Philips SBC HS520

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Philips SBC HS520
  • Philips SBC HS520
  • Philips SBC HS520
  • Philips SBC HS520
  • Expert Rating

    2.00 / 5


  • They look quite good, Bass isn’t too bad, Unique cord system


  • They sound terrible, Expensive for the quality you are getting, Annoying echo effect

Bottom Line

The HS520 look good, but that’s about as far as it gets. Even though they aren’t overly expensive, you can get a far superior product for little more than what these are worth.

Would you buy this?

The Philips SBC HS520 portable headphones have been designed for the sports person in mind, but unfortunately, this convenience comes at the expense of quality.

The HS520 will attract plenty of onlookers from the sporting field, as they have been designed to suit someone who is constantly on the move - especially those who run frequently or spend a lot of their time at the gym. The unique feature of these headphones is the reflective neckband, which means the headphones stay visible in the dark for extra safety at night. While this is a good idea, unless you listen to your music in the dark frequently, this feature isn't going to be put to very good use.

The HS520 employs a stylish but simple design, which does look quite attractive. The ear cups themselves are finished in a grey and blue gloss plastic, while the rest of the headphones, including the around-the-head neckband are silver and grey. The best feature of the HS520 is without doubt the cord, which employs what Philips calls a "pull relief system". Basically this ensures cable reliability and longetivity by strengthening the connection - instead of connecting directly to the ear cup a piece of elastic is used which stretches when the cord is pulled, preventing general wear and tear. It's a good idea, especially since the headphones are targeted at people who are active.

Unfortunately that's about as good as it gets for the HS520. The sound quality is extremely poor and lacks any sort of crispness or clarity. We tested the HS520 using an iPod nano and despite exploring the equaliser settings on the MP3 player, we constantly experienced an echo like sound throughout playback, which becomes quite irritating after any prolonged period of use. The headphones also lack any real treble, although the bass wasn't too bad. Philips claims the use of "Bass Beats Vents" allows optimal airflow for better bass performance. We don't know whether that is an appropriate claim, but the bass response is tight without being too forceful, so we'll give them credit here.

How poor these headphones really are comes to fruition when you can purchase the Koss KSC-75 for little more than the retail price of the HS520, but get unsurpassed sound quality. In light of this, we honestly can't recommend these headphones to anyone. Steer clear of the HS520 and get better value for money elsewhere.

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