It’s always exciting when a current Award winner gets a successor – even if that successor bears only minor changes.
That’s the case with the Philips Fidelio M2BTs, essentially the M1BTs (our current favourite Bluetooth headphones) with just the addition of near-field communication (NFC) – for achieving a wireless connection with a mere tap of the headphones on a compatible source – and some cosmetic changes onboard.
The price remains the same at £250, and for that you get more of what we loved in the M1BTs: aptX Bluetooth, attractive and comfortable design, and built-in controls.
More importantly, the M1BTs’ rich, balanced and musical sound remains intact. In fact, as switching between the old and new models proved, there are no notable differences between them.
Philips has replaced the faux-leather headband with a ribbed woven fabric
Using an Apple iPad Mini 2 as our source, we play Lorde’s Royals via Bluetooth and the headphones are alive with detail. There’s variation in drumbeats, transparency to vocals as they trail off and clear disparity between vocalists when the second comes into play.
As with their predecessors, there’s none of the harshness often prevalent in wireless sound. Percussive clicks are distinct and snappy too, the headphones showing no signs of softness.
Opting for a direct, upfront delivery, their punchy demeanour makes for a thrilling listen with any music.
We try to trip them up with Hijak Oscar’s chaotic God Knows but they aren’t fazed by the flurry of instruments and frenzied tempo. Instead, the M2BT’s time well and deliver the sprightly track with enthusiasm.
More after the break
Pairing, powering on/off or pausing/playing music is easy using the controls built into the right ear cup
The M2BTs swap their predecessors’ navy-blue finish for black, and the original faux-leather outer headband for a ribbed woven fabric alternative.
It keeps the original faux-leather underside as a soft cushioning for your head. You could see the cutback on leather as a downgrade, but the woven fabric is still a smart substitute.
The memory-foam ear-pads are cosy, and apply enough pressure to clasp firmly on your head (although they can make your ears a little toasty a few albums in).
Compact cups – which house the 4cm drivers – make them perfect companions for the commute, and they fold flat for a snug fit inside the supplied carry pouch.
Conveniently built into the right ear-cup, the controls are well integrated and intuitive. Simply hold down the crescent-shaped area to pair the headphones to any device, and to power on or off; press it once to play/pause.
The only other control is a neat flick-switch – knock it up or down to change volume; press it once to skip a track and twice to skip backwards.
The M2BTs are equipped with two microphones – one for voice and another to measure external noise and adjust sound accordingly – so hands-free calling is a doddle.
The in-line controls take care of all operations, so you can forget having to scramble for your phone to answer calls. Whether in an office or out on the street, voices pull through loud and clear.
Philips claims a 15-metre wireless range, which is particularly handy for indoor use, and 10 hours playback or talk-time on a full charge.
They last us a fair run over a few days before needing roughly three hours to replenish via the USB charging cable. A supplied 1.2m audio cable grants the option for a direct connection, too – and brings a touch more clarity of sound with it.