Philips is an interesting brand. It’s been making electrical items and carrying out innovative research in the Netherlands since 1891 and has scored some significant inventions over the years including the Compact Cassette and as a joint developer of the Compact Disc, along with Sony.
The company began making lightbulbs and now it employs some 80,000 people across 100 countries. Philips is involved in everything from TVs to MRI scanners. Philips is a canny company in that as soon as it’s researched a product, it often licenses its technology to a suitable manufacturing partner and doesn’t get itself bogged down in fickle consumer markets.
One area that Philips has quietly done some excellent research is in the headphones market. The brand’s Fidelio models are made under license by TP Vision, the same company that makes Philips TVs. TP Vision makes some excellent products and the company’s TVs and headphones have received critical acclaim over the years.
One of the latest audio products to come from the Philips stable is the new Fidelio T1 true wireless (TWS) earphones aimed at the premium consumer. A quick look and feel of these new earbuds confirm that they are premium earbuds. Not only do they feel well made, but the materials used, from the bespoke Muirhead Scottish leather to the brushed metal finish, ooze high quality. These are large earbuds and they do feel heavy. The heft adds to the luxury impression although some people could find the size and weight a little on the chunky size.
A large 10mm dynamic driver in each earpiece – as well as a balanced armature for the treble frequencies – serve up a big sound that’s nimble and sure-footed with a wonderfully well-balanced tone. True wireless earbuds don’t sound much better than the Fidelio T1. I love the way they sound with an EQ that’s perfectly pitched between the bass, mids and trebles without ever sounding overblown or too excitable.
Like most premium TWS earbuds these days, the Philips Fidelio T1 included Active Noise Cancelation (ANC) which uses no fewer than six microphones – three in each earbud – for picking up the user’s voice and for sampling external sounds and subtracting the unwanted noises while the music being played. The amount of ANC can be set manually or the user can opt for adaptive noise canceling to suit the amount of sound at any given moment. There’s also an ambient mode for allowing a certain amount of external sound to be fed through to the listener’s ears.
There’s a Philips Fidelio app available for download that works with iOS and Android devices and can be used to customize the T1 earbuds and for setting the ANC levels etc. The app is particularly well coded, stable and easy to use.
The effectiveness of the Fidelio T1’s ANC is boosted by excellent passive noise isolation created with the choice of six sizes of silicone ear tips and three sizes of Comply foam tips. Once the user has chosen the correct size and type of tip, they’ll find that the T1 not only feel comfortable (despite their large size) but also form an excellent acoustic seal that creates a great sound even with the ANC function turned off.
The Fidelio T1 earbuds use the latest version of Bluetooth 5.2 wireless technology and include support for nearly every audio codec imaginable including AAC, aptX HD and LDAC. The Philips smartphone app can be used to update the T1’s firmware as and when needed. The earbuds can be paired using Google Fast Pair with Android handsets. Each earbud has touch controls for skipping tracks, ending and accepting phone calls, adjusting volume levels and turning ANC on and off.
A push-to-talk facility enables hands-free use and activation of Google Assistant. The battery life is excellent at 9 hours of continuous playback with ANC turned on. There’s a further 25 hours of backup power in the charging case. With ANC turned off, it’s possible to get up to 13 hours of playing time from the earbuds and 35 hours of recharging power from the case. A full charge takes two hours while one hour of extra playback is available with a 15-minute burst charge. There’s also a wireless charging function 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 Muirhead sustainable leather insert in black or tan on the top of the charging case.
An IR wear sensor detects when the earbuds are in place and can pause the music the moment one earbud is removed. There’s also a function that enables either earbud to be used on its own in mono mode. Finally, the Fidelio T1 have a splashproof rating of IPX4, making them ideal for jogging in the rain.
Verdict: The Philip Fidelio T1 true wireless earbuds feel incredibly well made. If small and dainty earbuds is what you’re looking for, these may not be the ones for you. But I don’t mind the extra size, especially as it provides so much more power, and you want support for all the high-quality audio codecs, the Philips Fidelio T1 are hard to beat with their premium build quality and stunning sound. These earbuds sound sublime and the smartphone app is solid and works brilliantly. Highly Recommended.
Pricing & Availability: The Philips Fidelio T1 true wireless earbuds are available now from Amazon and other resellers priced at $299.99 / £249.99 / €299.99.
More info: www.philips.com
• Impedance: 16Ω
• Drivers: 10mm dynamic and balanced armature
• Sensitivity: 103 dB (1K Hz)
• Frequency range: 7 – 40 000 Hz
• Maximum power input: 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 10m
• Bluetooth profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP
• Water resistance: IPX4
• Music play time (ANC on): 9 + 25 hr
• Music play time (ANC off): 13 + 35 hr
• Battery type (Earbud): Lithium-ion, 55mAh
• Battery type (Charging case): Lithium polymer 600mAh
• Charging time: 2 hours
• Fast charging time: 15 mins for 1 hr
• Wireless charging: Yes
• Eatips 6 x silicone and 3 x Comply foam
• Dimensions (W x H x D): 8.49 x 5.15 x 3.24cm
• Weight: 0.109kg