Skullcandy Indy true wireless in-ear earbuds are one of several new “pipe-style” models that resemble Apple’s AirPods in design. However, they come with some special features and a much more attractive price tag. True wireless buds are quickly becoming the favored way to listen to music in private, as more smartphones eliminate the headphone jack connector.
True wireless earbuds have no cord whatsoever. While wireless Bluetooth technology allows you to wear your headphones or buds a few feet away from your music player, true wireless also eliminates the cable connecting the two earbuds. So they won’t get tangled in your pocket or around your neck.
With Indy, you can listen to music and also take phone calls. It has dual microphones with active noise reduction for improved voice clarity during calls.
Indy earbuds feature a noise-isolating design with silicone tips to seal off the ear canals and muffle surrounding sounds. Removable “stability gels” help you get a more comfortable and reliable fit. Indy is water and dust-resistant, with an IP55 certification.
You can get about four hours on a single charge, plus get three more charges from the charging case. They’re fashionable, available in a variety of colors. And they come with a 2-year warranty.
The Skullcandy Indy package includes left and right earbuds, a charging case with a built-in battery, a Micro-USB cable to connect the case to a wall charger or laptop, three pairs of ear gels in different sizes, a set of “stability ear gels” and an instruction manual. You can purchase Indy in several colors, including black, mint, pink, purple, deep red, indigo and olive.
As with all true wireless earbuds, the case functions both as a charger and a storage container. You charge the battery that’s inside the case, then use it to charge the batteries in the earbuds. The Indy case is compact, lightweight (2 ounces), and fits comfortably in a pocket.
But it’s not as small as some other models. And since you’ll almost certainly carry the case with you if you’re outside for more than a couple of hours, this might be an issue.
Indy earbuds are lightweight, just 10.5 grams per bud. They have an in-ear design, so you have to fit them properly to your ear canals to get the best sound quality and noise isolation. This design provides far better bass response and noise isolation.
The downside is that getting a good fit can be difficult, and they take some experimenting with. The long stalks rest against your jaw, so yawning or talking can move the buds out of place if you’re not careful.
Indy includes a set of “stability ear gels” to help you get the best fit. In some cases, they might feel best with no gels at all. However, getting the buds out of the charging case is more difficult without the gels attached.
You can easily use Indy earbuds for sports or working out. They’re highly sweat, water, and dust resistant, with an IP55 protection rating.
The Ingress Protection (IP) rating is a manufacturer code that indicates how well a product protects against contamination from solid or liquid particles. The first digit represents its resistance to solids on a scale of 0 to 6, and the second its resistance to liquids, on a scale of 0 to 8. An IP55 is highly resistant to both, though not completely immune. It’s good, but not as robust as some other more expensive models.
Price is always a serious consideration when buying earbuds for a couple of unique reasons. First, it’s easy to lose one earbud if you forget to carry the case with you. Secondly, eventually the charging case battery will wear out and need to be replaced. In either case, that can often mean having to buy a new set.
Fortunately, Skullcandy has a “Fearless Use” policy. If you lose a component, either one of the earbuds or the case, you can return the remaining parts to Skullcandy, pay only for the missing part, and have a new pair shipped to you. Likewise, if a component breaks, return all the parts, pay only for the broken part and receive a new, complete set. Nice!
The Indy charging case has a built-in battery. Three LEDs on the outside of the case indicate the battery charge strength (30, 70, and 100 percent). You can also check the battery life on the Shortcuts screen of your Apple phone.
A micro-USB connector on the case lets you charge the internal battery from your laptop or wall charger. You might find it inconvenient to carry this cable around if your other devices use USB-C connectors.
The charging case battery uses Rapid Charge technology, recharging the Indy buds about 30 percent (enough for 1.2 hours) in 10 minutes, and 100 percent in 2 hours. It’s strong enough to completely charge the Indy buds four separate times. Each charge lasts about four hours, for a total of 16 hours. By comparison, some competitors can provide 24 hours or more on a single case charge.
