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May 13, 2019
Original: $49 USD
March 2022: $42 USD
Skullcandy has made a name for itself as a company that excels at bang for your buck products. While it’s probably most known for its small, colorful earbuds, Skullcandy has turned that into some really impressive audio products that are worth paying attention to. This brings us to the Skullcandy Indy True Wireless earbuds. How has it held up with time?
Editor’s note: this Skullcandy Indy True Wireless review was updated on March 16, 2022, to include a new frequency response chart, update mic poll info, update scores, and place it in a current market context.
Who is the Skullcandy Indy True Wireless for?
What’s it like to use the Skullcandy Indy True Wireless?
Before we get to the earbuds we should probably talk about the charging case that comes with them. The Skullcandy Indy comes with a rounded case that feels much better than the one that came with the Push. It’s also much easier to drop into my pocket. For more than half the price, this gives the AirPods (3rd generation) a run for its money when it comes to portability.
The case flips open to reveal a cutout that the earbuds fit in. Three small LEDs on the front of the case light up to let you know roughly how much battery is left. It’s harder to close the case than it is to open it. If the ear tips are askew, the case won’t close properly.
Speaking of the ear tips, there are two kinds here: ear and wing tips. The wing tip acts as a sleeve that secures the buds to your outer ear. The combination of the two makes this one of the best fitting wireless earbuds I’ve tried (save for the Powerbeats Pro which has an over-ear hook).
The earbuds plastic feels cheap and the touch-sensitive panels don’t always register commands at first try. While the touchpads may not be the greatest, the actual touch controls are well thought out.
How to control the Skullcandy Indy True Wireless
Unlike most wireless earbuds’ touch controls, the Skullcandy Indy uses a single tap on either earbud to adjust the volume, rather than skip or go back a track. It’s lower stakes if the earbuds register an accidental tap.
In order to pause the music, you have to intentionally tap twice on the right earbud which is the primary. Skipping between tracks is the easiest control and just requires you to hold your finger on either the left or right earbud to skip back and forward, respectively.
Since this review was initially published in mid-2019 the Skullcandy Indy, has been updated since then with some new features. Upon release, activating Siri or the Google Assistant has arrived with an update.
Does the Skullcandy Indy True Wireless stay connected?
The Skullcandy Indy is rocking Bluetooth 5.0 and supports the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. On my Pixel 3, I have a few skips when walking around with my phone in my pocket or even while doing some quick exercises, but nothing too distracting. Suffering from the effects of lag, our tests show a latency of 420ms. So the Indy probably isn’t the best choice for streaming videos.
As soon as you open the case and take both earbuds out they enter pairing mode and are easy to find in the Bluetooth settings of your phone.
That said, re-pairing to a second device or resetting the Indy buds is a process that involves following step-by-step instructions on its site.
You have to turn off Bluetooth on your phone, and manually reset each earbud by taking them out of the case one at a time, turning it off by holding your finger against the touch-sensitive pad for four seconds, and then placing it back in the case. Once you do this for both earbuds, then you can take them out to repair no problem. It’s a hassle.
How good is the Skullcandy Indy True Wireless’ battery life?
When it comes to battery life we squeezed out 4 hours, 23 minutes of playtime when we subjected the buds to constant music playback peaking at 75dB(SPL). Skullcandy claims the charging case can up that to about 16 hours, so you can charge the buds back up fully roughly three times before you need to charge the case itself.
Unfortunately, the charging case still uses microUSB which is surprisingly inconvenient considering most phones now use USB-C or Lightning, so you’re going to have to carry around another cable with you.
How well does the Skullcandy Indy isolate noise?
You won’t find any newfangled active noise cancelling (ANC) on the Skullcandy Indy True Wireless, so all your noise reduction comes from passive isolation. Low-frequency sounds, like the din of an airplane, will come through clear as day, but babies crying on the bus and clanging dishware will get dampened with the Indy. This all depends on finding a good fit, so if the included ear tips don’t sit right, you may need some aftermarket ones.
How does the Skullcandy Indy True Wireless sound?
