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    Philips Fidelio NC1 review

    Philips Fidelio NC1 are premium headphones

    The recently announced Philips Fidelio NC1 are part of Philip’s premium range of noise-cancelling headphones, and designed with comfort, portability and some serious stylistic pizzazz.  The NC1s are similar in shape and size to their brother, the Fidelio M1, and provide ample room to cover your entire ear, but not so big as to look clunky. They’re great for commutes, and offer the latest in noise- cancelling technology.

    Philips Fidelio NC1 are completely portable

    Philips Fidelio NC1 Design

    Portability is the name of the game with the Philips Fidelio NC1 headphones, and as such, they are great for travelers. Included with the NC1s is a cool hard case for storage. The headphones themselves look very cool. The aluminium back has a mottled design that screams sophistication, and the earpads are made of memory foam, which has been covered in soft leather. This same memory foam is also used at the top of the headband, for additional comfort. In fact, these are probably the most comfortable over-the-ear headphones we’ve ever tested, not only because of their comfort, but because they also allow your ears to breath when wearing them.  This is a departure from most other NC headphones in terms of fit.

    Attached to the headphones is a rope-like, tangle-free replaceable cable, flanked by a right-angled gold-plated 3.5mm jack at both ends. There’s also an in-line controller and mic on the cable that allows you to switch between your phone calls and your music. A micro USB slot sits on the bottom of the right earpad, and the ANC (active noise cancelling) switch resides on the left earpad, next to the 3.5mm jack port.

    Speaking of the ANC switch, Philips created something unique with this feature. Because this feature is optional, if the battery on these powered headphones dies, you can still use them but without the noise cancellation functionality. Charging the NC1s will give you 30-hours of noise cancellation.  Also included are 8 mics, four on the outside of the headphones to counter-act mid and high frequencies, and the other four mics sit on the inside to block lower sounds. This mic solution eliminates background hiss when the ANC is switched on and the ambient noise is almost completely absent. Philips has also added an airplane plug.

    The Philips Fidelio NC1 fold up for portability, and other accessories included are a two-prong airplane adapter and a Micro USB cable. You’ll need to supply your own power source, though, perhaps a laptop or a phone adapter.


    The Philips Fidelio NC1 headphones really bang out the tunes with high-quality sound. Upper midrange and treble frequencies are very notable, and it combines warmth and balance to the lower tones, producing very well-balanced audio.

    Vocals sound amazing with the NC1s, and ironically, when you turn off the ANC, the deep bass is boosted even further.  The sound at the low end does alter a bit depending on whether ANC is on or off, though.

    All in all, The NC1s offer a superbly balanced warm sound that proves Philips’ engineers did their homework, and the noise cancellation feature works as well, if not better, than any.

    Philips Fidelio NC1 noise cancellation works well


    There is a ton to love about the Philips Fidelio NC1 headphones. They are as comfortable as a soft pair of slippers, and they offer great sound reproduction. They are also one of the lightest and most compact ANC headphones around, and their stylization is gorgeous and very premium looking. Additionally, the noise-cancellation feature works wonderfully, and offer some breathing room for your ears.

    The Philips Fidelio NC1 headphones are a great addition to Philips’ headphone range, and are ideal for travelers who want premium cans in a tight package. They offer superb sound that’s balanced and warm and while they’re not wireless, the cable is not cumbersome. The Philips Fidelio NC1 run around $299, and well worth the money.

    David Novak
    David Novak
    For the last 20 years, David Novak has appeared in newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV around the world, reviewing the latest in consumer technology. His byline has appeared in Popular Science, PC Magazine, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Electronic House Magazine, GQ, Men’s Journal, National Geographic, Newsweek, Popular Mechanics, Forbes Technology, Readers Digest, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Glamour Magazine, T3 Technology Magazine, Stuff Magazine, Maxim Magazine, Wired Magazine, Laptop Magazine, Indianapolis Monthly, Indiana Business Journal, Better Homes and Garden, CNET, Engadget, InfoWorld, Information Week, Yahoo Technology and Mobile Magazine. He has also made radio appearances on the The Mark Levin Radio Show, The Laura Ingraham Talk Show, Bob & Tom Show, and the Paul Harvey RadioShow. He’s also made TV appearances on The Today Show and The CBS Morning Show. His nationally syndicated newspaper column called the GadgetGUY, appears in over 100 newspapers around the world each week, where Novak enjoys over 3 million in readership. David is also a contributing writer fro Men’s Journal, GQ, Popular Mechanics, T3 Magazine and Electronic House here in the U.S.
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