Skullcandy iPhone FMJ
At a Glance
The iPhone FMJ is the iPhone-headset version of Skullcandy's $60 Full Metal Jacket. Available in matte black, brushed chrome, and polished silver, the iPhone FMJ's aluminum earpieces use a unique design that's thin at each end but fairly wide in the middle. Some people may find that this wider section helps keep the earpiece in the ear; others may find it uncomfortable. (Tip: if you're not a fan of the FMJ's skull graphics, avoid the black model, on which they're the most noticeable.) The cables feature a clear-plastic covering over "aluminum foil" (Skullcandy's description) casing; cable noise is moderate. The easy-to-use microphone/controller pod is a 1.2-inch cylinder on the left-hand earpiece cable.
The iPhone FMJ includes one pair of silicone eartips as well as two pairs of the excellent Comply Foam Tips, which I find offer better comfort and a better seal than silicone tips. Unfortunately, the included Comply tips are the smallest size, and the silicone tips are small, as well; as a result, I found it difficult to get a good seal in either ear with the iPhone FMJ. Still, bass response was very good, which is surprising--with most canalbuds and canalphones, an incomplete seal results in poor bass. In fact, bass is the FMJ's strong point; treble and midrange sounds distant at times, resulting in audio that can seem a bit "muffled."
The FMJ's microphone was a couple steps up from the iPhone's stock headset in terms of clarity, although not quite as clear as those of the Etyomotic, Maximo, and Ultimate Ears models, below. The occlusion effect was only moderate.
Skullcandy includes with the iPhone FMJ a rigid, zippered storage case.--Dan Frakes