Philips SBC HS430 Review

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Philips SBC HS430
Brief: Drugstore-sourced set of big-brand budget clip-ons.

MSRP: $19.99 (discontinued)
Current Price: N/A

Build Quality (5/10): As you may expect from a big-name electronics brand, the build is competent. The HS430s are smaller and lighter than the other clip-ons I’ve tried, though the lack of weight does not result in a comfort boost. The cable is thin and Philips went with a dreadful J-cord setup. Regardless, they are solidly built and shouldn’t fall apart unless abused.

Comfort (4/10): First the good news: these are very light and small and the pads are the softest foam I’ve seen on a portable headphone (it almost feels cloth-like). Now the bad news: the clips are too hard, too sharp around the edges, and way too close to the cups. They are made of a hard plastic and are not flexible or adjustable at all. Putting these headphones on brings a new meaning to the term ‘clip-ons’. I can tolerate them for short listening sessions, but after a while the clips dig painfully into the back of my ears.

Isolation (3/10): While these are technically only semi-open, they are far too small on the ear to provide any isolation.

Sound (2/10): The packaging that I pulled these out of claimed that they were “ported for EXTRA BASS”. I expected fart-cannon, ill-defined bass, but I heard no such thing. The bass, which did not open up with burn-in, is rather flat and lifeless. It has a good amount of punch but little note and texture. Flat and lifeless are good descriptors for the rest of the sound signature as well. The HS430’s do a fair job of reproducing sound, but they excel at nothing. The treble is a little harsh and the overall sound signature reminds me of the Skullcandy Ink’d buds, but with poorer bass quality.

Value (3/10): In the world of portable headphone where the sub-$20 performance bar is set by the Koss KSC75 and JVC Flats the Philips SBC HS430 cannot compete. They lose points not only on sound, but build quality and design – the cheap-feeling asymmetrical cable and asinine ear clip design do the headphones no favors. So, while these may be competitive in the market at large, in the audiophile world they are merely subpar.

Manufacturer Specs:
Frequency Response: 12-22,000 Hz
Impedance: 32 Ω
Sensitivity: 100 dB SPL/1mW
Cord: 3.94ft (1.2m), j-cord; Angled Plug
Space-Saving Mechanism: N/A

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About Author

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

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