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HWM+HardwareZone.com Tech Awards 2014: Editor's Choice - Part 1

Best In-Ear Earphones

Best In-Ear Earphones

For all the advances smartphones have made, the audio delivered either via the phone's speakers or its accompanying earphones still lack in quality. This is why in-ear earphones and smartphone purchases remain a classic pairing. With the surge in uptake of mobility devices from smartphones, to phablets and tablets, the need for comfortable, portable and great sounding earphones remain at an all-time high with a record number of brands and options made available in retail.  In this year's inaugural category of our Editor's Choice segment, we focused our efforts on quality performance in-ear earphones that would appeal to mainstream upgraders with products priced between S$200 and S$300 and have been launched within our qualification period.



  • KEF M200
  • Klipsch X4i
  • Onkyo IE-HF300
  • Philips Fidelio S2
  • Sony XBA-H2
  • Shure SE215 Special Edition

And the Winner Is...

Shure SE215 Special Edition

The Shure SE215 Special Edition shows why everyone, barring none, should ditch the packaged earphones that came with their mobile device and invest in something better. The unique wearing style which loops the earphone wire over and around the ear may not be to everybody’s liking. But no one should have qualms with the audio performance of the earphones. Offering a great seal which keeps ambient noise out to an extent, the Shure SE215 Special Edition delivers powerful bass. The middle frequencies are rendered with a dynamic touch and the highs are vibrant. All in all, the SE215 Special Edition is one lively in-ear earphones that we would happily recommend.

Scoring Breakdown
Criteria/Model KEF M200 Klipsch X4i Onkyo IE-HF300
Philips Fidelio S2
Sony XBA-H2
Shure SE215 Special Edition
Design 8.5 7.5 7.0 8.0 8.5 8.5
Features 8.5 7.0 7.0 7.5 9.0 8.5
User-Friendliness 7.5 7.0 7.0 7.5 8.5 8.5
Performance  7.5 7.5 7.0 7.5 8.5 9.0
Value 7.5 6.5 6.5 7.5 8.0 9.5
Overall 8.0 7.0 7.0 7.5 8.5 9.0

For more details on how we selected our winners, check out the full reviews and articles listed at the References section at the end.