Philips Fidelio X1 review

Another great set of headphones from Philips, the X1s are good enough to worry the very best at this price Tested at £270

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Another great set of headphones from Philips, the X1s are good enough to worry the very best at this price


  • +

    Refined yet entertaining sound

  • +

    Excellent detail resolution

  • +


  • +

    Good build


  • -

    Some tough competition

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.

Philips is on a great run at the moment. We’ve liked every one of the company’s new Fidelio headphones, even giving the £160 portable-use M1s an Award this year. Now it’s the Philips X1s’ turn to impress.

These are intended for home use: they’re comfortable, well made and have a usefully long 3m cable topped off with a good quality 6.3mm plug (3.5m adaptor included).

Philips Fidelio X1 review: Design
The X1s are an open-backed design. This tends to have advantages when it comes to sound quality, but often suffers from heavy sound leakage. If anyone is in the room with you they’ll be able to sing along to your music without trouble. There’s little else to complain about, however.

Philips Fidelio X1 review: Sound quality
These headphones are immensely listenable. Philips has chosen a mature, smooth tonal balance that never makes a meal of below-par recordings or poor amplification no matter how bright or aggressive they may be.

Yet give the X1s quality partnering equipment and decent recordings, and they shine. That well-judged tonal balance is coupled to expressive dynamics and a high degree of insight.

All that resolution pays dividends with complex recordings such as Massive Attack’s Heligoland, where it’s easy to hear deep within the dense production and still enjoy the hard-charging rhythm tracks.

The same impressive qualities are evident whether you listen to classical works such as Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture or The xx’s sparsely produced Angels.

The X1s are top-class performers and good enough to worry the very best that Grado and AKG make at this level.

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