Slick Distribution SD50
All right, first things first: the SD50s aren’t perfect. They could be better defined in the bass, for instance. But we think you’ll agree that this pair of on-ear Bluetooth headphones with smartphone controls is something of a bargain. It’s not the slight lack of bass discipline you’ll notice, it’s the lack of wires around your head and just the slightest dent in your bank-balance.
Seldom have first upgrades been so obvious. The S4 isn’t alone in coming supplied with in-ear buds that are best described as ‘marginal’, but you can unleash the Samsung’s full potential with this earphones. The E10s, all shiny metal enclosures and lovely snug fit, offer the sort of attack, detail and accuracy the S4 loves to serve up. They’re absolute gems.
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Philips CitiScape Downtown
If you want a pair of headphones to complement the S4’s understated good looks and all-round air of good taste, don’t look any further. The CitiScape Downtowns (we know, we know – but the name is by far the clunkiest thing about the Philips’) look, feel and, crucially, sound like they cost a fair bit more than the $99 its priced at. Deep, crisp and even throughout the frequency range, they’re an easy listen in the best sense of the words.
Beats by Dre Powerbeats
Make the most of the S4’s fly-away 130g weight by using it as an exercise companion. The ideal companion to your exercise companion are these rather torturous-looking Powerbeats. The chunky bands loop over your ears, and they work a treat – it’s pretty much impossible to work the Powerbeats loose, even if you favour a vigorous workout. And if your regime is a pacy and powerful as the sound the headphones produce you’ll be fighting fit in no time.
Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear
Once you’ve decided to pay this sort of money for headphones, you want a bit more than just great sound for your cash. And the Sennheisers have you covered. They sound superb, of course: delicate but punchy, poised but muscular, and stuffed with detail. But it’s the use of materials – Alcantara for the headband, stainless-steel sliders, memory-foam earpads – that let you know where your money’s gone.