Earphones are one of those accessories that we can’t afford to leave at home no matter where we are going. I have always had a pair ever since I got my hands on the portable music. No, I am definitely not an audiophile but I have had a chance to use quite a lot of earphones/headphones so far. I was looking for a new pair of earphones around a price tag of Rs 1000 and thought to give a try to a not so heard of companies in India – House of Marley. I have used the Sennheiser’s and JBL’s falling in this price range and with House of Marley known for some badass design and sound, I thought – let’s give it a try. The Smile Jamaica from House of Marley is priced at Rs 999 on Amazon and here is what I think about them.
What’s inside the box?
I really liked the packaging with which these earphones ship. House of Marley is known to use eco-friendly materials both in the built and packaging. We get the earphones (of course), one small sized extra ear tips and a user manual. Yes, that’s it. No carrying pouch or more extra ear tips.
Not a lot of earphones in this price range focuses on the design but House of Marley is different. From the moment you unbox, these earphones scream premium design and build quality. The housing on the Smile Jamaica is carved out of wood and it comes in various different colours. Unfortunately, I didn’t have many options but to go for ‘Signature Black’ colour variant here in India. The cable on the Smile Jamaica is also braided which is one of my favourite features of these earphones. Although the housing isn’t that small, these earphones are extremely lightweight and comfortable even if you have them plugged in most of the times. There is also an in-line remote with only one button that can do Play/Pause, Take and End calls and Skip to next or Go to the previous song. To sum it up for the design, the Smile Jamaica’s are really up their with some really premium boys and you will not be disappointed.
Another very important aspect is the durability because, to be honest, earphones are easy to break especially the wire which is mostly where the companies tend to compromise in this price range. Adding on to the different design elements, the wooden housing ensures they don’t act cheap no matter how you use them. Further, the braided cable prevents the every annoying tangling which further adds up the durability. The 3.5 mm headphone jack is L-shaped so it prevents any kind of stretch or twisting around that area if you go listen to music with your smartphone sitting in your pocket.
Alright then, here is what it all comes down to. So how do they actually sound? Are they better than Sennheiser CX 180 or even JBL T210 for that matter? Well, let’s break it down.
House of Marley is known for its premium sound signature and Smile Jamaica is no different. I am not a bass head but I really liked how these earphones dealt with the lows. Now, don’t get me wrong, you will love these earphones if you are a bass head but I won’t say these earphones are bass heavy. Yes, lows are of course overpowering here up to a point where it does give up slightly on the clarity but that is not the forte here. In other words, the Smile Jamaica’s doesn’t offer the clearest of outputs at the price range.
I put the Smile Jamaica to various kind of genres, from classic pop to metal to EDM to acoustic. These earphones handle high frequency pretty well as well but the mids were a little too suppressed for my liking. Especially when you listen to songs having more vocals than lows. That said, the soundstage on these earphones is decent. You can easily differentiate the different instruments playing in the background and how they stack up while listening.
The Smile Jamaica gets full marks when it comes to loudness but it does tend to invite some distortion at maximum volume. I mostly prefer listening to them at about 70 percent volume.
The inline remote on these earphones work flawlessly. A single press will Play/Pause or Take/End calls while a double tap will skip to the next track and a triple tap will jump back to previous track. There is no volume controls here which was not that big of a deal for me.
However, one thing that I didn’t like about these earphones is the lack of extra ear-tips. The one that comes on the housing was too big for me and the one extra pair of ear tips included in the box which was too small for me. This again is highly subjective since you might get away with the ones included in the box.
House of Marley – Smile Jamaica : Should you buy it?
The Smile Jamaica is definitely one of the most premium sounding earphones at this price range. Plus you simply cannot ignore the effort went into the design and durability. Considering they are priced under Rs 1000 in India, I would recommend these earphones to anyone who is kind of a bass head but also loves listening to a lot of pop music. If you are more of a clarity guy, you might want to look for other options.
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