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Bowers & Wilkins P3

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£169.95 Best Offer by: amazon.co.uk See more offers
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      31.07.2013 23:22
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      If you're thinking of spending £170 on headphones, look no further

      After countless debacles with Beats by Dre headphones, which I have returned on every occasion, I've gone and took the plunge with the B&W P3s. They cost the same as the Beats Solo HDs, and in a good way for the P3s, I cannot see why. They simply run rings around the Beats. Here's why.

      First off, they are remarkably comfortable. They sit on the ear with cushions rather than the traditional ear cups. Plus they use memory foam, which over time will mould to the listener's ears. B&W have used lightweight aluminium and rubberised soft touch plastic in the construction. This makes them feel like the premium product they are. Compare this to the Solo HDs, which for the same money, offer cheap, shiny, brittle plastic, and pleather ear cup pads. The pads on the P3s use a special acoustic fabric, which B&W claim is designed for better sound quality, but more on that later.

      Bundled in the box are two cables, one with Apple remote, one without. Non Apple fans will appreciate the choice, as more often than not the remote equipped cable is useless to anyone without an iThing. While I hook these up to an iPhone 99% of the time, things like the gym TVs don't like the Apple cable. Thankfully you can chop and change the cable as much as you like. You do this by removing the ear cushions, which are magnetically attached. Furthermore, B&W offer reasonably priced replacement cables and ear cushions. Which is in contrast to both the Beats, where you will be charged extortionate fees for a replacement cable which might even be a fake, and the AKG K451, which are my previous champion pair of headphones. I loved these until about 6 months in, when the cables both broke, and official AKG replacements are near impossible to find, and AKG/Harman were not entirely helpful either. Back to the P3s, you get the replacement parts for the best price, direct from B&W's website, so you know they're genuine. Big thumbs up there then.

      Right then, the big one. If you're spending this much on headphones, you must at least have some concern about good sound quality. And this is where the P3s shine. Bass, mids, and trebles are all separate and distinct; nothing is lost (unless of course you use a poor quality sound file), instrument separation is spot on. Compare this to the similarly priced Beats Solo HD, which as I've said time and again, have far too much bass, which overpowers everything and destroys the listening experience. Somehow the Solo HDs make even the great masterpieces, like Who's Next, Led Zep 4 and so on, sound awful, even with the lossless format.
      Here's where the P3s come in. Drums bang, cymbals crash, guitars scream, there is little, if any need for improvement at all. They have plenty of bass, but it's not overpowering like the Solos, or indeed anything from Bose, who seem to confuse good sound quality with overpowering, skull shattering bass.

      So then, any downsides? Well, price aside, no. There's no getting away from the fact that these cost £170. But if you're thinking of spending this much on headphones, then there's not really anything else I can recommend, other than to not be a sheep and get Beats, they're not in the same league as the P3s. You'll be hard pressed to find anything better than the P3s for the same money, but if your budget can stretch to £250, the P3s bigger brother, the P5, offer much the same as the P3s, but more of it.

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    • Product Details

      Accessory for iPod / True sound P3 headphones reveal whatever you listen to in detail with pristine highs and lows, an open midrange and all round balanced and natural performance. Comfort Constructed from lightweight aluminium and durable rubber, with specially designed acoustic cloth ear pads with memory foam, P3 headphones are light and comfortable. Portability P3 headphones are highly portable, folding up for easy storage, with a hardshell carry case to protect them in your backpack or rucksack. Made for iPad, iPod and iPhone With an in-line remote control and mic, you can get the most out of your iPhone, iPod or iPad. Make hands-free iPhone calls and control your iPod without taking it out of your pocket or bag.