Klipsch Image S4i In-Ear Headset with Mic and 3-Button Remote Headphones - White
- Apple's advanced 3-button mic and remote system
- Designed for iPhone 3GS Voice Control application and iPod 3rd generation shuffle VoiceOver feature
- Works as headphones for MP3 players with a 3.5mm headphone jack
- Exclusive oval ear tips for comfortable long-term wear
- High quality 360 in-line mic
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In-Ear Headset with 3-button iPhone/iPod control and superior Comfort, Noise Isolation & Sound
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Update: The left ear went out completely so I switched to a pair I bought in September for my wife. Left ear went out today in the newer pair, so it's now an epidemic either among just my earbuds (it's not, a lot of people are complaining of this online) or this is something amazon or klipsch needs to address.
Update: 2/21/2012 - I bought both pairs from amazon prime, both fulfilled by amazon. One was sold by amazon and one was sold by "dramanq". Klipsch told me Dramanq was not an authorized reseller so the 1 yr warranty was void and I would have to go through dramanq.
The ones bought through amazon were replaced and I got them today. I wish they would replace both of them, but apparently I'm out of luck. Haven't received a response in the last few days from dramanq as of writing this.
Beware of unauthorized resellers. Call klipsch at 800-554-7724 to find out if the warranty will be good if you are buying from a seller other than amazon.
The biggest problem I've had with trying to select a pair of headphones on Amazon is that the people who give any given type of headphones a poor review are usually most pissed off about their durability. And I am too. Who wants to (and can) spend $100 on a pair of headphones that don't last a year? On the other hand, I'm the type of person who absolutely does not care about the "highs" and "lows" and whatever range people say-that is to say, I am not that critical. To me, listening to the Dark Knight soundtrack provides an extremely rich sound that can be enhanced and altered to your liking on your iPod or whatever EQ you have.
I don't care much about bass because our generation is on pace to be the deafest generation of all time, and are more than halfway there, therefore when people say "the bass sucks," it means absolutely nothing to me. I don't blast my music that high.
I'm a medical student, and all I do really is listen to music, call people and work out. I'm not much of a snob or audiophile, I just want nice headphones that last a long time, are durable, and are light while providing a crisp sound.
This set of headphones is solid: they are beautiful to look at, come with an aluminum carrying case (which you may or may not end up using) and they are extremely light. I've only had them for a day, but bought them upon recommendation from a friend who has them. I'm listening my favorite Craig Armstrong piece and the sound is crisp, and the earbuds are quite comfortable. However, they do look a bit cheaply made, but are certainly an upgrade from Apple's crappy headphones. They do not seem as if they are made to be durable.
To me, they seem as if they are literally for when you are sitting down or walking around and maybe lifting at the gym, but then again, people have been saying you can run with them in, which I haven't tried yet, and that may be true. My suggestion is: Just don't put them in jean pockets or whatever and expect them to last. Exposing the headphone jack to any small environment will definitely increase the risk of damaging them i.e. stuffing them in your jeans pocket repeatedly and pulling them out, concealing the headphone jack in your pocket. Every single time you take the phone out of your pocket/purse/whatever, you will probably damage the black plastic part. The plug is meant to be hanging freely plugged into a static device (i.e. computer, or phone lying on your desk). They DO NOT seem as if they were made for daily wear and tear. I wish they'd utilized Monster cables to make these, then I'd feel safer about using these heavily.
In terms of "noise isolation", these do the job, but won't be as good as Shures because they don't block off the ear canal completely. It depends on what you want/need. That being said, they are lighter and you won't feel the need to remove them all too often. The remote works well as expected and the click commands are same.
It's a toss up between Shures and Klipsch, but I wanted to try a new brand apart from Bose (I own the QC 15s, which are pretty heavy duty, not really good for daily walk-around use). They are the same price roughly (S4Is vs. Shure models at about $100-120), so try both I guess is all I can say, but the major difference is that with the Shures, the control/mic is on one side, whereas on Klipsch, it lies at the center of the headphone fork at the junction of the earbuds (see picture). Is this a big difference to some people? Maybe, bc it does make the weight distribution more even.
All in all, I would recommend these because they are just as good as any (be realistic, how often are you REALLY blasting your music? Do you really truly damage your ears that much? Because if you do, then my review will mean nothing to you because I don't do that.)
I hinted earlier that the biggest factor in spending $100 is durability. It is May 7th, 2011. I will update this product review in the event that I am unhappy with its durability.
Klipsch S4i >>> noise isolation C, bass response A, remote A, ear canal comfort B. Cost $99
Etymotic M3 >>> noise isolation A, bass response C, remote B, ear canal comfort C. Cost $99
Eytmotic HF2 >>> noise isolation A, bass response B, remote C, ear canal comfort A. Cost 159
The Etys were best at noise isolation (really blocks out engine and road noises). But there ENDS the similarities between M3 and HF2.
The problem with M3 is its tiny 3-button remote is barely usable unless you have really tiny fingers (it gets worse when I am wearing gloves while riding, it is impossible to "feel" the buttons). The built-in microphone is also of poor quality (my buddies say I sounded thin over the phone). The actual speaker tubes are quite thick (inserting them into my ear canal caused a lot of stress and became uncomfortable after extended period of time). It is also the least sensitive (requiring about 25% more volume dial). Its sound quality very good but not as good as the HF2 or S4i.
The HF2 is hands down the winner in all categories, but it is the most expensive one and lacks 3-button control. Although it uses the same 3-flange eartip as the M3, I found the HF2 very comfortable because its "balanced armature" speaker tubes are really tiny (about the size of a pencil lead, very easy to insert into ear canal). It also offers the highest sensitivity (requires about 25% less volume dial on my iPhone 3GS) and the highest accuracy (as in highs are clear, lows are punchy and none of the frequencies are over-blown). The noise isolation also superb (blocks out 90% of the engine and road noises).
The S4i offers the best bass response. I would say it is about 50% stronger than the Etys. This much bass may or may not suit you, depending on personal taste. I find it great for hip-pop type of music but poor for instrumentals (the pianos sounded a bit distorted). Its microphone is better than HF2. Its 3-button remote is bigger and easier to use than HF2. Its sensitivity and accuracy are very close to the HF2. The only problem I want to point out is that S4i uses oval-shaped eartips that do not seal as well as the Etys. They did not fit my ear canal well and blocked out only half the noise. Comfort wise, it is better than M3 but worse than HF2.
Of all these 3, I would say either go with the Etymotic HF2 for its supreme noise isolation, in-ear comfort and clarity - OR - go with the Klipsch S4i for its stronger bass and better remote. Skip the Etymotic M3 because it is uncomfortable (thick tubes), has tiny remotes (hard to "feel" buttons) and offers the lowest sensitivity (requires highest volume dial).