Philips Fidelio Primo DS9 review

It may be smaller than its sibling, but the Philips Fidelio Primo DS9 sings the same, fine song Tested at £300

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

This is a well-built, easy to get on with dock that will serve most people well


  • +

    Well built

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    nicely integrated sound

  • +

    free app is useful

  • +

    accepts iPads


  • -

    Lacks the ultimate clarity of the best

  • -

    bass loses control a little at very high volume

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.

This is the (slightly) smaller sibling of the Philips DS9000 we tested towards the end of 2010. The DS9 shares many family traits with its brother – and that’s almost without exception a good thing.

Power is down, at 2x25W compared with the 2x50W of the larger unit, but there’s still plenty of oomph in this attractive-looking unit.

The rest is pretty much the same, though. The Fidelio range is fully primed for all your iDevice needs – it will accept near enough any iPod (often even in a case) or iPad.

It's iPad compatible
Indeed, when you first plug an iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad into the dock, the first thing it does is direct you to Philips’ free Fidelio app, which allows you access to such niceties as internet radio, alarms and a five-band graphic equalizer.

There’s a neat, pebble-like remote control that can access your iPod’s menus as well.

The sonic signature of this dock is similar to its sibling’s as well. That means you get a nice, meaty sound, with plenty of bass, and a well-integrated midrange and treble.

You can turn the wick up good and loud without many worries – just a hint of flabbiness low down, perhaps. Overall, though, it’s a warm sound that should serve most well.

A slight lack of clarity
It’s only when you compare it with the best that a slight lack of ultimate clarity reveals itself. Its main rival, B&W’s Zeppelin Mini, may not have the bass oomph of the DS9, but in purely musical terms it wins out with precision, timing and clarity.

Still, in real world terms, and for most users, we think this Philips is a very impressive option for general listening.

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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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