If you've recently found some cash rattling around your jacket and fancy treating yourself to a new pair of on-ear headphones, then you might want to take a peek at the Philips Fidelio M1s.
With their stark design and excellent sound quality, they're a great option for those of you wanting something stylish for the road, but with a price tag of £160, do they justify the money?
Design and build
The M1s offer a very industrial look that you'll either love or hate. The main body of the ear cup is made from a stiff black plastic with a ridged texture on the outside, which gives them an aggressive look. You'll also notice tiny holes on the cups that are actually bass exhausts, allowing air to be pumped out when the speakers inside are moving quickly to produce heavy low-end sounds.
The ear cups are held in place by grey metal rings that are connected to similarly grey stalks that form the lower portions of the headband. The metal feels extremely sturdy and was all too happy to put up with my barrage of pokes, assaults and squeezes.
The top section of the headband is made from a flexible plastic that sits comfortably on your head, without feeling like it's trying to squeeze your skull to breaking point. It's wrapped in a soft black leather that adds a premium touch and thankfully doesn't immediately feel like the sort of cheap leather that wears out with use.
The cups sit on the ear, rather than around it, which means they don't offer the best passive sound isolation, but they can afford to be quite a lot smaller for this reason. This results in a size that you can happily wear about town or on the bus, rather than having to leave them permanently plugged into your home hi-fi.
The sponge pads are soft, comfortable and the leather coverings feel as durable as the leather on the headband. I found I was able to wear them for at least a couple of hours at a time before I needed to take them off and give my ears a rest.
The cable is wrapped in a black material and can be detached from the headphones, allowing you to replace it if lost or damaged. It feels very strong, which is something of a relief as many headphone manufacturers put great effort into making the headphones durable, then pair them with a shoddy piece of cabling that's likely to snap the first time you catch it on a door. I have every confidence the cable on the M1s will withstand a tough life -- good to know, considering the price tag.