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Shure SE102 sound-isolating earphones review: Shure SE102 sound-isolating earphones

The Good Decent sound-isolation; generally clear performance; excellent cabling.

The Bad Bulky; average bass presence.

The Bottom Line If your budget is strict and this is the absolute top you can run to, they're an above average upgrade from the shoddy plastic insults to the ears that came with your music player, but we'd push for an extra tenner to get the Shure SE110s

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6.5 Overall

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Shure's entry-level earphones used to be the £80 SE210s. Then Shure blasted the more affordable £50 SE110s at the cost-conscious iPod fanatic. Now it's embracing the global economic collapse with its most affordable pair yet: the £39 SE102s.

They're on sale now from Advanced MP3 Players.

In terms of appearance and build, the sound-isolating SE102s are the odd ones out of the SE range. Although they're still best worn over the ear, as is the more professional Shure style, their bulkier, fatter enclosures don't share the same high-end appearance as their more costly siblings.

Having said that, the cabling appears to be identical to the £250 SE530s which sit at the top of the Shure range, with the same gold-plated plugs, ultra-durable cable sheath and detachable extension cable.

Although every ear is different, we found that prolonged wearing became uncomfortable, partly due to the larger enclosures, when compared to other Shure 'phones. And interestingly our US colleagues shared the same feelings when they tested them. Larger ears are likely to cause less concern, but we advise owners of dinkier lugholes to consider an alternative at this price point.

These are sound-isolating earphones and while they don't block out as much of the noise around you as foam tips, they're arguably less intrusive and still very effective. A range of sizes are included to fit most ear canals.

Behind them sit single, full-range, dynamic drivers in each enclosure responding to frequencies between 22Hz-17.5kHz. They offer a sensitivity of 105dB/mW and an impedance of 16 Ohms, but if you don't know what this means, relax. It just means they'll work great with portable players and will be loud enough for outdoor use.

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