My first few experiences with active noise canceling weren’t all that great. It did cut out noise, but I was also often left with a headache or pressure in my ears from it. In the end, I accepted that maybe active noise canceling just didn’t jive for me. Well, this year, with my phones all dropping their headphone jack I opened myself back up to Bluetooth audio devices. When I saw that Philips introduced a new wireless noise-canceling headphone I thought I would be open-minded and try active noise canceling hoping that I might be able to cut out some of the noise when working remotely. ’ve had the Philips TAPH805BK’s on hand and today I am camping out at the dealer waiting on car repairs. What a perfect chance to put them to the test!
Product Name: Philips TAPH805BK Noise Cancelling Headphones
Review Sample Provided by: Philips
Written by: Wes Compton
Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE
The box for the headset isn’t too large, about as big as you could expect a medium sized pair of headphones would be. The box has a blue background and a large picture of the headphones right across the front. The Philips branding is the biggest font on the front, under that, they designate these an over-ear and 8000 series. Where I get a little confused is that they don’t really have the product name featured at all. My information from Philips says this is the Philips TAPH805BK Noise Cancelling Headphones but I would have expected to see that same model name on the box as well. This makes things even more confusing when you shop for them and there are two PH805 models, but the TAPH805BK is what I am looking at today. The difference is the other PH805 model, which looks exactly the same, doesn’t have active noise canceling. So if you are shopping for these, look for the active noise canceling down in the bottom left corner. Philips also highlights the Hi-Res Audio with a small icon along the bottom, Bluetooth, and the touch controls to kind of hint at some of the TAK805BK’s features.
Around on the back, there is another picture of the headset, this time smaller but this one shows the included carrying case as well. Down along the bottom they also go into more detail into the TAK805BK’s features including the 40mm drivers, the noise sensors used for the active noise cancelation, the Google Assistant voice controls, and the overall comfort. Each also has a short description with it as well repeated a second time in Spanish as well.
The box flips open once you cut the seals and inside you will find the golf ball like carrying case and then a folded up cardboard section to keep things fitting snug in the box. That also has the documentation as well. You get a quick start guide, a health and safety manual, and a small information paper to cover all of the bases.
Photos and Features
I don’t think I will ever look at the carrying case and not think of a golf ball. But the look isn’t bad at all, it gives the case a little extra grip. Beyond that, it is a solid shell with a leather like finish. Along with the countless number of divots formed into it, it also has the Philips branding as well. The divots carry on around on the back as well. It is all closed up with a zipper and there is a nylon strap to hand the case off of a hook.
Inside the headset is semi folded up with each earcup laying flat and one folded in. I really like that the case has a padded strap that Is velcroid in the case that goes around the folded up earcup. This keeps it from moving around and especially to keep them from bumping into each other. On the other side, there is a small mesh section folded over with an elastic strap to give a small bit of storage. Philips has it filled up with the TAPH805BK’s accessories.
So here are all of the accessories (other than the carrying case). You get a very short USB charging cable with a micro-USB connection on the end. I was surprised the cable wasn’t longer, but I guess they don’t expect you to charge the headset while using them. You also get a 3.5mm headphone cable with male connections on both ends. That cord is actually a nice usable length and the cable itself has a tangle free design with that soft flat rubber finish. Then on the left, you also get a dual prong adapter for airplane usage.
Once you flip the TAPH805BK’s out they are a lot larger than their carrying case. They are a traditional over the ear design and I would consider the earcups a medium size. Large enough to mostly go over your ears, but not huge like a gaming headset. The look/design is interesting because even with the traditional design, they still end up looking modern with their fully sealed earcups. Normally a Bluetooth headset like this might have some visible controls but Philips went with touch controls for a majority of the controls.
The headband is about an inch thick and on the top, like the rest of the TAPH805BK it has a textured black plastic finish. You can see how they do have adjustment on both sides, about an inch and a half on each side. Then on the inside, the headband has a fake leather section with memory foam padding an inch thick.
The padding for the earcups on the TAPH850BK’s look to be about an inch thick, but when you get a closer look it is actually just a little past a half inch. The fake leather for the earcups wraps around on to the headphones giving the impression that it is thicker. They do have memory foam for padding. Both sides come with 40mm drivers, which is a touch smaller than some larger headphones might have, but inline with the medium side of the TAPH805Bk’s. On the outside, both earcups are sealed, which helps with the built-in active noise cancelation. It wouldn’t make much sense to have open-air headphones then having to work twice as hard on the noise cancelation. In addition to each earcup being able to be flipped completely flat. There is also a 10-15 degree pivot to keep them sealed against your head no matter the shape. Side to side adjustment is also there with the full 90 degrees that allows you to lay them flat and an additional 10 degrees of adjustment the other way as well. The solid earcup design also has a second function. The right ear has touch controls built-in as well allowing you to swipe up and down to control your volume and double tap in the middle to turn on google assistant to use the voice controls. I don’t know if I like the textured finish they went with for the plastic, but it does help keep fingerprints down compared to a glossy finish.
Now just because they have touch controls doesn’t mean there aren’t still a few traditional controls as well. They are tucked away up on the bottom edge, the one glossy section of the TAPH805BKs. There is just one control, you can toggle it forward and back and this will skip forward and back through your music. Then pushing down on the toggle is also a button. This is how you power the headset on or off when holding it down. Then small pushes on that same button low you flip between three modes for the active noise cancelation. One turns ANC all the way on, then from there you can turn it off, the third setting turns on ambient sound. SO basically you get active noise canceling, passive noise canceling, and then a mode where you can use the microphones to pick up sound around you to carry on a conversation with someone for example. Next to the multi-function button, there are two small LEDs. One is green and when it is on it indicates that you have active noise cancellation on. Then the other is blue which lets you know the headset is powered on and if the light is solid you know it is connected to Bluetooth.
