Philips TAT2206BK TWS Earphones Review: For better vocal clarity, not for bassheads

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Pros:
– Good build quality and in-ear fit
– Impressive vocal clarity and detail in audio
– Suitable for podcasts
– Good call quality
– IPX4 water resistant
– USB-C charging port

Cons:
– Low bass may not appeal to a vast majority
– Placement of physical buttons could have been smarter
– No volume control on the earbuds
– Buds occasionally reconnect with the phone even when in the case

Rating: 3.5/5

Price: Rs 2,499

Philips TAT2206BK TWS Earphones Review Lead image

Whenever we discuss true wireless (TWS) earphones under Rs 2,500, the first name that comes to mind is the Realme Buds Q2. In terms of overall features and value, it is still unbeatable in this budget. Given the number of features it packs, the Realme pair is more of an exception rather than a norm in this segment. And audio is a territory that can never have a ‘one shoe that fits all scenario. Some people like extra bass, some don’t, and some may not even care about features like active noise cancellation (ANC).

Philips has recently launched a pair of TWS earbuds that does not flaunt any fancy features and simply focuses on comfort and sound output. The company hasn’t even bothered with touch controls or a companion app. Will such simplicity work in this day and age when competing brands are bombarding users with a plethora of features in this budget too. Let’s get to know more about the Philips TAT2206BK wireless earphones.

Philips TAT2206BK TWS Earphones: Design and Comfort (7.5/10)
The Philips buds look good in the black matte finish and the build quality is quite solid too. The same finish extends to the case, which is not too big and almost pocketable. It isn’t nearly as slim as the Realme Buds Air series but a lot more compact than that of the OnePlus Nord Buds. It has a USB-C charging port at the base and a charge indicator LED at the front. 

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Philips TAT2206BK  TWS Earphones Review Buds in case

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The angled buds with silicone tips fit snugly in the ears without any discomfort, while the short stems stay out. The preinstalled medium-sized silicone tips offer decent passive noise isolation (in my case), and there are two more pairs of different-sized tips in the bundle to try out. The buds stay put during jogs or workouts and I didn’t need to adjust them frequently. However, there seems to be an issue with the magnets in the case that are meant to hold the buds in place when in there. 

No, the buds don’t pop out if you turn the case upside down but the buds tend to reconnect with the phone sporadically even when inside. At times they don’t disconnect immediately when you put them in the case. This may be a fault specific to our review unit but it shouldn’t happen. Firstly, it unnecessarily wastes battery, but the more irritating part being your calls are routed to the earphones without your knowledge and you don’t hear a thing in the phone’s earpiece until you manually switch to it. 

Philips TAT2206BK TWS Earphones: Features and Specifications (6/10)
As I mentioned in the intro, the Philips TAT2206BK has nothing fancy in this department to report, not even touch controls. The company has opted for physical buttons instead. While I have no issues with that, the placement is not ideal; a common error from two years ago. With the buttons placed right at the back of the buds, you tend to push the earbuds deeper into the ear every time you press them. Thankfully, it has a soft press and one doesn’t need to exert much pressure. 

Philips TAT2206BK TWS Earphones Review Earbuds

You do not get a companion app here to reconfigure the inputs or alter the sound profile. You get to play/pause the audio, jump to previous/next tracks and summon the voice assistant using a single click, double click and click-and-hold gestures. There is no option to adjust the volume from the buds. Each earbud is fitted with a 6 mm driver and a microphone. These earphones are Bluetooth 5.0 compliant with support for AAC and SBC codecs. 

The earbuds have an IPX4 rating for moisture resistance. So you can take them along for a workout or a jog as they can survive a bit of sweat or a light drizzle, but don’t wash them under a tap. The wireless range is good with the buds maintaining a strong connection up to 10 metres with a clear line of sight, and half of that with a concrete wall in between. Each earbud is equipped with a 55 mAh battery, and the charging case has a 350 mAh one. 

Philips TAT2206BK TWS Earphones: Performance (7/10)
This is where things are a little different from the competition. The majority of the earphones in this segment are predominantly bass-heavy, but that’s not the case with this pair. Philips hasn’t bothered taking the popular route, and instead chosen to focus on midrange frequencies. Instead of an abundance of bass, you get a mids-forward sound profile here which provides good vocal clarity and sharper instrument sounds. The highs are crisp and well tempered without sounding sibilant.

However, the earbuds do not produce sufficient bass to lend an ideal warmth to the output. It is probably because of the smaller drivers used here. They don’t sound flat and certainly aren’t totally bass deficient, but the audio may not please the masses. The output sounds fairly balanced when indoors, but the bass feels inadequate when in noisy outdoor environments. If you do not prefer bass-heavy sound, you will like the sound profile here and will appreciate the extra detail in the audio. Bassheads should simply avoid this pair.

Philips TAT2206BK TWS Earphones Review Charging case

The buds get loud enough at 50 to 60% volume. The soundstage is reasonably broad for the segment. Watching videos wearing these Philips earphones is a good experience, and the mids-centric sound provides better dialogue clarity. Though the company hasn’t mentioned the latency figures, there was no noticeable lag between video and audio when streaming content from OTT platforms. This pair is a good option for listening to podcasts too. 

Philips TAT2206BK TWS Earphones: Call quality (7.5/10)
The Philips TAT2206BK has a solitary microphone on each of the buds and does not advertise features like ENC, yet the call quality is quite good. And the ambient noise is kept in check too. Both parties on the call were clearly audible to each other irrespective of whether I was indoor or outdoor. The voice sounds slightly on the softer side but it is clear. Occasionally one needs to adjust the direction of the earbud stems for the listener to hear you more clearly. 

Philips TAT2206BK TWS Earphones: Battery life (7/10)
The battery backup on these Philips earbuds is not spectacular but above average. The company states figures of 6 hours for the earbuds and 18 hours for the buds and case combined. In my tests, the earbuds lasted close to 5 hours on a full charge at 50-60% loudness. And the case could recharge them twice over, taking the overall battery backup close to 15 hours. 

The case takes about two hours to charge fully with a standard USB-C charger. You do get a bit of fast charging here but the figures aren’t flattering for today’s standards. A 15 minutes of charge can give you close to an hour of playtime on this product. 

Philips TAT2206BK TWS Earphones Review USB-C charging port

Philips TAT2206BK TWS Earphones: Price and verdict
Like most Philips audio products, there is a vast difference between the MRP and the actual selling price. The Philips TAT2206BK TWS earphones were recently launched at an MRP of Rs 6,999, but one can purchase them for as low as Rs 2,499 on Flipkart and some other retailers with a one-year warranty. The selling price is way more sensible than the MRP for what the product offers. While the product will not appeal to bassheads, it is a good option for those looking for better vocal clarity and detail, and also for calling. 

Barring midrange reproduction and call quality, it cannot come close to the Realme Buds Q2 that sells for the exact price, and at times another Rs 500 lower in online sales. The Buds Q2 offers a more balanced sound with a good amount of bass along with configurable touch controls, multiple sound profiles and a companion app. Did I mention functional ANC? Such a combination is quite rare in this segment.

Another option to consider in this budget is the OnePlus Nord Buds that offers a unique design, more than decent sound quality thanks to a custom equaliser, configurable controls, a companion app and much better battery backup with faster charging. As you can see, there are plenty of good options under Rs 3,000 in India. Choose one that offers the features and sound output that suits you best.

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