Skullcandy Uproar Review Facts
Although they may not be nearly as popular as they were in the early 2000’s, headphone and earbud manufacturers Skullcandy still enjoy a reasonable level of popularity among young adults. While they are mostly known for their “Smokin’ Buds” earbuds, they have branched out into other portable music listening devices with an interesting range of features.
As popular music listening devices evolved from the humble mp3 player into the modern smartphone, the needs of music listeners changed with it. Skullcandy is a company astute enough to understand the full implications of this paradigm shift and managed to update their products so that they will remain relevant for this new era of audio players. That said, they still manage to retain some of the charm that originally put them on the map, which is no easy feat. The result from this synthesis of old and new is the Skullcandy Uproar, a modern headphone with traditional trappings sure to appease young and old audiophiles.
The reason as to why headphones are such a popular method of listening to music on the go, and the reason why their core design has changed very little over decades of iteration, is because they can accommodate an exceptionally wide range of activities. Due to the fact that they are minimally invasive when worn, headphones like the Skullcandy Uproar can be worn while walking, jogging
, or running at full speed. They can also be worn while engaging in other forms of exercise, such as weightlifting, cycling, and some mild calisthenics.
Despite having a terrific degree of versatility, there are two aspects of the Uproar’s design that limit its effectiveness with some activities. The first is the fact that they are over-ear headphones, which means that they are far more likely to slip and fall off the wearer’s head if they move too sharply or aggressively. This makes it a bad idea to wear these headphones while engaging in activities like gymnastics or any other form of exercise that may require a similarly wide range of motion. The second caveat to the Uproar’s design is that they connect to the user’s listening device of choice via a cable, which can become tangled or damaged
in some cases. While this doesn’t explicitly exclude this Skullcandy product from being used in a particular form of physical activity, it does require the wearer to exercise greater caution than if they used a wireless model instead.
These headphones are as basic as they get in regard to music listening devices. Two small speakers are housed in large padded
cups that are then affixed to the wearer’s head over each ear. A long, thick band of plastic connects these two cups and secures them to the wearer’s head, and a long cable extends from one ear cup in order to connect to a user’s listening device. This format has remained relatively unchanged for 100 years, and it is put to good use with the Skullcandy Uproar.
Obviously, there are many aspects of this product’s design that differentiate it from headphones made in the past, even if their general layout is timeless. For starters, the material used to house each speaker
is very soft and designed to provide the wearer with enough comfort that they can be worn over long periods of time. Although it may not serve any function in terms of audio fidelity, the use of synthetic leather for these cups greatly improves their comfort and provides them with a high-end sense of style. Something similar can be said for the connecting headband; it can be adjusted in order to accommodate different head sizes in a one-size-fits-all fashion, or it can be shortened in order to rest comfortably around the back of the wearer’s neck when not in use.
Many headphones made in recent years have adopted newer technologies in order to attract more customers. The aim is to offer some kind of killer app that will make a particular product distinct from any other product on the market, but the end result is the creation of a subset design since many of these companies simply mimic each other. Although Skullcandy has experimented with more advanced features such as Bluetooth
integration, their Uproar headphones feature none of these modern trappings.
The most advanced feature these headphones provide is the ability to make and receive calls while they are worn with an embedded microphone. This is referred to as TapTech by the manufacturer and it works by manipulating a small remote located on one ear cup. In addition to handling calls, some buttons on this inline remote can also be used to change music or audio tracks without needing to access the music player. This is the sole feature included in the Uproar meant as an amenity for modern music listening devices, which may disappoint tech-savvy individuals looking for a pair of space-age headphones.
Despite the fact that Skullcandy headphones and earbuds were never renowned for their audio fidelity, they still manage to provide a decent level of sound quality that is consistently above average. Especially when compared to other products in its price range, the level of clarity and richness that can be found when listening to music through the Skullcandy Uproar is truly impressive. Referred to by the manufacturer as Supreme Sound, this vast range of lows, mids, and highs is a major selling point for these ordinary looking headphones. However, the extent to which this feature is sold may be a bit hyperbolic, especially when considering the limitations of these budget headphones.
For starters, the design of the Uproar’s cups is intended to be placed over the wearer’s ear. The best way for headphones to achieve maximum sound quality is to completely cover the wearer’s entire ear, as is commonly seen with professional studio monitoring headphones. This allows for a larger speaker which leads to a greater range of sound, but it also has a significant effect on noise reduction. Speaking of noise reduction, these Skullcandy headphones have no way for the listener to isolate or remove background noise while listening to their music. This has become a staple among high-end headphones, such as those sold by Bose, which means that its exclusion from the Uproar’s design may come across as jarring to some customers. Another conspicuous absence is any kind of EQ or fine-tuning, which means that users will be unable to adjust the range of sounds to fit their personal preferences. Neither of these factors means that these headphones offer poor sound quality; they merely imply that the level of fidelity provided by this product can be beaten by many other products on the market.
The way that the Skullcandy Uproar connects to the user’s listening device is through an analog headphone cable. Unlike many high-end studio monitoring headphones, these use a jack that is 3.5 millimeters thick. This is known as the “mini” connector and had been used almost universally for music listening devices since the release of the original Sony Walkman back in the late 70’s. As a result, nearly every possible listening device, modern or legacy, is compatible with these headphones.
