There is always one area in audio Technology that divides opinion of the consumers and it’s audio quality, finding ways to get the best sound from MP3s, streaming sites and apps.
The 50-year-old British audio company, Bowers and Wilkins just launched its latest set of headphones, the Bower & Wilkins P3 priced at $200. At a lower price point, P3 ($200) is evidently derived from B&W’s P5 ($500), which is to say that it’s almost as sexy as one of the best headphones at two-thirds the price. B&W P3 hits the shelves dominated by other big audio including Beats By Dr. Dre, which also has a very similar $200 set of headphones. Does the latest set of Bowers & Wilkins worth your money than any other leading headphone brands?
The brand new B&W P3s are sized to nearly cover average adult ears. Almost similar to the previous set P5, P3 has 30mm driver while the P5 uses a 40mm drive. The new set, P3, is also retro-styled finished with length-expanding and fabric-lined headband and rubber coated earpad that gives comfortable feeling and is available in either black or white. When adjusting to fit, the aluminium shafts that the earpieces are mounted on slip out of the headband in a smooth motion. These are the design of new set of headphone to bring out the best listening experience. To make P3 even more portable, Bowers & Wilkins included a hard plastic carrying case in a clamshell-style hinge that closes securely, a velvet lining, and a shape that feels rigid enough to make these a genuinely practical travelling headphone.
On the other hand, The Beats by Dre. Dre Solo is designed with glossy plastic looks and grips the head reasonably well and comfortable. The noise reduction feature works very well to cut out noise like the deep bass of engines and air conditioning noise. The packaging is great, very slick and professional and fine for portable use.
Both headphones come with a travel case and feature folding designs. They both have in-line audio controls. However, Beats Solo HD features a microphone that’s only compatible with iPods and iPhones.
Obviously, these headphones are designed with portability as their main selling point and not really for audiophiles.
The Beats Solo reproduces the bass better than the B&W P3 headphones when tested in Outkast’s Aquemini album. The bass is the standout point for Beats headphones. It is indeed deep and has plenty of impact. However, the heavy bass produces a constant strong hum that drowns out the mid tones. Though B&W P3 fails to pound, it provides a better overall sound with enough bass to satisfy most but while producing acceptable high and mid tones.
The Beats Solo HD obviously produces strong tone but that the only factor they are better than the other. The imaging is not as good and has inferior over tone than that of the Bowers and Wilkins’ P3. P3 might cost some penny (but still the same with Beats’) but with its truly beautiful industrial design, solid sound, compact size for an on-ear headphone and superior portability are reasons to consider it worthwhile. Bowers and Wilkins P3 is worthy of a strong general recommendation.