Here at Pocket-lint we've reviewed all sorts of earphones from the achingly hip Monster Diddybeats to the non-tangle RHA MA-350 earbuds. Next on the test bench is the new E10 from Chinese brand Soundmagic. The E10 in-ear headphones are the first model from the next generation Soundmagic range and will be joined with the over-hear E30, clip-on EH11 and the P30 cans in the coming months.
The earphones sport a relativley conventional in-ear design with detachable silicon tips. There are two sets of spare tips of varying sizes included in the box so that you can find the best fit. We found the earbuds themselves to be really comfy and also very secure - so that they didn't fall out at the merest turn of the head. The earphones themselves are made from metal, lending the product a distinctly premium look and promising the sort of durability that cheaper, plastic earbuds simply can't offer.
There are four different colour options available - including metallic purple, yellow or silver accents, while our review sample sported a striking black and red finish.
Weighing in at just 11g, the earphones are extremely light, which makes them really comfortable and very easy to forget that you're actually wearing them. Along with the usual tiny L and R markers, denoting left and right, the earbuds also sport different coloured seals at the top of the wire - one red and one blue, so it is easy to see which is which at a glance without having to search for the tiny letter.
The cable measures an industry standard 1.2m long, which should give you plenty of slack for going about your day-to-day business without catching the wire and accidentally dragging the earphones out of your lugholes too often. However we did find that the wire was rather stiff and slightly less flexible than on some rivals model, meaning that it seems quite prone to twisting and tangling. However, the maker has thoughtfully included a faux leather travel pouch which should go some way to reducing tangling as well as giving the E10 an extra level of protection when shoved in your pocket or bag.
There's no in-line remote control on the cable, but the company is currently testing an Apple remote, so we wouldn't be surprised if newer models emerge carrying the Made for iPod badge. A three-button remote will be added in time for Christmas, says Soundmagic. Although there's not yet a remote, the wire does include an adjustable crocodile clip so that the cable can be secured to your clothes or bag to keep it in the most comfortable position. The E10 sports a gold-plated jack that can be hooked up to any device with a 3.5mm jack.
In terms of audio performance, the E10 is a great all-rounder. The sonics are clear and punchy with barely any distortion. While there's no active noise-cancelling technology on board, the sound-isolating properties are pretty solid, blocking out a substantial amount of pesky background noise, although not all of it. The powerful bass response made for some very strong bottom-end sonics - so much so, that we heard bass lines on tracks that we'd never even noticed before when listening with other earphones.
The manufacturer also sent us some Comply Foam Tips (£14.99) to try out with the headphones, which both improved the noise isolation and the already steady fit of the earphones even further.
In short, this is a great pair of earphones and at £34.99 they're not going to break the bank. We were particulalry inpressed with the audio quality and the bass response, while the slick design and colour options, along with the handy cable clip also add to the package. Our only gripe is the fact that the cable is prone to tangle, but that's pretty standard (unless you opt for a product with a dedicated non-tangle wire like the RHA MA-350). The Soundmagic E10 are certainly worth considering if you're on the lookout for a reasonably priced pair of quality earphones that will block out the majority of background noise without costing too many of your hard-earned pennies.