Have you ever listened to a track that you love, that you have listened to a million times, but that for the first time gives you sonic details you’ve never heard before? Does it ever seem that i lows of a song wiped out the rest of the world and make you forget all that is not music? These are all things we have experienced while listening to the crystal clear and enveloping audio of the earphones Philips Fidelio T1 during testing for this review.
No, trust me: the Hi-Res Audio headphones are not like ‘regular’ earphones‘. The audio care of these headphones is heavenly. But also the dimensions are definitely above average (and not everyone will be comfortable) and in this price range (or just above) the competition from other premium brands is considerable. In this review we try to help you understand if the Philips Fidelio T1 is for you.
The packaging of these headphones is not ‘elegant’ like what you can find in many brands specializing in music technology. It looks like the same kind of box where you can find Philips earphones that cost a tenth. But once opened, the feeling changes.
The case in shiny metal has a premium style, with the writing in gray Fidelio on the front and the USB-C charging port on the back. At the top the upholstery in pelle Muirhead with the Philips bas-relief writing adds a touch of elegance. Too bad it is a little too big: it is wider than our smartphone and significantly thicker, and the weight feels in your pocket.
Opening it we find the two earphones, which in the case are really beautiful. There brushed aluminum finish black looks like it makes us hear quality audio before we even put them on. Both have a shiny plastic circle, Philips on the left and Fidelio on the right, with an LED each that glows blue and white to signal the connection or low battery.
Lifting them, however, we realize immediately generous in sizeand, above all, of the plastic “bean shape” that adheres to the ear, on which the headset is grafted. These headphones are great, there’s no way not to notice it.
They are almost as long as some “stem” models (AirPods style), but instead of having a thin stem they have a look like an old Bluetooth headset before smartphones arrived. Even if a million times more elegant. They come easily to the lobe of our ears, and even those who have them bigger will not be able to disguise the fact that they are big.
And heavier than average, no doubt. Although we must admit that once you have found the right eartips for you (between the three foam pairs and the four silicone pairs, in addition to the ones supplied), the grip on the ear is quite solid and you will forget the weight on the ear.
We have a tendency to constantly adjust the earphones in our ears, because we want maximum grip in all situations. And we found ourselves tweaking the Philips Fidelio T1s several times during the testing of this review. The weight of the headphones makes them move more than we would like when you move: they are not recommended for running and training active cardio.
But during a brisk walk not to miss public transport they held up well, we only fixed them a couple of times and someone less fussy than us shouldn’t do it at all. However, choosing the right ‘rubbers’ will be essential: You want maximum grip, especially for Hi-Res audio and ANC noise cancellation.
Philips put dynamic and balanced armature 10mm drivers in both earphones to reproduce high-resolution audio. So we connected through Bluetooth 5.2 with codec support LDAC (which we had to enable in Android Settings) and started playing tracks fino a 24 bits / 96 kHz.
The quick version of the effect these musical tests gave us during the Philips Fidelio T1 review is: wow. Listening Master of Puppets dei Metallica e Bohemian Rhapsody dei Queen we were able to fully appreciate the management of spatiality during playback, with an enveloping audio with truly brilliant mids and highs.
Using the Philips app to take advantage of the various EQ profiles, we invigorated bass reproduction before listening to tracks with complex production such as Stronger is Kanye West (and while we were there we listened again to the last album of Kendrick Lamar: with these headphones it’s even better). Not only i bassi engaging in a visceral way, but we loved when were detailed and precise. Tracks with a lot of range such as Free from Florence + The Machine they sound in all frequencies with a fullness of detail that no headset without Hi-Res Audio will be able to provide you: Find details you’ve never heard before with ‘normal’ headphones.
We also tested the headphones a little more scientifically using the Audiocheck, to verify the technical goodness of these headphones. Not only do they reproduce punctually over the entire tonal range, but the dynamic range is the best we’ve ever tested.
But what matters is the music reproduction and we have to admit that there are no tracks that these headphones have not made better, filling them with sound details. As if the traces had ‘thickened’, becoming truly three-dimensional.
Most of the time we have been testing the Fidelio T1 with ANC mode active. If with the silicone eartips we could still hear some noise, with those in foam the rest of the world practically disappeared (we loved listening to an audiobook with the Fidelio T1s). Our robot vacuum cleaner walked past our feet while we were at the test desk and we got scared: we hadn’t heard it coming. Also if you play higher (horn and alarms, for example) still manage to pass.
You can also activate a lighter ANC, which for example eliminates the wind very well if you are outdoors, or use the ‘smart mode‘which adapts the noise suppression to the situation. There ambient mode lets through enough sounds to walk the street smoothly, but can’t hold a conversation without removing the earphones.
Fortunately, if you remove the Fidelio T1 from your ears, the music stops after about a second. If you put it back in your ears, the music immediately restarts.
As you can imagine, when you make a call you will hear the other person very well. But thanks to the six microphones (three on each side)even the caller will be able to hear your natural tone of voice, without any uncomfortable compression.
There isn’t much isolation of your voice, but the Fidelio T1s do a good job of exalting your words enough to make them understand even in a louder environment. They are not professional headphones for calls, but they defend themselves well.
During video calling (and also when streaming on Netflix, Disney + or other services), the great one Bluetooth connection ensures that the synchronization between the speaker’s words on the screen and the sound in your ears is optimal.
The large plastic surface on both earphones serves for touch controls, to which we usually prefer physical buttons. Those of However, Philips Fidelio T1 are less ‘hypersensitive’ than often happens: you will not stop the music while you place them in your ear.
On the right earbud you can stop playback and answer calls, as well as switch between ANC modes with two taps and skip track with three. On the left you can enable the voice assistant. Google Assistant it can also read you notifications when you hear audio input, just double tap the left earbud. But unfortunately there is no touchless control saying “Hey Google” if you are away from your smartphone.
The generous dimensions of these earphones, in addition to allowing you to listen to high quality audio, also allow impressive autonomy. Get up to 9 hours of playback with ANC activated, which become 13 without. The case battery allows you to add 25 with ANC and another 35 hours without.
Charging on average lasts two hours (and you won’t have to do it more than once a week, while listening to a lot of songs). With 15 minutes you can guarantee an additional hour of listening. There is also wireless charging, which is always a welcome plus.
Philips has launched the Fidelio T1 with a rather important Italian price, a 299,99 euro. But the price has dropped significantly since then. If on Amazon the price of the white variant costs still about 240 eurosthe price of the black ones which about 170 euros (and online you can also find some slightly lower prices).
At this price point it competes with some of the best ‘generalist’ true wireless earbuds on the market. At the level of audio quality it is though decidedly superior, iclearly evident even to the less experienced. But they stay quite cluttered (they aren’t quite discreet) and not everyone will find them comfortable to wear. The fact that also some of the direct rivals (like the top of the Sony range) have come down in price, albeit not so much, it means that there are valid alternatives even among the products for high fidelity audio.
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