Phillips Uptown review, a…. Fashion headphone?

The Phillips Uptown are part of a “lifestyle” collection of audio devices and are thus in the category of “fashion” headphones. Obviously, many mainstream consumers don’t go shopping for Phillips headphones, unless for cheap prices and Headfiers avoided it like the plague because of the fashion branding. So where was this diamond in the rough supposed to go when no one would give it a chance?

 

Simple, nowhere and the price rapidly reduced with many people finding the Uptowns at bargain bin prices of $30 (such as me).  When That Snazzy iPhone Guy made his video about the Phillips Uptowns being better than the AthM50 (a Headfi favorite for a long time) a storm raged and the Phillips Uptown got more popularity but it is still considered as one of the most underrated headphones of all time.

The Box, Design and Build Quality

The Box is nothing to be ashamed of but is meant to be thrown away almost instantly. There are no accessories to be seen which is usually common of headphones in this price range.  Almost immediately the Phillips Uptowns destroy the common stereotypes of fashion headphones as most have a ridiculous amount of accessories and an extraordinarily well designed box.

The Uptowns convey a look of fashionable but in a mature way. It’s not very flashy like Beats by Dre but is still very stylish. The black and brown model looks great and it is very noticeable if you walk around with it.IMG_1256

So far the Uptowns have been nothing but good but there is one area where Phillips cut costs, that being the build quality. Build quality is great on the headphones but not on the cables. I was able to fearlessly stretch the headphones to be almost flat and they still didn’t break, unlike the Solo HD which I could barely touch without fear of it falling apart. Even on the off chance that the Uptowns do break, you still are covered by the Phillips warranty of a year.

The Cable and Comfortability

The cable is the worst part about this headphone. It is anti-tangle but is a spaghetti cable. The volume control that is attached to the Uptowns make it ten times worse as whenever you touch it may cause channel imbalance. I preferred to leave it on the highest setting and not touch it. The Uptowns are meant to be a non-portable headphone due to the non-folding design and the high power needed to drive these headphones. They would not go up to an adequate sound level on my sansa fuze but were perfect with my nexus 7 and my laptop.

People routinely complain about the discomfort of earphones or even badly designed headphones. For its price range, the Phillips Uptowns will blow you away with how comfortable it is. Most headphones can’t pass 4-5 hours without comfort but I can guarantee that the Phillips Uptowns can be on your head for 8 hours and there still will be no discomfort.  The clamp on this headphone doesn’t bother me but some people may have issues with fit which may degrade the sound quality that the Phillips Uptown produces.  It feels as though Phillips literally put pillows on my ears.IMG_1236

Sound Quality – Bass, Midrange,Treble, Soundstage

Sound Quality is absolutely fantastic and it takes after the look of the headphone. Bass is perfect. Not neutral but not extremely bass heavy. It is just in the middle. When bass gets dropped the uptowns show that but when bass is at the back seat it is at the back seat. The only people that won’t be satisfied with the bass are the extreme bass heads. Bass really depends on the fit that you get with the Uptowns but for the most part people won’t have any issues.

The Midrange is absolutely gorgeous with vocals coming out perfect. It’s very smooth and liquid but not to the point where the midrange becomes forward and the vocals become nasally. Usually with mid focused headphones, the bass gets reduced to nothing but this is not the case with the Uptowns.  The Uptowns are perfect for any rock music due to the great midrange. Guitar solos were incredibly accurate, well detailed, and just phenomenal to listen too.

The Verdict

Overall, the sound would be described as very warm and this is mainly due to the treble.  The boosted treble makes cymbals sparkle throughout the entire track. Pianos also sound fantastic. Electric guitars sometimes lack energy depending on the recording.  The treble also had great extension.

The soundstage is really the highlight of the entire headphone. It goes the exact opposite of what I expected it to be. The soundstage is very wide and has a lot of depth.  It is like the sound is evenly layered and the Uptowns display the instruments where the artist recorded them. This is most likely due to the angled drivers in the Uptowns.

The sound feels higher end then it should be and the sound seems tailored toward an audiophile audience rather than the mainstream bass loving crowd. The warm sound may draw away the “neutral” sound purists but for the most part the Uptowns are very balanced and yet very fun to listen too. Even though the Triple fi 10s are technically better, the easy listening of the Phillips Uptowns constantly leads me to listen to them. Burn in time is pretty long, a good 20 hours before the bass settles in and eventually it gets stronger and stronger as time goes on. Phillips made an incredible headphone with the Uptown but due to the mass media marketing attempt it has been widely ignored even though it is an amazing headphone.  Fundai recently purchased the Phillips lifestyle product range and maybe we may see an update to the Uptowns. The best part of the Uptowns is that it defies all the stereotypes that we see of Fashion headphones, now we finally have a headphone that sounds and looks good.

The good:

  • Great mids
  • Great Treble
  • Soundstage is wide and has lots of depth
  • Headphone itself is nicely built
  • Great looks
  • Very comfortable (near 8 hours before discomfort)
  • Not very expensive due to price cuts ($80-$90 on amazon)

The Bad:

  • Cable is horrible
  • Volume rocker can cause channel imbalance
  • Some devices may not have enough power to run the Uptowns with a reasonable listening level.
  • Style may not be “flashy enough” for some people
  • Bass is very light before usage/burn in

Final Score

Phillips Cityscape Uptown

9/10 Amazing: Great Sound quality, Great Comfort, but not as good build quality. The Phillips Uptowns still hold their supreme underrated status even almost a year after release.


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So what do you guys think of the Phillips Uptown Headphones, would you consider buying them or not and why? Your feedback is most welcome down below.

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Hydro Ninja

Hey, I am Hydroninja9. I have been in the tech writing biz for 2 years now and I joined TeckComesFirst in February of 2013. I am a gamer , technophile and audiophile. Of course some info about me isn’t known; blame mind control chips for that. I also make YouTube videos on a regular basis.

Latest posts by Hydro Ninja (see all)

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  • Great article, really well written! I might have to keep these headphones in mind when my Logitech UE’s eventually die.

  • They look nice and comfortable! I’d like to give them a go 🙂

  • smokedbyinkyung<3

    they look cool but i like beats for the beats in my ears

  • minjam11

    Great review, Hydro!