The Image X10s are tiny. Real, ant-like, those-can’t-be-headphones small. For some, this may be enough to convince them to part with the cash for them: little headphones are easy to carry and put less pressure on your ears, so they’re comfortable for longer.
The bronze barrels are made from machined aluminium, housing a single balanced armature in each. The cable is ultra light and flexible, and while we had no problems, we have minor concerns over its longevity.
And, given that they cost more than most media players, it’s going to take more than surprising littleness to impress us. Fortunately, we get more.
The X10s come equipped with everything you need to make the most of them. A small faux leather case deals with everyday excursions and a larger one handles long-haul travel, with space for the included additional sound isolation tips, in-flight adapter and a 3.5mm-6.3mm adapter.
As mentioned, there are silicon sound isolation tips to ensure a fit for ears big and small. Getting the right fit is essential as the X10s need to be pushed almost endoscopically deep into the ear canals to deliver their best. You can tell when the seal is right as background noise is all but blocked out.
Small package, big sound
Once you’ve rammed them deep, as it were, you’ll be amazed what the X10s can do. The first thing you notice is just how big they sound: there’s no hint of the tinyness you could be forgiven for expecting, and if anything, there’s a slight bass skew to the sound.
Given that they’re a single-driver design, it’s astonishing that there’s no penalty paid across the frequency spectrum. Highs are supremely detailed, bass is forthright, timing and dynamics are superb and they manage to conjure a decent level of insight, too. The benefit of those single drivers is that it’s all wrapped in a cohesive, musical whole.
Other headphones at the same price have a similar balance of talents, with some such as Ultimate Ears 700s and Creative Aurvana Airs offering slightly better separation between instruments and voices. But given the compromises of these and other designs, the X10’s minor flaw is massively outweighed by its plus points.
Possibly best of all is that you can wear them for hours on end without fatigue because they’re so pitifully small. There are very few other in-ear headphones that you can say that about.