Philips SHB8850NC Headphones Review
The Good
  • Excellent noise cancellation technology
  • Sound great for a budget set of headphones
  • Portable enough to fit in a handbag or rucksack
The Bad
  • Bass frequencies aren't quite punchy enough to feel immersive
4.6Overall Score

When I was first offered a set of Philips SHB8850NC headphones to try, I was a little shocked. If I’m honest, I didn’t think Philips were in the consumer tech game anymore. It’s been a while since we’ve heard much from the electronic manufacturer that I suppose I just blanked over them when researching new tech to see. But, saying that, I’m so happy I was asked, because after seeing these superb headphones, they’re back on my radar.

So the Philips SHB8850NC headphones are a small set of over-ear cans that include some impressive noise-cancelling technology. They’re built very well, and give off a kind of style that you don’t usually see in headphones at this price point. The silver detailing on the side of both ear cups make these plasticy headphones a bit of an industrial feel, implying quality within. The foam earpads are soft and comfortable enough to keep these attached to your head for extended periods of time.

Both ear cups hang loose and can fold into the main headband for easy storage in things like handbags or a pocket in a rucksack. There unfortunately isn’t any kind of carrying case that comes supplied, but that’s not really a huge deal breaker to miss out on the quality of the headphones.

Button placement is a strange one. Headphone manufacturers we’ve noticed generally like to tuck them around the rear of the earcups, but with the Philips SHB8850NC headphones, I found they wrap around the front, especially on the right ear cup. If we start around the front, you will find a power and mute music button, with a skip track and play and pause appearing around the rear. There is an answer call button on the face of the right ear cup which can be easily felt so you don’t have to remove the headphones. On the left earcup is the noise cancellation button. A two second press and the world around you dips into silence.

Inside the headphones are two 32mm drivers which are responsible for creating some pretty wide soundscapes. The detail in some of the tracks we listened to was insane, and definitely one of the best that we’ve seen at the sub-£100 price point. Being fair to the headphones but true to my own music enjoyment, I first played Fall Out Boy’s My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark and I must say, there were some instruments that I hadn’t previously heard. Only small minute detail, like high-hat sounds, but I felt more immersed into the music.

For something a little more bassy I listened to Club Foot by Kasabian, but unfortunately was left a little disappointed. The moment the bass riff kicks in should be powerful, but the Philips SHB8850NC headphones fell short. There is a small bass presence, but not enough to carry you into immersion like with more middle/treble focused tracks. I finished with a variety of tracks from Queen and I must say wow. The clarity of detail in each track like the snapping fingers half way through Under Pressure were all very present and able to be heard over louder instruments.

I must admit, these Philips headphones are an absolutely superb set of cans that won’t bust your bank balance. The 8850s are among the most impressive noise-cancellation budget headphones and join the Lindy BNX-60s as some of the best we’ve seen at TechNuovo. It’s just a shame that the bass frequencies aren’t a little more present.

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Stef Murphy

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