CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Klipsch Image S4A for Android (Black) review: Klipsch Image S4A for Android (Black)

Klipsch Image S4A for Android (Black)

Justin Yu Associate Editor / Reviews - Printers and peripherals
Justin Yu covered headphones and peripherals for CNET.
Justin Yu
4 min read

The Image S4A Headphones for Android join a solid pack of headphones in Klipsch's S4 product catalog, beginning with the original Image S4 in-ear headphones, followed by the S4i headphones for iOS devices. The S4A are the company's first earbuds designed specifically for Android handsets that come with a link to download a free application that lets you customize the controls of the single-button remote on the wire. The S4As have impressive range and sonic versatility, with a sound profile that reaches past other 'buds in the same $99 price range, and they make a solid investment for anyone looking to improve the sound from an Android smartphone.


Klipsch Image S4A for Android (Black)

The Good

The <b>Klipsch S4A Headphones for Android</b> earn our favor with powerful 8.5mm drivers, comfortable ear tips, and an accompanying Android app that smartphone owners can use to remap the in-line remote controls.

The Bad

The headphones perform inconsistently on devices running Android 2.1 and lower.

The Bottom Line

Klipsch's ultracomfortable, noise-isolating ear tips are just one of the reasons I love and recommend the S4-series headphones. If you're an Android user shopping for a new pair of earbuds, the Image S4A headphones are definitely worth the $99.

The Klipsch S4A headphones look about the same as the S4 and S4i models that came before them, and the specifications on the product page tout the same dual-magnet microspeakers and 8.5mm drivers. The housing of the earbuds themselves positions the tips at an angle appropriate for a variety of ear sizes, and you can really stuff them in to achieve quiet isolation from the world around you.

The jewel of the Klipsch Image line is the company's patented silicone ear tips. Unlike many other headphones, the Klipsch tips are oval-shaped rather than circular, so they conform and expand to fit the insides of your ears.

You only get three sizes (S,M, L) in the accompanying ballistic-nylon carrying case, and note that they run slightly smaller than average--I wear a medium in the majority of ear tips I test, and found myself somewhere between the medium and large size for the S4As. If you have the same difficulty, I recommend picking up the Gel and Foam SuperTip Sampler Starter Kit from Monster--you're sure to find at least one set of earbuds in there that fits.

One area that needs improvement on the S4A is the sticky rubber coating on the wire. The rubber makes them very prone to tangles, and not the kind that you can just shake around to unravel. The wire gave me a headache every time I pulled the headphones out of my pocket. I'm hoping that Klipsch will develop future production models that feature braided cloth cordage similar to the Urbanears Plattan Plus.

The wire also offers track navigation controls through a remote that sits several inches down from the right earpiece. There's only one button, but the box has a link to download a free copy of the Klipsch Control App for Android.

With that software, you can decide which function (track forward/backward, volume up/down, answer/end calls, mute microphone, redial, voice search, and voice command) to associate with each style of button press (single click, double click, triple click, long press).

With the app installed on a phone running Android 2.2 or higher, the access buttons even work within streaming Web sites and apps like Spotify and Audible. Unfortunately, some of the volume control functions won't work if you're still using Android version 2.1 and lower.

Beyond the basics, the configuration software lets you adjust the click speed for one, two, and three-button clicks, and you can set the app to engage automatically when you plug the S4As into the headphone jack.

We should also note that Klipsch Control isn't the only app of its kind that gives you power over the settings on your headphone remote. You can configure a wired headset just as well using an app called Headset Button Controller. It'll cost you $2.84, but it works as an alternative solution for non-Klipsch headphones.

The S4 headphones consistently earn their position in CNET's list of best earbuds, and I continue to support this line based on the huge jump in sound for a relatively inexpensive upgrade. Their sound is certainly worth more than $99, and the S4As do a great job of blocking ambient noise, despite being passive (dedicated noise-canceling headphones actually use batteries to block high-frequency sound waves).

Discerning audiophiles, however, argue that getting rid of the lower frequencies compromises the integrity of the audio. The Klipsch Image S4A headphones offer a compromise between the two factions of listeners: a tight seal thanks to the company's patented tip design filters out unwanted noise, while the driver structures inside envelop you in distortion-free aural bliss. Their vibrancy and dynamic range earn my approval, even without a desktop amplifier in use, and leap past the sonic limits of typically crummy stock headphones.

Regardless of whether you'll use Klipsch Control or another remote app on your phone, your ears will thank you if you pair them with the Klipsch Image S4A headphones. The conical ear flanges guarantee a tight fit for better sound and noise isolation, which business travelers should appreciate, and the $99 price tag makes them affordable for music lovers in general.