Philips is an interesting brand. It has been making electrical appliances since 1891 and conducting innovative research in the Netherlands and has made a number of important inventions over the years, including the Compact Cassette and as a co-developer of the Compact Disc, together with Sony.
The company started out making light bulbs and now employs some 80,000 people in 100 countries. Philips is involved in everything from TVs to MRI scanners. Philips is a smart company because, once it has researched a product, it often licenses its technology to a suitable manufacturing partner and does not get bogged down in volatile consumer markets.
One area that Philips has quietly done excellent research is the headphone market. The brand’s Fidelio models are made under license by TP Vision, the same company that makes Philips TVs. TP Vision makes some excellent products, and the company’s TVs and headphones have received critical acclaim over the years.
One of the latest audio products to come out of the Philips stable are the new Fidelio T1 true wireless (TWS) earphones aimed at the premium consumer. A quick look and feel of these new earbuds confirms that they are premium earbuds. Not only do they feel well made, but the materials used, from the custom Muirhead Scottish leather to the brushed metal finish, exude high quality. These are large earplugs and feel heavy. The weight adds to the luxurious impression, although some people might find the size and weight a bit on the bulky size.
A large 10mm dynamic driver in each earcup – as well as a balanced treble armature – deliver big sound that’s agile and solid with a wonderfully balanced tone. True wireless earbuds don’t sound much better than the Fidelio T1. I like the way they sound with an EQ that sits perfectly between the bass, mids and treble without ever sounding over the top or too excited.
Like most premium TWS earbuds today, the Philips Fidelio T1 has Active Noise Cancelation (ANC) which uses no less than six microphones – three in each earbud – to pick up the user’s voice and sample external sounds and subtracting the unwanted sounds while the music is playing. The amount of ANC can be set manually or the user can opt for adaptive noise cancellation to adjust the amount of sound at any time. There is also an ambient mode to allow a certain amount of external sound to go to the listener’s ears.
There is a Philips Fidelio app available for download that works with iOS and Android devices and can be used to adjust the T1 earbuds and set the ANC levels etc. The app is very well coded , stable and easy to use.
The effectiveness of the Fidelio T1’s ANC is enhanced by excellent passive noise isolation, created with the choice of six sizes of silicone ear tips and three sizes of Comply foam tips. Once the user has chosen the correct size and type of tip, they will find that the T1 not only feels comfortable (despite their large size), but also forms an excellent acoustic seal creating a great sound even with the ANC function is turned off.
The Fidelio T1 earbuds use the latest version of Bluetooth 5.2 wireless technology and support almost every audio codec imaginable, including AAC, aptX HD and LDAC. The Philips smartphone app can be used to update the firmware of the T1 as needed. The earbuds can be paired with Google Fast Pair with Android handsets. Each earbud has touch controls to skip tracks, end and answer calls, adjust volume, and toggle ANC on and off.
A push-to-talk function allows hands-free use and activation of Google Assistant. Battery life is excellent with 9 hours of continuous playback with ANC enabled. There is still 25 hours of backup power in the charging case. With ANC turned off, it’s possible to get up to 13 hours of playtime from the earbuds and 35 hours of charging power from the case. A full charge takes two hours, while an additional hour of playback is available with a 15-minute burst charge. There is also a wireless charging function with any Qi-compatible charging mat.
The Philips Fidelio T1 offers a premium design in black or silver with a brushed metal finish and a durable leather Muirhead insert in black or brown on the top of the charging case.
An IR wear sensor detects when the earbuds are in place and can pause the music once an earbud is removed. There is also a feature that allows both earbuds to be used separately in mono mode. Finally, the Fidelio T1 has a splash-proof rating of IPX4, making them ideal for jogging in the rain.
verdict: The Philip Fidelio T1 true wireless earbuds feel incredibly well made. If you’re looking for small and dainty earbuds, these might not be the earbuds for you. But I don’t mind the extra size, especially since it offers so much more power and you want support for all high-end audio codecs, the Philips Fidelio T1 is hard to beat with their premium build quality and stunning sound. These earbuds sound sublime and the smartphone app is solid and works great. Strongly recommended.
Prices & Availability: The Philips Fidelio T1 true wireless earbuds are available now from Amazon and other resellers for $299.99 / £249.99 / €299.99.
More information: www.philips.com
• Impedance: 16Ω
• Drivers: 10mm dynamic and balanced armature
• Sensitivity: 103 dB (1K Hz)
• Frequency range: 7 – 40 000 Hz
• Maximum power consumption: 5 mW
• ANC technology: hybrid
• Consciousness Mode
• Adaptive ANC via app
• Microphones: 4 for ANC and 2 for speech• Bluetooth version: 5.2
• Supported codec: Aptx HD, LDAC, AAC, SBC
• Maximum range: up to 10m
• Bluetooth profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP
• Water resistance: IPX4
• Music playing time (ANC on): 9 + 25 hours
• Music playback time (ANC off): 13 + 35 hours
• Battery type (earbud): lithium-ion, 55mAh
• Battery type (charging case): Lithium polymer 600mAh
• Charging time: 2 hours
• Fast charging time: 15 minutes for 1 hour
• Wireless charging: Yes
• Eatips 6 x silicone and 3 x Comply foam
• Dimensions (W x H x D): 8.49 x 5.15 x 3.24 cm
• Weight: 0.109 kg