Bower & Wilkins P7 wireless headphones are all luxe and great performance

It was announced on the second day of the month, and, well, here it is: The wireless version of Bower & Wilkins P7 headphones.

Well, how are they? As great as Id hoped, but there are some changes that were made that seem out of place. But rest assured: Despite beingtailored to the mid and high frequencies, theystill have those warm, roomy lows for bass.

Price as reviewed: $399 at B&W

At a glance

  • Impedance: 23 ohms (passive)
  • Bluetooth codes: aptX, AAC, SBC
  • Weight: 323 grams
  • 370mAh battery
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Comes with leather case and audio/charging cables

Its about luxury and sound

dsc_2565Taking them right out of the box, youll understand what you paid for. Leather, metal and plush memory foam ear cups are the basis for the wireless P7s aesthetic. Like, look at those hinges!

Being worn for extended periods of time, I find that theyre comfortable.

Like, look at those hinges!

You might think this is a very subjective opinion, but over-ear headphone comfort can be boiled down tothree points: not causing an immense amount of pressure on the temples; encapsulating the ear (and not resting on it); not leaving a massive imprint (again, pressure) on the top of your head.

A delicate balance between these three characteristics usually means that the headphones can balance themselves on your head, rather than being worn like some sort of audio helmet.

And all of these observations are made using the Bluetooth mode, which is important if youve purchased an iPhone 7 recently.

Now, with comfort out of the way, lets talk about audio quality: Its what $400 in audio hardware should usually provide. Punchy bass, clarity and a feeling of isolation that is not to be confused with noise-cancelling headphones after all, these arent but more akin to being in a very quiet room thats always filled with music. No matter the genre of music, it sounds like its been enriched while not losing any of the inherent qualities of the music.

And all of these observations are made using the Bluetooth mode, which is important if youve purchased an iPhone 7 recently. Speaking of which: battery life. B&W says the P7 wirelesslasts 17 hours, and it turns out theyre not entirely wrong: Depending on whether or not I make calls using the (very solid) built-in microphone, I find myself squeezingout 15 hours of collective not continuous usage.

Now that Ive praised the auditory experience of Bower & Wilkins P7 wireless headphones, its time to take it down a notch and come to terms with its shortcomings. There arent too many, but they arethere.

dsc_2591While not an immense setback, the lack of touch-based controls can be considered bland, considering the varietyof cleversolutions that rival companies like Bang & Olufsen and Harman Kardon employ in their higher-end headphones. Here, B&W gives you three rather indistinct buttons: volume up/down and play/pause.

The sliding power button also doubles as the pairing button if you hold it down for three seconds. None of these approaches are inherently wrong or non-functional, but theyre not novel, and not what I expect from a company like Bower & Wilkins.

While some might argue that touch-based controls are hit-and-miss, theyve become accurate nowadays, even with the threatof wireless interference from the Bluetooth headphones they are mounted on.

Bottom line

dsc_2580-2Now its time for honesty: Not everyone is in the market for a $400 pair of headphones.But, if you happen to be, love the color black (which you should) and are conscious about Bluetooths inevitable rise (hopefully), then theyre worth a look. Or, perhaps you havent a choice, because you bought an iPhone 7; woe is you.

Regardless of what your reasons are for buying into Bluetooth headphones, B&W has a winning productwith the P7 wireless. Ill be glad to keep using them until I find something better.

Or maybe, something with touch controls.

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