Bowers & Wilkins kicks out P3 headphones, brings upscale sound to the commoners (update)

Were you eying Bowers & Wilkins' P5 headphones, but put off by the initial $300 (now $250) sticker price and not so inclined to the in-ear C5? Someone at the company heard you, as we're now getting the P3 for a more affordable $200. What changes when you pocket the extra cash? You'll get aluminum and other hallmarks of buying the British outlet's audiophile gear, but the cost trimming brings a special "ultra-light acoustic fabric" instead of sheepskin leather and a more portable folding design instead of the pivoting earcups found on the P5. Bowers & Wilkins is light on performance details, but it promises that the design will be comfortable for long listening sessions, and there are both universal and Apple-friendly in-line remotes to make your phone calls and skip tracks. Black- and white-hued versions of the P3 should be hitting American shops in June.

Update: Ah, some things in this life are just too good to be true. In this case, a B&W representative has just informed us that the stated $250 price point for the P5 headphones was an error within the press release. They are indeed still $300.

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Concert for one

Bowers & Wilkins launches P3 headphones

P3 mobile hi-fi headphones. Perfect for true sound on the move. Custom-made drive units for detailed, natural sound. Specially designed ear pad fabric for improved acoustics and comfort. Rugged, yet lightweight construction. Foldable design. Available in white or black finishes.

P3 joins Bowers & Wilkins' growing range of high-performance mobile hi-fi headphones that already includes the P5 on-ear headphones and C5 in-ear headphones. With close to five decades' accumulated acoustic and design excellence behind it, P3 represents a new high in affordable mobile headphone performance.

P3 is portable and light, yet rugged. Built from aluminum and durable rubber, the headphones feature a custom-made, ultra-light acoustic fabric on the ear pad covers. P3 folds up for easy storage, and stows away into its own compact hard-shell carry case. There's also a choice of black or white finishes.

As you'd expect from Bowers & Wilkins, P3's high-performance sound is the result of countless hours of testing and tuning with some of the best, most experienced engineers and listeners in the business. The headphones are designed, engineered and tuned by the same engineers responsible for the highly-regarded P5 headphones, Zeppelin Air and the high-end 800 Series Diamond speakers found in Abbey Road Studios.

The P3's speaker diaphragms feature driver terminals that have been positioned to ensure uniform airflow, resulting in more linear movement and less distortion. Coupled with the use of ultra-linear neodymium magnets and precision damping this ensures smoother motion and therefore a more accurate, natural sound.

The ear pad fabric has been designed especially for P3 to improve the sound quality, but it is also very comfortable, allowing users to listen for longer. The use of memory foam cushions on the ear pads also improves the listening experience.

P3 comes with a hard carry case and a choice of cables: one with a remote/microphone attachment that works seamlessly with your iPhone®; and another that ensures compatibility with all other mobile phones and MP3 players. Swapping cables is easy, and simply involves popping off the replaceable ear pads.

The combination of high-performance features and smart design make P3 the headphones of choice for people who demand great sound on the move.

Bowers & Wilkins P3 headphones in Black or White will be available in June 2012, with a suggested retail price of $199.99.

Bowers & Wilkins P5 on-ear headphones in Black are available now at a suggested retail price of $299.99.

Bowers & Wilkins C5 in-ear headphones are available now at a suggested retail price of $179.99.