Philips Fidelio X3 Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Nov 17, 2020 at 08:02 am
Philips Fidelio X3 Picture
5.0
Mixed Usage
7.8
Neutral Sound
3.8
Commute/Travel
5.0
Sports/Fitness
4.5
Office
4.4
Wireless Gaming
6.5
Wired Gaming
1.5
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Open-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic No
Transducer Dynamic

The Philips Fidelio X3 are open-back headphones designed for neutral listening. They're well-built and comfortable, and their open-back design helps create an open and speaker-like soundstage. They have a neutral and balanced sound profile, but their treble response is a bit uneven, and they're lacking a touch of low-bass. Like most open-back headphones, they aren't very versatile, but they're still a solid choice for neutral listening at home.

Our Verdict

5.0 Mixed Usage

The Philips Fidelio X3 are disappointing for mixed usage. While these headphones have an open soundstage and a balanced sound profile that makes them ideal for neutral sound, they aren't very versatile. Their open-back design lets in a lot of background noise and also leaks some sound, so they may not be ideal for your commute or working in a noisy office. They don't have a microphone, and they're too bulky for sports.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
  • Open and spacious soundstage.
Cons
  • Not stable enough for exercise.
  • Terrible noise isolation performance.
  • No microphone.
7.8 Neutral Sound

The Philips Fidelio X3 are very good for neutral sound. They have a very balanced, neutral sound profile, especially in the mid-range, so vocals and lead instruments are accurately reproduced. Their open-back design creates an open and speaker-like soundstage. However, their treble response is a bit uneven, and they're lacking a bit of low-bass.

Pros
  • Open and spacious soundstage.
  • Consistent audio delivery.
Cons
  • Lacking low-bass.
3.8 Commute/Travel

The Philips Fidelio X3 are poor for commute and travel. These bulky over-ears have a very comfortable fit, but they aren't very easy to bring on-the-go. Due to their open-back design, they don't block out background noises like bus and plane engines or the chatter from fellow commuters, and they also leak a lot of sound.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Bulky design.
  • Terrible noise isolation performance.
5.0 Sports/Fitness

The Philips Fidelio X3 are inadequate for sports and fitness. These bulky over-ears are stable enough for casual listening, but they aren't designed for the gym and may fall off your head during more intense movements.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Bulky design.
  • Not stable enough for exercise.
4.5 Office

The Philips Fidelio X3 are poor for office use. They're comfortable enough to wear through an eight-hour shift without a lot of fatigue. However, due to their open-back design, they let in a lot of background noise and they leak a lot of sound, which can be distracting.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Bulky design.
  • Terrible noise isolation performance.
4.4 Wireless Gaming

The Philips Fidelio X3 are wired-only headphones, so they aren't suitable for wireless gaming.

6.5 Wired Gaming

The Philips Fidelio X3 are adequate for wired gaming, though they don't have a microphone, so you can't use them to communicate with your teammates. They're very comfortable, and they have low latency thanks to their wired design. However, they're lacking a touch of low-bass, so action-packed scenes may lack thump and rumble.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
Cons
  • No microphone.
1.5 Phone Calls

The Philips Fidelio X3 don't have a microphone, so they aren't suitable for phone calls.

  • 5.0 Mixed Usage
  • 7.8 Neutral Sound
  • 3.8 Commute/Travel
  • 5.0 Sports/Fitness
  • 4.5 Office
  • 4.4 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.5 Wired Gaming
  • 1.5 Phone Calls

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Philips Fidelio X3 have a simple, sleek design. They're a bit bulky, but like the Philips Fidelio X2HR, they have a leather headband strap to help distribute their weight for a more comfortable fit.

8.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.75 lbs
Clamping Force
1.0 lbs

The Philips X3 are impressively comfortable. Thanks to the leather headband strap, they feel light on your head, and they don't clamp too tightly. They're well-padded, and you should be able to wear them for long listening sessions without a lot of fatigue.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
No Controls
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No

These headphones don't have any controls.

5.1
Design
Portability
L 8.9 "
W 7.6 "
H 4 "
Volume 270.6 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

These headphones aren't very portable. They're large and bulky, and they don't fold into a more compact size.

5.0
Design
Case
Type Pouch
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

The Philips X3 have an inadequate fabric pouch. It's made of a very thin, soft fabric, which may protect against light scratches but can't really protect the headphones from hard falls. The pouch also doesn't close fully, which is a bit disappointing.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

These headphones are very well-built. They're mostly made of plastic, with cloth and fabric covering the ear cups, leather on the headband, and a leather strap. The materials and the hinges feel solid and durable. However, the headband is a potential weak point, as the leather strap seems like it could break after a lot of use.

6.0
Design
Stability

The Philips Fidelio X3 are acceptably stable. They move around a bit on your head. While they shouldn't fall off your head during casual listening sessions, they aren't intended to use at the gym, and they may fall off during high-intensity movements.

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

  • Philips Fidelio X3 headphones
  • Fabric pouch
  • 1/8" L/R TRS to 1/8" TRS cable
  • 1/8" L/R TRS to TRRS 2.5mm headphone cable
  • 1/8" TRS to 1/4 TRS" adapter
  • Cable holder

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-2.7 db
Treble Amount
-1.79 db

The Philips Fidelio X3 have a very neutral, well-balanced sound profile, making them suitable for a wide range of audio content. Like most open-back headphones, they're lacking a touch of low-bass, which may be disappointing for fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM. Their treble range is also a bit uneven, so higher-frequency sounds may be piercing or dull.

