Philips Fidelio L3 noise-cancelling headphones launch to rival Sony WH-1000XM4

(Image credit: Philips)

Philips has launched the latest noise-cancelling headphones in its iconic Fidelio line; the Philips Fidelio L3 come with support for Hi-Res Audio and a luxurious leather design, as well as ANC built-in. 

The new headphones are packing a four-mic hybrid active noise cancellation system, which blocks out environmental sound "without changing the timing and musicality of the headphone's playback", according to Philips.

There's also an extra built-in mic "dedicated to removing background sounds", which means your calls should have crystal clear audio, too.

The Philips Fidelio L3 also offer an impressive 35-hour battery life (30 hours with ANC turned on). That's about the same as the Sony WH-1000XM4 – AKA, the best headphones of 2020.

Hi-Res sound, luxury build

The sound quality provided by the Fidelio L3 should be very good indeed, with 40mm drivers, "featuring a unique three-layer construction using TPU (damping material) layer sandwiched between 2 layers of PEEK", which Philips says is a polymer more commonly used for very high-end headphones. 

A rigid driver enclosure should prevent distortion, even when listening at high volumes, while passive noise isolation comes courtesy of the memory foam and leather-covered ear cup cushions.

The headphones certainly look luxurious, with circular housings (apparently chosen for better comfort and acoustic performance over oval-shaped housings) suspended by an aluminum frame.

These housings are touch-sensitive, which means you can control your music playback with swipes, taps, and presses, as well as summoning your device's voice assistant.

Support for Bluetooth 5 should ensure a stable connection with your phone or tablet, while compatibility with the Qualcomm aptX HD codec means that audio quality shouldn't suffer while using the headphones wirelessly. 

If you do prefer a cable, you'll be pleased to know that the included wire ensures support for Hi-Res Audio playback – perfect if you like to listen to your music via audiophile streaming services like Tidal or Qobuz.

Philips hasn't released any information on pricing yet, but if they can match the price of their predecessors ($299 / £220 / about AU$400), the Fidelio L3 could make a compelling alternative to the Sony WH-1000XM4 and other pricey noise-cancelling headphones.

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.