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Philips Fidelio L2 (Black) review: A hidden gem of a headphone

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The Good The Philips Fidelio L2 is a well-constructed, comfortable over-ear headphone that sounds impressive, with excellent clarity and tight bass. Designed for both home and mobile use, it includes a cable with a one-button inline remote and microphone for cell-phone calls. Sound is more open and airy due to its semi-closed design.

The Bad Somewhat pricey; inline remote lacks volume controls; downside to semi-closed design is that it leaks some sound.

The Bottom Line With a winning combination of comfort and superior sound quality, the Philips Fidelio L2 earns itself a spot among the luxury headphone elite.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Sound 8
  • Value 8

The Philips Fidelio L2, which costs around $250 online (£162 UK, AU$360), doesn't get talked about much compared to competing models from the likes of Sony, Sennheiser, V-Moda, Audio-Technica, Bose, and Beats, but it's a really good headphone. It's been on the market for several months, but it's beginning to become available at additional retailers.

The sturdily constructed Philips Fidelio L2 is designed for home and mobile use. Sarah Tew/CNET

The L2 is a semi-open design, which means it will leak some sound but not as much as an open-back headphone (such as its sibling, the Fidelio X2). It comes with two cloth-covered cables, one of which has an inline remote and microphone for cell-phone use, so it does double duty as a home and mobile headphone.

It's got a one-button remote that's designed to work with both Android and Apple phones, which is good. It lacks volume controls, but you can pause/play tracks and skip them forward and back, as well as answer and end calls.

Overall, the 260-gram headphone seems sturdily built -- its headband is made out of aluminum -- and is comfortable to wear, with nicely padded, leather-covered ear cushions that are equipped with memory foam. They fit snugly but not too snugly on your ears, and sound isolation is good.

While we were able to wear the L2 for long stretches, it's not as comfortable as the Sony MDR-1A , which is lighter at 225 grams. It's also worth mentioning that this wouldn't be the best headphone to wear around during summer because your ears will get steamy.

The L2 folds flat but it doesn't fold up like the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 does. A basic cloth carrying pouch is included to stow the headphones. Some other headphones in this price class come with better carrying cases.

The plush earcups do a good job sealing out ambient noise. Sarah Tew/CNET

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