If you’re willing to splash out on a pair of headphones, this Philips Fidelio T1 review is exactly where you need to be. These are some of the best true wireless earbuds you can buy right now, even though their price tag might make your eyes water.
When I gave the Philips Fidelio T1 buds a test run, I could barely find any downsides at all. The ANC easily competes with the best noise-cancelling headphones, they sound absolutely incredible and there’s an impressive array of features.
Admittedly they are quite bulky but that hasn’t impacted how they feel to wear so does that really matter? Read on to find out more.
Philips Fidelio T1 review: price and availability
A premium pair of earbuds, you can buy the Philips Fidelio T1 now for £249 in the UK - that could be somewhere around $300 in the US or AU$450 in Australia but we don’t have any official pricing information for those regions. The widgets on this page will let you know where you can buy a pair and for how much.
If you don't fancy spending anywhere near this much, then take a look at T3's guide to the best cheap headphones instead.
Philips Fidelio T1 review: design and fit
Seriously sophisticated is the best way to describe the Philips Fidelio T1 true wireless earbuds. That’s because they are made from aluminium with a sleek brushed metal finish. You can buy them in either black or white, both look mature and premium.
Each bud has circular touch controls extending outwards which read Philips on the left and Fidelio on the right. The charging case takes things a step further with a layer of leather across the top of the lid and the Philips logo imprinted into it.
The Philips Fidelio T1 are by no means a compact and discreet pair of true wireless earbuds. In fact, they’re some of the chunkiest I’ve seen. The stretched oval design on the outside of the buds is very different from the dangling stem on the Apple AirPods Pro or the tiny bullet shape you usually see.
When you have them in, it’s very obvious you’re wearing them as they cover almost the whole width of your ear unless you have long hair to conceal them. That design won't be for everyone.
Each earpiece has a bright LED light that lets you know the status of the buds, for instance blinking white means you’re connected to a device, flashing blue and white means they’re ready for pairing, flashing blue means the battery is low and so on.
Honestly, it’s quite difficult to remember which means what but if you’re having problems connecting them at any point it’ll be useful to be able to refer to the user manual.
The charging case is huge in comparison to other true wireless earbuds. It’s about the size and shape of a bar of soap so it’s not going to fit into a tight jeans pocket but you’ll be fine to slip it into your bag. It feels robust and well built with magnets to snap the buds back into the case without the need to fumble around. If I were to nitpick, I’d say that the leather strip along the top might be easily damaged over time.
As they're made from metal and are so long in shape, you'd think these earbuds wouldn't be comfortable but actually, I forgot they were even in my ears. In the box, they come with three sizes of foam ear tips and four sizes of rubber tips so you’re pretty much guaranteed to find the right fit.
When I tested them out, I wore them on and off throughout the day as well as for workouts in the evening. They stayed firmly put the whole time. It was a while before I grew tired of having them in.
The Philips Fidelio T1 are IPX4 rated so while they won’t survive being submerged in water, they should be fine with splashes of water. That means they’ll be perfectly alright to use for sweaty runs or getting caught in light rain.
You can control the music using the touchpads on the outside of each bud. Unlike other headphones, to pause or play the music you have to press down on just the right bud (as opposed to a quick tap on either side). Having to hold the press did sometimes mean I knocked the earbud out of place which could be annoying.
The controls can also be used to skip forwards through tracks by tapping the right bud three times or you can skip through noise-cancelling modes and answer your phone calls by tapping twice. The left bud can only be used to activate or cancel your smartphone’s voice assistant. You can't adjust the volume using the controls on these earbuds.
With ANC switched on, you’ll get 9 hours of music and the charging case will give you an extra 25 hours on top of that. If you have it switched off then you’ll get about 13 hours of playtime from the buds and 35 hours on top of that from the case which is great. During the workweek, you’ll rarely need to remember to plug the case in.
Through the USB-C connection, it’ll take about 2 hours to recharge the case to 100%. Once fully charged, the light on the front of the case will switch off so you know when to unplug it. Also worth knowing is that a quick 15-minute charge will give you an hour of playtime so if you did forget about charging them, there’s always a last-minute backup.
Philips Fidelio T1 review: performance and features
If you’re looking for high-quality sound, that’s exactly what you get when you listen to the Philips Fidelio T1. Audiophiles will fall over themselves to pick up a pair of headphones that sound this good.
The level of balance and detail is impeccable, you can literally hear every inch of the track from the twang of a guitar to the soft clang of a piano. Plenty of power comes through these too, the bass is deep and rich without being overbearing while the mids are energetic enough to push through clearly. The treble stands out too, you don’t miss a single lyric even when there’s a lot going on in the track. When you pop these in your ear you do feel completely immersed in the music.
While you won’t get manual equaliser settings, there are four preset EQs to choose from in the Philips Headphones app, those being Bass, Powerful, Voice and Treble.
The only problem is that there is a small amount of sound leakage so the person sitting next to you in the office might hear your music when you have the volume dialled all the way up.
If you want Active Noise Cancellation then you most definitely get that here - the ANC does a phenomenal job at blocking out distracting sounds. My name had to be shouted a good few times before I knew anyone was talking to me, it even managed to cut out the sound of a TV that was right next to me while the music was playing.
You get a lot of control over the noise-cancelling - you can choose to set it to High, Low or Wind Noise Reduction. There’s also an Awareness mode that you can adjust according to how much noise you want to let through, and it can be set to only allow voices as well.
Finally, there’s the Adaptive mode which will modify the noise-cancelling according to where you are and what you’re doing. All of them work well and you can hear the difference as you switch through them.
Packed full of features, you don’t just get EQ presets and customisable ANC modes. The Philips Fidelio T1 even have wear sensors built-in so if you take one out the music will pause, you won’t miss a beat and if one does fall out by accident then you’re more likely to notice.
To save battery, there’s an Auto-Off feature as well that you can set to switch the buds off after 30 minutes, 1 hour or 2 hours not being used, or choose to disable it entirely.
One last feature to mention is the multi-device connectivity. You can hook these up to two of your devices at once so you can switch between your tablet and phone seamlessly, for example.
Philips Fidelio T1 review: verdict
Try as I might, I’m struggling to find any reasons why you wouldn’t want to buy these headphones if you're into your music. The price tag could be one, but in saying that, they’re so worth it because they sound phenomenal and the noise cancelling is about as good as it gets in a pair of true wireless earbuds.
Another downside could be that the buds and the case are just too big, yet that doesn’t actually impact how comfortable and secure they are to wear, and it’s not like the case doesn’t still fit in a large pocket or in your bag. So that’s something I'm sure a lot of people will be able to look past as well.
To sum things up, the Philips Fidelio T1 are a truly fantastic pair of earbuds, they aren't perfect but they have placed Philips centre-stage to compete against the likes of Sony in the premium headphones space. As you can probably tell, I'd find it hard not to recommend them.
Philips Fidelio T1 review: also consider
The Sony WF-1000XM4 are the most obvious competition to the Philips Fidelio T1. They’re comparable in almost every area, with excellent sound and super effective ANC, although they probably top the T1s when it comes to design because they’re much more compact. They’re marginally cheaper too.
Another pair of buds you should consider are the Bowers & Wilkins PI7 - they have near-perfect sound and they’re pricier than the Philips Fidelio T1 but they’re more discreet in the ear. Don’t buy them if you have small ears though because they may not fit you.