Klipsch Image S4i Review

Klipsch Image S4i Review

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Klipsch Image S4i Review Summary

Best sounding headphones below $100. Sound quality on par with high end in-ear headphones, at a much lower price.


  • Great sound quality for price. Good bass.
  • Comfortable and stylish.
  • Nice aluminium carrying case with good set of accessories.
  • Official Apple three-button remote control and mic.


  • Limited compatibility of remote.
  • Cable doesn't look extra durable.
  • Sound quality of some higher priced earbuds is better.

Quick Stats

Price $99.00
Design in-ear headphones
Mic yes
Remote control yes
Compatibility iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch 2nd generation, iPod Nano 4th generation, iPod Classic 120GB: full. iPhone 3G, iPod older models: partial (no volume control)
Colors black, white
Accessories 4 different-sized ear tips, ear tips cleaning tool, aluminium carrying case

Klipsch Image S4i

Klipsch is a leader in stereo and home theater speaker systems. They are the preferred brand for speaker setups in movie theaters. So, they do know about sound quality...and it shows.

They recently entered the headphones market, by introducing two product lines: The Image X premium line, Image X10 is the flagship model priced at $350, and the Image S line, with the S2 and S4 models that are sold at a list price of $49 and $79 respectively.

Both the Image S4 and the Image X10 headphones are also available in their "i" version, Image S4i and Image X10i, designed specifically for the iPhone and iPod. The "i" models feature headphones that are exactly the same as their non-i counterparts, but they add a mic, and the famous "on-cable" Apple 3 way remote, developed in conjunction with Apple using Apple's chip, that allows to take calls on the iPhone, to control volume, and to take full advantage of the latest iPhone and iPod VoiceControl and VoiceOver capabilities.

In-Ear headphones

The Image S4i are "in-ear" headphones. This means that they are designed as a pair ear-buds that get inserted into your ear canal. This type of headphones is becoming increasingly popular, as they feature several advantages:

  • Isolate yourself from the external environment. The headphones tips, when inserted into the ear, create a "seal", producing a strong reduction of external environmental noise. Enter into a music nirvana, where only music is present!
  • Improve safety for your hearing. Since they isolate you from outside noise, you'll be able to listen to music with a volume that is reasonably low. Studies show that, in noisy environments, people with non noise-isolating headphones, in an attempt to cover external noise with music, tend to raise their volume at levels that are too loud and unsafe for their hearing. In ear headphones prevent this, by strongly reducing the amount of external noise reaching your ears. You will not feel the need to raise the volume to unsafe volume levels anymore, just to cover external noise.

In-ear headphones may feel a bit unnatural to wear at first. But the isolation from external noise is well worth getting used to them. What's important is to master achieving a "good seal", which means learning to insert the ear-tips in the proper position so that they actually block external noise, as they're designed to be used.


Excellent sound quality

Sound quality of the Klipsch Image S4i headphones is excellent. It gets close to that of in-ear headphones that cost three times as much such as the Shure SE310. As you can expect, audiophile level much more expensive headphones such as S4's bigger sibling Klipsch's flagship Image X10, or Shure SE530, boast a sound quality that is superior, but in their price range, the Klipsch Image S4i are extremely hard to beat.

These are not neutral headphones. If you like basses, you'll feel at home, even though these are not as pronounced as those in the V-Moda Vibe. Sound is very detailed here, and the Image S4i don't sound muddy at all. Mid and high ends of the spectrum are very clear and maintain a good sound separation.

The noise isolation of the Image S4i is very good, due to their in-ear design, and once the seal is achieved, you will feel totally immersed into the music.

Affordable price

Price, together with sound quality, is probably the best feature of the Klipsch Image S4i. You can afford them without breaking your bank account. These headphones remain below the $100 threshold, which puts them in that price sweet spot that is just a notch higher than budget headphones, costing below $50, but with a sound quality that is much better than just a single notch higher.

Extremely Comfortable

Classy Klispch Image S4i. A perfect match for the iPhone

A common drawback of in-ear headphones is that having the tips inserted into the ear canal often leads to fatigue when the headphones are used for several hours. Klipsch was able to improve the comfort factor of their in-ear headphones by noting that most people ear canals have an oval shape, instead of round. Consequently, Image S4's tips are built with oval shaped ear tips that provide a better comfort and reduce fatigue.

The Image S4i do feel extremely comfortable, even after several hours of use.

Stylish and good looking

These headphones are quite stylish and look great. They are available in both black and white colors. For a lot of iPhone and iPod users, the looks of their headphones are important. We believe that the Image S4i match very well the style of the iPhone and the iPod, and won't disappoint on this front.

Three-button remote and mic

The Klipsch Image S4i is one of the first and few third party headphones on the market featuring the new official Apple's three-button remote. Developed in conjunction with Apple, this technology uses a very small remote on the headphones cable, that contains three buttons and a mic. With this remote you can fully use the advanced features in the latest generation of iPhone and iPod, such as VoiceControl, for controlling the iPhone through vocal commands, and VoiceOver, for hearing song, artist, or playlist name on the iPod by pressing a button on the remote.

Klipsch Image S4i Review

Nice aluminium carrying case

The remote is fully functional only on the iPhone 3GS, and on the iPod Touch 2nd generation, iPod Nano 4th generation, and iPod Classic 120GB. On older iPods, and iPhones, the remote has limited functionality: the mic and the answer/pause/play central button are operational, but the volume up and down buttons are not. This is due to the Apple chip not being compatible with older iPhones and iPods.

The echo cancellation mic has good quality and is 360-degree panoramic, allowing to talk freely without turning down to talk into it.

Accessories and carrying case

The set of accessories is quite nice. These headphones come with four sets of ear tips, of different sizes, as well as a cleaning tool, and a clothing clip.

A nice and useful aluminium carrying case completes the set, allowing to comfortably carry the headphones around together with the accessories.



While we liked the fact that these headphones make full use of latest Apple technology, with features such as VoiceOver and VoiceControl, we didn't like as much the limited compatibility list of supported devices. As mentioned above, in order to get full support with the remote, you'll need either an iPhone 3GS, an iPod Touch 2nd generation, iPod Nano 4th generation, or an iPod Classic 120GB.

Build quality

Build quality of the Image S4i headphones is not bad at all, but it doesn't feel as good as in higher priced models. Especially for the cable we would have preferred a sturdier build quality.

Limited Warranty

These headphones come with a nice 2 year warranty. However this warranty doesn't cover accessories, nor the cable.

Bottom Line

All in all we believe the S4i to be an exceptional deal, with fantastic sound quality, at a very good price. The Apple three-button remote makes these headphones as close to "official" as a 3rd party product can get: specific iPhone and iPod advanced features are supported, and the actual sound quality is superior to headphones produced by Apple.

These are our best recommended headphones for the iPhone and for the iPod.

Product Specifications

Design Dynamic Moving Coil Dual Magnet Micro Speakers
Frequency Response 10Hz – 19kHz
Sensitivity 110dB SPL/mW
Nominal Impedance 18 Ohm
Drive Components Full range KG 25
Input 3.5 mm
Dimensions 8.0 mm diameter
Weight 11.9 gr
Noise Isolation -16 dB

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