Philips Fidelio X3 review

Philips take on the other audio big guns and the results are something to behold

Philips Fidelio X3 review
(Image: © Philips)

Louder Verdict

The Philips Fidelio X3 are simply a brilliant set of headphones. They’re not wireless or Bluetooth enabled, so indoor use is really where the X3 shine. Comfy and secure, the audio performance is top drawer no matter what volume you’re cranking out.


  • +

    Studio grade presentation

  • +

    Great balance


  • -

    No Bluetooth support

  • -

    Audio tends to leak

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If you’re on the hunt for a great set of headphones, then the Philips Fidelio X3 might be just what you’ve been looking for thanks to their cracking sound and comfort.

While the Philips Fidelio X3 aren’t wireless and have no in-built Bluetooth, that hasn’t stopped them from smashing straight in at no.1 in our loudest headphones guide. Granted, they're probably best if you're looking for a set of headphones for use indoors, but don't discount them because of these two reasons alone. Balanced audio and comfort mean the X3 are most definitely worth a closer look.

Want to know more? Then read on and we’ll explain exactly why these cans are worth considering.

And if you're looking for other headphones, then we have you covered with our pick of the best over-ear headphones, the best budget wireless headphones and the best headphones for music.

Philips Fidelio X3 review: Design

The Philips Fidelio X3 definitely have a premium look and come with Kvadrat Fabric backed earcups which add a touch of texture to the outside double-layered shells. This is in stark contrast to the wire mesh used on the X2, and it's a look we prefer.

The soft velour ear pads add balanced comfort and can be removed for a quick brush up. Meanwhile, the leather headband is lightly sprung, although be warned, this means they sit slightly tall on the head and do look a little strange. That said, these wired headphones are probably best used at home rather than on your daily travels.

Looks wise, the Philips Fidelio X3 are much sleeker than the more industrial X2 and we really do prefer the softer modern twist on these cans.

Philips Fidelio X3 review: Features

The Philips Fidelio X3 are wired and don't have Bluetooth capabilities, but that doesn't mean you should write them off. They boast 50 mm acoustic drivers which are made from multiple polymer layers which are supported by a dampening gel. This helps to deliver excellent audio balance when cranking out your favourite tracks. That said, the bass isn't quite as punchy as we'd like, but that's all down to personal preference.

The Philips Fidelio X3 have two jacks on the bottom of each cup rather than a single jack, with the package including a 3.5mm – 6.3mm adapter to suit.

Philips Fidelio X3 review: Sound

Philips Fidelio X3 review

(Image credit: Philips)

OK, now for the most important aspect of any headphone: The sound. As mentioned above, the bass doesn't quite kick in the way we usually like it, but that's not to say it's non-existent and it really is a minor quibble.

The X3 pump out audio with delightful clarity even when you turn the music up to 11. Vocals especially sound crisp and fantastic. 

The overall sound is spacious – however, due to the open-back design, audio does tend to leak straight out of your ears when the volume is raised. This makes for an infuriating and frustrating time for the person sitting beside you on the sofa – especially if they don't share your enthusiasm for AC/DC! Like we said before, to avoid evil glares across the aisle, keep these at home rather than using them on the daily commute.

While the Philips Fidelio X3 sound great while plugged into your phone or laptop, firing them through something from our best headphone amps guide really takes them to another level. And since you'll probably be spending most of your time at home with the X3s, this is definitely something to consider.

Philips Fidelio X3 review: The alternatives

The RRP on the Philips Fidelio X3 is around the £299 mark – and that puts them up against some serious competition. The Grado SR325e over-ear headphones immediately spring to mind thanks to their brilliant sound and robust build quality. These are definitely worth a closer look if you’re after a set of cans for home use. Coming in slightly cheaper than the X3 are the Sony WH-1000XM4 and are a great pick if you're after wireless headphones for around the same price. They have Bluetooth functionality, ANC and amazing sound.


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