Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware
Philips advertises the Fidelio X3 as high-end headphones, and while the use of genuine Muirhead leather on both the suspended inner headband and structural outer headband feels the part, the rest of the design is best described as sensible and down-to-earth in my personal opinion. I just do not see these as looking and feeling like high-end luxury headphones even though it has won iF and Red Dot Design Awards. The best analogy I could come up with is like getting into a new Honda Accord. Everything looks well-put together and feels great, but it is not on the same level as a Mercedes-Benz E-class. The Kvadrat acoustically transparent fabric on the earcups as well as the plush Velour padding looks ordinary, even if there is a reason to why they were chosen and of great quality.
The construction quality of the Philips Fidelio X3 is overall excellent. These are traditional open back headphones for use at home rather than traveling, and hence every part is fixed -- the earcups cannot be rotated and the headphones cannot be collapsed. The structural elements are all made out of lightweight aluminum for remarkable structural rigidity. At no point did I find anything squeaky or loose.
The Philips Fidelio X3 measures in at 11cm in depth, 23cm in height, and 19cm in width at its largest dimensions. The specified weight is 380g. The reasonable weight and clamp pressure along with the suspended headband design of these headphones made it comfortable in day-to-day use.
These over-ear circumaural open back headphones feature 50mm neodymium acoustic drivers behind a metal grille, where its diaphragms are composed of multiple polymer layers and filled with a special damping gel for fine tuning its stiffness and for dampening. According to Philips, the acoustic enclosure has twenty ridges for additional structural stiffening and resonance minimization compared to the X2HR. The rated frequency response of an impressive 5Hz to 40kHz. These specifications are, quite frankly, quite a bit beyond the hearing range of any normal human being of around 20Hz to 20kHz. The rated sensitivity is 100dB @ 1mW with an impedance of 30 ohms. It will work with unamplified sources such as your smartphone in wired mode, but I highly recommend an amplified source to get the most out of the Fidelio X3. The maximum input power is 500mW.
Our above photo shows the Philips Fidelio X3, shot from below. There are 3.5mm jacks at the bottom of both earcups for independent inputs. This is mainly designed for use with the cable with the TRRS 2.5mm connector for input from balanced sources, where the left and right channels are decoupled with separate grounds for reduced stereo crosstalk. However, a 3.5mm cable is also included for common unbalanced sources like your computer. It is important to note the left and right connectors and earcups are dedicated to either the left or right channel and cannot be swapped regardless of the cable you use. If you plug them in incorrectly, you will hear nothing.
The Philips Fidelio X3 features a suspended headband. The suspended headband is made out of genuine Muirhead leather as aforementioned. Since no head is perfectly circular, there were some gaps noticed and the fit was generally about what you would expect for headphones of this shape and size. That said, these open back headphones are designed for you to use at home, so I find the design is appropriate for the context.
With all this in mind, how will the Philips Fidelio X3 perform? As always, we have the entire Page 3 dedicated to presenting our auditioning results.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis