There’s no shortage of portable Bluetooth speakers these days, bringing the advantage of portability and universal connectivity so you can get the music off your phone and out to your friends.
The emerging premium market sees the entrance from Philips under the Fidelio line. We’ve been impressed with Fidelio products in the past, opting for natural materials and promising a better sound experience, but at a higher cost.
There are two versions of the Philips Fidelio portable Bluetooth speaker available. They both sport similar design, with the P8 being the more affordable and the P9, on review here, offering a leather cover, which as we’ll see, does more than just keep it protected.
The look of the Fidelio P9 is one of its greatest assets, as we can’t help feeling that this is a very pretty speaker, if it’s acceptable to say such a thing. The leather case of the P9 wraps it in sumptuous luxury, with the soft lining being strokably smooth.
It gives a somewhat classical look to something quite contemporary and we like that. It’s bookended with wood and in the natural brown colour we had, it looks great with the grain showing.
The ends sandwich the speaker which is then mostly the metal grille, with everything feeling nice and solid. It’s well put together and a pleasure to carry around and set down on a table.
Controls range across the top of the speaker giving you power, mute, volume and indicators for the Bluetooth status and the battery level. There’s an internal battery, of course, so this speaker will happily give you portable music for around 8 hours.
In terms of additional connection, there’s a convenient USB port on one end that will charge your smartphone, but only when powered on and here comes the clever bit.
Like the Smart Cover for the iPad, the leather cover on the Fidelio P9 will also power off the speaker when closed. All you have to do to turn it on is open the cover up. We were caught out a few times, randomly jabbing the buttons to try and get it to come to life, but it’s a feature we learnt to love.
And yes, the cover magnetically secures itself well enough not to constantly flap open and power on your speaker.
There's a warmth to the sound quality of the Philips Fidelio P9 speaker, and plenty of volume produced by the array of drivers with two 3/4-inch tweeters and four 2-inch woofers, offering 20W of power.
The audio remains rich, with punchy bass, throughout the volume range too and we found it great for filling a room like a kitchen. It tends to sit towards the bassy end of delivery, so at time we felt that some of the subtleties of the mid and high-end were lost, but this is a Bluetooth speaker and a portable one at that, which can be accepted.
We found the connection to be good too. We had no problem pairing with a variety of Android devices, ready to stream music and we had no problem with dropped signals.
Portable, good looking, and with great performance, the Philips Fidelio P9 has plenty to offer as a premium Bluetooth speaker. There's the added convenient of device charging and the finish and build quality are impressive: this is a Bluetooth speaker that looks good, wrapped up in its leather case.
Overall, if you're looking for portability, sophistication and sound quality that will impress, then the Philips Fidelio P9 is well worth consideration.