Philips is an interesting brand. The company has been manufacturing electronics and innovative research in the Netherlands since 1891 and has made some significant inventions over the years, including the Compact Cassette and as a joint developer of the Compact Disc with Sony.
The company began by manufacturing light bulbs and today employs around 80,000 people in 100 countries. Philips is involved in everything from TVs to MRI scanners. Philips is a smart company in that once it has researched a product, it often licenses its technology to a suitable manufacturing partner and doesn’t lock itself into volatile consumer markets.
One area where Philips has quietly done excellent research is the headphone market. The brand’s Fidelio models are manufactured under license by TP Vision, the same company that makes Philips televisions. TP Vision makes some excellent products, and the company’s TVs and headphones have garnered critical acclaim over the years.
One of the latest audio products from Philips are the new Fidelio T1 True Wireless (TWS) earphones, aimed at the premium consumer. A quick look at these new earbuds confirms that these are premium earbuds. Not only do they feel well made, but the materials used, from the bespoke Scottish Muirhead leather to the brushed metal finish, exude quality. These are large earbuds and they feel heavy. The weight adds to the luxurious feel, although some people might find the size and weight a bit on the chunky side.
A large 10mm dynamic driver in each earbud – as well as a balanced armature for the treble frequencies – deliver big sound that’s nimble and sure-footed with a beautifully balanced tone. True wireless earbuds don’t sound much better than the Fidelio T1. I love the way they sound with an EQ perfectly matched between bass, mids and treble without ever sounding overdone or too excited.
Like most premium TWS earphones these days, the Philips Fidelio T1 features active noise cancellation (ANC) that uses no fewer than six microphones – three in each earbud – to pick up the user’s voice and sample external noise and the unwanted noise to subtract music is played. The amount of ANC can be adjusted manually, or the user can opt for adaptive noise-cancellation to match the volume at a given moment. There’s also an Ambient mode that can be used to direct a specific amount of external sound to the listener’s ears.
There is a Philips Fidelio app available for download that works with iOS and Android devices and can be used to adjust the T1 earbuds, adjust ANC levels, etc. The app is particularly well coded, stable and easy to use.
The effectiveness of the Fidelio T1’s ANC is reinforced by excellent passive noise isolation created by the choice of six sizes of silicone eartips and three sizes of Comply foam tips. Once the user has selected the correct tip size and style, they will find that the T1’s are not only comfortable to the touch (despite their size), but also form an excellent acoustic seal, producing great sound even with the ANC function turned off .
The Fidelio T1 earphones use the latest version of Bluetooth 5.2 wireless technology and support almost every audio codec you can think of, including AAC, aptX HD and LDAC. The Philips smartphone app can be used to update the T1’s firmware if required. The earbuds can be paired with Android phones via Google Fast Pair. Each earbud has touch controls for skipping tracks, ending and answering calls, adjusting volume, and turning ANC on and off.
A push-to-talk feature enables hands-free use and activation of the Google Assistant. Battery life is excellent with 9 hours of continuous playback with ANC on. There is another 25 hours of emergency power in the charging case. With ANC off, it’s possible to get up to 13 hours of playtime through the earbuds and 35 hours of charging through the case. A full charge takes two hours, while an hour of additional playback is available with a 15-minute burst charge. There is also wireless charging capability with any Qi-compatible charging mat.
The Philips Fidelio T1 offers a premium design in black or silver with a brushed metal finish and a black or tan Muirhead sustainable leather insert on the top of the charging case.
An IR wear sensor detects when earbuds are attached and can pause music as soon as an earbud is removed. There is also a feature that allows each earbud to be used individually in mono mode. Finally, the Fidelio T1 is IPX4 splashproof, which makes it ideal for jogging in the rain.
Verdict: The Philip Fidelio T1 true wireless earphones feel incredibly well made. If you’re looking for small and petite earbuds, these might not be the ones for you. But the extra size doesn’t bother me, especially since it offers so much more power and you’ll want support for all high quality audio codecs. The Philips Fidelio T1 is hard to beat with its premium build quality and stunning sound. These earbuds sound great and the smartphone app is solid and works great. Highly recommended.
Prices & Availability: The Philips Fidelio T1 true wireless earbuds are available now from Amazon and other retailers priced at $299.99 / £249.99 / €299.99.
More info: www.philips.com
• Impedance: 16Ω
• Driver: 10 mm dynamic and balanced armature
• Sensitivity: 103dB (1kHz)
• Frequency range: 7 – 40 000 Hz
• Maximum power consumption: 5 mW
• ANC Technology: Hybrid
• Awareness mode
• Adaptive ANC via app
• Microphones: 4 for ANC and 2 for voice • Bluetooth version: 5.2
• Supported Codec: Aptx HD, LDAC, AAC, SBC
• Maximum range: up to 10 m
• Bluetooth profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP
• Water resistance: IPX4
• Music playtime (ANC on): 9 + 25 hrs
• Music playing time (ANC off): 13 + 35 hrs
• Battery type (earphones): Lithium Ion, 55 mAh
• Battery type (charging box): Lithium polymer 600 mAh
• Charging time: 2 hours
• Fast charging time: 15 minutes for 1 hour
• Wireless charging: Yes
• Eatips 6 x silicone and 3 x Comply foam
• Dimensions (W x H x D): 8.49 x 5.15 x 3.24 cm
• Weight: 0.109 kg