Philips The Stretch

Philips' 'The Stretch' headphones are not the most beautifully designed over-ear headphones on the market. But after several weeks of use, we found them the most comfortable we've ever tested.

NameHeadphones: Philips Stretch (SHO9551)
At a glance:Extremely comfortable,Frequency response is 12-24,000Hz,Sound can be echoey,Not the most attractive design
Summary:Incredibly comfortable, but cheaply made and sound quality is average.

Philips’ ‘The Stretch’ headphones are not the most beautifully designed over-ear headphones on the market. The grey and white design is dull, the plastic appears cheap, and the headset creaks every time the cups tilt. At first glance, they didn’t really appeal to me. But after several weeks of use, there’s no set of headphones I’d rather wear while I’m sitting at my desk for long periods of time.

The Stretch headphones are comfortable – the most comfortable headset I’ve ever used. That’s saying something considering how many headphones have been through the test centre in the past few months. Some of them were cheaper than The Stretch, yes, but some of them were significantly more expensive. And I’d rather use these. What makes them so comfortable is a combination of soft, full ear cups, and a padded stretchy band that fits snugly around your head without applying any pressure.

Another nice feature is the cord that can be detached from the headphones and stowed away seperately. It’s good for avoiding tangled cords, or potentially damaging your headphones by regularly wrapping the cord around them, but means the cord could be easily lost.

Unfortunately, there’s one major let-down. While the frequency response is well beyond average for a headset in this range at 12-24,000Hz, the cups are completely hollow and, with a closed set of headphones, this means there can be quite a bit of echo at times. The headphones are also much better in the lower frequency range than the upper, so deep bass sounds better than a soprano hitting high notes.

If you want to block out sound at work and privately play a little music, listen to podcasts, or play some white noise, then Philips’ The Stretch headphones are great and can be worn for long periods of time without you even noticing they’re there. If you want something with incredible sound quality and beautiful design, however, you’re going to want to look elsewhere.

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Siobhan Keogh

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