We’ve had the opportunity to review House of Marley headphones and speakers in the past, and have always come away impressed. Their commitment to providing not only excellent sound, but responsibly and sustainably sourced materials make for a great set of products. Today I’ll be looking at something a little bit smaller. This House of Marley Smile Jamaica review will see if these in-ear headphones can continue the tradition of big sound and great design. Keep reading to see why the House of Marley Smile Jamaica earbuds earned a spot in our Top Picks of 2016.
What’s in the Box
- Smile Jamaica in-ear headphones
- 1 pair large silicone ear tips
- 1 pair small silicone ear tips
- Instruction manual and warranty information
Smile Jamaica in-ear headphones are available in nine different color combinations. Named everything from Rasta, to Copper, to Midnight, and Fire, these color combinations determine both the silicone ear tip color as well as several different variances in the aluminum chassis, Marley logo color, and wood housing for the rest of the ear bud. I received the Fire model, which includes bright red ear tips, a standard silver aluminum chassis, a red Marley logo, and a rich brown FSC Certified wood enclosure.
The ear tips themselves are a soft silicone, and are very comfortable to wear. The tips feature a large opening leading to the driver, making it easy to remove any debris that might accumulate on the silicone. I was also impressed that while yes, you will sometimes end up with earwax or other debris on a pair of earbuds, these held on to quite a lot less than other earbuds I’ve used, and were especially easy to clean off.
The cord is of the braided fabric variety, which helps keep tangles at bay. The cord itself heavily features the red, yellow, and green colors typically associated with Reggae and the Rastafari. On the cord leading to the right earbud is the one button remote and mic. The end of the cord features a low profile plug, also featuring red yellow and green on the rings of the plug itself.
The wood and aluminum chassis give the ear bud a very solid, yet very light feel. I was honestly amazed at how light they were when I took them out of the package the first time. My only (very minor) complaint is that initially the only way to tell which earbud went in which ear was a very small R & L on the plastic area between the wood enclosure and the cord. That was only an issue at first, because once you know that the one button control is on the right ear bud it’s easy enough to know what to do.
Overall these are very nice looking earbuds. This will be a bit of a theme throughout this review, but the overall quality of the House of Marley Smile Jamaica earbuds is much higher than you might expect based on their price.
House of Marley has always been proud of their signature sound, and even in its diminutive size, the Smile Jamaica earbuds put out quite a lot of sound. The noise-isolating design means that you’ll be completely engulfed in your music. I know I only said this a few sentences ago, but these earbuds sound quite a lot better than their price might indicate. They aren’t studio-quality, or audiophile approved, or anything similar but for the price you’ll be hard-pressed to match the sound you’ll get out of these earbuds.
Marley’s signature sound does still lean a little bit heavy on the bass at the expense of some of the higher range, though it’s less noticeable here than in their larger, more powerful offerings. Most everything I listened to sounded very good, and I was quite impressed with the amount of bass these tiny earbuds could put out. On the House of Marley product page they state “even though they’re small, the bass vibrates.” That’s honestly a pretty accurate representation of the type of bass you’re going to get. Sure, they aren’t going to match what you’ll get with a pair of on-ear or over-ear headphones, but for a tiny pair of earbuds these things can really roar.
If you’re plugged into your phone, the Smile Jamaica earbuds can handle phone calls for you too. The one-button control is able to answer and end calls on most any smartphone. The One-Button control does also have specific track related controls for music, though these controls only work on iOS devices.
Phone calls work flawlessly with the Smile Jamaica earbuds. I was able to hear callers quite clearly, and I honestly needed to take one of the earbuds out of my ear more often than not because callers were quite loud and clear. Callers were able to hear me without issue for the most part. The only problems arose when the mic would pick up wind, or moving air from a fan, though that’s a pretty standard issue on in-line mics such as this.
With a suggested retail price of $29.99, the House of Marley Smile Jamaica earbuds are a tremendous value. For the price you’ll get a pair of very small, very light earbuds that push out a ridiculous amount of sound, and quite a lot more bass than you’d expect. Also keep in mind that the House of Marley donates a portion of every purchase to the 1Love foundation, the charitable arm of the Marley family. As is often the case, you can find the Smile Jamaica earbuds in most of the available colors for a few bucks less on Amazon. These earbuds are definitely worth their full price, so getting a few bucks off is just a bonus.
For under $30 you really can’t go wrong with these earbuds. They put out a lot of good sound and incredible bass for the price. Add in the responsible and sustainable materials, and the charitable donations and you’ve really got a winner.