Bowers & Wilkins designed its first over-the-ear headphones to raise the bar for mobile sound quality – but can audiophile critics hear the difference?
In short: yes! Consumer and hi-fi technical press alike are smitten, it seems, with the P7 Mobile Hi-Fi approach to headphone drive units, design and style.
The P7 headphones have already picked up awards including What Hi-Fi Sound & Vision‘s “Best portable on-ears £300+” 2013. The serious sound bible also said: “They represent the height of headphone performance at this price level.” PC Mag gave P7 an Editor’s Choice Award, saying: “It’s a fantastic, handsome headphone”, while P7 gets another Editor’s Choice Award from Digital Trends, saying: “P7 match their elegant and graceful design with a luscious display of clarity, power, and dynamic expression.”
Online technology specialist sites love P7. iLounge said they were “Recommended”: “Beautiful, comfortable, and sonically effortless to enjoy”; while “Will Turn Heads, Delight Ears” was Mashable‘s Mashable Choice award verdict.
“They tick every box for comfort, design, and – let’s not forget – sound quality” said Pocket-Lint‘s 5-star review. “Perhaps the first and most impressive thing when taking the P7 pair out of the box is the feel … then you put them on and things get even better,” continued the review, concluding, “we’re genuinely very impressed.”
About.com said: “If you crave a more dynamic, detailed and exciting sound, get the P7 … I prefer the P7′s comfort, form factor and styling.” And technology specialist magazine T3 considered P7: “A class-topping combination of premium materials and durability, comfort, timeless style and phenomenal sound quality.”
Mainstream media have also been effusive about P7. Forbes said: “Sound and look great. Definitely worth checking out.” and The New York Times said: “The aural precision is pretty amazing; it’s like sitting in a sound studio.” “A pair of headphones that is in a masterclass of its own,” said Chip Chick. And Shortlist‘s verdict was: “The P7s are unlike anything we’ve ever tested before: these aren’t headphones, but headspeakers, generating improbably tight sounds. Every aspect of their tone is close to perfect.”
Wired.com called the build quality and materials “exquisite” and praised the fact that they’re user serviceable, so cables and ear pads can be swapped out in seconds. It concluded P7s “sound great and they’re classy. But they’re also an investment. Continue to treat them well, and they’ll likely continue to delight your ears for a very long time.”
P7 has also garnered great reviews around the world. For example, Auriculares-HIFI.com says the headphones are “exceptional for daily use… without any doubt a serious option for use at home.” The reviewer was also pleasantly surprised that the high-end headphones didn’t attract attention on the street.
Meanwhile Spanish site Old & New Sound praises P7’s sound insulation that makes them “a great candidate… for use outdoors and busy areas” and says that the sonic performance “exceeded my expectations.” And Soynadie Periodismo Urbano calls them “portable headphone royalty.”