Gaming Headphones / Audio

Philips PH805 Bluetooth Headset

« A Closer Look at the PH805 | Final Thoughts and Conclusion »



General Testing

My experience using the PH805 has been a mixed bag.  The headset is compact, lightweight, and well built, but I did not find it to be particularly comfortable.  I don’t have particularly large ears, but the ear cups were too shallow to accommodate my ears without pressing on them.  The padding around the ears is also not very supple and pressed into my head a fair bit.  The upside of this is that the headset doesn’t slide around on my head at all, but it isn’t super comfortable.

Touch Controls

The touch controls on the PH805 are mediocre at best and downright annoying at worst.  The volume control is very inconsistent and requires a lot of swiping gestures to significantly raise or lower the volume, as each swipe only seems to raise the volume by a predetermined amount.  To activate the Google Assistant, you are supposed to cover the right ear cup with your hand for a few seconds.  The issue is that this often leads to false positives if you try to adjust the headset, which can get annoying very quickly.  Covering the ear cup can also play/pause audio, answer calls, cancel calls, or switch a call from the headset to your phone speakers.  This makes remembering the controls for the headset rather difficult, and greatly increases the likelihood of accidentally activating the wrong feature.  I found myself defaulting to the more familiar phone controls when I needed to change anything.

Sound Quality

The sound quality was both a high point and a low point of the PH805 through my time using the headset.  To preface this, it’s important to understand that many headsets allow you to pass through audio from the auxiliary port without turning the headset on.  This is not how the PH805 works.  If the PH805 is not powered on while connected via the included auxiliary cable it sounds tinny and high pitched, lacks bass, and is generally painful to listen to.  I found this out the hard way, and it made for a very unpleasant first impression.  However, as soon as the PH805 is powered on the audio improves dramatically.  There is clearly an onboard amplifier involved because the PH805 is significantly louder when than all of my other headsets when driven by the auxiliary port.  The headset retains much of its piercing high range but fleshes out the rest of its sound with deep bass and modest mids which make the overall sound much better.

Another strange quirk of the PH805 is that the sound quality of the headset changes dramatically depending on whether noise cancellation is enabled or disabled.  With noise cancellation enabled, the headset produces a significant amount of volume with strong bass and mids.  Disabling noise cancellation also reduces the volume of the headset and much of the bass and mids drop out to the point that it sounds like a completely different headset, with an overall thinner and tinnier sound.  The “ambient sound” setting massively cuts the headset’s volume to the point that it is hardly audible.

Microphone Quality

The microphone on the PH805 sounds very distant and does not output much volume.  It lacks bass and sounds like a cheap call center microphone.  It also picks up audio from the drivers in the headset which can cause significant feedback for the other people in your call.  I would not recommend using it for anything where clear communication is critical.  It is tolerable enough for the occasional phone call, however.

Reliability

The PH805’s biggest failing in my testing has been its reliability, or rather lack thereof.   At one point in my testing, the headset’s audio became inconsistent and distorted as if it were feeding back from its own microphone.  High pitched feedback began creeping into the sound to the point where I physically could not stand to wear the headset any longer.  On another occasion, the headset began emitting a constant static humming sound and stopped playing any audio from the device it was connected to.  When the headset was restarted, the audio was horribly distorted and painful to listen to.  The issue may be tied to feedback from the microphone when the headset has noise-canceling enabled, which is a huge issue for a noise-canceling travel headset.  The issues were fairly repeatable in my testing, which suggests a flaw with the headset rather than a freak occurrence.

Noise Canceling

The noise cancellation provided by the PH805 is functional, but not particularly impressive.  It managed to cut out the bass frequencies of the fan noise from my computers but did not cut a significant amount of volume compared to my other headsets that lack noise canceling.



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Brendan Shroyer

A lover of unusual tech products and unconventional mods, Brendan loves experimenting with new parts and materials. When he isn't working on a computer, Brendan also builds guitars and works as a stage hand at the local amphitheater.

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