Skullcandy released a new take on their Smokin’ Buds recently and we were sent a set of the new entry-level earbuds to test out.  We’ve tested a lot of earbuds in recent years and often it is a case of “you get what you pay for.”

The Skullcandy Smokin’ Buds have a RRP of just $69.95, which is entry-level for many people.  But just how well do they perform?  Is there really that much difference between them and a $200 set of true wireless earbuds?

Read on to find out the answers to all these burning questions you did not even realise you needed to know.

Design, Comfort and Fit

The Skullcandy Smokin’ Buds true wireless earbuds are the stem-like design, made popular by of course the Airpods.  The stem on the Smokin’ Buds is shorter than that on the cheaper Airpods but about the same size as that on the Pro models – if that means anything to you.

The Smokin’ Buds are available in a black colourway only with a small Skullcandy logo at the top of the stem on each earbud.  The inner ear section has a silicone tip to allow it to fit comfortably inside the ear and help create a good seal for better noise isolation.  The box includes three different sizes to help you get the best fit possible.

The earbuds sit comfortably in the ear, wedged in the concha of the ear (non-flappy section of the ear which sits just outside the ear canal) along with a small section into the ear canal itself.  They feel more wedged in than the Jabra earbuds do but at the same time not wedged down the ear canal uncomfortably.

Are they my most comfortable earbuds?  No but they are far from the worst.  At $69 I’d consider that a win.

The Smokin’ Buds are not going to fall out any time soon either.  They are secure in my ears and no amount of head shaking was able to dislodge them.

The Smokin’ Buds do come with IPX4 sweat and water resistance along with up to 20 hours of battery life which seemed about right from my testing.


The top section of the stem of the Smokin’ Buds is touch sensitive and I am here for it.  You can easily remove them from the ear or adjust them without pressing a button by using the rest of the stem which I love.  

At the same time it’s a simple touch on the top of the stem to control your music.  The location is extremely sensitive to touch and is not a press button but a capacitive surface.  Love it.

At the same time there is no way to customise the touch controls, so you are stuck with the default from Skullcandy.  The defaults are okay, but some folks may want more control over what they can control and how easy it is to do so.  E.g.  tapping the stem four times changes the EQ but someone may want this function to operate with a double tap etc.

How do they sound?

The closest set of true wireless earbuds, in pricing, I could find to these was the Jabra Elite 4 which have a RRP of $139, which is still twice what the Skullcandy earbuds cost.  

The Skullcandy Smokin’ Buds sound as you’d expect.  The sound is reminiscent of how true wireless earbuds sounded maybe five years ago.  Very little bass with an over reliance on the upper end of the registry giving the music a higher feel to it.

The sound is crisp enough though, just lacks any real bass and what bass there is, is shaky at best.  The sounds are pushed into the upper end of the registry and the depth and breadth of sounds are no match for the Jabra Elite 4 – although the higher pitched sounds can give the impression that the Skullcandy Smokin’ Buds are better quality – they are not unfortunately.  

Remember though, $69.95 is very cheap for a set of TWS earbuds and while the Skullcandy earbuds are no match for even the cheap(ish) Jabra Elite 4 they are still okay, just okay.  If you are shopping in this price range there are not going to be too many offerings that give sound as good as the Smokin’ Buds.


Easy section.  There is none.  All controls are done by pressing the earbud buttons.  One quick note though: above I mentioned that the EQ is changed by pressing the buttons 4x.  Unfortunately, this just scrolls the EQ through three basic settings – music, podcast and movie modes.  There is no such thing as a bass mode or anything you may prefer.

Final thoughts

The Skullcandy Smokin’ Buds are cheap and although they are cheap, they still perform well. They sit comfortably and securely in the ears without being dislodged by any vigorous movement. Although there is no app integration, the stem on them has a touch-sensitive area to control the media and the earbuds.

The sound is okay but do NOT expect audiophile quality from these sub-$70 earbuds. The sound is indicative of where earbuds were about five years ago with a lack of any decent bass with an over-emphasis on the upper registry. The sound though is still good enough for many users, especially those shopping in this price range.

If you want a pair of cheap earbuds with good build quality and sound that isn’t muffled, then these should be considered. Personally, I find it difficult to recommend to anyone who can extend their budget to the $100 mark though — Skullcandy themselves have much better sets at just over this price.

The Skullcandy Smokin’ Buds are available now across Australia and various retailers and on for just $69.95.