A week with: Skullcandy navigator headphones


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The Independent Tech

Price: £89
Features: Mic3-enabled controls/Rex-40 sound-driver

What are they?

At £89 they might not seem cheap, but the Navigators are Skullcandy's latest foray into the budget headphone market. They follow the design and style laid down by Jay Z's Skullcandy Roc Nation Aviator headphones so are supposed (when folded up) to look like a set of Ray Ban Aviator sunglasses. I'm not sure I see this, but Skullcandy is positioning them as a style accessory as well as, you know, headphones.

What are the technical highlights?

They incorporate Skullcandy's Mic3 technology which provides volume, pause/play and tracking controls in a system that also includes a noise-cancelling microphone pickup. Skullcandy clearly has the smartphone user in mind. The only hitch is that I struggled to get Mic3 to work properly with my Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini and they are not compatible with iPhones older than the 3GS or many earlier generation iPods.

What do they sound like?

You get what you pay for. They lack the depth and range of many of their pricier rivals. That said, the sound quality is generally good and they deal with most tracks fairly crisply. The bass is fair deep and distortion- free too, but fire up Jay Z's "Open Letter" at any serious volume and you'll soon hear their limitations. They also bleed a fair amount of noise which means you have to keep the volume pretty low in the office or on the train.

Should I buy them?

If you are in the market for a keenly priced but stylish set of headphones to go with your new Apple product, you could do far worse than Skullcandy's Navigators. If you are pairing with them with older (or non-Apple) hardware, test them in-store first.