Price (RRP): $199
Making a good headphone these days is more than just building a good can with solid audio recreation, as you also need modern features like wireless and noise cancellation. The latest pair from Philips has both of those, and it even has a low price to boot.
Features and performance
In the box, you’ll find a cable to switch these wireless headphones into something not quite so wireless, a USB charge cable, an airline adaptor in case you feel so inclined, but no protective pouch, which means good luck protecting the headphones.
Oh, and you’ll also find the headphones. Important thing, too, since you’d expect to find headphones in a headphone box.
Looking at the design, it is nice to see something that isn’t quite your typical standard matt look, and the Philips SHB8850NC certainly don’t have that.
There’s a metallic dimpled design, and it’s more than just a mere look, with those dimples resulting in a texture, slight as it is.
You can’t see yourself in the mirror finish, but that’s fine, with the dots making it harder to get your fingerprints all over the design, and that’s a good thing.
Unfortunately, as metallic as its looks, these Philips cans are still merely made of plastic, and that’s something you feel when you hold the headphones, and when you put them on.
Doing so, it’s clear we’re ready for our sound test, and pairing these headphones is the next step, a pretty easy step to do thanks to the wonders of Bluetooth and — if your device supports it — Near-Field Communication, or NFC.
If you have a supported device, say an Android phone with NFC or one of those Windows Phone products, you simply need to bump the phone to the side with the NFC logo and this will kickstart the pairing process.
But if you have an iPhone — or any phone without NFC — you’ll want to hold down the Bluetooth button on the bottom of the cans to start the pairing process and the subsequent blinking LED. From here, simply find the headphones in settings and connect, and then away you go.
Alternatively, you can use the cable found in the box, something which will be a little more than necessary on so many flights, though as wireless friendliness opens up in travel, that could change.
In the regular day to day, however, the Philips can serve either need, providing wireless headphones with active noise cancellation or wired with active noise cancellation, or either without, just make sure the battery is charged if you want ANC on. Charging is easy, mind you, thanks to the use of the microUSB port on the side of the can.