Reviewed on Feb 26, 2016

Philips Fidelio NC1 HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3.1
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.

Test Results
Design 6.9
Isolation 7.5
Microphone 6.7
Active Features 6.8
Connectivity 3.8
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.

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NC1/27 Fidelio
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6.9

Design

The Fidelios are well-designed headphones. They are relatively comfortable for an on-ear design and the blend of metal and hard plastic gives the Fidelio a high-end appeal. They feel decently solid but the thin frame and many potentially susceptible joints lessen their build quality.

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
OS Compatibility
:
Android
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.

7.6 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 2.8 C
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.

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.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
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Sound

They have a well-balanced and consistent Bass, a virtually flawless Mid Range and decent Treble. However, their Bass lacks a bit of punch and their Treble could sound a bit forward on certain tracks. Additionally, the have a mediocre distortion performance and a poor Soundstage due to their closed-back design.

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

8.8 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 Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
0.81 dB
Low-Mid
:
1.0 dB
Mid-Mid
:
0.25 dB
High-Mid
:
-0.36 dB
7.4 Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
3.98 dB
Low-Treble
:
4.11 dB
Mid-Treble
:
0.33 dB
High-Treble
:
-3.42 dB
7.2 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
1.68 db
Dips
:
1.72 db
9.0 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.11
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.29
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.38
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
5.09
2.1 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
:
3.6
7.3 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.307
WHD @ 100
:
0.270
7.5

Isolation

Isolation performance for the Fidelios is above average for an on-ear design. They successfully cancel a fair bit of ambient noise and leak very little sound. The active noise cancellation works well and the soft padding of the on-ear cups provide a surprisingly good seal. If the on-ear design does not bother you the Fidelios are a good recommendation for noisy commutes.

7.7 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 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.

6.7

Microphone

Integrated
:
No
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A
6.8 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
6.8

Active Features

The NC1 only have noise canceling as an active feature. This makes them less versatile for other use cases except as noise canceling headphones, as they lack both wireless features or an app, to enhance and customize their sound. On the upside, the rechargeable battery delivers an above-average 23 hours of continuous playback, but have limited power saving features.

7.5 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 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.

3.8

Connectivity

0 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 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
9.5 Wired
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.17 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS
Wired Latency
:
0 ms
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
Audio + Microphone
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox Analog
:
Audio + Microphone
Xbox Wired USB
:
No
Xbox Wireless
:
No
0 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

In the box

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

Compared to other Headphones

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.

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.

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.

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.

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