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Our Favorite Tech of 2011: Bowers & Wilkins P5 Headphones

By Norman Chan

There's a good reason why I've worn these headphones almost every day for the past year, including on cross-country flights.

The look on my face when I first tried on the Bowers & Wilkins P5 headphones at this past year's CES says it all: these were a different breed of audio animal. New Zealand sheepskin, as it turns out. But the buttery soft leather pads on these headphones aren't what made me fall in love with them. It was the audio quality, of course--crystal clear but not tinny or heavy on bass. Just what my collection of melodic indie pop deserves.

These aren't the best-sounding headphones ever made, nor would some people consider its audio quality alone worth the spendy $300 admission price. But that's what it is: an admission to a superior music-listening experience; the combination of aural clarity, unparalleled comfort, surprisingly effective noise isolation, and stylish (but not garish) design. I've worn these headphones almost every day for the past year, including on long train rides and cross-country flights. I've even convinced Brad at Giantbomb to pick up a pair, which he now swears by for gaming at his desk.

After a year, the noise-isolating pads feel well worn-in instead of worn out.

And yes, these on-ear headphones are Lobot-friendly, for those of us who are coif-conscious.

Image via Jon Snyder/Wired.com