When comparing Klipsch Image S4i Rugged vs Shure SE215, the Slant community recommends Shure SE215 for most people. In the question“What are the best rugged and durable earbuds & IEMs that last?” Shure SE215 is ranked 1st while Klipsch Image S4i Rugged is ranked 8th. The most important reason people chose Shure SE215 is:
Bass is emphasized so there is a good bit of thump while staying controlled. Mids are rich, highs avoid sibilance, though they're a bit rolled off. Soundstage is okay--instruments are separated out enough for them to not sound like they're all coming from the same place, but it's not particularly wide.
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Pro Crisp treble and solid bass
Klipsch S4 earphones have excellent response at both the high and low ends of the audible spectrum, providing clean and undistorted sound.
Pro Clear call quality
The built in mic provides a good experience when talking on the phone.
Pro Numerous controls accessed with 3 buttons
The S4i's buttons recognize combination presses, tap patterns and held buttons, allowing access to many features: call answering, voice control, song titles, etc. These controls are intended for use with iPhones.
Pro Very secure fit
These headphones come with four different sets of silicone plug tips, allowing a snug fit for nearly any size or shape of ear.
Pro Built for outdoor and sports use
Klipsch S4i Rugged earphones are designed to withstand extreme conditions in both activity and environment.
Pro Rich, full sound
Bass is emphasized so there is a good bit of thump while staying controlled. Mids are rich, highs avoid sibilance, though they're a bit rolled off.
Soundstage is okay--instruments are separated out enough for them to not sound like they're all coming from the same place, but it's not particularly wide.
Pro Fantastic sound isolation to block out unwanted noise
The memory foam eartips mold to your ear to provide amazing sound isolation, though there's a bit of a learning curve to using them. You have to press them together before putting them in and then allow them to expand in your ear. Once expanded they will take the shape of your ear and that way provide excellent noise isolation.
The earphones also come with silicon tips which are easier to use than the foam ones and also last longer.
Pro Comfortable once you get used to them
The SE215 earphones have a negative profile, optimized nozzle angle, over-ear fit and memory eartips that ensure the earphones stay in place comfortably regardless of situation. You can even lie on your side with them.
Pro A lot of equipment
6 types of plugs (silicon/ foam: S/M/L).
Pro Outstanding build quality makes them long lasting
SE215 earbuds use tough plastic earpiece shells, have a robust kevlar-reinforced cable, a sturdy Y-splitter that's difficult to bend and an L-shaped plug that adds additional strain relief. They won't break if you snag them, drop them or sit on them. They're also completely sweat proof so you can use them while working out without having to worry about damaging them. They're durable enough for professional stage use for which they were specifically designed for.
Pro Thick, replaceable cable
The SE215's 6.4-ft. cable is very thick, and further reinforced at the left/right split point. Reviews confirm the durability benefits of its heavy-duty design. If it ever does break, the cable is built to detach safely from the earpieces, allowing replacement.
Pro Will stay in place in the ears
The optimized angle of the earbuds, over-ear fit, and memory ear tips ensure that the earphones stay in place comfortably regardless of situation. These are also sweat-proof, so they're a great option for active use.
Pro Two year limited warranty
Shure provides a warranty against defects in materials or manufacturing for two years.
Con Controls are designed for Apple products
The built in controls are only guaranteed to work with iPhone 3GS and onward. (The Klipsch S4a, designed for Android devices, does not have a rugged version.)
Con Need some time getting used to
It may take some getting used to memory cables and there's a bit of a learning curve to putting the earphones in with memory eartips. At, first memory cables may seem a bit stiff, but after they're broken in, they're generally more comfortable than typical wires. There's even a wire sleeve that helps form the wire bundled with the earphones to help combat this issue. As for memory eartips--every time before putting them in your ear you have to press them together and then allow them to expand in your ear.
Con Inline mic and volume controls cost an extra $50
The supplied detachable cable does not have a mic or inline volume controls. They can be added by upgrading to the M+ cable.