Philips The Bend review

Comfortable, but need to sound better Tested at £50

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

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


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    comfortable on the ears

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    fast and detailed at the top of the frequency range


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    Bass performance lacks precision

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    no padding on the headband

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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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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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