Shure SE210 Headphones Review
Tour & Design
The Shure SE210 headphones start with a gray and white bud. The gray part is rubbery and also serves as a cord guard, while the white part is hard plastic. Since these headphones are intended to be worn around the ear, the branding and left/right markings appear to be upside down to the untrained eye. The nozzles protrude at an angle from the bud. The tips of the nozzles are open - the nozzle isn't sealed by any kind of grating or cloth.
The cord is the same color as the gray rubber on the headphones. The neck split has an adjustment slider, and also ends in a 3.5mm jack. This means the SE210s themselves are just more than 18 inches in length, from bud to jack.
To all those who scoffed at the 18-inch length of these headphones: the SE210s do come with a 3-foot extension cable with a 3.5mm jack on the end. The box also contains a basic carrying case to cram everything into, but there is no adapter for the larger 1/4-inch socket found on many home audio systems.
The Shure SE210s also come with a handful of sleeves. Size variations aside, there are three different types: foam, soft flex, and triple-flanged. There are three sizes of both foam and soft flex sleeves, and one pair of triple-flange.
In terms of durability, the Shure SE210s seem to be durable overall, but we did spot some potential issues. We're able to bend the cord guards back far enough to cause them to separate slightly from the rest of the bud. They do, however, always return to their original position. The cord guards near the jack are similar. Bending them around causes the flex points to whiten from the stress. This doesn't bode well for their longevity, but to the cord guard's credit, it still manages to feel robust despite this visual indicator of weakness.
As a final item in the theme of 'durable, but with issues,' the neck slider is definitely cause for concern. The neck slider quickly tore after just a couple of days of moderate use. Once we got the initial rip, it was a lot harder to rip the slider further. Still, this initial rip shouldn't have been as easy to make. Many people would probably just cut the thing off if it got a rip in it, because it just looks ugly at that point.
The sleeves fit very snugly over the nozzle, so you really shouldn't run into problems with runaways. The nozzles themselves feel pretty sturdy, but the angle they stick out at could make them more prone to getting snapped off accidentally. Really, the more pressing durability issue of the nozzles is their open end. There isn't much to separate the interior of the nozzle from liquid, sand, lint, and ear wax that could all make their way down the nozzle without much opposition. Regular cleaning could help, but there isn't any sort of replaceable barrier. The similarly-priced Etymotic ER6is offer a replaceable ear wax guard.
In-ear headphones are hard to judge based on aesthetics: there's really a not a lot exposed when in use. These in particular have a simple design. The back is gray, and the main body of the bud is white with black branding. The real aesthetic issue many people will encounter is having a jack at the neck split. This means the cord is relatively thick following the split. The cord is pretty thick in general, though, so this chubby spot doesn't look completely out of line. Overall, these don't look like $500 headphones, but they do look attractive and functional.
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