In a break from making headphones that try to damage your eardrums with bass, Skullcandy has made a wireless version of its Smokin’ Buds 2 earphones.
They’re not the last word in audio finesse, and they certainly won’t knock the Sennheiser Momentum In-ear Wireless off our Christmas wish list. But they are a solidly enjoyable listen, and excellent value at just £35.
Build and comfort
The Skullcandy Smokin’ Buds 2 Wireless are similar to the Method Wireless. Both are wireless neckband headphones, but their designs are a little different.
This pair’s band is much chunkier, but the cabling can be removed – disrobe the Skullcandy Smokin’ Buds 2 Wireless and they’re much slighter.
With or without the flexible band, these earphones are light, comfortable and don’t jog about much even if you move vigorously around with them on.
As a brand, Skullcandy polarises opinion. But it’s hard to see how you could actively dislike the Smoking Buds 2 Wireless’ design. Even the Skullcandy branding is uncharacteristically reserved.
As befits the price, the tech element is a little light. Battery life is just fair 6-7 hours, and Bluetooth performance isn’t flawless.
Motion can cause occasional blips. There’s no aptX, fast charging or NFC either. The Skullcandy Smokin’ Buds 2 Wireless just have the technology a wireless headset needs, without any major extras.
There is, however, a three button remote just below the left earpiece and a little plastic fastener that lets you tie up the two sides of cable when you’re wearing – but not using – them.
It’s the low-tech alternative to magnetic earpieces.
The Skullcandy Smokin’ Buds 2 Wireless are sensible earphones that cut out the extras to deliver a decent Bluetooth design at a very low price. Their approach to sound is similar.
Spend more and you can get much better detail. The bass is a little slow, for example, making them less controlled and disciplined than a higher-end pair.
These concerns don’t drown out the Skullcandy Smokin’ Buds 2 Wireless’ sheer value, though, as they are enjoyable otherwise. They sound full and rich, with a relatively wide and reasonably well-separated sound stage for a low-cost wireless in-ear set.
Dynamics are solid too, making these earphones a fun and surprisingly involving listen.
While there are shortcomings in all areas, they are slight and don’t ruin (or even hugely skew) the sound. Treble is a little soft, but does not come across as veiled, and while the bass has a typically populist bloom to it, it’s not domineering.
The Skullcandy Smokin’ Buds 2 Wirelesses aren’t the last word in audio quality and they aren’t packed with tech features.
They are, however, among the most affordable wireless earphones we can recommend. Solid, enjoyable sound, good comfort and a very attractive price make them a good budget buy.