True wireless earphones might be the talk of the town at the moment, but most of the personal audio show is still being run by the wired and (slightly wired) wireless earphone community. They might not make as many headlines, but they continue to be quietly (pun intended) popular because they are something that everyone knows just works. This is why even though the true wireless earphones make the headlines, their slightly more wired Bluetooth counterparts continue to do brisk business. And one of the latest to join the Bluetooth brigade comes from Skullcandy, which has released the Skullcandy Jib+, priced at Rs.2,499, but which are now available for Rs. 1,899.
A regular design, no “+” to it
Unlike truly wireless earphones that come in different shapes, sizes and designs, there is only so much you can do in terms of design when it comes to their slightly wired counterparts. There has to be a long wire with some module(s) in the middle with earbuds at each end. And that is the basic template of most wireless earphones. It is also exactly what the Skullcandy Jib+ looks like – a long wire that goes around the neck, with two pill-shaped modules and earbuds on the two ends of the wire.
Made of plastic, the Jib+ are divided into three segments thanks to the two modules present on the wire between the earbuds. The mid-segment of the earphones that go around the neck is a slightly wide, flat wire. This flat wire has two pill-shaped modules at each end. The module attached to the right end houses the battery and carries the brand’s logo while the other one is the main module. It carries three circular buttons in a line on its face. The power/play/pause button sits in the middle while volume up and down buttons are above and below it. The volume up button has “+” marking while the volume button has “-” marking. These volume buttons can also be used to skip and change tracks. One side of this module carries a small LED light that blinks in red and blue colors to indicate that the earphones are either on, in pairing mode or connected to your device. On the other side, the module carries a micro USB port for charging which can be covered up with plastic flap.
From these two modules, two regular thin wires stem out which then meet the earbuds at their ends. The earbuds are also plastic and have the Skullcandy logo on the back. The earphones come with three different sized ear tips in the box that you can choose from and a pair of wing supports that are supposed to keep the buds in place.
Not a snug fit, alas
We received the black unit of the Skullcandy Jib+ wireless earphones. While they have the same basic design language as that of any wireless earphones out there in the market, a closer look at the Skullcandy Jib+ can disappoint some. The plastic used on the buds and buttons does not seem to be of the greatest quality, and the circular control buttons on the module (while large), might not be aesthetically pleasing for everyone. The flat wire that goes around the neck also did not seem like the sturdiest. Because the tips of the earbuds are plastic, there are no magnetic ends, so they cannot be joined together. There is also no case or pouch in the box, which we can understand, given the price tag, but it does mean a bit of extra investment.
We think the brand could have made the modules slightly smaller as they not only look too bulky on the thin wires but also make the earphones slightly uncomfortable to wear. The earbuds also did not fit very snugly (yes, we tried all sizes), and while we expected the wings to keep the earphones in place, we often found ourselves adjusting and readjusting the earbuds as they kept falling out, especially during a run. All that plastic does make the earphones very light to carry around – you could have them around your neck all day without feeling any kind of weight. That can be good or bad, depending on your inclination.
Definitely a “+” in performance, especially audio
Connecting the Skullcandy Jib+ with your device is a pretty simple process. You have to turn on the Bluetooth on the device you want to connect your Skullcandy Jib+ with, hold down the circular button in the middle on the left module and wait till the light on the module starts to blink in blue and red colors alternatively. Once you see the Skullcandy Jib+ option on your device, select it and it will get connected. The device comes with Bluetooth 5.0 and once connected, we did not really face any abrupt disconnection issues with the earphones.
And then comes the best part of the device – the sound.
Skullcandy’s audio equipment often packs a punch when it comes to sound, especially when it comes to bass, and the Skullcandy Jib+ carries this tradition forward. No, the bass is not overwhelmingly obvious. When we initially started using the wireless earphones, we actually thought that the volume was not adequately loud and the sound seemed flat, but as we used the Jib+ more, we started liking the output, as the little nuances made themselves audible. Equipped with 9mm drivers, the Skullcandy has been slightly heavy-handed with both bass and treble when it comes to the Jib+. This combination makes the audio output on the earphones quite rich and multidimensional.
Songs like “Oblivion” by Bastille, “Ocean Eyes” by Billie Eilish seemed more pleasant and clear on the earphones as compared to songs that had too many instruments or enhancements, which were not reproduced quite as well. The overall audio experience on the earphones was pleasant, especially while listening to music and watching a video. Call quality was however not quite as good. We were often asked to speak loudly while using the Jib+ to attend a call as the other person on the line could not hear us clearly or loudly. Because the fit of the earphones was not quite snug, it also affected noise isolation, as a lot of ambient noise was getting through to us while using the Jib+.
Skullcandy promises battery life worth six hours on a single charge and the earphones delivered that during our review period. We could easily get five and a half, six hours worth of battery life out of the earphones in a single charge. The company claims that the earphones come with virtual assistant support, a feature we could not really find on the Skullcandy Jib+. We looked at the manual and online, tried a number of combinations with the buttons but nothing seemed to work.
The Skullcandy Jib+ are splash resistant which means you can use them while working out without having to worry about all that sweat. There is no IPX rating on the Jib+ but even splash resistance at the price point seems good enough to us.
Good, but could Skullcandy have added more?
The Skullcandy Jib+ are now available for Rs. 1,899. And for the price, the wireless earbuds are pretty great when it comes to sheer audio as they deliver a great, bass and treble loaded output and are lightweight and come with splash resistance. That said, that relatively low price does come with some compromises – the relatively ordinary design, not-so-great call handling, and of course, the fit. Those who love their bass might like the Jib+ but the earphones face stiff competitions from the Realme Buds Wireless which come for Rs 1,999 and offer a more noticeable design (including magnetic earbuds), 12-hour battery life and a more balanced sound.
- Consistent multi-dimensional audio output.
- Decent battery life
- Splash resistant
- Unremarkable design
- No case or pouch
- Call handling not the greatest
- Not a snug fit
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| SUMMARY |
It is raining wireless earphones. And the latest to join the brigade is the wireless (not truly wireless) Skullcandy Jib+, which offers wireless audio at a relatively affordable price. But has the budget price of the Jib+ come with some (un)sound compromises?