Let's take a look at a sweet pair of audio cans, Bowers & Wilkins' P3 headphones. We took a look at the P3's big brother, the P5's, a while back.
We mentioned in the P5 review - Bowers & Wilkins, or B&W as they're generally referred to, have been around since 1966 making high-end audio equipment. Back then, it was John Bowers and his buddy Roy Wilkins, handcrafting speakers in the back of an electronics shop. They're a British company, based in Worthing, England (West Sussex) - and really, if you aren't already familiar with B&W, you probably aren't an audio enthusiast.
In the Box
If Apple's packaging is day, Bowers & Wilkins packaging is night. Clean, simple, black heavy packaging features a simple photo of the P3s, the brand name, and the model name, P3.
Inside the box is a black foam bed with the hard plastic included case. You'll find the folded P3 headphones in the case, along with a plastic-wrapped product booklet (not sure why that plastic is necessary), a female 3.5mm to male 1/4" adapter, and an extra cable for the phones. A place for everything, and everything in it's right place.
The P3 headphones are well designed. The acoustic cloth earpads (the headband part has the same material) are soft and sit well on the ears. I've used the P3s in airplanes a couple times now, and they were very comfortable throughout the 6 hour trips.
One cool thing about the P3s - they fold up to a compact size. You can fit them well in a jacket pocket or your bag, which I did. I didn't use the included hard case, as its width added some bulk which I didn't want. They seem durable enough - I have brought these phones on a couple trips and out and about a few times, always folded up in my bag, with no wear and tear at all on them. The aluminum and rubber materials used in the P3s give them a light, but strong feel.
The acoustic cloth earpads come off each side, to reveal the 30mm drivers underneath. The right earbud has a changeable cord in case you'd like to switch to the included cable without inline mic, speaker, and iPod/iPhone controls.
Compared to the P5 headphones, you can see where some cuts have been made to make a less expensive product. Gone is the sheepskin leather everywhere, replaced instead by rubber, cloth, and aluminum. The metal is slightly thinner, but the phones still feel solid and well-built.
The P3 headphones come in black or white.
The P3s sound brilliant. The mid range is great - which is so nice when compared to some of the bass-heavy DJ-style phones all over the market. Highs come through with crisp clarity, and lows are present and full. The P5s have a heavier bottom end, but you'll definitely hear all the lows with the 30mm drivers of the P3s.
I heard clean reproduction of sound
Price / Conclusion
You can pick up the P3 headphones at Apple.com for $199.95 in white or black. Of course - we've also got a pair for giveaway, courtesy of the folks at B&W. Use the widget below to get entries into the raffle giveaway!
We're giving the P3 a 4.5 leaves rating. It's easy to listen to the clean, full sound of the P3s for long periods of time - they're our favorite sub-$200 headphones. Easy portability, great sound, and timeless style make B&W's P3 headphones a perfect way to listen to your iDevices.