In recent years, some smartphone manufacturers have begun replacing the traditional 3.5-millimeter headphone jack with alternative connectors. The most notorious example of this is Apple’s iPhone 7, which requires all devices to connect via their proprietary Lightning port. To get around this hurdle and retain access to the significant demographic of iPhone users, many headphone and earbud manufacturers sidestep this issue by focusing on wireless connectivity instead, either through Bluetooth or NFC. Unfortunately, the Skullcandy Uproar doesn’t offer either form of connectivity or any wireless connectivity at all. Because of that, anyone who owns an iPhone released past 2016 will need to use a Lightning adapter in order to connect these headphones to their listening device.
Headphones enjoy a major advantage over earbuds in terms of comfort. There are many people who simply can’t or won’t use earbuds because the fact that they must be lodged inside their ears causes too much discomfort. Many of these people have sensitive ears and must use headphones exclusively. Because of this, the Skullcandy Uproar is technically more comfortable than any earbud-style portable music listening device, with the possible exception of bone-conduction earbuds.
Two design aspects that further enhance the Uproar’s comfort are the soft ear cups and the adjustable headband. As was previously mentioned, the cups are made from synthetic leather and feel soft to the touch. They are also able to store heat, meaning that they can even keep the wearer’s ears warm in cooler environments. The adjustable headband prevents headaches from pinching and can also allow for these headphones to be worn around the user’s neck while they aren’t being used. The only thing that could significantly improve this Skullcandy product’s comfort is if their cups were larger and designed to cover the entire ear. However, even without this feature, these headphones have an above-average level of comfort compared to others in its price range.
Skullcandy headphones enjoyed a brief flash of popularity in the early 2000’s. This had nothing to do with their sound quality, comfort, or price, although all of those factors were helpful. No, the reason why Smokin’ Buds were seen on nearly every high school campus was that they had a particular sense of style that was perfect for that time and place. The aesthetic of a highly stylized human skull attached to a minimalist earbud or headphone encapsulated the ethos of a Hot Topic subculture and enjoyed fad status for a decent length of time as a result. Now, fashion trends in music listening are more in line with Beats and other urban brands, and Skullcandy makes an effort to offer a similar look with their Uproar headphones. However, they still keep some elements of their classic style which initially put them on the map, resulting in a unique synthesis of new and slightly less-new fashion that gives it a unique identity.
Another benefit that headphones provide over the average pair of earbuds is greater durability. All of the major components that go into the design of headphones are larger than those found in earbuds, meaning that they can devote more space to protective casings and whatnot. They also use less cordage, which is often the most fragile portion of any music listening device or consumer electronics. The Skullcandy Uproar has the benefit of thick components and limited wiring, although it isn’t the most durable of its kind. Headphones with wireless connectivity, for example, or with hinges on its headband can provide a greater level of resilience to damage than the Uproar can. Still, these are generally reliable headphones, with only one or two people stating that theirs stopped working after only a few months of use. In the rare case that these headphones do break, Skullcandy has generous warranties and support policies that can be accessed through their website.
Ease of Use
These headphones were designed in essentially the same way that headphones have been designed for over 100 years for one reason: it’s just about the simplest way they can be used. Although people have attempted to reinvent the traditional headphone design with varying levels of success, the reason why headphones like the Skullcandy Uproar are still being made is that they are a masterpiece of design. Two small speakers housed in padded cups, connected by a thick headband and containing a single wire for pairing with a listening device: this is the most efficient and elegant way to design this product. Because of this fact, it can be said that the Uproar is among the easiest headphones to operate of all time.
Part of the reason why these headphones are so incredibly easy to use is that they derive all the power they need to function through their single audio jack. The 3.5 mm “mini” connector draws just enough power to allow the speakers, microphone, and inline remote to function as intended, which has a minimal effect on the battery life of whatever product they are connected to. Because of the Uproar’s high audio fidelity and modern smartphone amenities, they may not be able to function at its fullest extent when connected with extremely old legacy hardware, such as an original Sony Walkman, but they will be able to connect to most music players released in the past 20 years. This is perhaps the biggest advantage this Skullcandy product holds over Bluetooth headphones since the lack of a wire connection requires them to hold their own charge which must be constantly refilled.
When considering how many features are absent in the design of the Skullcandy Uproar that can be found on many other modern headphones and earbuds, this product may seem less desirable in comparison. However, the one aspect of this product that justifies its purchase despite these exclusions is its extremely affordable price. Even when they were first released, the Uproar sold at a cost far below $100; now that newer models have been released, they can often be found through online retailers for an even lower price. This makes the Uproar one of the best budget headphone picks since it offers enough modern features to function better than many other cheap headphones without needing to inflate its cost.
- Over-ear headphone design
- Synthetic leather ear cups
- Adjustable headband/neckband
- 3.5 mm “mini” headphone jack
- Microphone for voice calling
- Inline remote for controlling music tracks/voice calls
Although they may never achieve the same level of popularity as they once held, Skullcandy still manages to create impressive products with admirable consistency. The Uproar line of headphones don’t offer the same bells and whistles that can be found in high-end Beats or Bose products, but they do have a major advantage in terms of utility, compatibility, and price. For these reasons, any runner or fitness enthusiast looking for a decent pair of budget headphones can do a lot worse than these.