Budget TWS (truly wireless earbuds) with a focus on sound quality are pretty much a rarity in the Indian market. The most affordable pair of TWS (from a known brand) I’ve tried is the Realme Buds Q (review) which can be purchased for a starting price of Rs 1,899. They were quite good in the battery department but sound signature-wise, a hard pass. Skullcandy has been in the audio game for a long time, so I was keen to check out its budget offering called the Spoke TWS. Priced at Rs 2,999, Skullcandy has dispensed off with the kind of fancy design aesthetics you associate with the brand and instead is looking to focus more on sound quality, great battery life, and durability. Here is my full review of the Spoke TWS.

The lowdown

Skullcandy has made a plastic cuboidal shaped case for the Spoke TWS. The hinge construction for the case seems solid enough and it closes magnetically with a satisfying snap. There is the company branding on the lid while the rest of the body is mostly plain. The Spoke TWS ships in the single all-black colour scheme which is quite easy on the eye. A micro-USB port is present for charging the case while on the opposite side there are three LED light indicators showing an indication of the battery left in the case. Inside, the buds are firmly positioned in their place via a magnetic lock. The case, with the earbuds inside, is quite light and the elongated shape helps in sliding it easily down my jeans’ pocket. If Skullcandy was going for a simple, minimalistic, and portable design for the case, they have achieved it.

At a Rs 2,999 price point, it is unreasonable to expect a ton of features from these TWS. You do get IPX4 water resistance which should help during a sweaty workout or some light rain. Apart from that, you do have the option to use each earbud individually while the other can be left for charging inside the case. The earbuds come with three extra silicone tips to cater to a variety of ear canal sizes. The tips that came attached to the earbuds did fit comfortably inside my ear although I started feeling a slight discomfort when wearing them for more than 2 hours. I took the Spoke TWS for a jog and found that they also came loose a couple of times while running. Both the buds have a physical button which can be used to play, pause the music playing while a long press on both simultaneously will summon the Google Assistant. 

Skullcandy has made a name for including a thumping bass sound signature in all its products and the Spoke TWS follow along the same route. Enthusiasts of R&B, Hip-Hop, Rap, and EDM, should be quite satisfied with the bassy sound interspaced with melodious beats and clear vocals. The mids and highs were nice but anyone with an affinity towards more Classical Rock and even some Metal may not be very impressed. Overall, the Spoke TWS manages to sound quite good for their price with a few exceptions such as average instrumental separation and treble. The maximum volume is not also the highest, but the seal with the ear is good enough for a pleasant hearing experience. There were also no connectivity issues even when I had moved about 5-7 meters away from my phone. The pairing process is a bit tricky as you have to take out one earbud and then pair it with the second earbud. However, after being paired once, the earbuds will automatically connect to your phone after being removed from the case. Apart from that, call quality on the Spoke TWS was just about okay and in a crowded room with a lot of noise, the mics can’t isolate my voice.

On the battery front, the Spoke TWS is said to sport a very sizeable power back up with the case providing about 10 hours and each earbud harbouring about 4 hours. In real-world usage, I found that the earbuds lasted for about 3.5 hours and the case could completely charge the earbuds through two cycles. My usual experience with the Spoke TWS involved around 2 hours of listening which allowed me to plug in the case about once a week. Charging the case is done via the micro-USB port and it is a bummer that Skullcandy has not transitioned to the more useful Type-C. In total, the case charges at 5W and takes about 1.5 hours to juice up.

Final verdict

Skullcandy’s Spoke TWS do seem worth considering. However, the Realme Buds Q, which happens to come in at Rs 1,999, offer a lot of the same features along with extended battery life and dedicated app support. It would appear that Skullcandy’s prominence in the audio market and its better sound signature are definitely Spoke TWS’ USP. 

Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5

Pros

  • Simplistic, light, and rigid design
  • Nice sound signature for its price
  • Solid battery life

Cons

  • Micro-USB port for charging
  • Microphone quality is not great
  • Initial pairing process can be tricky



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