(Pocket-lint) – The premium headphones market is heating up, and one of the brands attempting to establish a bigger presence for itself in this space is Philips, with its high-end Fidelio audio products.
Included in its recent launches, is the Fidelio L3, a luxury pair of wireless noise cancelling headphones.
Design and comfort
One of the first things we noticed when first putting on the L3 headphones was the comfort afforded by the design and materials. They really are lovely to wear, and a lot of that comes down to the materials used.
For instance, the headband – with its soft cushioning on the underside – is wrapped in premium Miurhead leather. This is a tannery in Scotland that’s been open since the 19th century, with not only a meticulous approach to finish and quality, but is carbon positive too.
This particularly leather is called Cairngorn leather, and has a distinct grain and matte finish. It’s lovely to look at, and feel.
Then the cans are padded with a soft memory foam cushion to ensure there’s no unnecessary pressure on your ears or the sides of your head. You can wear them for long periods without feeling any discomfort.
With its matte finished aluminium frame, and matte black ear cups, the overall look is one of quality and subtlety. That means, they look good and they feel great. Plus they fold up easily for storage in their compact soft case. Perfect for portability.
The Fidelio’s spec list reads like the perfect checklist of headphone technologies, especially when it comes to sound. Music is delivered to your ears by a pair of bespoke 40mm drivers.
They’re created using a three-layer design with materials designed to offer excellent deep bass levels with fast response for tight control, while ensuring the space behind the driver gives enough room for airflow. The end result is quality audio with that Fidelio sound signature.
That means great bass levels that are well controlled, but without being over-powering. You still get the presence offered by the mids and the subtleties in the background music. Plus, vocals and trebles are crisp and clean. In all, it’s a very good all-round balance. That makes it intensely enjoyable to listen to all your favourite tracks all over again.
But that’s not all. The Fidelio L3 is Hi-Res certified. So if you connect to an Android phone with aptX HD support, you’ll get high quality audio wirelessly. Plus, you can plug in a cable to your home audio equipment and get Hi-Res audio that way.
Sounds delivered by the headphones are super, but the Fidelio pair also deals well with external sounds and noises. It uses external and internal mics to filter out noise with its hybrid noise cancelling system. Put the headphones on your head, play your favourite music and you’ll be immersed in your tunes.
If you’re working from home – and sharing the space with other people – it’s really useful to be able to lock yourself away in music like this. Or, if you’re commuting to work, you can block out the noises of engines.
This is further aided by passive noise cancellation, achieved through Philips’ closed-back design of the headphones and padding. And, is actually a key differentiator against other ANC headphones, because it more effectively blocks out the higher frequencies that ANC isn’t all that effective against.
For the times where you might want to be more aware of your surroundings, you can enable ‘Awareness Mode’ that uses the external mics to deliver the external sounds into the drivers so you can hear what’s happening. Particularly useful if you’re listening out for announcements at a train station or airport gate.
It’s not just in sound, comfort and noise cancelling that Philips’ cans deliver. The battery life is very strong too. With ANC enabled, they can go up to 32 hours before they need plugging in for a refill. If you have ANC switched off, they can go even longer – up to 38 hours.
Put that in terms of one-hour commutes to and from work in a typical work week, and that’s a solid three weeks of listening before you need to plug them back in to charge.
What’s more, using USB Type-C they feature fast charging too. Just 15 minutes plugged in is enough to get you six hours of listening. That means if you realise in the morning that you’ve forgotten to plug them in, you can stick them on charge while you’re getting ready to leave the house and have sufficient charge for the rest of the day.
Google Fast Pair and convenience
For Android phone users, there’s some extra convenience here that not all headphone makers offer called Android Fast Pair. Essentially, as soon as you put the headphones in pairing mode, a pop-up appears on screen with a picture of the headphones, you then simply tap to connect them.
What’s more, because of that they’re linked to your Google account for access from other supported Android devices and Chromebooks.
They also featuring convenient touch controls on the sides, allowing you to easily control the music volume and skip backwards and forwards, or play and pause music just using simple swipes with your finger. So swiping up or down turns adjusts the volume, and swiping backwards or forwards skips tracks.
So there you have it. A great pair of premium headphones with style, comfort, great sound and high end features.