SoundMagic E10S review

Best in-ear headphones under £50, Awards 2015. Subtle design tweaks to our favourite budget in-ears make them even more enjoyable to use than before Tested at £40

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Our favourite budget in-ears are better than ever – rivals can't match their lively, exciting sound


  • +

    Energetic, detailed and dynamic

  • +

    Well-balanced sound

  • +

    Punchy bass and clear vocals

  • +

    Good build and fit


  • -

    Nothing at this price

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

The SoundMagic E10S in-ears have been winning Awards for the last four years, with annual tweaks - and no change in the price - helping to ensure they keep their top spot in the budget in-ear category. The changes to the 2015 model are purely cosmetic and ergonomic.

MORE: SoundMagic E10 review

Video review

Build and design

The smartphone compatibility switch has been moved to the cable’s Y-section, meaning the 3.5mm plug, now at a 60-degree angle and made of metal instead of plastic, is slimmer and sturdier than before. Not bad for just £40.

These are light, compact and comfortable in-ears, with a selection of tips available for you to get the best fit. Once they’re sealed in, you get the robust, punchy and hugely enthusiastic sound that make the E10Ss so likeable.


With the bassline taut and bouncy in The Cat Empire’s Fishies, it’s not hard to start having fun with the E10Ss plugged in.

Trumpets blare with just the right amount of bite and reach, while voices are clear and expressive, and there’s a satisfying weight to the whole sound.

Sure, you get more subtlety and refinement if you go up the price scale, but the E10Ss have impressive dynamics and an even balance that rival budget headphones struggle to match. There’s no hardness, brightness or lumpy bass to distract you from the music.

The E10Ss are great at capturing the essence of a song: whether it’s the playful melodies of the Amelie soundtrack, the grungy angst of Nirvana, or the funk in Stevie Wonder’s Superstition, these in-ears will get your feet tapping along to any song you play through them.


They’re energetic, fluid and packed with detail – and for now they remain our go-to in-ears on a budget.

MORE: Best in-ear headphones 2015

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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