Klipsch Image S4i £90
26th Feb 2010 | 10:00
Improving on the Apple iPhone buds is easy, but at what price?
The iPhone's great success has meant that earphone manufacturers haven't been reluctant to create earphones especially for it, including the mic/clicker arrangement used for calls and to control playback.
There are relatively few that have volume controls on the same clicker; but the Image S4i earbuds from Klipsch do.
While volume controls are a nice convenience for, say, iPhone users, they're vital for anyone who wants to add better third-party earbuds to a new iPod shuffle, as is the Image S4i's support for VoiceOver.
They're reasonably comfortable, though we found it tricky to get a good fit with the supplied tips, and the over-the-ear route the thin cable takes isn't to everyone's taste.
Also the lightness of the clicker meant that there was nothing keeping the over-the-ear cable from riding up and unhooking over the top of the ear.
The quality of the mic for hands-free calls was variable. In a quiet room, callers reported good results, but the mic's placement on your sternum puts it rather far away from your voice, doesn't shield it from wind and ambient noise, and means you can't really thread the cable neatly through clothing. (An optional clip in the package can help with both issues, but it's inelegant.)
They sound good, but certainly not 'ninety quid' good – the bass is too flabby. Note that very few iPhone and iPod models can use all the Image S4i's features.
Owners of the volume-rocker-less original iPod touch especially would have loved these, but the volume controls don't work with that model.
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