Photos and Features
So the Fidelio is Philips’ audiophile headphone subbrand and the X3 is their new open-air flagship. So I was expecting to see something completely different for the packaging that would set it apart from the rest of their lineup. But when it comes to the outside of the box that didn’t happen. The from has a picture of the X3’s which isn’t the most flattering and then they have a light blue background which is similar to their other models. The Philips logo is in the top corner along with the Headphones under it that tells you what product line this is if the picture wasn’t enough. Then below that, they finally have the model name. It is at least in a chrome finish at least, but a larger placement of the model name and the Fidelio brand on a black box or even gold for the font might better express what is inside. The back has another picture and this one at least shows the earcup design and the suspension headband. They then list off a few key features like the feather light design, “timeless elegance”, “designed for audiophiles”, and “like a concert hall for your ears”. Three out of the four would chase me off, I mean mention the premium finishes or maybe the detachable cord. The X3’s website has 8 features and descriptions that would have worked. But at least they did include a specification listing on the side of the box.
At least when you open things up you have a thick box that is significantly different from other Philips models. Not to mention the flip-up front panel with foam on the back. You also see the X3’s wrapped up in a bag as well, sitting in a plastic tray. Still not as “fancy” as I would expect, but they do come well protected which is all that is important.
In addition to the bagged headphones, there is a box at the top which has a few accessories that you might need. So starting from the left you get a cable clip with the Philips Fidelio branding on it. Then next to that is a 3.5 to 6.3 adapter. Then they provide two complete sets of cables. They are both extremely long at 3 meters or just under 10 feet for us imperial weirdos. They have two connections that go to the X3’s. one for each ear. Both of those are black and have small indications for left and right. Then the larger plug is where things are different. The one on the left in the picture below is the standard 3.5mm plug and then on the right is the TRRS 2.5mm. Which was used in phones in the past but not recently and is used in some amps. Both cords are thick and come with a black sleeving and are listed as oxygen-free.
So interesting enough, there isn’t any documentation for the X3’s but it does come with documentation on the leather. They went with Muirhead leather and this book shows some of the advantages of their leather.
Then we of course have the headphones themselves which come in this black bag. With the fancy leather talk and everything else, I may have been expecting a little more. But this is a basic bag and it does keep the X3’s safe from scratches. But they aren’t heavy-duty enough that I would seek them out later to put them away in or to take them places. Which I think the X3’s should have.
Now we can finally get an actual look at the Fidelio X3’s and I have to admit that they look great. When I think of audiophile headphones I normally picture ugly black headphones with metal mesh or in some cases extremely expensive designs with earcups carved out of expensive woods. On the other end of the spectrum, the more trendy headphones focus on bright colors and visible branding. Philips didn’t go either direction with the X3’s. This is a more modern look with a cloth-covered earcup with a mix of black and white in the fabric. Then for the framing, the earcups almost look like they are floating with the aluminum frame having a gap around them. The aluminum framing wraps around and is covered in leather to give it a black finish.
Speaking of the headband, as I said at the start. The Fidelio X3’s have a suspension headband which is my preferred headband. At least for me, they press on my head less than a normal headband. Especially up at the top. Both the suspended band and the main aluminum headband for the X3’s are covered in the Muirhead leather. I’m far from an expert on leather, but the finish is soft to the touch. Especially on the suspended bad which has padding inside. The edges have a rubber piping on them for durability as well. The aluminum band is covered in leather as I mentioned and if you look close you can see where they joined it together on the underside. The leather is glued directly to the band and there isn’t a transition or anything where it ends. Just a perfectly straight cut rather than folded which would be thicker. The suspension band uses two flat plastic bands connected together with elastic connecting the two to give the band its suspension effect.
The outside of the earcups are covered in the black and white material that looks like tweed but is much softer to the touch. This covered up a very open-air plastic earcup frame which when feeling through the fabric feels like a honeycomb design. This open-air design helps keep ear temperatures down and allows sound around you in. For me, the open-air design is nice for cooling. But I also like that I can hear everything around me. But obviously, if you are trying to block out outside noises, kids, pets, etc a closed-ear design would be best for you. This side view also lets us see the floating design a little better, the earcups mount to the aluminum frame with two mounting points on the sides that let the earcup pivot up and down. But the design doesn’t have any side to side movement and the headband doesn’t let the cups sit flat. The Philips branding is simple and not too in your face which I love and from far away it blends in. While the X3’s still have a distinctive look that you would spot. A great example of Design over Branding.
The bottom of the earcups have 3.5mm jacks on both which pair with the included cables that both have two jacks, one for each ear. This is because the headband design doesn’t have any cables running between earcups and it also lowers the possibility of damage in the long run. The cord is replaceable where if it was in the headband it wouldn’t be as easy. My only complaint here is that the only indication of which side is which is on the cable and it is small and hard to see. I like that the headphones can go either way. But for the cord, a lightly better way to spot left and right would be nice.
We then have the earcup padding which as mentioned previously is covered in a soft black velour finish. Inside of that, they went back to the name brands with Kvadrat fabric for the black that covered the driver. They did this specifically because the fabric is acoustically transparent. The padding for the earcups comes in at around an inch thick with memory foam and while the padding is thick the opening is still large as well. Inside, creating the music they went with 50 mm drivers with diaphragms composes of multiple polymer layers filled with damping gel. They are Philips Layer motion control, like the previous X2 and have a sensitivity of 100 dB @ 1mW and a frequency response of 5-40000 Hz which for comparison on the gaming side of things. The Sennheiser Game Zero’s are 15-28000 Hz.
One of the other qualities that Philips pushed for the X3’s was keeping them lightweight. If you think about it, the main reason a headband can get uncomfortable is from the weight pushing down. So less is more when it comes to comfort and the X3’s without the cord comes in at 334 grams or 11.78 ounces. The previous X2/27’s were 13.4 ounces. Now headphones like the Sennheiser HD599’s do come in a little less at 10.4 ounces. But I was surprised with the overall weight considering the aluminum frame and use of leather.