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Skullcandy Mod XT
July 21, 2022
62 x 58 x 26 mm (case)
54.8g (case); 4.7g (one earbud)
Skullcandy headphones got a lot of us through the 2000s with their affordable style and widespread availability. The Skullcandy Mod XT is an affordable and minimalist pair of true wireless earbuds, but can it set itself apart from other cheap true wireless buds?
We spent a week with the Skullcandy Mod XT and found out everything you need to know.
Editor’s note: this review was updated on August 15, 2022, to add the microphone score and a FAQ comparing the Skullcandy Indy and Skullcandy Indy Evo to the Skullcandy Mod XT.
Anyone looking for budget true wireless earbuds will appreciate the simplicity and durability of the Skullcandy Mod XT.
What’s it like to use the Skullcandy Mod XT?
The Skullcandy Mod XT is a pair of true wireless earbuds. It’s only available in matte black, and the design is simple but familiar for anyone who knows about Skullcandy products. The individual earbuds are oval shaped with silicone ear tips, which come in three sizes. The case is similarly matte black, and both the buds and case have a glossy black Skullcandy logo on the side. The hinge feels a bit flimsy and the case opens easily. The buds are held in with magnets, but if the case is shuffling around at the bottom of your bag, it will likely open and the buds may end up strewn across your belongings.
Wearing the Skullcandy Mod XT is comfortable. The small ear tips fit me really well, though they sometimes slide out of my ears after a few hours — that’s normal for me, and may not happen with you. However, the earbuds can also fall out when using touch controls, which I’ll touch on in the next section. There is no stabilizing ear wing to keep it in place, so even though the Mod XT has IP55 water and dust resistance, exercising won’t be the best. That said, the IP rating is helpful if you get caught in the rain or the buds fall into a puddle or the dirt.
How do you control the Skullcandy Mod XT?
Initially I thought the controls on the earbuds are capacitive touch controls, like most other true wireless earbuds, but there’s actually a physical button on each earbud. This means you need to push on your ear to control it, which can range from uncomfortable to painful, sometimes making the earbud fall right out of my ears. Not a great design, especially considering how many earbuds, even budget ones, have capacitive touch controls.
Hold one second
Should you use the Skullcandy app?
The Skullcandy app is really useful for the Mod XT. The app is laid out oddly, with the menus flowing rather than having dedicated pages. You can see how much battery is left in each earbud, turn on Stay Aware mode, change some touch controls, and view guides for how to use your earbuds. You can also adjust your EQ between the music, podcast, and movie presets, or make a custom EQ.
The Skullcandy Mod XT also allows for Tile integration for tracking your earbuds if you lose it. If you download the Tile app, you can pair the Mod XT with it so that your earbuds will ring to help you track them down. However, this requires allowing location permissions, so if you’re big on internet privacy, this won’t be a great feature for you.
How does the Skullcandy Mod XT connect?
The Skullcandy Mod XT connects over Bluetooth 5.2, using the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. This means there’s no high quality Bluetooth audio option for Android, but that’s not surprising for budget earbuds. It supports Bluetooth multipoint, so you can easily switch between your computer and phone. If multipoint is set up, the earbuds will automatically switch to your phone if you get a phone call while you’re using the buds on your computer.
How long does the Skullcandy Mod XT’s battery last?
Skullcandy claims the Mod XT battery lasts seven hours, and we found that pretty accurate. In our objective battery testing, with a constant output peaking at 75dB(SPL), the battery lasts 7 hours, 25 minutes. The case also adds an extra 27 hours of charge, for a total of 34 hours from the buds and case. It also has rapid charging, which gives you two hours of play time from only 10 minutes of charging. The Skullcandy Mod XT charges via USB-C, and the earbuds comes with a very short USB-C to USB-A cable.
How well does the Skullcandy Mod XT block out noise?
The Skullcandy Mod XT does a good job blocking out noise. Low-end noise is blocked out quite well compared to other true wireless earbuds I’ve used, which allows for it to dampen noises like the low droning frequencies of an air conditioner, or a garbage truck in the alley. It doesn’t completely get rid of these noises, but they’re definitely quieter and less distracting.
