As a committed city dweller one of my most important accessories is a pair of headphones. Where it’s radio, podcasts or music it’s amazingly liberating and powerful to be able to escape the confines of the tube, bus or office and be truly alone, even (or especially) when you’re sharing a small amount of space with seven million people.
Philips are aware of the importance headphones have to modern “urbanites” and have launched a new Citiscape range, which consists of three headband headphones: Uptown, Downtown and Shibuya as well as the inner ear St. Germain.
Philips starting point when conceiving Citiscape range was to recruit more than one hundred of the most creative inhabitants of New York, London, Berlin, Shanghai, Paris and Tokyo – although at no point was I consulted. The goal of the range was complete sound immersion in even the loudest city environments.
The Citiscape range have a MusicSeal system, with a double layer wall inside the ear shell to seal the edge between cushion and housing. I tried out all of the range in a noisy London nightclub packed with tech journalists and could hear every word of the Doug Loves Movies podcast I was listening to at the time. The headband range also features comfortable memory foam ear cushions, which isolate unwanted noise. It’s quite easy to keep them on for extended periods of time without experiencing discomfort or getting sweaty ears.
The range also features inline controls, a built-in microphone and neat volume slider. Playback control is via a single button so you can skip and pause tracks or activate Siri without looking. The volume slides I used were a little lose but very easy to use.
If you’re used to throwing your headphones into a bag and then rushing off you’ll be used to dealing with a mess of cables so the 1.2m flat, anti-tangle, cable should be a relief.
The over-ear Uptown headband model has premium 40mm drivers rigid aluminium architecture, super soft memory foam cushions and air quilted headbands. They are quite large and retro looking – a fellow journalist quipped that I looked like Princess Leia when I tried them on – and are available now in black with brown cushions, or brown combined with light grey cushions and with an RRP of £89.
The on-ear Downtown range is a little less imposing and lightweight spring-steel construction that’s wrapped in heat sealed soft foam. The Downtown range comes in brown, light grey and purple with an RRP of £59.
If the Uptown is “70s Dad-rock” the Shibuya headband headphone is “bubble gum pop”. Constructed from lightweight plastic, a breathable headband and soft, supple auto-fitting cushions, the Shibuya range comes in a variety of colours including brown, blue, pink, purple and white all with an RRP of £45.
If like me you’d rather not advertise to the world that you don’t want to talk to them there are the St.Germain, which have magnetic fluted ear buds and 10mm drivers. Available in brown and purple with an RRP of £45.