The Buyer's Guide

Find it, buy it and tell us how you really feel.

Bowers & Wilkins C5

Bowers & Wilkins C5

from  $149.99+
product image
82 Global Score
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.
82

There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Engadget Review

Those seeking iDevice-compatible in-ear headphones with a luxury finish and rich sound will find a lot to like in Bowers and Wilkins C5.

Read Full Review
82 Global Score
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.
82

There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Scores

Engadget

Not yet scored
 

User Reviews

80
anjrue
Best sound quality I've heard for in-ear headphones, but started cutting out...read more
50
DigitlDesign
I am a big B&W fan, owning numerous products. With that said, I absolutely...read more
60
Dembo
B&W's C5 are among the best sounding buds I've tried so far. The sound is...read more
Write a Review

Score Breakdown

 
78
Average user Score
 
80
anjrue
01.24.15
Best sound quality I've heard for in-ear headphones, but started cutting out after a year of pretty light use. Always treated with care and nothing visibly wrong with the cord. Would like to get another pair, but my own experience and general feedback I've read makes me worry too much about the durability.
 
50
DigitlDesign
01.11.15
I am a big B&W fan, owning numerous products. With that said, I absolutely hated these headphones. 1st the ear fitment was terrible as they always fell out and would never stay in for more the a few seconds. 2nd. The way the speaker wire loops through the speaker chamber was a cool design but terrible in the real world. 3rd was the speaker cable, which was thin as hell. Needless to said they were returned.In the end, I bought the B&O H3's which I love and still have.
 
60
Dembo
08.09.13
B&W's C5 are among the best sounding buds I've tried so far. The sound is very pleasant with a slightly elevated bass and the soundstage is huge for earbuds. Regarding comfort the C5 is a mixed bag: the drivers are made from tungsten, which is a rather lightweight metal but it still is a metal and much heavier than the plastic used for most earbuds. You have to lock the looped cable pretty hard into your ears to ensure that everything stays put and things can become uncomfortable pretty quickly. My biggest gripe, however, is that the cables break extremely easy - I went to three C5s during the 2 year warranty period granted by Bowers and Wilkins. I suspect that once again the heavy drivers put to much strain on on the cables every time the dangle e.g. from your neck. Given the price I would recommend stay away from the Bowers & Wilkins C5.
 
60
malberto
07.12.13
Get the perfect fit is not the easiest thing. The first step is find the right ear tips, the ones that came installed are so uncomfortable. The next step is learn how to use the secure loop system. Once this is done, the headphones are amazing, they produce an outstanding sound that will give a lot of life to any music track. Bowers & Wilkins people were not kidding about the slogan "concert for one". I don't know why the reviews say things like "they have a balanced sound", thats not true. Although the headphones produce nice and clear treble and great mid frequencies, the low ones have a clear predominance and sometimes the bass goes a little far. This is not a complain, the bass is high quality and its a joy to listen. The only flaw in sound department is the microphonics, there are huge amount of it, the good thing here is that when music start the problem stop.Regarding to comfort there are not complains. The headphones stay in place for hours while not hurting the ears, they just work the way is supposed to.Update: Durability is an issue, my pair just lasted a year and two months despite I treated them nice and carefully. Conclusion: The sound is great, but the durability is so poor.
 
80
atanvarno
05.20.13
These are beautiful, fit great, amazing pure sound. If B&W can fix the durability issues with channels getting dead after some use, I might revisit them. As it is, I would not buy them, unless you are living in a country where you can quickly get a replacement from B&W (I'm not).
 
60
Rob214
03.26.13
I heard a lot of good things about the sound quality and sound design of these earphones - so I was really excited to get them even though I knew the fit would take some getting used to. At first I was really happy with the sound, and appreciated that I could hear outside noises and it didn't feel like my ear canals were in a pressure chamber - I don't want to lose my hearing when it can be helped. The sound design of the acoustic chamber is excellent - everything else is fair to poor - the audio jack is too long and hard, the control is a round circle so you can't always tell where to press which is just a poor experience, and the cables get tangles and stuck together very easily creating additional hassle.After owning them for a few months, I have to say I'm disappointed in the durability of these headphones. In spite of having a very stiff audio jack, the audio cable had obviously become loose because the sound started disappearing from either the right or the left depending on a random position.
 
100
enona
01.13.13
A gadget unicorn - Engadget
 
80
mattijzz
12.12.12
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws. - Engadget
 
100
unknownsolo
09.26.12
I went from the Bowers and Wilkins P5 to this one, they both gave me the same audio quality except the C5 is more mobile, also I love the fact that you get the same audio quality but way less weight on your head. These IEMs are great, I never thought I can get this kind of sound from IEMs.Another reason i had to depart with my P5 was the inline mic, it was just too sensitive and picks up every background noise out there. Not with the C5 though, the C5 has a different inline mic that blocks out most of the background noise when in a phone call, I actually use them for gaming, plugged in to Astro Mixamp 5.8, this combo delivers great audio quality plus mobility. delivers great music quality, great for movies and for games, I use the inline mic to chat with teammates and it compares to their best gaming headset mics.
 
100
JoshMRogers
09.21.12
A gadget unicorn - Engadget