Philips CitiScape Downtown review

Great for everyday usage and stylish to boot Tested at £55

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

They might not be analytical, but they are fun and stylish to boot


  • +

    Lovely, classy styling

  • +

    very comfortable fit

  • +

    smooth, easy-going listen


  • -

    Others are more transparent and punchy

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

Laying eyes on the new Philips CitiScape headphones for the first time, we were guessing their price to be around £100, such is the classiness of their styling. And while they don’t feel quite as luxurious as they look they’re mighty comfy on the noggin and grippy enough to stay attached during a brisk amble.

So to hit the very attractive £55 price Philips must have cut corners in the sound department, right? Well, no. The Downtowns might not be perfect, but they are a genuine joy to listen to on an everyday basis.

The key is a smooth and even delivery that ensures nothing sticks out uncomfortably.

That’s not to say the sound is half-baked, though. Bass is deep and even, vocals well-projected and treble nicely sparkly, but no part of the frequency range goes steps beyond its bounds and a degree of rounding-off the edges of notes means there’s never a hint of harshness even when playing from a streaming service such as Spotify.

That wee bit of rounding-off does obviously mean you lose a touch of punch, and detail levels certainly aren’t jaw-dropping, but these headphones are never less than a pleasure to listen to or to wear, and given the affordable price tag and lovely styling that means we still like them rather a lot.

See all our headphone Best Buys

Follow on Twitter

Join on Facebook

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.

Read more about how we test