Philips Fidelio L4 ANC headphones take aim at the Sony XM5

Philips Fidelio L4 ANC headphones take aim at the Sony XM5
(Image credit: Philips)

Philips has launched a new pair of high-end noise-cancelling headphones, and they look like a bona fide rival to the best pair around, the Sony WH-1000XM5.

The Philips Fidelio L4 follow the L3, which earned four stars in our review. They still use a proprietary 40mm driver, but it now has a graphene coating to add stiffness – this promises less distortion for a cleaner sound in the midrange and higher frequencies.

Bluetooth 5.3 – the latest version – comes as standard, allowing such features as multipoint for seamless wireless switching across devices, Auracast broadcasting for shared listening over wireless, and LE (low energy) audio for greater power efficiency. They also support both LC3 and Sony's LDAC codecs, allowing higher quality wireless playback. Plug in via the 3.5mm headphone jack or USB-C, and you can listen to proper hi-res.

They also boast better active noise-cancelling (ANC). Philips has relocated the venting port for the mic measuring external noise to the rear of the ear cup so it's less sensitive to wind noise. This mic's sensitivity will also reduce automatically when wind noise increases, for less interference.

Philips Fidelio L4 ANC headphones take aim at the Sony XM5

(Image credit: Philips)

But that's not the only mic improvement. There's now an extra built-in voice pick-up mic that's dedicated to removing background sounds so your voice calls come across loud and clear.

Battery life has also been boosted. They last for an impressive 40 hours with ANC on – that's 10 more than the Sony WH-1000XM5. Switch ANC off, and they'll last you 50 hours before needing a recharge. A 15-minute quick charge will give you five hours of use.

The touch controls now have a leather-covered touch area, and Google Assistant is onboard for voice controls. 

Price and availability are still TBC.

Philips has announced more headphones at its annual product showcase.

Philips Fidelio T2 wireless earbuds

Philips Fidelio T2

(Image credit: Philips)

The T2 true wireless earbuds pack noise-cancelling and are 20 per cent smaller than the T1. The charging case has also shrunk by 40 per cent.

Like the L4, the driver now has a graphene coating for less distortion, and they feature Bluetooth 5.3. At 36 hours, battery life is slightly up on the T1's 35-hour run time, while their ANC system now uses bone conduction technology to reduce wind noise.

Like their predecessors, they are rated IPX4 splash-proof.

Price and availability are still TBC.

Philips A5508 and A5608 Go sports headphones

Philips A5608

(Image credit: Philips)

Philips has two new entrants to its Go Sports range: the A5508 and A5608 (pictured). The former is a standard true wireless design complete with ANC, while the latter adopts a neckband form factor with open ear, bone conduction tech allowing in ambient sound so you can hear your surroundings. The A5608 also feature a built-in LED light in the neck band – handy for being seen while out running.

Again, they both have Bluetooth 5.3 with the LC3 codec and multipoint. The A5508 last seven hours on a single charge, plus another 21 hours from the charging case, while the A5608 are good for six hours of use before needing a recharge.

Both are rated IPX5 for sweat- and water-resistance.

Price and availability are still TBC.

Philips N7808 sleep headphones

Philips N7808

(Image credit: Philips)

Philips has also launched its first pair of sleep headphones.

The N7808 are made in conjunction with Kokoon, which specialises in earbuds for sleep. By moving the main electronic components away from the earbuds and into an enclosure mounted behind the head, Philips has made the earbuds less bulky and hence less noticeable while lying down. They measure just 6mm thick, which is a lot slimmer than most wireless earbuds.

Inside are sensors that monitor the wearer's sleep pattern and adapt the audio accordingly. The audio will fade out as you drift off to sleep, for example.

They work with the Kokoon app to give you feedback on your sleep. And their noise isolation design, in conjunction with their intelligent noise masking feature (which slowly introduces precisely tuned white noise to block out external noise) should mean you're not disturbed when settling down for a night's kip.

A 10-hour battery life should see you through the night, and they can be used as a regular pair of headphones complete with a handsfree calls feature.

Price and availability are still TBC.


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Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.