What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Fri, 3 Feb 2012, 1:06pm

Philips The Bend

Tested at £50
60100
3

You can do better for portable on-ear headphones at this price

Write your own review

For

  • Durable
  • comfortable on the ears
  • fast and detailed at the top of the frequency range

Against

  • Bass performance lacks precision
  • no padding on the headband

It’s not just rappers and rock stars that can get in on the branded-headphones game: sports accessory and clothing manufacturer O’Neill has joined forces with Philips to produce a range of headphones for irritatingly active people.

The Bend are the durable model. The headband certainly does well in the flexibility stakes (rather than being overly comfortable; there’s no cushioning), while a reinforced cable looks like it will stand the test of time.

The on-ear pads are soft and sit happily on your ears.

Bass performance isn’t up to par
Sonically, they’re a mixed bag. Listening to M83’s Midnight City they’re fast and reasonably detailed in the top end, but the sound is a little closed-in – and this is particularly noticeable with vocals, which almost sound muffled.

Bass notes, meanwhile, don’t have the punch or agility found in similarly price rivals. People are always prepared to shell out on fashion headphones, of course, but £50 isn’t a throw-away amount, and we think these need to sound better.

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