Given that the Philips Fidelio S1 headphones are named after a German opera, we wanted to open our review with a pun involving a fat lady or Beethoven. Unfortunately the task was beyond us.
Good: Excellent sound for price
Bad: Fiddly fit
Previously besotted with the on-ear Fidelio M1's, we were eager to strike up an acquaintance with the more intimate in-ear S1s. Despite their diminutive size, the S1's exhibit some thoughtful design: the flat, linguine-like lead meant that no matter how many times we stuffed them in our pocket or the handy accompanying travel case, we were never faced with the irksome task of disentanglement. An in-line mic and play/pause button also performed splendidly.
In addition to the suitably squidgy small/medium/large ear buds is a set of 'comply foam' tips. Forcing the industrial-looking ends into your ear is slightly disconcerting, but the foam's ability to mould to your ear shape makes for a snug fit. They effectively blocked out the hubbub of our commute, saving us from compensating with louder volumes.
Cables and buds aside, it was the sound quality that won us over. For £80, we weren't expecting much from these ultra-lightweights, but the S1's 13.5mm drivers deliver a beautifully balanced audio experience: bass and midrange are kept well apart, and higher trebles don't spit or whine. You'll need to make sure you manage to get the perfect in-ear fit though - anything loose results in a noticeable drop in sound quality.
If your tired £30-something in-ear headphones are in need of retirement, we urge you to consider the Fidelio S1s. They perform well above their £80 price tag, and significantly enhance the stylishness of your lobes.
You can buy the Philips Fidelio S1 headphones here