In short, these Philips In-Ear Sports Headphones, in the earbuds style, are not high fidelity, But they are very durable, sweat proof, waterproof (as long as you leave the rubber cups that cover the drivers in place), well-fitting, designed for sports applications, comfortable, and not bad sounding. Clearly however, Philips focused more on the ruggedness that sports requires than on how good they sound for audiophile uses.
But this compromise that favors durability over sound quality may not be terribly offensive for people who listen to these while engaged in their favorite physical workouts. Why? In a typical exercise session, there are so many other noises around that the much-reduced high-end in these earbuds, as well as the weak bass, and somewhat piercing high midrange, would typically be easy to overlook. You can still hear the defining parts of the music, even though it does not sound as full-range in these earphones. The frequency response profile helps the sound of the music rise way above the ambient workout noises such as foot falls, whirring treadmills, and so on.
I listened to these for a couple of hours, and my ears did adjust somewhat to the mostly midrange sound profile. But there’s so little of the really high frequencies, that these phones never became pleasant-sounding to me. I like my highs. In fact, I need my highs. But the rubber cups mentioned above, since they completely cover over the speaker grills of the drivers, seem to attenuate the audio high-end sounds quite drastically. So I tried removing the boots and listening that way. This did restore much of the highs, but also made the overall music sounds even more piercing and harsh. Philips apparently designed the drivers to favor the high frequencies, attempting to make up for the loss of said frequencies when the cups are in place. However unfortunately, they did only a mediocre job at this tuning for sports, as they call it. Either the cups attenuate too much of the treble components, or the drivers do not output enough of them. Whatever the case, the end result is a less than stellar audio profile that, quite likely, only beginner listeners would enjoy. Indeed, in order to get a waterproof earphone, Philips sacrificed much of the crispness and definition of the high frequency components of the music, as well as the very low bass components.
Benefits, Features, Pros, and Advantages
- Excellent strain relief provided on all critical joints (the two ear pieces and at the jack end).
- You get approximately 47 inches of useable cable length.
- The audio cable itself is highly flexible.
- Low microphonics.
- The instructions included detail how to change the earcups.
- These Philips headphones are in the same style as Apple iPod stock ear buds, in that they do not protrude into the ear canal. Their little speakers sit in the ear, just beyond the ear canal entrance.
- Light weight and comfortable. Just keep the rubber earcup boots in place. Without these, these buds are not comfortable, with a jagged edte that pokes the ear.
- 3.5mm gold-plated connector is provided.
- Three sizes of anti-microbial ear piece cups included.
- Fit and stability are hallmarks of this earphone set. Once placed in the ear, they do not move around too much until you take them out. This is a valuable feature for equipment that’s to be used during rigorous physical exercise.
- Each headphone is clearly marked at the top of the cable strain relief stem, with a white letter on a black background, that indicates either left (L) or right (R) channel.
- A black spring-loaded clip is provided and is attached to the cable between the plug and the Y vertex (the bottom (longest leg) of the Y). You can slide this clip up and down the cable, and it’s used to fasten the cable to a shirt or belt so that it does not flop and whip around as much during workouts.
- They also provide a black mesh and red carrying pouch for the earbuds, that looks very much like a gym-style clothes bag, emphasizing the sports nature of this product.
- The mid range frequencies are the best sounding audio components here. So these work well for the speech found in audio books, podcasts, and so on.
- Appear to be a closed-air design, to achieve good waterproofing.
- Intended for indoor or outdoor workouts, these phones block surrounding environmental noises very little, for maximum safety while riding or jogging along busy streets and in communities.
- Sweat proof.
- One year limited warranty.
- Frequency response: 30 – 20,000 Hz.
- Sensitivity: 110 DB.
- Maximum power input: 10 milliwatts.
- Impedance: 32 ohms.
- They produce plenty of volume, in spite of their higher-than-typical sensitivity rating. They’ll indeed hurt the ears at full iPod volume.
- The higher-than-typical impedance (32 ohms as opposed to the common 16 ohms) means less power consumption here. But you may also experience lower volumes as well.
- My copy has a red cable with white driver units, black strain relievers and jack body, and red anti-microbial boots.
- Comfortable to listen to in bed with one ear stuffed into your pillow.
- I paid $25 roughly for this pair. Though I’m not impressed with their audio characteristics, the durability features built-in here are perhaps the best I’ve observed in a set of in-ear headphones. I wish some of the more expensive earbuds implemented the same high quality cabling and strain relief found in this Philips offering.
Disadvantages, Cons, Limitations, and Problems
- The left and right earbuds are not exact copies of the other. If you insert them backwards (right bud into left ear, and left bud into right ear), you lose some good fit and comfort. I prefer completely swappable ear drivers.
- Significant audio spill. So you may disturb your sleep mate if you play your music too loud while sharing your bed. Moderate volume levels however, can barely be heard several inches away from these earbuds.
- Though the specs available for this product are quite extensive, they still do not mention harmonic distortion figures.
- Not a very good high-fidelity audio device.
- No microphone or remote control here.
- Quite a bit of harshness in the mid-high frequency range here, even with the waterproofing rubber cups / boots in place.
- The extreme high frequencies are virtually non-existent. As such, these phones failed my Hissy Master test. That is: On recordings that normally exhibit higher-than-usual amounts of high frequency hiss, that his was practically imperceptible when listening with these ear buds.
I believe that Philips put too much emphasis on the sports requirements of these earbuds, and too little on audio fidelity. While the SHQ1000-28s appear to be second to none in terms of excellent construction, resistance to water, and durability, they’re sorely lacking in terms of audio performance. Thus, I would not recommend these to any serious audio listener, unless he is a sports enthusiast, wanting to use them only during his workouts. In other applications, the audio deficiencies here would quickly become unacceptable. I’d rate these sports phones thus, at 75 out of 100. Thear buds sound so bad to me, that I’d prefer buying a better-sounding yet non waterproof set, and taking my chances with them during my exercise.
Where to Buy the Philips SHQ1000-28 Waterproof In-Ear Sports Headphones
I bought mine at Walmart. But they’re also available on Amazon, eBay, and other larger online electronics vendors, Look for them in the red, white, and blue outer package, and the clear plastic inner packaging. The earphones themselves are visible through a window on the front of the box.
- 2015-11-28: Added appropriate tags.
- : Adjusted ad placement, extended the References, added whitespace for clarity, and fixed typos.
- 2012-10-01: Originally published.