Getting the right fit is vital to getting good isolation from in-ears like the Mod XT, so test out each ear tip in order to block out as much noise as possible. If you don’t get a secure fit from your ear tips, you’re not going to have the best level of isolation, which can make music a lot less enjoyable, and it can make you turn the volume up to dangerous levels to make up for it.
How does the Skullcandy Mod XT sound?
The frequency response chart for the Skullcandy Mod XT is surprising, compared to the legacy of Skullcandy’s sound profiles. There’s a big boost in the bass and sub-bass frequencies, but overall it’s very close to our Headphone Preference Curve. Music should sound fine for most people across all genres. There are also EQ presets for other media, like the podcast preset that boosts highs and vastly de-emphasizes lows.
Lows, mids, highs
When I listen to Chloroform by Phoenix, the loud bass and sub-bass synth and the kick drum through the song is definitely present and prominent, but it doesn’t distract from the higher synth, snare, or vocals. The bass boost is rather enjoyable for a song like this, and doesn’t present any issues.
At the beginning of Loose Lips by Kimya Dawson, the guitar strumming creates some low and boomy sounds, which is slightly distracting, but that issue goes away fairly quick. The bass emphasis from this headset definitely makes it more noticeable than if I listen to the song through headphones with a flatter frequency response. So if you plan on listening to indie music where the track isn’t necessarily the most polished, you may notice more quirks of recording like this.
Can you use the Skullcandy Mod XT for phone calls?
The microphone on the Skullcandy Mod XT is perfectly fine for phone calls. In ideal conditions with no background noise, voices are fully intelligible. Background noise like street noise or wind can make voices cut out, so if you’re taking a phone call, make sure to be in a quiet area with little background noise.
Skullcandy Mod XT microphone demo (Ideal):
Skullcandy Mod XT microphone demo (Street):
Skullcandy Mod XT microphone demo (Wind):
How does the microphone sound to you?
Should you buy the Skullcandy Mod XT?
If you’re in need of an affordable pair of true wireless earbuds, the Skullcandy Mod XT might be worth considering.
With an IP55 rating, comfortable and secure fit, and pretty good sound, the Mod XT does what it does well. The sound profile is slightly bassy but not overwhelmingly so, and the EQ options in the app make it even more versatile. The annoying buttons on the earbuds is a significant downside if you like to control your music through touch controls primarily, but if you prefer using your device for controls anyway, that can be easy to look past.
What should you get instead of the Skullcandy Mod XT?
If you want a bassier sound from your earbuds, the JLab JBuds Air Pro is also IP55 rated, and it has capacitive touch controls rather than buttons. The sound profile can be a downside if you want a more neutral-leaning sound, and the battery life also isn’t quite as good as the Mod XT. It’s similarly priced at $59 at Amazon, so depending on your preferences, the JLab JBuds Air Pro might be worth considering.
The Jabra Elite 3 is a little more expensive at $59 at Amazon, but it’s IP55 rated, sounds good, and supports the aptX Bluetooth codec. It doesn’t support AAC, but if you want higher quality audio on Android, this is a good consideration for an overall similar pair of earbuds.
If you want to go really cheap, the JLab GO Air POP is $24 at Amazon, IPX4 rated, and has a great 11 hour battery life. This is an excellent entry-level true wireless option for anyone trying to not break the bank. The TOZO T6 is another affordable pair of earbuds, but with an IPX8 rating for added water resistance. It also has six ear tips to choose from to find your perfect fit, and a longer battery life than the Mod XT, clocking in at 8 hours, 8 minutes in our testing. It’s available for $26 at Amazon.
Frequently asked questions about the Skullcandy Mod XT
First off, the Skullcandy Mod XT, Skullcandy Indy ($29 at Amazon), and Skullcandy Indy Evo ($28 at Amazon) have the same IP55 rating. The sound of the Skullcandy Indy is markedly worse than the Skullcandy Mod XT and Skullcandy Indy Evo, because the original Skullcandy Indy drastically rolls off low end frequencies. Meanwhile, the Skullcandy Indy Evo have more bass than the Mod Xt (a bit too much, unless you want bassy earbuds), but it has the worst isolation of the three earbuds. Most people are best off with the Mod XT out of the three options.
No, the Mod XT does not support voice controls.