Klipsch Image X7i review: Ceramic beauties

Comparing the X7is with the S4 IIis, I found the X7i earphones had cleaner, more detailed sound, with slightly tighter bass. Again, neither of these models really pumps out the bass the way the V-Moda Remix earphones do, for example, so if you're a bass lover, you'll probably be disappointed.

The earphones have a three-button Apple-friendly inline-remote and microphone. Sarah Tew/CNET

I liked the sound of the X7i. Similar to the S4 IIi's sound, it's well-balanced and pleasant -- but clearer at the same time. I also found the earphones comfortable to wear for long periods.

My only problem with the X7i earphones is that when you get into earphones that cost more than $150, you start expecting a lot, and they didn't deliver quite as much as I was hoping. They're quite decent, but I was just left wanting a little more; for the money, they could have been a touch more dynamic and little bit more open.

The remote up close. Sarah Tew/CNET

If you've read this far, you've probably noticed I have mixed emotions about the X7i earphones. On the one hand, they're very slick-looking noise-isolating in-ear headphones that are comfortable to wear -- and they sound good. But if you came to me and asked whether you should buy this over the S4i II or another $100 model, I'd have some reservations.

The Moshi Keramo earphones, which also feature ceramic earpieces, offer similar sound for around $120, though they're arguably not quite as comfortable. And there are plenty of other options in the $50-to-$150 range, including the Phonak Audeo Perfect Fit Earphones PFE 022 + Mic.

The long and short of it is that the Klipsch Image X7i earphones are a very good in-ear model that would be easier to fully recommend if they cost about $50 to $75 less. If you find them for that price, they're certainly worth considering.

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