Skullcandy UpRock cheap headphones review

Skullcandy UpRock cheap headphones

These cheap Skullcandy headphones are rocking a super-cool hot pink and neon blue design, but for audiophiles they just won't make the grade. Find out why music-lovers are so keen to splash the cash on their audio equipment in our Skullcandy UpRock review. Also see: 6 best budget headphones 2014

No beating about the bush: half the PC Advisor office loved how the Skullcandy UpRock budget headphones look. A hot pink audio cable combined with neon blue on-ear speakers make for a distinctive piece of kit, although distinctive styling wasn’t enough to stop the other half of the Advisor office recoiling in horror. They are, incidentally, also available in black. Also see: 26 best headphones 2014

Portability is one of the UpRock’s key attributes. The Sennheiser HD 429s and AKG K77s look huge by comparison, with their large earpieces and long cables. The Skullcandy UpRocks are compact, lightweight, and the 1.3m cable is a very practical length for connecting the cheap headphones to a phone in your jacket pocket, if less appealing for connecting to a home stereo. The cable also has a flat rather than circular cross-section, which makes it harder to tangle.

There are other factors that limit the UpRock’s appeal. They’re on?ear, rather than in-ear headphones, and while this doesn’t mean less comfort, they definitely sit tighter on the head because the earpieces need to press in to prevent lots of sound leaking. They are generally comfortable, though, with a double?cushion design in the earpieces giving sensitive ears a little more padding. You’ll never forget you’re wearing them, though, which might limit their appeal.

Sound leaks are controlled by the Skullcandy UpRock’s closed-back design. Closed-back headphones can often produce a limited soundstage, and while that effect is limited on the other cheap headphones we've tested, it’s definitely true of the UpRocks. The soundstage is cluttered and indistinct: a stereo effect is discernible, but the UpRocks produce a denser wall of sound than either the Sennheiser or AKGs. Also see: How to make music on your laptop or PC

Possibly as a sop to fashion-conscious pop-pickers there’s tons of bass, but it isn’t as tightly controlled as either the Sennheiser or AKG sets. There’s plenty of shock and awe, but not much on offer for fans of more delicately arranged music. Fast moving pop sounds okay: trying to tease out the finer points of a Jeff Buckley track with the Skullcandy UpRocks was frustrating.

Skullcandy UpRock: Specs

  • Closed-back supra-aural on-ear headphones
  • available in blue, grey and pink
  • 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response
  • 32ohms impedance
  • 106dB sensitivity
  • 3.5mm mini-jack
  • 1.3m cable
  • 120g
  • Closed-back supra-aural on-ear headphones
  • available in blue, grey and pink
  • 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response
  • 32ohms impedance
  • 106dB sensitivity
  • 3.5mm mini-jack
  • 1.3m cable
  • 120g

OUR VERDICT

The Skullcandy UpRocks have two big advantages: they look (arguably) great, and they’re highly portable. The short, flat cable is very convenient, and the low price means it’s not the end of the world if you stuff them in a backpack every morning for a combative commute across town. As a gift for fashionable music lovers we can’t recommend them enough for these two reasons: but for audiophiles on a budget they don’t quite fit the bill.

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