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 charms 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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