The inherently losable nature of wireless earbuds can make it hard to justify dropping $US200 ($278) on offerings from Apple and Google, but for $US60 ($83), the new Skullcandy Mod earbuds pair excellent battery life with ambient sound boosting and multi-device connectivity, making them ideal for doing work when you’re constantly hopping on and off phone calls and video meetings.
One of the reasons we often lament when companies like Google announce wireless earbud offerings with a $US200 ($278) price tag is because other companies like Nothing and Skullcandy offer very good alternatives priced below $US100 ($139). Yes, the new Pixel Buds Pro finally offer active noise cancellation and a host of other features that Google insists will make their latest buds stand out, but Nothing’s $US99 ($137) earbuds are fantastic for the price, and Skullcandy’s offerings go even cheaper than that, including the $US30 ($42) Jib True Wireless, and the $US25 ($35) Dimes that don’t sound how you’d expect $US25 ($35) wireless earbuds to sound.
For $US60 ($83), the new Skullcandy Mods aren’t bringing any groundbreaking innovations to the wireless earbuds space, and they don’t even offer active noise cancellation. But they do finally bring multi-device connectivity to Skullcandy’s affordable lineup, allowing users to quickly return to listening to music or podcasts on a mobile device after enduring a video call on a PC: a feature that many earbud makers are pushing as endless video calls have become the new norm, even after a return to in-person office life.
Continuing the theme of returning to offices when no one really wants to, the new Mods include an improved mic — a feature that many wireless earbuds skimp on at this price point — with background noise reduction that boosts the user’s voice during calls, as well as ambient sound boosting through a “Stay-Aware Mode,” which can be useful for listening to tunes at work while still being attentive when people are talking to you IRL.
Through a free accompanying app, the sound profile of the Mod earbuds can be customised, and Skullcandy is promising seven hours of battery life on a single charge, with 27 extra hours when the earbuds are occasionally docked in the included charging case. For impatient types, just 10 minutes in the case provides two hours of battery life. The buds also boast IP55 water resistance, so they should shrug off sweat and light rain (but won’t survive a dunking). Despite a relatively inexpensive price tag, the Mods also include compatibility with Tile’s tracking app, allowing the last known location of lost buds to be displayed on a map, as well as misplaced buds to make a sound so they’re (hopefully) easier to track down.