As more people have started using Apple products as their primary MP3 players, the need for a quality pair of iPhone and iPod compatible multi-function earphones has become increasingly necessary. The Klipsch Image S4i headset with 3-button Apple Control is just that â€“ a set of in-ear headphones designed in conjunction with Apple and marketed specifically towards Apple users. The Image S4i claims to provide a balanced combination of functionality, great sound quality and an affordable cost that will transform how users listen to their music. With a simple 3 button microphone and control system that allows voice calls and Klipschâ€™s oval in-ear tips that are designed for both comfort and noise isolation, the Image S4i headset sounds like a must have for any iPhone users. There will always be some drawbacks to a set of headphones when compared to headphones that cost several hundred dollars, but do these drawbacks affect the user experience, or are the Klipsch Image S4i Headphones a great value for money set of headphones? Key Specs for Klipsch Image S4i Premium Noise-Isolating Headset RRP: $99.99 Year Of Release: 2005 Battery Powered? No Wireless? No Noise Isolating? Yes Weight: 0.03 lbs Klipsch Image S4i Premium Noise-Isolating Headset: The Pros Sound Quality: For the price, the Image S4i headphones sure do deliver impressive sound quality. This is not much of a surprise. Klipsch use a patented micro-speaker in the Image S4i that can be found in many of their high end headphones that are more than double the price. The audio range is extremely impressive, comfortably dealing with deep bass and high frequency pitches. Far from sounding like a mid-priced set of headphones, the Image S4i genuinely produces an audio quality that could easily be mistaken for a $300 headphone set. Note that it is important to ensure that you do have the eartips correctly inserted into your ear â€“ the sound quality produced by the micro-speaker is dependent on the eartips creating a seal with your ear canal, shutting out background noise. If you do not insert the eartip correctly you wonâ€™t avail of the fantastic audio quality that the Image S4i is capable of producing. Noise Isolation: The Image S4i headset works by creating a seal with your ear to block out any noise that could interfere with your audio. This has the added effect of meaning you donâ€™t need to play your music as loud, protecting your eardrum. As with all Klipsch in-ear headphones, the Image S4i uses an oval eartip design that matches the contours of your ear. Many traditional in-ear headphones are round and can be painful after prolonged use, while being much more difficult to create a noise cancelling seal with. The oval design works wonders, so much so that it may take some getting used to when making phone calls as it can be difficult to control your speaking volume when you canâ€™t hear yourself talking! It is worth noting that some users have complained that the eartips are uncomfortable to insert fully, but for most people this is easily remedied. By rotating the eartips 180 degrees, effectively turning the eartips upside down, you have a slightly different shape that many users find much more comfortable. 3 Button Controls: The 3 button Apple control system on the Image S4i headphones is impressively well designed. Using a combination of single, double and treble clicks, users will quickly get used to the navigation buttons and in a very short space of time the controls become second nature. Many headphones with MP3 button control systems are unreliable or unusable due to their limited functionality, but the Image S4i has done an impressive job in combining functionality with ease of use. Klipsch Image S4i Premium Noise-Isolating Headset: The Cons Build Quality: There was always going to be a drawback, but it would have been nice if it wasnâ€™t in the quality of construction. The Klipsch Image S4i Headset is far from being flimsy, but it is far from durable either. The eartip connections are not protected, and will eventually come a little loose, meaning they need to be fiddled with to restore sound. Similarly, the cable is very slim and can easily get tangled. A slightly more robust cable would provide for both a more secure connection to the eartips and less tangling issues. Granted, the cable is an improvement on the stock Apple earphones, but it could certainly be improved upon. A slightly less fragile build would transform the Image S4i headphones from a good product to a great one. Is the Klipsch Image S4i Premium Noise-Isolating Headset Worth Buying? The overriding dilemma for anyone in the market for a new set of headphones is the balance between price and quality, and it can be a tough balance to find. The Klipsch Image S4i Headset makes a valiant attempt to bridge that gap, and in many ways it succeeds. The sound quality is extremely impressive, and far outperforms most of its competitors. The eartips themselves are well designed, come in three sizes, and most people will find them a big improvement on standard round in-ear headphones. Similarly, the control buttons are quick to learn and easy to use. Unfortunately, the build quality does leave an unpleasant aftertaste. A stronger, thicker cable and more durable connections would make the Klipsch Image S4i Headset an absolute must have for in-ear headphone enthusiasts. As it is, it is merely an extremely good value headset for the price you pay. By all means, invest in the Image S4i, but if you expect them to last for many years then you will be disappointed.
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