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.
- Comfortable "on-ear" design.
- Great audio reproduction.
- Lacking volume controls.
- Slim, potentially fragile build quality.
Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Philips Fidelio NC1 is an average sounding pair of closed-back on-ear headphones. 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.
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.
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.
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.
- 100% SpNR
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.
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.
No compatible app.
In the box
- Philips Fidelio NC1 Headphones
- Audio cable
- Airline Adapter
- USB cable
- Carrying case