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Reviewed on Feb 26, 2016

Philips Fidelio NC1 HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
6.6
Mixed Usage
7.2
Critical Listening
6.6
Commute/Travel
6.1
Sports/Fitness
6.5
Office
6.0
TV
6.5
Gaming
Type : On-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Philips Fidelio NC1 are surprisingly great "on-ear" headphones that have remarkably accurate audio reproduction. They lack a little in their build quality and noise isolation but are quite comfortable for an "on-ear" design.

Test Results
Design 6.9
Sound 7.1
Isolation 7.4
Microphone 6.5
Active Features 6.8
Connectivity 5.5
Pros
  • Comfortable "on-ear" design.
  • Great audio reproduction.
Cons
  • Lacking volume controls.
  • Slim, potentially fragile build quality.
  • Treble delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to positioning.
  1. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  2. Update 10/2/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  3. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

Check Price

NC1/27 Fidelio
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Test Results

Style

The Fidelios are well-crafted, stylish on-ear headphones. The blend of high-grade plastic and metal gives the Fidelios a high-end appeal. They have a glossy, gray finish on the earcups and a matte black, rubber cover on the headband. The Philips branding is subtle and the overall design looks sleek and feels modern.

7.0 Comfort
Weight : 0.45 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0.70 lbs

The Fidelios rest comfortably on the head. They don't feel too tight and the padding on the ear cups is soft and pleasant. However, the lack of padding on the thin headband and the on-ear design are the main reasons they don't feel as comfortable for everyone.

4.8 Controls
Ease of use : Good
Feedback : Good
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : No
Talk-Through
:
No
Additional Buttons : No

Button layout on the Fidelios is simple and provides good tactile feedback but does not offer much control. The ear cups only have a noise cancelling switch, which is easy to use. Unfortunately, the in-line controls on the audio cable only have a play/stop button and no volume controls.

5.5 Stability

The Fidelio NC1 are, unfortunately, not stable headphones. They don't apply much pressure to your head for the sake of comfort, which means they will easily slide off your ears during physical activity. They're not good for gym use but will stay in place during casual listening sessions. They also have a detachable cable that will disconnect if its gets hooked on something.

6.5 Portability
L : 4.13 "
W : 5.71 "
H : 2.56 "
Volume : 60.45 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The Fidelio NC1 are mid-sized on-ear headphones. They're moderately portable and don't take up too much space in a bag. They also fold into a more compact format and will fit comfortably in a jacket pocket but will be too big for regular pant pockets.

8.0 Case
Type : Hard case
L : 4.72 "
W : 6.69 "
H : 2.76 "
Volume : 87.11 Cu. Inches

Comes with a stylish and sturdy, hard case that will protect the headphones from scratches, falls, and mild water damage. It also doesn't add much bulk to the headphones.

7.5 Build Quality

Build quality is decent for an on-ear design. They feel sturdy and the blend of metal and plastic is used well to give the Fidelio a high-end look. The padding on the ear cups is soft but the headband has little padding and is very thin which may not be the most durable design. The frame also has many hinges, which are potential breaking points for the headphones.

7.6 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 2.8 C
Cable
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.17 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS

Comes with a 1/8" TRRS-TRRS with call/music but no volume control.

Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
8.9 Bass
Std. Err.
:
1.62 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-0.36 dB
Mid-Bass
:
-2.61 dB
High-Bass
:
-0.09 dB
9.4 Mid
Std. Err.
:
0.81 dB
Low-Mid
:
1.0 dB
Mid-Mid
:
0.25 dB
High-Mid
:
-0.36 dB
7.4 Treble
Std. Err.
:
3.98 dB
Low-Treble
:
4.11 dB
Mid-Treble
:
0.33 dB
High-Treble
:
-3.42 dB
6.5 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.76 dB

The Fidelio NC1 have an average consistency performance. The bass delivery is quite good and consistent. However, there can be large variances in their high-frequency delivery across different users and positions by as much as 6dB, most likely due to their ear cup design.

2.2 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
3.98 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
-0.07 dB
PRTF Distance
:
-4.66 dB
Openness
:
2.4
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
3.6
Correlated Crosstalk
:
-0.02 dB
9.0 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.11
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.29
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.38
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
5.09
6.4 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
14.936
Weighted THD @ 100
:
14.233
7.6 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-19.96 dB
Bass
:
-15.3 dB
Mid
:
-17.99 dB
Treble
:
-26.76 dB
Self-Noise
:
16.98 dB

Decent noise cancelling, especially for on-ear headphones. In passive mode, the reduction starts at around 100Hz, nearly reaching -30dB at 4KHz. The active noise cancelling does a good job too, peaking at -25dB at 90Hz, and consistently remaining below -11dB.

6.9 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
40.25 dB

Very good leakage performance, which is expected of on-ear headphones. Leakage should not be an issue in most situations except at very high volumes, but the profile is rather broadband, ranging from about 500Hz to 7KHz.

6.5 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
354.04 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
1.78 dB
HFE
:
2712.23 Hz
Weighted THD
:
0.153
Gain
:
14.26 dB
6.5 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
17.37 dB
0 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
10 Latency
Default Latency
:
0 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A
7.6 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
:
23.3 hrs
Charge Time
:
2.2 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
No
Audio while charging
:
Yes
Passive Playback
:
No

The Philips Fidelio NC1 have a decent battery life that will last about a full day of continuous playback. They can continue streaming audio while charging and which takes about 2.2 hours when connected to a wall power outlet. However, they don't have an auto-off timer, so your battery will keep being drained even when you're not using them.

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

No compatible app.

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
9.1 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
Android
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
PC Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
In the box

  • Philips Fidelio NC1 Headphones
  • Audio cable
  • Airline Adapter
  • USB cable
  • Manual
  • Carrying case

6.6 Mixed Usage

The Fidelio NC1 make decent everyday headphones. They have an above average sound quality. They're compact and robustly built for an on-ear design. They're also versatile enough for loud environments thanks to their solid noise isolation performance. However, the on-ear design is not for everyone.

7.2 Critical Listening

Above-average for critical listening. They have fairly well balanced audio reproduction that's sound good with most tracks. But their closed back design limits soundstage.

6.6 Commute/Travel

Suitable for commuting. They will block some of the ambient noise on a train or bus, but it may not be enough for the noise of an international or local flight. However, their compact design, case, and sturdy frame make them easy to carry around on any trip.

6.1 Sports/Fitness

Decent but not optimized for sports. They're lightweight and not too bulky but unfortunately they're too unstable for running or strenuous exercise.

6.5 Office

Above-average for office. They block enough noise so that you won't hear the ambient chatter of the office. They also don't leak much, but they're are audible at high volumes.

6.0 TV

Average for home theater use. They have no latency since they're wired headphones. They're also comfortable and sound decent enough for listening to music and watching movies. Unfortunately, they have a short audio cable, so they won't be the ideal headphones to comfortably watch movies with from you couch.

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