There's nothing like good old competition to keep tech prices in check. Case in point: earphones. The headphone market is heavily saturated, and we can all thank that fact for the existence of many worthy earbud contenders in the sub-$100 price range. Klipsch is one company in particular that has impressed us with earphones in this price range, and its latest entry is no exception. The Image S2m is a stereo headset with an integrated mic and call button that sells for a very reasonable $60. Like its Editors' Choice award-winning sibling, the, these 'phones offer impressive sound for the money, though audio is not quite as crystal clear.
The Image S2m headphones are similar in design to the , with long, slender earpieces that are capped off by Klipsch's signature contoured eartips (S, M, and L sizes are included). However, the S2ms are housed entirely in plastic and do not feel or look as high-quality as the X5s--a reasonable fact, given the sharp price difference. The cable, which measures about 4 feet long in total, is rather thin and stiff like that of the Image S4; although Klipsch has assured us that the cord has undergone strength testing, we're still a bit concerned for durability, especially given the straight-plug termination of the S2m. The package does include a soft-sided pouch to protect the earphones somewhat while you're not using them.
Thanks to the contoured eartips, we found the Klispch Image S2m earphones to be plenty comfortable for several hours of wear. They also stayed secure in our ears during some light activity, though we wouldn't necessarily recommend them for working out. The in-ear design affords some passive noise isolation, but it's not as much as you can expect from foam tipped 'buds. The inline mic and call answer module is a nice touch for music phone users who are after a stereo headset.