Klipsch Image S4i review

In many respects this could be a straight-forward review. The Klipsch S4i are a set of in-ear buds that offer extremely good (although perhaps not utterly amazing) sound quality at premium price point.

At £89.99 the Klipsch S4i headphones aren’t exactly cheap, but they offer a vast improvement to the iPod or iPhone earphones. But the sound quality isn’t quite as good as Etymotic’s equally-priced HF2 Headset.

Hang on though, there’s something different about these earphones. What separates the Klipsch S4i headphones apart from the herd is the presence of the latest generation of remote control headphones. These are the ones that feature not just the play/pause button, but also the volume up and down controls.

This three-button control system matches Apple’s own headphones introduced with the iPhone, and then rolled out to the iPod shuffle. Klipsch are keen to point out the full compatibility with the iPhone 3GS, but we think it’s the iPod shuffle that is more important here, because without this style of headphone you can’t control Apple’s button-less music player. And this is the first set of headphones we’ve tested that feature these buttons. So what we have here is a rare example of a replacement set of headphones for the third-generation iPod shuffle.

This may be of interest to owners of this device because the standard iPod earphones are okay, but nothing special. And the clip-on-and-forget nature of the iPod shuffle makes it great for down the gym or running round the park.

Although there is something of an oddity in paying £45 on an iPod shuffle, then twice as much on a set of headphones it is well worth the price if you get a lot of use from your iPod shuffle. Because these set of earbuds are noticably better than those supplied by Apple.

Having said that, if it’s an iPhone or iPod touch you own (or another model of iPod) then we’d suggest spending the money on a set that lacks these buttons but makes up for it with the best audio quality.

OUR VERDICT

At £90 these earphones aren’t exactly cheap, although they do offer great sound quality. The presence of full iPod controls on a set of headphones is rare, and these make a great audio upgrade for iPod shuffle owners (although at twice the price of the iPod itself they can hardly be considered a replacement if your iPod shuffle breaks).

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