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Skullcandy Ink'd Wireless review: A surprisingly likable budget Bluetooth headphone

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The Good The Skullcandy Ink'd is a lightweight, affordable flexible collar-style Bluetooth headphone that offers decent sound and a comfortable fit. It performs fine as a headset for making cell phone calls and has reasonable good battery life.

The Bad It looks a little cheap, which makes you think it should cost a little less.

The Bottom Line The Skull Candy Ink'd Wireless is a better Bluetooth headphone than it looks.

7.6 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Sound 7
  • Value 7

When I first pulled Skullcandy's Ink'd Wireless neckband-style Bluetooth headphone out its box, I had pretty low expectations. Frankly, it looks and feels a little cheap. And, to be fair, it is: it lists for $50, and we've already seen at least on sale at Best Buy (since ended) where it was selling for $40.

The first thing you'll notice about the Ink'd Wireless is that it's very lightweight. If you have a collared shirt on, you'll barely feel it around your neck. The band's got some flexibility to it, which is good, and while the cords that run from the neckband to the earbuds seem a little thin, some of LG's Tone headphones have very thin cords (they're retractable on some models) and I haven't had a problem with them breaking or fraying over time.

We got the plain black version, but the Ink'd Wireless is also available in other color options.

Sarah Tew/CNET

You'll find the integrated remote on the left side of the neckband. I liked that the controls were large and easy to operate by feel. There's a pause/play button that also doubles as a call answer/end button and volume controls that double as track control buttons. You hold down the volume up button to advance a track forward and hold the volume down button to skip back a track.

The buds themselves are all plastic -- they're very lightweight -- and the headphone ships with two sizes of silicon eartips. With the larger "default" set, I was able to get tight seal and surprisingly secure fit. It's very important to be able to get a tight seal or sound quality will suffer, particularly the bass performance.

About that sound quality -- it exceeded my expectations. You don't get the treble and bass push you get from a lot headphones these days (the sound is pretty balanced). And while there isn't a ton a bass -- Chairlift's "Show U Off" sounds fairly subdued, for example-- so this isn't going to be the greatest headphone for hip hop and club music. But it offers decent clarity in the treble and midrange and measures up well against neckband-style Bluetooth headphones that I've tested that cost almost twice as much. (Don't expect the world from the sound, but most people should be happy with it for the price).

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