At £35 the Philips SHE9105 Earphones mark the most affordable audio product we’ve reviewed in years. Of course, we don’t hold this against them, although the specifications Philips list do warp our perspective of the traditional values we’ve reviewed within the earphone market.
We were quite literally stunned that Philips managed to afford the luxury of aluminium housing for the SHE9105 earphones on the budget they’ve preset. This lightweight brass copper coloured housing isn’t the most stylised, but they look and feel nicer than plastic. When compared with other earphones, the cable tangles somewhat easier due to its silkiness and feels a bit cheap. On a more positive note, we see some minor design detail that we are used to on higher end entries; like an L-shaped aux plug on the cable - these plugs really extend the life of cables that get frequently yanked!
Small, medium and large silicone tips come included. We found the medium size to be a snug fit which also makes the earphones look proportionally exact too. Popping the correct earphone into each ear is made absolutely obvious with near 10pt text marking ‘L’ & ‘R’ on the respective earpiece. The only complaint we have, which is loosely connected to comfort, is that the earphones occasionally slip away from our fingertips when taking them in and out of our ears. But when it comes to the tiny and very light earphones staying in our ears we have no complaints, and they become less noticeable in-ear the longer they’re in place.
One single button remote with integrated microphone is fitted onto the cable. This is a bit of a tinny clicker with a frugal feel. Nevertheless it skips, pauses and plays tracks without any issue. The microphone serves to receive incoming calls for your convenience, with the remote working well.
The character of the Philips SHE9105 is all about up front clarity. So for the listener whose budget is no more than £35, these will definitely satisfy. Volume levels get fairly loud and the overall signature of sound that is produced from the 8.6mm drivers is what we’d describe as enjoyable listening. What we mean is that, whilst not designed for audiophiles, the SHE9105 earphones do pack a pleasurable sound. Whilst the recently reviewed £55 FIDUE A65 earphones offer good value, this Philips release highlight many aspects of range definition for almost £20 less. Wholly surprising to us is that they are offering exemplary value with a richness of sound in all ranges to quench the needs of listeners over a broad genre of music.
Highs are credible in sharpness, but can sometimes sound a bit too bright, with a mid-range that fights hard to stay heard. We particularly enjoyed the resonating bass that didn't sound lifeless. Where needed the grunt was there and likewise was a foundation beat across so many variable range balances with different songs we listened to. For instance, ‘Hold My Hand’ by Jess Glynne has airy high background singers, a massive bass drum beat and vocals that need a good mid-range or else the song sounds confined and a bit tinny. The Philips SHE9105 earphones have no tuning issues when playing such a dense track and portray how much of an upgrade they are from no-name bundled smartphone earphones. However, intricate detailing within songs found in pricer examples, like the £70 Final Adagio III earphones, is missing, and there’s no sweeping sound stage, so instruments and vocals don’t have masses of independence and the treble is a bit diluted. Yet the stereo performance isn’t stale in comprehension and we enjoyed the spacial presence they particularly award vocals.
The Philips SHE9105 earphones appear and sound a great deal more expensive than they actually are - for £35. This equation sits them as a brilliantly capable and affordable answer for those who desire a leg up from the bundled earphones that come with smartphones.