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The product I am reviewing is the slighter newer version of the Image S4, and is called the S4i. The 'i' stands for the 'i' in 'ipod/iphone' in which the headset is optimised to work with the ever popular MP3/4 players.
What is the difference I hear you ask? Well, apart from looking the same, there is one small change. On the cable from the input jack, just below where the wires start to seperate for each ear piece, there is a 3 button remote. It is quite narrow, about 3 times the width of the cable on it's own, so it isn't too obvious, but easy to use. The middle button is slightly bigger than the other 2 buttons. This button is used for 3 things; play/pause, skip to next song and go back to previous song. Pressing the button once will play/pause the song, pressing twice in quick succession will skip to next song, whilst finally pressing 3 times in succession will go to the previous song. It does take a few goes to get use to it, but it is very simple and effective to use.
The headphones themselves, which I imagine are exactly the same for the standard S4 model are about 1.5metres long in length. The cable is black in colour, and is quite thin. This got me quite worried as I tend to get the cable in awful knots and I easily break the cable with my hands. However, the high quality plastic casing has withstood this well, and no sign of damage is visible after owning them for 4 months. At the botton of the wire near the input jack, there is a thicker, more durable plastic casing to hold the connection firmly in place and protects this well.
The input jack is slightly different to your usual connection. Instead of having 2 'rings' around the plastic, usually black in colour to control the right and left audio of your earpieces, the S4i model comes with a third black ring which is used for the inbuilt microphone.
I haven't really used the microphone - as I have no need too! - but this is designed for iphone users. It works quite well by lifting the remote device to your mouth, holding it with a thumb and finger along the long side so you don't block the microphone! Speaking normally into it when a few inches from your mouth works well, so no need for shouting. The volume buttons can be used to adjust the volume of the person you are speaking to which is useful.
The ear pieces on the headset are a bit odd looking. Designed in black, with some metallic silver trim, they are shaped so that half way along, they bend at about 30 degrees, into your ear. This is quite clever, as it helps block out sound and maximises sound quality and clarity. On each earpiece, a simple 'R' and 'L' are written on each, not once, but twice, so that you put the right earpiece in each ear, otherwise, they can be quite uncomfortable and sound unnatural, especially useful when first using them.
The silicon mould on the earpiece can be changed. You get 3 pairs of different sizes, so that you can swap them around the get the best fit. I would advise trying the sizes out, as the sound is different for each, dependent on your ears!
There is a small hole in the silicon mould where sound comes out. This can get a bit blocked with earwax because you have the earpieces so far into each ear canal. Luckily, Klipsch supply you with a small instrument which can remove and unclog the silicon moulds. I find it's easier and quicker if you remove the moulds carefully, being careful not to misplace them. Also, you do get a small fabric bag from Klipsch in the box, which has a magnetic contraption to the top which makes sure your headphones are safe and won't drop out.
Finally, probably the biggest point, the sound quality. I have been very sceptical to expensive headphones before. The sounds is very clear and with a good deep bass, and clear mid and treble notes. The bass is very good, especially when you turn the music up loud, and not fuzzy and shaky like other headphones I have used, Sennheiser CX300, I'm looking at you! For general listening on a moderate sound, I listen to my music that I would normally listen to through laptop speakers and have found you hear a lot more of the background music, very important if the artist meant it, not so good if you're listening to a badly produced record. Also, I like the touch Klipsch have done, by including a small list of decibel readings, and the recommended listening times for each. I was quite impressed with this, but I have since wondered whether it is for legal reasons instead. Nevertheless, I'm still happy.
Overall, I would totally recommend either the S4 or S4i headphones. I find the remote a lot more useful than I thought I ever would, and have become a bit of a sucker for it! The cost of the headphones are about £60-70 for the S4 and £80-90 for the S4i. I know they are a lot, and takes some justifying spending that price. I would never of dreamt spending that much, and have been one of the best gifts ever! I would tell anyone to get them, either now, or wait for the price to drop.
The new Image S4i Rugged Headphones utilize tough rubber moldings and an all-weather ... more
design to protect the legendary Klipsch sound from Mother Nature's bad side. Neither rain, sleet, snow, nor concrete jungle can stop the award winning acoustics and live music experience of the Image S4i Rugged headphones. An extra-large, 3-button remote lets you precisely control iPhone calls and music whether you're wearing bulky gloves or are simply on the go. And while the headphones' exterior is built tough, these in-ear headphones have patented oval ear tips to keep you comfortable. Rock the Klipsch Image S4i Rugged earbuds in yellow, orange, blue or red.- All weather design resists moisture and functions thru extreme elements- Same award winning acoustics as the Image S4- Ruggedized with tough rubber moldings- X-large 3-button remote for easy control during outdoor activity- Full music + call control on select Apple products- Directional mic for hands-free, crystal clear phone calls- Patented oval ear tips provide comfortable wear for hours- Available in 4 colors (yellow, orange, blue and red)
Neither rain, sleet, snow, nor concrete jungle can stop the award winning acoustics and ... more
live music experience of the Image S4i Rugged headphones Directional mic for hands-free, crystal clear phone calls Klipschs exclusive oval ear tips naturally fit the contours of your ear canals, providing comfortable long-term wear Because Klipsch want you to be rocking out to your favorite tunes for a long, long time, the seal also allows you to enjoy your music at lower, safer volumes. Rock the Klipsch Image S4i Rugged earbuds in yellow, orange, blue or red.