Small on-ear headphones have a weird place in this hobby. They are extraordinarily small, heavily marketed for casual use, but tend to be expensive for the sound they provide making them almost a non-option for most headphone enthusiasts.
The Bowers and Wilkins P5 S2 is one of them and in this review, we’ll determine if this specific headphone is even worthy of a look in the grander scheme of things.
The B&W P5 S2 is a small sealed on-ear that retails for 16,500 pesos and is available locally through Toyama Inc which also happened to send me this headphone for review. If you’re reading this outside the Philippines, you can check it out Amazon here.
As the name suggests, this is the second iteration of the original P5 which was well-liked at the time. There are minimal differences in how the S2 looks but they’re both quite extravagant with plenty of high-quality materials used in the constructions. Here are some photos:
The P5 model from B&W has always looked sophisticated. Whether it’s the glossy silver gimbal/yoke that holds the earcups, the sheep’s leather pads and headband, or the rectangular cups, the P5 screams elegance. It is such a beauty for a small form factor like this.
Accessories are quite sparse. Inside the box, you only get a spare cable and a quilted soft carry case that looks nice but is not gonna do much to protect the headphone. Nothing else which is quite disappointing for a headphone this expensive.
The absence of plastic and superb overall construction makes for a premium fit and finish of the P5. I think this is a headphone that you can look at and you instantly can tell it’s not a cheap headphone. I would say though this type of styling is not for everyone and some people have actually noted the P5 is designed more for females which I can kinda understand.
Finally, it’s got a one-button microphone in the cable that works for both iOS and Android devices. This microphone is also capable of playing and pausing your music.
Isolation & Comfort
Both areas are heavily affected by the type of headphone the P5 is and how it’s constructed. While the premium materials make the headphone super comfortable, the on-ear fit is never gonna be as comfortable and secure as an over-ear fit. Because of the flat pads, they never couple to your ears so any movement will nudge the headphone a little on your ears.
Additionally, passive noise isolation is just average. The clamp isn’t so tight which is comfortable but I find it not having enough pressure to help in cutting down ambient noise.