Skullcandy has been at the forefront of all things audio for quite a few years now. With the TWS market seeing more activity than ever in the last few years, Skullcandy has been consistently putting out a varied range of products across categories. But with smartphone makers like Oppo, OnePlus, and even Xiaomi (which also we reviewed, recently) stepping foot into the TWS territory, does Skullcandy still have the chops to set their products apart from the rest? Or are they too reliant on their pre-existing brand reputation to carry them through what seems to be the future of audio headsets? We got our hands on the recently launched Skullcandy Mod and used them for about a week, here is our in-depth review.
Skullcandy Mod review: Design
You can get the Skullcandy Mod in two colour options, True Black and Light Grey/Blue. For this review, we used True Black earbuds. The TWS earbuds come in a squarish box which contains the charging case, earbuds, additional silicone tips of varying sizes, a button control guide, a user manual, and a USB Type-C charging cable.
The charging case has a boxy rectangular design with a matte black finish and a glossy Skullcandy logo embedded at the front. The charging port is placed at the bottom with a very prominent notification light next to it. The case itself feels sturdy and doesn’t attract any fingerprints.
After using it quite freely for a week, placing it in pockets with keys and loose change, it came out free of any scratches. The lid does not snap shut like we’re used to with the majority of wireless earbuds, and you have to push it all the way down to properly shut the case. If you put your accessories to heavy use, the case will always pose a risk of opening up inside your pocket if it isn’t properly closed shut.
The earbuds have a chunky, boxy design, with a matte-black exterior and a glossy interior finish. While they may sport a larger than usual size, they offer a nice and snug fit in the ear. Even though they lack ear hooks, the fit itself is quite secure with no constant adjustment required.
With an IP55 rating, the earbuds are sweat and water-resistant, but the glossy interior is an issue while working out. While going on a run with the earbuds in, they came quite close to slipping out as soon we broke a sweat. An ear hook would’ve offered a better fit in this scenario. However, if you don’t plan on wearing them while working out, there is no need to worry about the fit.
Moving on to the controls, Skullcandy has provided actual physical buttons within the outer panels of the earbuds. The lack of touch panels really baffles us, as it isn’t really a premium feature, with most entry-level TWS nowadays offering touch controls. The buttons aren’t super sensitive to pressure either, you have to give them a good press – enough to disturb the fit – pushing the earbuds further inwards. We just stuck to using the smartphone for music controls.
If you’re willing to look past the impracticality of physical buttons, you can customise the controls from the Skullcandy app (more on that later).
Once they’re out of the box, pairing the earbuds to your device(s) is a pretty easy task. The earbuds connect using Bluetooth 5.2. You can pair the Skullcandy Mod with multiple devices at once without needing to unpair them with one device to pair with the other. Both earbuds come with their own mic along with a blue notification light that turns red when the battery drops down.
Skullcandy Mod review: Performance
Offering a well-balanced sound profile that caters to all genres of music has been Skullcandy’s forte over the years. And for the most part, the Skullcandy Mods do the job that is asked of them. We listened to Power Corruption and Lies by New Order and the earbuds were able to do justice to the mix with the bass tone being very prominent without overshadowing the synths and the vocals.
The kick drums and bass guitar form the better part of the sound profile, and the mid-range frequencies of the guitar and vocals build upon it. The subtle notes in the background do not go unnoticed.
Overall, the audio output is well-rounded and quite immersive. If you’re looking for TWS earbuds that do not ruin the sound by overpowering the bass notes while creating a good blend of mid and high frequencies, you should give Skullcandy Mod a shot.
The Skullcandy Mod offer a sound that is richer and fuller than what entry-level TWS can offer. But at Rs 5,999, the Skullcandy Mod can’t exactly be called an entry-level TWS themselves. Looking at the competition, Skullcandy Mod’s performance is at par with what the category has to offer.
If you further wish to customise the sound output, you can download the Skullcandy app from the Play Store and connect the Mod to it. The app offers a bunch of different features, including an Equaliser that has 3 pre-set modes (Music, Movies, and Podcasts) and one custom mode where you can control the frequencies yourself.
On top of that, you can also turn on the ‘Stay Aware’ feature, which picks up the white noise from the room so you’re totally isolated from the outside environment. You can also customise the button controls from the app.
Listening to podcasts with the Stay Aware function on and the equaliser set to Podcast mode was a fine experience. Even with both earbuds plugged into your ears, you are quite aware of the surroundings. The Podcast settings on the Equaliser keep the sound from being too shrill and offer a warm ambient cover to the output.
After getting our hands on the Skullcandy Mod, we were quite keen on using the Multipoint Pairing option. It did not disappoint. You can connect the earbuds to multiple devices at once and seamlessly switch between them without having to re-pair. While listening to music with them using the laptop we were able to take calls on the phone, and the entire process was really smooth. The call quality is crystal clear, and the microphone does a good job of isolating your voice from the background noise while you’re on call.
The battery backup offered by Skullcandy Mod is quite impressive, with 7 hours of charge on the earbuds and the charging case offering 27 additional hours of battery backup. The case is also capable of fast charging, with just 10 minutes of charging giving you 2 hours of playtime. The blue notification lights on the earbuds turn red as soon as they drop below the optimum battery level.
While the Skullcandy Mod does a nice job of creating an immersive listening experience with its well-balanced sound profile, it can all be undone with a simple press of the button to change the volume or skip the track. If you majorly control your earbuds from your smartphone, then you may want to go for the Skullcandy Mod. However, if you’re looking for a pair of earbuds to wear during intense workouts, where you need controls on the buds along with a firm fit, there are some better options for you, but that will cost a bit more.
Decent audio quality
Great battery life
Can be customised according to your liking
No touch controls
Can slip out while working out