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Skybuds review:

Skybuds don't soar past AirPods, but they're good

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The Good The water-resistant Skybuds are a set of totally wireless earphones that sound pretty decent, are easy to operate and set up and maintained a reliable wireless connection with mostly hiccup-free Bluetooth audio streaming. The included case delivers five charges, and their "awareness" mode that lets ambient sound in when needed.

The Bad Their design is a little generic and the sound is only good, not great. They cost more than the AirPods.

The Bottom Line The AirPods are more comfortable and cost less, but the Skybuds are one of the better totally wireless earphones out there right now.

CNET Editors' Rating

7.6 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Sound 7.0
  • Value 7.0

Dozens of totally wireless earphones have arrived on the market, and Skybuds, which retail for $200, are one of the better models available, though they distinguish themselves more from a performance standpoint than a design standpoint. (Official UK and Australia availability is unknown, but the US price translates to about £155 or AU$267.)

Available in three colors, the Skybuds have been on the market for almost a year and they've had a few software updates via their free companion Skybuds app (for iOS and Android) that add extra features, including a pass-through sound mode that lets ambient noise in and a "Find My Skybuds" feature that helps you locate your Skybuds should you lose them.

The Skybuds come in pearl (pictured), black and silver.

Sarah Tew/CNET

What I like about them is pretty simple: They actually work and sound pretty decent for this type of headphone. When I say that "they work" what I mean is that is that I had no trouble setting them up and pairing them to each other and my phone. They also maintained a reliable wireless connection. I had a few Bluetooth hiccups, but no worse than with most wireless headphones, even the ones that have cords.

Are they comfortable? Relatively speaking, yes, but they're not as comfortable as Apple's AirPods. They did manage to stay in my ears securely, and I wore them during several work commutes in the streets of New York and the subway (since you jam them in your ears, they offer a good amount of passive noise isolation). I also wore them at the gym -- yes, they're sweatproof -- and even took them on a few short runs with them (they stayed in my ears just fine).

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The buds in their charging case.

Sarah Tew/CNET

You charge and store the buds in a battery case. They're rated at 4 hours of battery life at moderate volume levels and similarly to the AirPods ($175.76 at Amazon Marketplace), the case gives you an extra five charges.

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