Published on November 6th, 2016 | by Greg0
Bowers & Wilkins P3S2: The Second Time Sounds Even Better
It’s not very common to see a second edition that improves on a model with updated materials and simultaneously reduces the price. Sure, improvements in battery life and other technologies mean that we are used to seeing regular cycles of upgrades, but though your gadgets might get lighter and smaller, they rarely ease up on the wallet at the same time. Today we’re looking at a set of headphones that buck the trend, and are the perfect stocking stuffer for someone with a taste for portable audio.
The Bowers & Wilkins P3 Series 2 on-ears are light, foldable, and truly portable- small enough to slip into a purse or even a large pocket. Like some of the most expensive headphones out there, these come with two cable options, one with a microphone and remote for use with your Apple iOS mobile devices and the other a universally compatible basic connection. The P3S2s aren’t Bluetooth, so you don’t need to worry about battery life, and they don’t offer noise cancellation either. But they do utilize sleek real sheep leather instead fabric on the earpads and headband, which was one of our only negative comments, and they look great too.
If they look familiar, it’s because Bowers and Wilkins boasts a lineup with a few distinct models that share a similar overall aesthetic. We checked out the original P3s back in mid-2012, the slightly larger P5 second edition, and most their higher-end top-of-the-line P7s as well (plus the occasional wireless version, not yet available in this form factor). The P3S2s are the trimmed down sibling, but come with perhaps the best carrying case of the bunch, a protective hard shell that is quite sturdy. There aren’t any crazy colors; even the C5 in-ears come in black with aluminum metal accents.
The internals have changed a little- the 30mm drivers have been redesigned but the sound signature is pretty in-line with our past experiences. It’s a balanced, authentic, and even at loud volumes we never got a hint of distortion. Bass was prominent but not overwhelming, deep and capable of true low-end and there’s a ton of detail (to the point of a little crispness and brightness on some tracks). These are a little less comfortable than the other family members, trading plushy cushions for a more compact profile, and on larger heads they may be too firm. But for everyone else, these are reasonably priced, friendly, and they look fantastic. Expect to spend around $149 online and in stores for the B&W P3 Series 2 headphones.