28 February 2017
Designed for people who love music
Black leather and chrome finish
Brushed metal earcup plate
Compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, easy set-up, ear-cup controls, inline controls, hand's free calls
Bluetooth 4.1, Class 2
3.5 mm stereo jack
370 mAh Lithium Polymer battery
17 hour battery life
weight: 323 g
Leather carry case
No wires, no compromise on sound
High performance audio
Advanced acoustics technology
2 x 40 mm driver units
22 ohms Impedance
Over ear-pads, Optimise air-flow and block external noise, Immersive sound
Changable ear cushions
Dual cavity ear cushions, memory foam padded headband and earcups
Good sound quality
Stylish, comfortable design
Controls not intuitive
A look at Bowers & Wilkins latest release the P7 Wireless
Bowers & Wilkins have stuck with their traditional design and were not disappointed, why change what works? The minimalist design shouts premium quality and sophistication while the black leather & chrome combination states style and luxury, everything a premium set of headphones wants to say. Bowers & Wilkins have stated they designed the P7 wireless for people who love music, removing the wire but not comprising on sound quality and the lack of bold colours or plastic casing would definitely sit well amongst audiophiles. The P7 wireless are a set of over-ear headphones, the large oval ear-cups surround your ears blocking out some external noise while you listen to your favourite tunes. The ear-cups are covered in soft sheep leather making them very comfortable to wear and the headband is covered in a tougher black leather which is not as comfortable though as it just sits above your head it doesn’t really matter. The P7 have a somewhat ‘open’ feel to them as the joint and arm connecting the headband to the ear-cups are fully visible, almost industrial like and Bowers & Wilkins have used a shiny chrome finish which adds to the stylish design. Each ear-cup is adorned with a brushed metal earcup plate with the Bowers & Wilkins logo on it, not subtle but not gaudy, it works. While it may not be a new design it is definitely stylish and relevant, the subtle design will suit many users.
Ease of Use
Unlike some headphones that are made with one specific companion system in mind Bowers & Wilkins is not affiliated to one brand in particular, therefore the P7 Wireless is compatible with iOS, Android and Windows, in fact they will connect to any Bluetooth enabled device. Set-up is easy, once paired to a device the P7 will connect to that device anytime you want to listen to music, you will hear a little beep in your ear to indicate the headphones are connected. The P7 Wireless also been to indicate when powered on and off, unfortunately these beeps are very similar and difficult to tell apart, something Bowers and Wilkins should look into for the next release for easier use. The P7 Wireless are equipped with ear-cup controls, Bowers & Wilkins have gone for physical button rather than touch controls which I usually like to see on premium level headphones as they are more intuitive, though the buttons are not gaudy and blend in well with the design. However, the placement of the buttons means at times you will accidently press the volume button when taking the headphones off which can be annoying, that aside you will get used to the button placement after some use. The P7 Wireless headphones can also be used to take hand’s free calls, an expected feature these days, though I’m happy to report they work well while taking calls whether you are using an iOS or Android phone. If you run out of battery and are using the wired connection to listen to music, Bowers and Wilkins have provided a cable with in-line controls so you don’t need to reach for your device to adjust volume or skip tracks.
Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless connect to any Bluetooth or aptX Bluetooth enabled device. Connectivity is strong, Bowers & Wilkins have improved connectivity since previous designs like the P5 which experienced some drops in connectivity at times, however the P7 Wireless enjoys optimised connectivity, I did not experience any drop in connectivity while testing. Whether your battery is gone or you just want to listen with a wired connection the P7 Wireless also has a 3.5 mm stereo jack so you can hook up to your device with a cable.
Bowers & Wilkins have packed the P7 Wireless with a 370 mAh Lithium Polymer battery which they say will give you 17 hours of battery life, which is actually quite an accurate statement. 17 hours battery life is quite impressive for over-ear headphones, though as the P7 does not have Active Noise Cancellation it’s not too surprising. One issue I did have is that you do not get an indication of how much battery is left when you put the headphones on, there is an indicator light but I would like to be advised when the ‘battery is low’ so I can charge the headphones for my next use or indeed ensure I have my cable with me.
The P7 Wireless is by no means lightweight, weighing a sizeable 323 grams the P7 Wireless certainly feel like a premium set of headphones. While some might find them too heavy you certainly notice them after a number of hours use, they are not so heavy that they become so uncomfortable that you want to take them off, but you will feel them. Bowers & Wilkins have used a foldable design like they have in previous headphones, which means they can fold down to almost half their size and will also easily fit into the leather carry case provided. The case is a leather pouch, not a hard carry case which some prefer, though as it’s a tough leather it does protect the headphones quite well.
Bowers & Wilkins state the P7 enjoy ‘no wires and no compromise in sound’ and we certainly agree with that. While wireless headphones are getting better with each year, with most you will notice the difference between wired connection and wireless even a small difference, however, with the P7 Wireless I found the wireless sound quality just as good as the wired connection. The P7 Wireless enjoy high performance audio thanks to advanced acoustics technology with two 40 mm driver units and 22 ohms Impedance. Bass is rich and powerful while highs are clear and crisp without being pitchy, and mids are well defined. Bowers & Wilkins have produced a rich, high quality and well defined sound that will suit all genre’s of music. Most songs sound well balanced though certain tracks with a very heavy bass result in the mids loosing some clarity, not so much that it’s drowned out but you will notice the difference. Overall the sound quality is very impressive and will impress even serious audiophiles, though given the price you expect some serious sound quality.
While the P7 Wireless doe snot enjoy Active Noise Cancellation, which I would have liked, the over ear-pads with memory foam cushion do provide some level of noise isolation. The ear-pads optimise air-flow and block out some external noise to allow you to enjoy immersive sound, get lost in the music.
Given the price you would expect any premium level headphone to last you a long time and the P7 Wireless is no exception. Bowers & Wilkins have used premium level materials, which you can tell by the weight and also they have provided the headphones with changeable ear cushions, after a lot of use this is usually where you will see deterioration and you can just purchase a new set of ear-pads, replace them and the headphones are like new again.
The P7 Wireless headphones come with dual cavity ear cushions that have memory foam padding making them very comfortable to wear. The headband is also padded though the tough leather means it’s not as soft and comfortable as the ear cushions. Headband tension is strong, so much so you don’t need to have the headband resting on the top of your head, but not so tight that it’s uncomfortable, the P7 feels secure on your head.
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