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Skullcandy Indy ANC vs AirPods Pro (2021): Choosing Noise-Canceling True Wireless Earbuds

The Skullcandy Indy ANC are an eye-catching pair of true wireless earbuds, owing not only to their design but also to their attractive price point and features. Case in point, they have active noise cancellation and ambient mode that put them in direct competition with the likes of the AirPods Pro but in a lower price range.

However, are they on par with Apple’s earbuds? The short answer is yes—but only on a few fronts. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re worse, though. In fact, they offer a better user experience in some ways. Put differently, the Indy ANC are more than just another cheap AirPods Pro alternative.

Skullcandy Indy ANC vs AirPods Pro Comparison Chart

ModelSkullcandy Indy ANCAirPods Pro
 Skullcandy Indy ANC True Wireless Noise Cancelling In-Ear Earbud - True BlackApple AirPods Pro
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Driver12mmCustom high-excursion Apple driver
Frequency Response20 Hz to 20 kHzNot stated
ConnectionBluetooth 5.0Bluetooth 5.0
Active Noise CancellationYesYes
Ambient/Transparency ModeYesYes
Single Earbud UseYes, left or rightYes, left or right
Water ResistanceIPX4IPX4
Battery LifeANC on: up to 5 hours or up to 19 hours with charging case
ANC off: up to 9 hours or up to 32 hours with charging case
ANC on: up to 4.5 hours
ANC off: up to 5 hours or more than 24 hours with charging case
Fast Charge2 hours of playback in 10 minutes1 hour of playback in 5 minutes
Wireless Charging CaseYesYes
Weight76gEarbud: 5.4g each
Case: 45.6g
ColorsTrue Black, Chill Grey, Feisty PinkWhite

Design and Fit

While the Skullcandy Indy ANC have wingtips for an extra secure fit, the AirPods Pro’s vent system is a rare and useful feature.

Skullcandy Indy ANC vs AirPods Pro Design and Fit
A closer look at the wingtips and skull logo of the Skullcandy Indy ANC (left) and the vent system of the AirPods Pro (right).

Right off the bat, these earbuds have the same IPX4 water resistance, the same stem form factor, and the same in-ear fit. But the Skullcandy Indy ANC have a little something extra to make doubly sure they don’t fall out of ears: wingtips.

One advantage the AirPods Pro do have is their vent system. Thanks to that, they can prevent pressure from building up in the ears, making them comfortable to wear for hours on end.

In terms of design, the Indy ANC are a bit showy, featuring a skull logo that’s hard not to notice on both the earbuds and case. That might not be too pleasing to see for some people, but it goes without saying that that’s subjective. In comparison, the AirPods Pro are cleaner and sleeker, sporting the unmistakable Apple look.

As for color options, the Indy ANC are available in True Black, Chill Grey, and Feisty Pink. Needless to say, the AirPods Pro come only in the iconic white color they’re known for.

Click here for our comparison between the Skullcandy Indy ANC vs Evo.

Sound and ANC

The AirPods Pro have better ANC, but at the very least, the Skullcandy Indy ANC have Personal Sound, which is similar to Adaptive EQ.

Skullcandy Indy ANC vs AirPods Pro Sound and ANC
ANC and Personal Sound set the Skullcandy Indy ANC (in photo) apart from the average wireless earbuds.

The Skullcandy Indy ANC house 12mm drivers under the hood and have a frequency response that ranges between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. Meanwhile, the AirPods Pro have proprietary custom high-excursion drivers, but Apple didn’t mention their size and neither did it say their frequency response range.

Both are similar in that they make the bass punchier, adding a little more oomph to just about any song. But what gives them the edge is their automatic tuning features, which is Personal Sound for the Indy ANC and Adaptive EQ for the AirPods Pro. They don’t exactly work the same, but they set out to do the same thing. All in all, they both deliver a decent listening experience. Also, it’s worth mentioning that the Indy ANC do have presets made for music, movies, and podcasts.

