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

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Our Verdict

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

For

  • Energetic, detailed and dynamic
  • Well-balanced sound
  • Punchy bass and clear vocals
  • Good build and fit

Against

  • Nothing at this price

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.

Performance

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.

Verdict

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

Specifications

General Information

Product NameSoundMagic E10S