Skullcandy Indy uses Bluetooth 5.0 to connect to your computer, tablet, smartphone, or music player. You can listen up to 30 feet or more from your paired device. The actual maximum range will depend on your environment.
You can also use Indy with Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa, by triple-tapping either earbud. However, Indy does not work with Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox or Nintendo Switch game consoles.
It’s very simple to pair Indy to your device. Simply remove the earbuds from the package, place them in the charging case, and close the lid. Then, take them out of the case. If you don’t use the stabilizing gels, they can be a little hard to remove, since the buds are held in place magnetically.
Removing them will automatically turn on Indy and put them into pairing mode. You can then select them from your device’s list of Bluetooth devices.
Sometimes you might want to listen to music but also hear what’s going on around you. To do this, use only the right earbud in mono mode. Remove both buds from the charging case, make sure both are connected to your device, then place the left bud back in the case. The right bud will remain paired for music and phone calls.
In mono mode, you’ll lose all the functions controlled by the left earbud, including reducing volume or jumping to previous tracks. To use both earbuds again, put the right bud back in the case, close the lid and then remove both earbuds. Very clever.
Each bud is equipped with a touch-sensitive control. To perform an operation, you tap or hold the left or right bud.
To increase or decrease the volume, tap on the right or left bud. Then, if you want to pause or unpause music playback, double tap the right bud. To skip to the next song, press and hold the right bud for two seconds, To skip to the previous song, hold the left bud for two seconds.
If you get a phone call while using Indy, you can double tap the right bud to answer. You end a call the same way. To reject a call, because you’re enjoying the music far too much! simply hold the right bud for two seconds.
First of all, the key to a good sound is making sure Indy is fit to your ears correctly. If they’re even slightly off, the overall frequency response can change quite significantly. This is probably why some user reviewers claim the bass or treble is too soft, while others say it’s too loud.
Once you get a good fit, Indy’s overall sound quality is excellent but not outstanding, with plenty of bass. Indy can provide a sound pressure level (SPL) of about 95 dB. That’s more than enough to damage your hearing if you listen long enough. The overall frequency response is 20 Hz – 20 kHz.
The strong bass response makes some kinds of music punchier, but sonically it’s not totally accurate. The midrange is strong, although it can be somewhat overpowered by the bass at a higher volume. High frequencies are clear but are rolled off slightly at the high end. This helps prevent ear fatigue, but at the cost of some loss of top-end detail.
Like any closed design headphone, the soundstage is relatively narrow with less stereo spread. Sounds appear to come more from the center of your head.
Skullcandy Indy True Wireless In-Ear Earbud Pros & Cons
- About half the price of Apple’s AirPods.
- Excellent overall sound quality.
- IP55 protection rating.
- Excellent wireless performance.
- Good enough battery life, but not exceptional.
- Backed by Skullcandy’s Fearless Use Policy.
- A little bit too much emphasis on the bass, but not as much as some.
- Not using the stabilizing gels makes them a little hard to get out of their charging case.
Some More Excellent Earbud Options
If you’re not 100% convinced by the Indy’s, it’s well worth taking a look at our reviews of the Best Earbuds under 100 Dollars, the Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds, the Best Earbuds under 50 Dollars, the Most Durable Earbuds, and the Best Headphones and Earbuds for Sleeping currently on the market.
Skullcandy Indy earbuds offer solid true wireless performance. They’re very comfortable for most people to wear, thanks to stabilizing gels that ensure a secure fit.
The sound is generally excellent, although the bass might seem a little too prominent. And you can easily listen in stereo or mono, including stereo phone calls.
The charging case can deliver about 16 hours of use on a single charge. This is good but not exceptional, and not as long as some other brands.
Ultimately, Indy represents excellent value for true wireless earbuds, especially with Skullcandy’s liberal Fearless Use policy. They offer high quality and durability at a price significantly lower than most of the competition.