What are they?

Quality budget headphones.

How will they change my life?

Glasgow-based RHA has built a substantial reputation in a relatively short space of time. This is due in part to the unique style of the products, but what also comes across is the company's passion for what it does. Converting that tenacious spirit into quality devices is what invariably makes – or breaks – a brand.

The latest headphones from RHA, the S500i, promise to continue the trend of excellent sound, cool minimalist style and robust components at an affordable price.

Good points?

The reasons for purchasing budget headphones can vary drastically from economic constraints to simply wanting a secondary pair for a rainy day. Quality of sound, materials and design are typically the last considerations and generally perceived as bonuses. These low expectations can and should now be forgotten.

The S500i in-ear headphones shatter conventional perceptions of cheaper sound products. Even before sampling their aural delights you are greeted with tip-top design: a gold-plated connection jack, a sleek aluminium body, a three-button remote control/mic and seven choices of ear-buds.

A three-year warranty is testament to the build quality. Compact and attractive, looking like perfectly machined pieces of futuristic biometrics, the S500i headphones are functional and pleasingly free from pretentiousness.

The audio performance maintains the high standard with crisp notes and little to no feedback. Its perfect range lies between soft rock and punk although everything I threw at the S500i was dealt with without any complaints.

Bad points?

It's hard to be critical about something so enjoyable, but I did find it a tad difficult to remove them from my ears without pulling on the cable.

Best for ...

Those with more than a passing interest in music. The price means anyone can enjoy the benefits of proper tone relay. Finding these in my stocking at Christmas would go down a treat.

Avoid if ...

Your appetite for high sound quality is negligible.

Score: 9/10.

RHA S500i in-ear headphones, £39.95 (rha-audio.co.uk)