Philips Citiscape Downtown SHL5605 Headphones Review

Philips will soon be officially releasing their Citiscape headphone collection. We recently we reviewed the Philips Underground In-Ear headphones and highly recommended them. Now we’re reviewing the Philips Downtown SHL5605 On-Ears, which are equally as awesome and equally as purple. The Philips Downtowns feature 40mm speaker drivers, large comfortable ear cups with MusicSeal technology, a tangle-resistant cord, and a phone control button with mic and volume. As New York inspired headphones, it’s no wonder Philips designed the Downtown’s audio to be leak-proof. No one will be able to judge if you wanted to kick it old school by cranking N’Sync on the subway.

The Philips Downtown has a New York bold appearance with its iconic vibrancy. These lightweight headphones are very comfortable. They have large cushioned memory foam ear cups. There’s a steel headband that’s exposed on the outside. The underside is very well padded with a heat-sealed soft foam covered in a stretchy fabric. The headband is adjustable and the ear cups pivot for comfort. It does not fold or collapse.

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The headphone cable is about the same as the Philips Undergrounds: it’s anti-tangle and linguini shaped(flat). It even features an inline phone control system complete with volume buttons, microphone and a universal button. This system is compatible with iPhone and iOS devices as well as BlackBerry, Android, and Windows Phones. Features will vary based on the device, however the universal button can control phone calls, music, and voice activation. The headphone cable has an L shaped plug and is not removable. Aside from the steel headband, the Downtowns are uniform in color. On this model, the cable, ear cups, and headband wrap are all very purple.

The Downtowns are very comfortable, even for listening hours on end. The band has some solid flex to it and the cushions couldn’t feel nicer on our ears. While the noise isolation is just okay, we rock these on the streets of New York where it’s much safer to hear some ambient noise. It’s refreshing to know that the MusicSeal keeps your audio from leaking. It’s nice to keep your music a secret, but it’s also courteous to those around you. The MusicSeal really works; in order for anyone to hear music they’d have to be very close in a quiet room. The inline button worked perfectly for controls and phone calls. The buttons are easy to push.

The Downtowns are mid-range earphones and audio quality is great for that. The super comfortable fit and perfect seal plays into the audio having such a nice and natural sound. They’re very well balanced. The bass isn’t especially bassy, but it goes well with all music genres. The mids are just about perfect, they’re warm and clear. Voices stand out and don’t get lost in the music. The highs are nice and detailed. Even at high volumes, there’s no distortion. They also happen to handle low bit-rate audio well.

The Downtowns are yet another comfortable, trendy, and quality pair of headphones from the Philips Citiscape Collection. Like the Underground in-ears, we give these on-ears a solid thumbs up. Their sound quality and comfort make them worth it, not to mention in-line phone control system and MusicSeal. The Philips Downtown SHL5605 are available for $99.99 in black, grey, or purple. They don’t look like a $100 pair of headphones, but they sound and feel like it. Amazon already has a listing for the black model selling for $86.38.

The Good: Light, Comfortable, MusicSeal Prevents Audio Leakage, In-Line phone control with Volume and Mic, Tangle-Resistant Cable, Stylish, Nice and Balanced Audio Quality

The Bad: Headphone Cable Not Removable, Don’t Fold, Wrapped Headband Feels Nice but Looks Inexpensive, Cloth Headband Cover Can Get Dirty, More Colors Please!


  1. I want these so badly :<  I wish people were more into headband headphones and not earphones. I'm tired of having to search all over for some good headPHONES… and when you do, the stylish ones are all $60+

  2. I really like how these headphones sound! The longer you use them–the better they become. As for the cloth around the frame; it is detachable and hand washable so it’s more a minor inconvenience to clean them than a major hassle. The prices on them have come down substantially since this article was published. Grab a pair while you can. I plan to buy another pair as a backup.

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