The first time you decide to splash out money on earphones can be a daunting experience, with dozens of little over-packaged sets to choose from. The entry-level Klipsch S3 earphones are here to vie for your attention, and make the decision that little bit tougher. Up against the Sennheiser CX300 and Ultimate Ears 200, they retail for around £35.
The Klipsch S3 earphones come in three colours - a pinkish red, green and grey. Klipsch has dodged the standard black entirely, but the design of is otherwise conservative. Like most earphones at this price, they're made completely of plastic.
Higher-price earphones often spice-up their bods with metal or rubber, to give them a sense of more advanced design, but these are simple, moulded plastic. The shape of each earpiece suggests a higher degree of sophistication than some other budget sets but a closer inspection quickly betrays their low-end status. Thankfully, they're free of the really critical symptoms of cheap in-ear headphones with tough-feeling bodies and no diaphragm crackle when inserted into your ears.
The simple plastic bodies keep the Klipsch S3 very light, but getting a seal with the included rubber tips isn't as easy as with some alternatives, such as the Ultimate Ears 200. There's a degree of personal preference here but we found that, whichever of the three sets of tips we chose, we needed to shove them into our ears a little too firmly to achieve a decent seal. If you're sensitive to having things rammed into your lugholes, you'd be better off with earphones from the Sennheiser CX range. They don't plunge quite so far into the dark depths of your ear canals.
These seal issues are down to the limited range of tips included rather than anything more central - we tried using a pair of larger tips taken from a pair of Phonak PFE 112 and attained a much better fit, and slightly better bass response. You might have none of these problems if you have less ginormous ear cavities than this reviewer, but it's still a fair criticism when cheaper sets like the Ultimate Ears 200 offer a generous six pairs of tips as standard - as opposed to three.
A case is bundled, however. It's a simple zip-up job with a Velcro strap and pouch inside to keep the spare tips, or a memory card, safe and sound. The Klipsch S3 use a straight, gold-plated jack. These tend to be less durable in real-world usage, succumbing to connection problems ahead of the right-angle alternative in our experience, but they also have less trouble connecting to devices with oddly-shaped jack inputs.