Audio Quality and Performance
For testing, I have been using the TAPH805BKs in the office for about a week when listening to music or watching YouTube as well as taking advantage of the noise canceling with just the ANC turned on and no audio on. But my testing in the waiting room of the car dealership is the most relevant as my office is typically quiet other than a few cars going by, a train a few times a day in town, and noise like the furnace and fridge which wouldn’t even be noticeable if it wasn’t already quiet. So let's focus on that for the active noise cancellation testing and my expended use in the office for audio and comfort!
First off, what was most noticeable to me was how differently the ANC works depending on where you use them. When using them in my office they hardly cut out any of the noises in the background. They did cut out the hum from the noisy refrigerator in the room next to me and on the far end of the house when the clothes washer was running it did a great job of cutting that out. The same goes for trains when they pass through, but that only happens a few times a day, and it isn’t the horn that is cut out, it is the deep vibration/noise that the engine makes. There were other aspects like cutting out a lot of the noise from my mechanical keyboard. But the difference between in the office and when I used them at the dealership was night and day. At the dealership, there was just a loud ambient noise from everything going on. That was cut out right away and it even did a good job of cutting people talking in the room down to a light mumble and it surprisingly cut the audio from the TV in the room completely out. Basically, you can’t expect the ANC to make an already quiet room even quieter, but it does a great job of cutting out noise from a noisy location. Especially if you add music or audio from a YouTube video on over the top, that will put you basically in your own world.
As for comfort. Going in I was a little worried because while these are over the ear like I prefer, they are a touch smaller than some of the over the ear headphones that I am used to using. That concern ended up not being an issue at all. The TAP805BKs went around my ears perfectly with no room to spare and didn’t sit on them at all. The sealed design that is required for passive and active noise cancellation does mean you aren’t going to be getting any airflow so having my ears warm up wasn’t a huge surprise, nor can you consider it a big fault. The thick earcup padding did a good job of holding up and didn’t compress too much curing long use which was good. The inside didn’t sit on my ears, although the padding did touch all the way on the outside edge of my ears like I said they didn’t leave any room to spare. Overall the extended use didn’t cause any comfort issues.
As for audio performance, Philips did a solid job with the TAPH805BK Noise Cancelling Headphones. They are a little heavy on the bass which covers up the mids performance when listening to bass heavy music. They are still wireless and even though they are bass heavy I do wish they had a little more punch. But there are limitations when it comes to battery life. I wouldn’t say these are the best sounding headphones I’ve had, but they are far from the worst as well. Especially once you use the ANC to cut out background noise.
The controls took some time to get used too. Swiping up and down on the outside of the right earcup turns the volume up and down. You can also connect the headphones with your phone's Google Assistant if you are using Android. Touching and holding at the top or bottom will prompt the assistant to ask what you need. With the headset having the same textured finish all over, I had a hard time figuring out where to touch to prompt or to avoid prompting the assistant. I would accidentally do it when taking them off often but then when I tried to do it I looked like a crazy man touching all over. Having some sort of indication that you can see or feel would be nice. Beyond that, you have them all in one control at the bottom that turns the power on or off, rocks forward and back to flip through songs, and short presses turn the ANC on and off as well as turning on a mode to listen around you. That control is nice but has just enough looseness that pushing in for the ANC or power sometimes will catch if you don’t have it in the perfect spot. I am worried that control will get worse over time.
Overall and Final Verdict
Well, the fact that I’m here talking about Philips's new noise canceling headphones does mean that I survived the trip to the dealership, in fact, I had set up camp for a good portion of the day and the TAPH805BKs helped a lot with that. My initial testing in my office which is mostly quiet had me concerned with how much noise the active noise canceling would take out. But they did a good job in the noisier environment. Along with that, I found the headphones to be comfortable for that entire time as well, which to me is the most important aspect for any pair of headphones if I can’t keep them on or get pain the rest of the performance doesn’t matter at all. Philips did a good job with the touch volume controls, but I did have concerns with the Google Assistant integration that without any touch or visual indication on the side of the earcup I didn’t know where to touch. The regular control also had some trouble as well. After some use it seemed to loosen up slightly and when you press it in to power it on or off or turn the ANC on and off it sometimes catches.
I think the battery life might be the best part of the TAPH805BKs. They have a 30-hour life when listening to music or talk time. Standby can last up to 200 hours as well and they are rechargeable as well. I do wish they had gone with USB Type-C for the charging connection though to better match what most people would have on hand now that most phones use Type-C.
Now I do need to address the naming that Philips went with. This isn’t really a con so to speak, but it does make shopping or suggesting these headphones a little harder. Not to mention when writing about them. The packaging has these labeled at Philips Over ear 8000 series and then down at the bottom they have the Active Noise Canceling as well which is what sets them apart from the normal PH805 headphones that only have passive noise cancellation. The model is TAPH805BK but remember if you are shopping you will have to look for the ANC branding because the model number on the back of the box is the PH805 which is the same as the non-ANC model.
As for pricing, these headphones have an MSRP of $199.99 and that is what you can find them for right now on Amazon as well. If you haven’t shopped for Active Noise Canceling headphones before that may seem a little high. Same with if your last pair of ANC headphones was one of the many cheap models you can get on Amazon in the $50-$70 price range. But once you look beyond the cheap models and start looking at brands you would know you will see most of the prices jump up to the $350 to $400 range. Philips isn’t looking to compete with Sony and Bose in that top end, the TAPH805BK ends up being more of a mid range option for those who can’t afford the Bose and Sony ANC options.
Live Pricing: HERE