Sound quality hasn’t always been Skullcandy’s strong suit. Sure, the earphones don’t sound bad, but they usually don’t sound good either. Unfortunately, this is still true of the Skullcandy Indy (cyan), which has a frequency response that looks like somebody forgot to add any bass. While the highs and mids reasonably follow our consumer curve (pink), the lower mids and sub-bass are so under-emphasized that it is difficult to recommend the Indy for anything besides podcasts or Zoom calls.
Lows, mids, and highs
The mids and highs closely follow our house curve, resulting in pretty clear vocals in songs and podcasts. A good example of this is in the song Girl Like You by Toro y Moi which has plenty of mid-heavy synths throughout the song, but vocals still come through loud and clear. Bass will suffer from the age-old game of trying to turn up your volume to hear it better (don’t, just EQ it instead), but just hearing more of everything else instead.
Of course, the Skullcandy Indy isn’t going to sound as clear as your favorite pair of over-ears, but if you don’t care about anything below 100Hz (where its reproduction of sound’s volume dramatically tapers off), for example, podcasts or phone calls, maybe it’s fine.
Is the microphone good enough for phone calls?
The microphone is decent, though it produces audio that makes most people sound a tiny bit muffled. However, considering how tough it is to cram a good microphone into wireless earbuds, and the fact that it needs Bluetooth to send your voice to your phone, it’s a bit of a miracle that any true wireless earbuds have microphones that work at all.
Skullcandy Indy True Wireless microphone demo (Old):
How does the microphone sound to you?
As of March 16, 2022, 43% of readers rated the Indy mic as “Good” and 40% rated it as “Okay.”
Hold up! Something’s missing:
We’ve made a big improvement to how we demonstrate the microphone performance of products we review. We now use a standardized test setup that plays back pre-recorded phrases from a calibrated artificial mouth in our test chamber, either with or without simulated background noises, simulated reverberant spaces, or artificial wind. This means that samples from every product can be directly compared, which makes it far easier to make meaningful comparisons between products in terms of the raw speech quality or the product’s ability to reject noise.
It will take a while to update our backlog of old test results, but we will update this review (and many others!) once we’re able with improved microphone demos. These will be made obvious in each new sample which begins with the phrase, “This is a SoundGuys standardized microphone demonstration …”
Thank you for bearing with us, and we hope to see you again once we’ve sorted everything out.
Should you buy the Skullcandy Indy True Wireless?
So where does the Skullcandy Indy True Wireless land on the list of the best true wireless earbuds? Since its release, it has fallen from above average when it comes to usability, to less than average, due to the convoluted re-pairing process and touchpad sensitivity.
These days technology has refined to the point that we can demand pretty much everything in wireless earphones. When the Indy was released, it offered a lot of functions for not much scratch, and everything was still getting compared to AirPods. Given that Apple AirPods is not the gold standard any longer for usability or connectivity, especially for Android users, we know you can do better. Frankly, better products have entered the market for similar prices.
The best use for the Skullcandy Indy is for the person who likes to work out while listening to podcasts, because the IP55 rating means the buds are safe, while the frequency response ensures you hear basically everything people say. Having an IP55 build gives the Indy that sweatproof stamp of approval that so many other true wireless earbuds lack. It’s a great alternative to AirPods, even if it’s not a direct competitor.
If you’re thinking of buying the Skullcandy Indy True Wireless, note that the price you’ll pay depends on the color you choose. Also, be sure to consider the best place to buy headphones from, as some retailers offer better warranties than others.
What other options are there aside from the Skullcandy Indy True Wireless?
Since the release of the Skullcandy Indy, there have been a number of other true wireless earbuds that are worth checking out. The most obvious of which is the AirPods Pro, which comes with active noise cancelling and ear tips for a better fit. Of course, Apple’s earbuds are nowhere near the price of Skullcandy’s, but it’s still one of the best options around. While we’re on the subject of other premium options, there’s also the Sony WF-1000XM4, objectively one of the best pairs of true wireless earbuds on the market. It also has active noise cancelling and a transparency mode, just like the AirPods Pro true wireless earbuds does.
If you don’t want to spend more than $100 USD, consider the Nothing Ear 1 noise cancelling earbuds instead. At a glance, the earphones look like a pair of transparent AirPods Pro buds, but has plenty to offer no matter your mobile OS. You can also try one of the budget picks from Anker like the Soundcore Life A1 which makes up for all the bass lacking on the Indy with a IPX7 rating.