Bowers and Wilkins knows a thing or two about creating quality luxurious headphones. Their latest attempt is the P7 Mobile Hi-Fi over-ear headphones. These are the kind of headphones that were designed to take on a rendezvous to Paris, or to compliment a slow drag on a long cigar while listening to the finest jazz.
The P7 is the grand-daddy of the entire ‘P’ line of Bowers and Wilkins headphones. This striking pair of headphones exude premium craftsmanship. The P7 is made with fine leather detailing on the headband, curved stainless steel arms (which are actually commonly found on all of the Bowers and Wilkins headphones), aluminum brushed logo plates, and soft leather ear cups that cup your ear for a snug fit. Really, the P7 takes the best of what the P5 and P3 have to offer and turns the dial up to 10. Lets not forget portability, the P7 folds and with its included pouch that can be placed into any type of bag with ease. However, lets make no mistake – these are definitely more bulkier than the rest of the headphones in this line.
While the P7 may be the first over-ear headphones from the premier audio brand – that doesn’t mean they have forgotten to deliver the goods on sound. As we have seen from KEF, Bang & Olufsen, and now Bowers and Wilkins – brands that specialize in high-end speakers are bringing that technology down to consumer headphones. To that effect, the P7 manages to envelop your entire ear with lush sound that swells your head. Unfortunately we didn’t get that sensation right away – we had to burn in these babies for a good 30 hours before we finally got them to place where we loved how they sounded, and now they get better and better as the days go by.
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While your Top 40 playlist will do just fine – it really doesn’t do the P7 justice. The real genres that peak with the P7 are classical orchestrations, classic rock, and deep rich vocals from the likes of Josh Groban, Andre Bocelli, and Patti LuPone. You feel and hear every instrument delivered in a pretty balanced format. The bass and mids are much more meatier than in the P3 and P5, but the highs are still very much the leader in the P7 as well. The sound is just big and wow, as if you were sitting in a concert hall listening to an intimate performance for a party of one.
The inline remote on the P7 is for iOS devices only and is also significantly better than other headphones of late. The remote is solid and durable and the buttons feel real and not like an after thought.
Bowers and Wilkins once again delivers a pair of headphones that is in a masterclass of its own. They will definitely appeal to brand loyalists or those who want a sophisticated and rich looking pair of headphones. The P7 retails for $399, so you will need some deep pockets, but we assume it’s those well heeled ladies and men who will gravitate to these headphones more than anyone else. The materials alone justify the price, let alone the audio experience. If you love your sound wrapped in luxury, then the Bowers and Wilkins P7 Mobile Hi-Fi headphones are for you.
The Good: Look and feel great. Smells like a new leather jacket out of the box. Comfortable for hours of listening. Balanced listening experience overall, but highs are emphasized on some tracks. Will probably out live you.
The Bad: Took nearly 30 hours to burn in. Ladies may not take to kindly to the bulky design. Would have been nice if the inline remote worked for other smartphones and not just iOS. Price may put some off, but you get what you pay for.