Smile Jamaica In-ear Headphones Review

Budget eco-friendly earbuds with noise isloation

If you are on a budget, but serious about listening to digital music, then it can sometimes be tough to find a low-cost pair that delivers on sound. Generally speaking, the earbuds that come with most smartphones and portable media players can give a mediocre listening experience at best. However, there are now more earbuds on the market that cater for music fans who have limited funds.

The Smile Jamaica in-ear headphones by House of Marley is one such product that fits comfortably into this niche.

With a price tag of less than $20, these pair of earbuds promises crisp sounding music, tangle-free cabling, hands-free control, and a range of colors to choose from.

Oh, and did we mention their earth-friendly construction?

As with all of House of Marley products, the Smile Jamaica's are made from a variety of eco-friendly materials. This includes things like recycled aluminum, plastic, and even FSC-certified wood. The company also say that for every product that is sold, a portion of the proceeds goes to a charitable cause -- this being the non-profit 1Love charity set up by the family of legendary artist, Bob Marley.

But ethics aside, how do these earbuds sound when listening to your digital music collection?

Features & Specifications

Main Features

  • House of Marley 8mm high-performance micro speaker drivers.
  • Noise isolating construction.
  • In-line microphone / remote button ( for hands-free calls and music control).
  • Braided fabric covering cabling designed to reduce interference and avoid tangles.
  • Precision machined aluminum driver housings.
  • Two different ear tip sizes.
  • 2-year warranty.

Technical Specifications

  • Frequency Range: 18 - 20,000 Hz.
  • Driver Diameter: 8 mm.
  • Magnet: Neodymium.
  • Impedance: 16 Ohm.
  • Earbud type: In-ear.


    In the crowded earbud world, it's hard to be different where style and design are concerned. But, House of Marley has come up with a distinctive combination of materials and colors which gives the Smile Jamaica's real originality. The unmistakable Jamaica look is the first thing that you will notice. This flair is incorporated in all their products, and is, of course, true to their roots.

    The color of the Smile Jamaica's that we received for the review was called Midnight. These have a nice warm look to them, mainly owed to the use of Sapele wood. The rest of the earbud design consists of a machined aluminum driver chassis and gray ear tips. This all adds up to a great looking stylish pair of earbuds that defy their budget status.


    The cabling that House of Marley have used is not only a generous length (52" / 132 cm to be exact), but it is also covered with braiding. This not only adds extra protection but also enhances the quality feel to the Smile Jamaica's; colored flecks on the cable add to the distinctive look of the earbuds.

    From a functional point of view, the braiding is also designed to reduce electrical interference and makes the cables less likely to tangle. In practice, you get a certain amount of anti-tangle, but it isn't the best design we've encountered.

    The cables at times still manage to wrap themselves around each other, but not as much as normal plastic-covered wires.

    An in-line microphone and remote has also been built into the cable too. A single button control  call answering, and if you've got an Apple device you can press it multiple times to control music playback.​

    Wearing The Earbuds

    From the comfort angle, the Smile Jamaica's are pleasurable to wear even for long periods. They come with a choice of two ear tip sizes so you can use the ones that best fit your ear canal. Ideally, it would have been nice to see the earbuds come with three ear tip sizes rather than two.

    If you have particularly large ear canals then you might want to look elsewhere.

    Audio Performance

    So far we've looked at the physical aspects of the earbuds. But, how do they perform in the sonic department?

    For this test, we selected a mixture of songs and music tracks covering different genres to test how well the earbuds coped with a real-world scenario. The lower frequencies are where these earbuds excel. Bass sounds are clear and punchy with zero distortion at higher volumes. If the music you predominately listen to contains bass then these earbuds are perfect.

    In the mid to high frequencies, there's a slight muddiness to the Smile Jamaica's. This includes vocals too which aren't as clear as you might find in more expensive ear gear. However, there's still plenty of detail and for budget earbuds, you simply can't complain.


    Low-cost earbuds can very often be a disappointment when it comes to building quality and the audio they deliver. However, House of Marley have created a set of budget earbuds that are both stylish and give good sound. Build quality is excellent and there's a definite feel-good factor when you know that the materials used are environmentally sound, plus a portion of the proceeds goes to the 1Love charity.

    But, of course, it's not all about looks. Under their unique Jamaican-inspired design is also a decent pair of earbuds. During our tests, we found the audio drivers were particularly responsive to low frequencies. If you listen to music and like bass then you won't be disappointed.

    However, this is at the cost of detail in the mid to highs. The sound in these higher frequencies is a little muddied, but it's not that bad at all.

    Overall, if you're looking for a low-cost pair of earbuds then the Smile Jamaica's are almost a steal at under than $20.

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