Philips Fidelio NC1 Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.3.1
Reviewed Feb 26, 2016 at 12:00 am
Philips Fidelio NC1 Picture
Test Methodology v1.3.1
6.4
Mixed Usage
7.0
Neutral Sound
6.7
Commute/Travel
5.9
Sports/Fitness
6.6
Office
5.3
Wireless Gaming
6.9
Wired Gaming
6.8
Phone Call
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.

Our Verdict

6.4 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.

7.0 Neutral Sound

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

See our Neutral Sound recommendations
6.7 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.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
5.9 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.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
6.6 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.

See our Office recommendations
6.9 Wired Gaming
6.8 Phone Call
  • 6.4 Mixed Usage
  • 7.0 Neutral Sound
  • 6.7 Commute/Travel
  • 5.9 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.6 Office
  • 5.3 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.9 Wired Gaming
  • 6.8 Phone Call
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 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  3. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  4. Update 10/2/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  5. 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

Design
Design
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
Design
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
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Android
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
N/A
Noise Cancelling 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.

7.6
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 2.8 C
6.5
Design
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
Design
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
Design
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.

5.5
Design
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.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

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

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-2.1 db
Treble Amount
-0.14 db
6.5
Sound
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.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.8
Sound
Bass Accuracy
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
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
0.81 dB
Low-Mid
1.0 dB
Mid-Mid
0.25 dB
High-Mid
-0.36 dB
7.4
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.98 dB
Low-Treble
4.11 dB
Mid-Treble
0.33 dB
High-Treble
-3.42 dB
7.2
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.68 db
Dips
1.72 db
9.0
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.11
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.29
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.38
Weighted Phase Mismatch
5.09
2.1
Sound
Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.98 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
-0.07 dB
PRTF Distance
-4.66 dB
Openness
2.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.9
7.3
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.307
WHD @ 100
0.270
Isolation
7.7
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-19.96 dB
Bass
-15.3 dB
Mid
-17.99 dB
Treble
-26.76 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
Isolation
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.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-line
Yes
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
N/A
6.8
Microphone
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
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
17.37 dB
Active Features
7.5
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
23.3 hrs
Additional Charges
0
Total Battery Life
23.3 hrs
Charge Time
2.2 hrs
Power Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port micro-USB

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
Active Features
App Support
App Name N/A
iOS N/A
Android N/A
macOS 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.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
N/A
NFC Pairing
N/A
Line of Sight Range
N/A
Default Latency
N/A
aptX Latency
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 4.17 ft
Connection 1/8" TRRS
Wired Latency
0 ms
Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
Audio + Microphone
PC / PS4 Wired USB
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
N/A
USB Input
N/A
Line In
N/A
Line Out
N/A
Optical Input
N/A
RCA Input
N/A
Dock Charging
N/A
Power Supply
N/A

Philips Fidelio NC1 Price

NC1/27 Fidelio
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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