“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

B&W C5 Headphones Mobile and iPhone Features


As A Mobile Phone Accessory

I’m going to assume that most prospective buyers will look to the C5s because of their audiophile pedigree.  Out of necessity, however, you’ll need or want to use these headphones with your phone.  I found the performance of these with my iPhones to be pretty good with one specific exception.  Let me explain:

The microphone is an intermittent problem.  At first glance it seems well placed on the cord of the left monitor.  It sits several inches below your mouth but not so far down that you’d think it would be too far away.  Nevertheless, on several phone calls people told me that they had trouble hearing me.  If I switched headphones—to Apple’s stock headphones for example—the problem wasn’t as bad.  Then, when I’d switch back to the C5s, the problem was still there.   

To be clear, it wasn’t every time.  If I had to venture a statistical number, I'd say it was perhaps one out of every nine or ten calls.  The difficulty people had hearing me happened in the car and on noisy sidewalks among other venues.  It is therefore possible that the microphone was having difficulty with ambient noise but it was really too difficult for me to pinpoint a definitive pattern.  From that repetitive experience I can only conclude anecdotally that the sensitivity of the microphone is problematic in certain scenarios.  The inability to determine a pattern was a bit frustrating, because using the headphones for phone calls was exceptional.  I've never used a more comfortable and natural-feeling set of headphones for phone calls. 

There was one unfortunate byproduct of the experience: even though it didn't happen every time, the complaint from people was frequent enough that when I was on the phone using the C5s, I kept wondering whether or not the person on the other end had issues hearing me properly.  I did, however, find a solution to the problem: lifting the microphone in my hand and holding it close to my mouth.  If I was ever on a call that I felt was important, then I lifted up the microphone to my mouth to eliminate any possibility of a problem.  Just make a note that if you do end up with a pair of C5s and someone is having a hard time hearing you,  lift the microphone close to your mouth and it will solve the problem.  Now, if you’re really trying to be completely hands-free, then that defeats the purpose a bit.  

Listening to phone calls was a completely different experience. Simply put, it was just wonderful, always intelligible, and trouble-free.  If there was a problem hearing someone, it was never due to the C5s.

Moving on  to the remote control, the remote is a circular barrel integrated in as part of the microphone.  There’s a slightly depressed, elliptical region right in the middle so that you can get your orientation and sense of the control stick.  Pressing on the upper portion increases volume, pressing on the lower portion decreases the volume.  If you press on the middle elliptical part two times, then it skips to the next song and pressing three times will go back to the previous song.  

B&W C5 Control Stick 

The microphone embedded in the control stick was disappointing at times

For iPhone-specific functionality, pressing and holding the middle-elliptical part of the barrel down will activate Siri on iOS devices. If you have Siri active, pressing the middle area once will completely exit Siri.  I didn’t encounter any major problems using Siri with the C5s. I always found that these functions worked as advertised and never had any issues in repeated testing.  


Confused about what AV Gear to buy or how to set it up? Join our Exclusive Audioholics E-Book Membership Program!

Recent Forum Posts: