting aptX protocol so long as you have a compatible phone (most recent android phones / not iPhones). Bluetooth connectivity was nice & straightforward, with no issues paring the headphones to the devices we tried from Apple & Samsung. We have a guide which goes into more detail about the different bluetooth connection protocols if you want more info.
Battery life is rated as a fair 17 hours, but we managed a little longer in normal use – so we would put this on a par with the other flagship headphones out there that are claiming 20 hours. It’s long enough for most people without becoming a charge station beast that needs attention every single day. Recharging is handled by connecting a standard micro USB cable which is provided in the box & takes a couple of hours from empty. There is a standard 3.5mm audio cable included in the box which enables connecting up to legacy audio players that don’t offer a bluetooth connection.
There is no active noise cancellation on the Bower & Wilkins P7, which we find rather a strange omission on such a flagship pair of wireless headphones these days – but the fit is a little tighter than the competition which does provide a decent seal against the ears & a level of isolation (the generous would call it passive noise reduction) from some background noise. You can find more info in our guide to active noise cancellation if you would like to read more.
We found the headphones very comfortable in extended use, and although initially concerned by the tighter than average fit, the B&W P7 wireless didn’t annoy us at all. When walking around the tighter fit gave them a feeling of security which we quite enjoyed.
Bowers & Wilkins P7 wireless – Sound quality & Performance
The Bowers & Wilkins p7 wireless headphones continue to portray the in-house signature sound that has made B&W famous (which is a good thing). The warm & punchy bass line that would be overpowering if it were not for the superb midrange definition & crystal clear high notes. They would never be described as ‘accurate’, but the sound on vocals come over with amazing separation from the instruments. Bass notes thud with authority, and there is an amazing clarity & eking out of the last drop of detail from instruments that you just will not hear on less able headphones.
Superb with the right tune (vocal heavy with real instruments), we found that the bass can become a little more intrusive with some electro drum & bass which is probably to be expected, where the bass coloring can lead to a little muddiness.
We loved the sound quality & definition of the Bowers & Wilkins P7 when listening at home, the audio performance is a clear challenge to the Sony MDR-1000X and Sennheiser PXC 550 which are only the tiniest bit weaker sonically, but of course also offer class leading active noise reduction on top. For listening at home we would have an easy choice to make, but for an all round headphone that can cope with any situation, the P7’s are up against tough opposition. Listening to the Bose Quietcomfort 35 straight after the P7’s completely underwhelmed us, the B&W P7 makes the Bose QC35 sound very ordinary indeed!
The wireless connection is extremely stable, and held out to well over the 20m range that is claimed – so we would not think you will have any issues there. Walking out of the room away from the audio player quickly cut off the signal though – so something to bare in mind if you are looking for something to wear whilst walking from room to room around the house.
When out & about you do notice the lack of the active noise cancellation featured on probably the nearest competitor from sennheiser (the momentum wireless), but turning up the volume helped to make up for it somewhat. We’ve been spoilt in the last few months with the release of some amazing sounding wireless headphones that have brought active noise cancellation to a new level. Without the noise cancellation, we think that the Bowers & Wilkins P7 wireless are best suited to being used around the house / in quieter environments where you won’t miss the ANC. In quiet spots, you can revel in the quite superb sound performance that up until a couple of years ago you would not have believed possible from a wireless set of headphones.
- Feature Set 85%
- Build Quality 96%
- Sound Quality 93%
- Value for Money 80%
- Overall Rating 88%
Bowers & wilkins p7 wireless Review – final thoughts
Class leading build quality with a quirky design which we love, the Bowers & Wilkins P7 wireless feature superb audio quality & really do sound exceptional. We place a lot of value on having a true ‘thing of beauty’ and so we would rate these as a fantastic set of headphones for around the house listening – recommended!