Philips Fidelio M2BT Bluetooth headphones review

Philips Fidelio M2BT Bluetooth headphones

Searching for the best Bluetooth headphones we have tested the Philips Fidelio M2BT, alongside others from Sennheiser, AKG and Creative. Read our pick of the best headphones available today.

Apple’s swinging white headphone cables may be iconic but they’re also impractical and unnecessary. Who hasn’t  groaned at yet another untangling of headphone cables when pulled out of their bag?

Bluetooth headphones free you from the horror of hanging cables and the terror of yanked, broken jacks.

Simply pair your music device – be it smartphone, MP3 player, laptop, etc – with the Bluetooth headphones, and you’re free of those old-fashioned cables. If you own an old-school iPod with no Bluetooth, fear not – here’s how to add Bluetooth to an iPod.

The Fidelio M2BT can pair with your Bluetooth device either manually or via NFC.

As with other quality Bluetooth headphones the Philips Fidelio M2BT come with a 1.2m cable for those times you want the ultimate sound sensation or your headphones have run out of juice.

Hi-Fi fanatics will point out that for the ultimate audio experience you can’t beat a cable, and they’re right – using Bluetooth will reduce audio quality, but not enough for most of us to truly tell the difference. We have a resident audio boffin here at PC Advisor and for an all-round review we publish his thoughts here too.

Philips has a good reputation for its headphones and other audio products. Don’t forget it’s these guys that invented the cassette and co-developed the CD. Audio experts at the likes of What Hi-Fi are impressed, so the Fidelio M2BT Bluetooth headphones came with high expectations.

Philips Fidelio M2BT sound quality

These headphones are built with 40mm high-magnetic intensity neodymium speaker drivers, and use the high-quality aptX codec for high-resolution, “CD-quality” audio transmission.

From a layman's point of view I found the sound quality to be higher than some Bluetooth headphones I’ve tested, but what does a real audio expert make of the Fidelio M2BT?

Our audio guru is more demanding than most but it’s worth hearing his thoughts on the audio quality from an expert point of view.

Wired sound   We first tested the headphones with the supplied cable for ultimate audio testing.

The Fidelio M2 headphones have a warm, bass-forward sound, which will be familiar to owners of Beats headphones. They are highly damped, giving a sense of punchiness at the expense of revealing the longer decay of notes. High treble detail has been subdued, reined right in, with the focus moved instead to upper bass and lower midrange.

Stereo width is contained, with more attention drawn to what’s happening at each ear rather than between and all around them. Vocals are soft and smooth, typically a little reduced in level but at least never strident or shouty.

The relaxing, if muffled sound, won’t cause much listening fatigue through any overly energetic upper mid and treble – but you do lose some of the music in the process.

Wireless sound   Next we tried the headphones using no cable, as its wireless Bluetooth connection is why you’re interested in these headphones in the first place. We tested with an iPhone, so using Apple’s AAC codec rather than aptX, which you’d get using an Android phone or laptop.

Over Bluetooth there was a similar presentation but with noticeable further reduction in fidelity. Cymbals sound more splashy than when wired, and guitars sounds little more crunchy and gritty.

Overall the filtering effect that takes out the worst excesses of low bitrate digital compressed audio, can also subtract somewhat from the music. But Beats lovers will find an affinity in these Bluetooth headphones.

Philips Fidelio M2BT comfort

These closed-back headphones are well made and super comfortable, featuring memory-foam earpads so pressure is dispersed and heat build-up reduced.  The soft, pliant muffs do clamp quite tightly on the ears. This helps keep them secure when mobile but can cause some discomfort after prolonged wearing. Tightness to ears contributes to some thump-thump bone conduction from foot fall when walking along.

The woven-texture band is easy to adjust. The headphones feel robust and unlikely to break is given the rough treatment.

Sound leakage is reduced with an acoustic seal, so you shouldn’t overly annoy fellow passengers or other people around you when listening to your favourite music.

Philips Fidelio M2BT wireless Bluetooth headphones

Philips Fidelio M2BT controls

The right earcup houses the integrated volume and track controls, plus on/off functions. Push the toggle up or down to vary the volume, and press in once or twice to skip forwards and backwards. These work well, and leaving your music player in your pocket is a real benefit.

Philips Fidelio M2BT portability

The headphones are reasonably lightweight (190g) but don’t fold to a coat pocket-size shape like the lighter Sennheiser MM 400-X Bluetooth headphones (105g). They aren’t giant cans so you won’t look like a Cyberman.

One complaint we have is that while walking with the headphones on we could hear the vibration of our steps through the headphones. The Sennheisers were quieter in this regard, and so remain our Editors’ Choice for portable Bluetooth headphones.

The Fidelio are perhaps better suited to interior setting or just less walking environments. In a car or on a train or plane the Fidelio M2BT are recommended.

They come with a soft travel pouch.

Philips Fidelio M2BT battery life

Philips claims that the M2BT’s LI-Polymer batteries have a music play time of 10 hours. They are charged using the supplied Micro USB cable.

Philips Fidelio M2BT mics

The M2BTs feature dual built-in microphones – one for voice and another that measures ambient noise so can automatically adjust for the best call quality. Some might prefer the voice mic to be on the cable but that would nullify the whole point of Bluetooth headphones.

Philips Fidelio M2BT price

Priced at £250 the Fidelio M2BTs certainly aren’t cheap but the price is fair for the build and audio quality, unless you're not keen on a Beats-like bassiness. We’ve seen them available for under £180 online so shop around for the best deal. See below this review for the latest, best online prices.

Philips Fidelio M2BT headphones: Specs

  • Frequency response: 7 - 23,500Hz
  • Impedance: 16 Ohm
  • Sensitivity: 107dB
  • Speaker diameter: 40mm
  • Maximum power input: 40mW
  • Distortion: < 0.1% THD
  • Acoustic system: Closed Diaphragm: PET
  • Magnet type: Neodymium
  • Type: Dynamic
  • Frequency response: 7 - 23,500Hz
  • Impedance: 16 Ohm
  • Sensitivity: 107dB
  • Speaker diameter: 40mm
  • Maximum power input: 40mW
  • Distortion: < 0.1% THD
  • Acoustic system: Closed Diaphragm: PET
  • Magnet type: Neodymium
  • Type: Dynamic

OUR VERDICT

The Philips Fidelio M2BT Bluetooth headphones are well made and comfortable, and most importantly sound good. From a pure audio point of view we did find them rather bassy with the high treble slightly subdued. If you like the sound from Beats headphones you’ll probably like these too. From a portable point of view we prefer the more foldable Sennheiser MM 400-X for walking commuters as they’re lighter and suffer less from vibration interference, but the Fidelio M2BT are a fine choice for train, plane and home/office environments.

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