Now, not all noise canceling is equal, and that’s clear between these earbuds. The Indy ANC do a good job at blocking low frequencies, but there’s a slight hissing sound when ANC is enabled. It’s not too bad, though, since it can barely be heard once a song or a podcast starts playing. On the other hand, the AirPods Pro can dampen not only low frequencies but also midrange sounds effectively, and there’s no hissing issue. For the record, the Indy ANC’s ambient mode is par for the course, and it doesn’t lag behind the AirPods Pro’s Transparency mode.

Performance and Battery

The Skullcandy Indy ANC can last longer on a single charge than the AirPods Pro.

Skullcandy Indy ANC vs AirPods Pro Performance and Battery
A rundown on the expected battery life of the Skullcandy Indy ANC (in photo).

Where the Skullcandy Indy ANC clearly beat the AirPods Pro in is battery life. On that note, they can last up to 5 hours with ANC on or 9 hours with ANC off as opposed to the latter’s 4.5 hours and 5 hours, respectively. With the charging case, users can also get up to 32 hours in total as compared to about 24 hours. Speaking of, both of their cases have wireless charging support.

In terms of fast charging, neither one stands out. While the Indy ANC can get 2 hours of listening in 10 minutes, the AirPods Pro can get enough juice for an hour’s worth of playback in 5 minutes. To put two and two together, both charging speeds are pretty much the same.

Last but not least, they use Bluetooth 5.0, allowing them to provide a reliable and lag-free connection more often than not. Thing is, there’s a slight delay when gaming on the PC or laptop on both, but that could be because of a number of things, like the computer’s Bluetooth version. At any rate, Bluetooth headphones aren’t recommended for gaming.

Other Features

When it comes to features, the Skullcandy Indy ANC can’t hold a candle to the AirPods Pro.

Skullcandy Indy ANC vs AirPods Pro Other Features
The AirPods Pro (in photo) may have more features, but they’re mostly for iOS and iPadOS users only.

The AirPods Pro are among the most feature-packed true wireless earbuds around. For starters, they have Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking that provide an immersive surround sound experience. Then there’s Automatic Switching that lets users switch audio seamlessly between devices. However, these are available only on the iPhone and iPad. Still, there’s their Automatic Ear Detection that automatically pauses playback when the earbuds are removed and resumes when they’re put back on.

Besides Personal Sound, the only other highlight feature of the Skullcandy Indy ANC is their Tile finding technology. For the uninitiated, this lets users locate the earbuds via the Tile app through directional cues and the like. Basically, the way it works is just like with any other Tile tracker.

And before anyone asks, both the Indy ANC and AirPods Pro can be used even with only one earbud. That might not seem like a big of a deal, but it’s not a common feature in the true wireless earbuds scene.

Click here to see AirTag vs Tile comparison.

Verdict

On paper, the AirPods Pro are superior in a number of ways, but taking into account their relatively cheaper price and comparable features, the Skullcandy Indy ANC have their demographic.

Technically, the AirPods Pro are better and smarter because of Spatial Audio, Automatic Ear Detection, Automatic Switching, and a slew of other features. On top of that, they have better ANC too. However, the Skullcandy Indy ANC boast a price-to-performance ratio that’s hard to beat. They clearly have their audience, namely those looking for a decent pair of ANC true wireless earbuds that don’t break the bank.

FAQs

📌 Are Skullcandy Indy noise canceling?

The Skullcandy Indy don’t have ANC, but the Skullcandy Indy ANC do, as their name suggests.

📌 Are Skullcandy Indy better than AirPods?

Not really, but if nothing else, the newer Skullcandy Indy ANC level the playing field with the AirPods Pro in a few but meaningful ways. That includes ANC, ambient mode, the Personal Sound feature, and Tile tracking technology.

📌 Are Skullcandy Indy waterproof?

The Skullcandy Indy have an IP55 water and dust resistance rating, while their ANC variant, the Skullcandy Indy ANC, has an IPX4 rating.

📌 Are Skullcandy Indy ANC worth the buy?

Yes, the Skullcandy Indy ANC have a competitive price point and premium features, such as single earbud use and, most notably, ANC. They get it right across the board too, from sound quality to battery life.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.