8.6
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.29 dB

These headphones have an amazing frequency response consistency. Their audio delivery should be consistent regardless of their fit, seal, and positioning on your head.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.5
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.19 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
57.39 Hz
Low-Bass
-6.25 dB
Mid-Bass
-0.63 dB
High-Bass
1.98 dB

These headphones have good bass accuracy. The range is quite even, but like most open-back headphones, they have an underemphasized low-bass range. As a result, you don't feel the deep thump and rumble from audio.

8.7
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.73 dB
Low-Mid
0.85 dB
Mid-Mid
0.19 dB
High-Mid
-1.9 dB

These headphones have amazing mid accuracy. The range is even and balanced, so vocals and lead instruments are clear and present in the mix.

6.7
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.46 dB
Low-Treble
-3.78 dB
Mid-Treble
3.49 dB
High-Treble
-9.59 dB

These headphones have fair treble accuracy. Low-treble in underemphasized, which can hurt the comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments. Mid-treble is overemphasized, so sibilants like cymbals can be sharp or piercing.

6.6
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
2.43 db
Dips
1.33 db

The Philips Fidelio X3 have fair peaks and dips performance. The dip in the low-bass results in a lack of deep thump and rumble, while the slight peak in the high-bass adds a boomy quality to the mix. The peak in the mid-mid and high-mid can add a forward, boxy, and punchy quality, while the dip in the low treble hurts the clarity of vocals and lead instruments. The peak in the mid-treble makes sibilants sharp and piercing.

8.5
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.27
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.72
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.74
Weighted Phase Mismatch
6.19

These headphones have excellent stereo imaging performance. Their weighted group delay falls below the audibility threshold, resulting in a tight bass and transparent treble. The L/R drivers of our test unit are well-matched in amplitude, phase, and frequency response, so objects like footsteps and instruments are accurately placed in the stereo image. However, these results are only valid for our test unit, so yours may perform differently.

7.6
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.12 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
2.02 dB
PRTF Distance
10.74 dB
Openness
9.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
8.8

The Philips Fidelio X3 have a good passive soundstage performance. Thanks to their open-back design, they have a spacious, open, and speaker-like soundstage. Audio seems like it's coming from speakers in front of you rather than inside your head.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App

These headphones don't have any virtual soundstage features.

7.6
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.160
WHD @ 100
0.208

These headphones have a good weighted harmonic distortion performance. Even at higher volumes, audio reproduction should be clean and pure.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
No Microphone

These are the settings we used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid when using these settings.

Isolation
1.8
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-4.58 dB
Bass
0.3 dB
Mid
-0.12 dB
Treble
-13.76 dB

Like most open-back headphones, the Philips X3 have a terrible noise isolation performance. You can hear background noises like voices, bus and plane engines, and the hum of nearby AC units.

1.2
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
65.08 dB

These headphones have an awful leakage performance, which is typical for open-back headphones. Even at moderate listening volumes, people around you can hear your audio.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No

The Philips X3 don't have a microphone.

0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
N/A
LFE
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
N/A
HFE
N/A
Weighted THD
N/A
Gain
N/A

These headphones don't have a microphone.

0
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise N/A
Speech + Subway Noise N/A
SpNR
N/A

These headphones don't have a microphone.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None

These wired-only headphones don't have a battery.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

These headphones don't have a dedicated companion app.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A

These wired-only headphones aren't Bluetooth-compatible.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

These are wired-only headphones.

9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 10.2 ft
Connection 1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

These headphones come with a detachable TRS cable to connect to any device with a 1/8" jack. There's also a TRS cable to connect to a TRRS 2.5mm jack, and a 1/8" TRS to 1/4" TRS adapter.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No

You can plug these headphones into your PC or PS4 controller, but you can only receive audio since they don't have a microphone.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No

You can plug these headphones into your Xbox One controller, but you can only receive audio since they don't have a microphone.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

These headphones don't have a base or dock.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

These headphones only come in one color variant: 'Black'. If you come across another version of these headphones, let us know in the discussion section below.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Philips X3 are comfortable, well-built open-back headphones designed for neutral listening. Like most open-back headphones, they block out very little background noise and they leak a lot of sound. While they have a very neutral and balanced sound profile, some listeners may find their treble range is a bit uneven. See also our recommendations for the best open-back headphones, the best headphones for music, and the best audiophile headphones.

Philips Fidelio X2HR

The Philips Fidelio X2HR are better headphones for neutral sound than the Philips Fidelio X3. Both are open-back headphones with a similar design and performance, but the X2HR have a more neutral, balanced sound profile. Their treble accuracy is better-balanced than the X3.

Philips SHP9500

The Philips SHP9500 are better headphones for neutral sound than the Philips Fidelio X3. The SHP9500 are more comfortable, and they have a more balanced, neutral sound profile, especially in the treble range. However, the Fidelio X3 have a better build quality.

Sennheiser HD 800 S

The Sennheiser HD 800 S are better headphones for neutral sound than the Philips Fidelio X3. The Sennheiser are better-built, and they have a more stable fit. They have a more neutral, balanced sound profile, and better passive soundstage performance.

Philips SHP9600

The Philips Fidelio X3 and the Philips SHP9600 have very similar performances overall, and they're both very good for neutral sound. The SHP9600 are more comfortable, and they have a more balanced treble accuracy. However, the Fidelio X3 are better-built, and they have more accurate bass and mid ranges. Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other.

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