On the move most of the time, there are two things that’s always in the bag — laptop and wireless earbuds. The latter is a problem because I tend to lose them often, second the battery degrades after a year or so and third, they don’t always offer enough levels of noise cancellation. So when the Philips 4000 Series (TAT4506BK) earbuds with noise cancellation came in for review, I was eager because most brands tend to goof up with ANC.
Let’s start with the sound because that’s what this device is about. Powered by 10mm neodynamic drivers, the sound is tuned to offer good bass without overpowering the vocals. There is enough clarity to make you groove to Barry White or Bill Withers. The mids and lows also have depth and shine but when you compare it with, say, Nothing Ear 1, this one takes the backseat. Nothing Ear 1 offers enough customisation to work around to fit different genres and tastes.
Turning on ANC, most environmental noises are cancelled, be the whirring of a fan or refrigerator. Loud honks and truck movements can be heard but that’s fine because of the pricing. The quality of ANC doesn’t create a vacuum-y feel which can be very uncomfortable after a few minutes. Philips is also offering Awareness Mode which lets sounds through and it’s helpful if you go on a run and want to hear things around you. The microphones are acceptable and though the person on the other end will know that you are speaking through wireless earbuds, the sound quality is good and it can also cut off wind noises to a small degree.
That brings us to design, which is where the brand loses a couple of points. The charging box looks fine and has an indicator to suggest the function that it’s working on. But the earbuds themselves look like something from 2020. Forget Samsung, Sony or Apple, which offer earbuds in a different segment. A company like Nothing has changed the wireless earbuds game drastically and is offering a great design (and fit) for a reasonable price.
The earbuds promise six hours of battery life and another 18 hours from the charging case. And there is IPX4 water resistance, meaning it can handle a drizzle. There are additional ear tips in the box to accommodate different ear shapes. Should you buy Philips 4000 Series (TAT4506BK, price Rs 7,099)? It’s a good brand name and the earbuds are not bad but there is strong competition in the market.