At a Glance
Skullcandy is best known for producing budget wired earphones, and the Indy ANC Earbuds are not quite in that category – but for a pair of true wireless earphones with ANC (active noise cancellation), they’re still pretty affordable at £89/$129.
However, with increasing competition from brands like Xiaomi and Anker, how do they stack up? I have spent some time with these buds to see how they fare with music, podcasts, calls and more.
Design & build
- Sturdy, but not the most comfortable
- No IP rating or waterproofing
The Skullcandy Indy ANC Earbuds come in a matt finish with a stem shaped design. On the earpiece, there is a signature skull logo that gives me 2000s emo vibes – they aren’t exactly the most professional looking earbuds on the market. I tested out the True Black version, but you can also get them in Chill Grey.
I found them secure both when bustling about doing errands and taking on exercise such as pilates. The extra stability is thanks to the inner ear gels. The box features three sets of tips, so you can change them out to find your most comfortable fit – there is also an extra set of inner ear gels as well.
However, these gels are a double-edged sword, as after a while they made my ears feel slightly sore. I found the Honor Earbuds 2 Lite more comfortable, but admittedly these were less steady than the Skullcandy pair. These buds are still nice and lightweight, and never felt heavy in the ear.
The Skullcandy Indy ANC Earbuds do not come with any IP rating or waterproofing, but that is rare on ANC headphones at this price point.
The buds come with an accompanying case that is in the same matte black finish. I often had trouble closing this properly due to the ear gels getting in the way, which meant that buds couldn’t charge as usual.
- Balanced sound with powerful bass tones
- ANC works well for the price point
- Three set EQ modes
The Skullcandy Indy ANC Earbuds come with large 12mm drivers and cover a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. There’s no support for the aptX codec available on Android, but there is AAC for Apple phones.
The buds use Bluetooth 5.0 for connecting to your phone. Whilst this isn’t the latest Bluetooth standard available, I didn’t run into issues with the sound dropping off, even when listening from a different floor to my phone.
Overall, the mix of the mids, highs and lows are well balanced. However, the bass is the shining star here. I loved these buds for listening to electronic mixes such as Sebastian Böhm’s cover of Blue Monday, which sounds thumping and powerful, even at a lower volume.
Synths and strings still retain clarity without feeling tinny or shrill. On pop tracks, vocals are prominent and do not sound drowned out, even against those thrumming bass tones. Even non-music content such as podcasts and Twitch streams are clear to listen to on these buds.
Through the app, you can customise the sound to have your own personalised audio that is adapted to your hearing levels. This is done via a series of different beeps in each ear to determine the correct sound levels.
I did notice a difference in the audio quality in my right ear when turning on the personalised sound, so this is a useful feature for anyone with any hearing issues. If you share the Skullcandy Indy ANC Earbuds between multiple people, then you can create different pre-sets within the app.
You can also switch between three EQ modes: music, podcast, and movie. However, there aren’t any additional toggles to change the bass or treble beyond this. The buds default to the music mode automatically, which I found to be the most versatile for everyday use. The movie mode makes the bass a little too overpowering, whilst podcast mode does the same with the treble.
Considering the price, ANC is rather effective on these buds. I was able to sufficiently muffle the noise of traffic and angry Londoners to enjoy my tunes. It doesn’t completely drown out everything, but there is a noticeable difference when you turn it on. When nothing is playing, there’s a slight hiss.
Ambient mode is not quite as effective as the ANC. Whilst I could hear some of my surroundings, I still felt like I had to pause my audio to hear my coffee order if the volume was cranked up. On lower volume settings, it works just fine.
The buds come fitted with two microphones with noise reduction. I was able to take calls using these earphones rather clearly.
Battery and charging
- Up to 32 hours battery life
- USB-C charging
When it comes to battery life, the buds last up to nine hours with the ANC off, and up to five hours with the ANC on. These numbers will of course fluctuate depending on the settings you use. It’s not the longest battery life on the market, but it should last you throughout the day, providing you aren’t stretching the buds to their limit.
The case extends the average battery life of the buds up to 32 hours with the ANC off, and 19 hours with it on.
There is a USB-C port for charging on the case, and you get the cable included in the box. It takes around two hours to charge the case from flat to full, and a quick ten-minute charge should buy you an extra two hours with the ANC off.
App and controls
- Touch controls can be hard to use
- App is well designed
- Built-in Tile tracking
You can manually control the buds with a series of different taps to the touch controls, which can be used to play/pause music, skip forward, adjust the volume, take calls, toggle between ANC and ambient mode and more.
The touch controls are however quite temperamental. Whilst Skullcandy provides a guide in the app and on YouTube, I often found that I would get the wrong command by mistake or set off Google Assistant when trying to pause the tune I was listening to. On the odd occasion, the buds did not register my taps at all.
These earbuds are compatible with the Skullcandy app. All you need to do is connect the buds to your phone via Bluetooth, then open the app and search for the buds to sync them.
Within the app, you can adjust the audio settings, see the specific battery life for each bud, and view guides to using the buds. The app itself is extremely easy to use, looks clean and provides a great tutorial for first-time users.
Tile owners can also connect the Skullcandy Indy ANC Earbuds via the app, handy if you have a habit of misplacing your gadgets.
Value for Money
The Skullcandy Indy ANC Earbuds cost £89.99/$129.99, though at the time of writing many retailers are offering discounts on them. In the UK, you can buy them from Skullcandy, Amazon UK, Currys and HMV. Meanwhile, US readers can pick them up from Skullcandy, Amazon US, Target and Best Buy.
For a similar price, it is worth looking at rivals such as the Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC and the Xiaomi Redmi Buds 3 Pro.
You can check out other options in our charts of the best true wireless buds, and the best budget earbuds as well.
If you want a pair of ANC buds that won’t break the bank and produce great sound, then the Skullcandy Indy ANC Earbuds are a viable option that allow for some degree of personalisation over the audio. However, they’re not without their shortcomings.
The touch controls can be annoying to use, and they aren’t the most comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. The ear gels interfering with closing the case are also a bugbear.
If you can look past these flaws, then these are a pair of buds to consider.
Skullcandy Indy ANC True Wireless Earbuds: Specs
- Driver: 12mm
- Frequency response: 20Hz – 20KHz
- Active Noise Cancelling: Yes
- Wireless: Bluetooth 5
- Voice control: No
- Touch controls: Yes
- Battery life: 5 hours (ANC on), 9 hours (ANC off) Charging case: Extra 14 hours (ANC on), Extra 23 (ANC off)
- Ear tips: Three sizes and two ear sleeves
- Weight: 76g
- Charging cable
- USB-C cable included in box