Well-balanced mid-range IEMs
- Clear sweet highs, great detail, wide soundstage
- Bass a little uncontrolled, short cord
Philips' SHE9850 headphones are another strong entry into the mid-range IEM space. Their bass could be a little punchier and more controlled, but for the price these IEMs offer a clear, smooth and well-balanced sound.
Price$ 179.95 (AUD)
Designed with classical, jazz and blues listening in mind, the SHE9850 headphones are part of Philips' new line of in-ear monitors (IEMs), along with the SHE9800. Their slightly more well-rounded sound, which has an emphasis on detail and transparency, makes them well suited to the afore-mentioned musical styles. Overall, the audio quality is quite impressive; they are a good option for users looking to try something a cut above regular ear buds.
These IEMs are fairly small compared to other units on the market. The tips are tiny and slide easily into ears. Users who have never tried canal-phones before will still need to adjust to the slightly bizarre, invasive feeling, but this is the trade-off you make for clear, immersive audio.
Fortunately, size is not an indicator of quality when it comes to headphones. The SHE9850 headphones are strong performers overall. They have a wonderfully detailed sound that brings out all the nuances of music. Subtle percussion instruments, snare drums, backup vocals and individual guitar strings are all well defined and crisp, giving music a smooth transparent sound.
The bass is probably the weakest element of the music. It has a pleasing tone and is quite detailed, but lacks the power and extension of some more bass-heavy IEMs. It could also be a little more controlled, with the notes lingering a little longer than usual.
However, the highs were excellent, with a rich, sweet sound and excellent extension. The clarity and smoothness were exceptional, particularly with high-pitched acoustic guitar and piano notes, which sounded great and were never harsh or fatiguing.
The mid-range was pretty solid, too, with the same smoothness found in the treble notes. Some users might prefer a grittier and more dirty, visceral approach but for certain musical genres the style of these IEMs is more appropriate. Couple that with an excellent soundstage that creates a wide, immersive listening environment and you have an excellent platform for classical music.
Aesthetically, these headphones look pretty classy for IEMs. It’s hard for canal-phones to look too stylish, but Philips has done a pretty good job here with the black tips and gunmetal driver case contrasting nicely. We would have liked the cable to be a little longer but aside from that we have no design complaints.
Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z3 review: The no-frills flagship
- 2 Samsung's Galaxy Alpha review: A peek into the Galaxy S6
- 3 Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: The busiest, biggest and best Samsung phablet
- 4 Aldi's $279 Bauhn Sphere review: Disappointing
- 5 Nokia Lumia 735 review: Perfectly ordinary
Best Deals on GoodGearGuide
Latest News Articles
- Hotel group asks FCC for permission to block some outside Wi-Fi
- North Korean Internet connection hit by outages
- DirecTV won't show 'The Interview,' others won't say
- Judge nixes HP's settlement of shareholder suit over Autonomy
- Simpler M2M connectivity promised as Sierra Wireless buys Swedish company
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.