It is raining true wireless earphones – the types that have no wires at all. Tech brands, big or small are all stepping into the wireless earbuds zone and latest name that has joined the bandwagon is Skullcandy, an audio brand that is known to bring affordable yet funky looking earphones/ headphones to users. The brand has now ventured into the true wireless earbuds segment with the launch of Skullcandy Push. But are they worth the investment?
While there is not much scope of innovation in mainstream wireless earphones or headphones (you have to have the buds or the cans on either side, attached with a wire), as the wires come off totally, the design horizons of the earbuds expand a little. Which is why we see different kinds of bud designs coming from different brands. The Skullcandy Push are also one of a kind. The capsule shaped earbuds have eartips on the inside while the back of the earbuds holds a circular button for commands. The eartips are bundled with wings, which keeps the earbuds in place. In terms of sheer looks, the Skullcandy Push are a bit of a disappointment. The buds are made of plastic (not the kind that can pass of as glass, that we see in smartphones these days) which makes them look a little on the cheap side. That said, unlike many true wireless earphones that keep falling out of your ears, to our surprise the Skullcandy Push stay put, thanks to the variable sized eartips and the wings on the buds.The earbuds do poke out, making you look a little like Frankenstein’s monster. The case of the buds is not the greatest design as well. It is also made up of the same plastic material which feels very flaky and comes with LED light indicators to highlight battery strength and clicks open with the help of a button. Unfortunately, the case is not very pocketable. Yes, it can easily fit in a small bag or purse, but carrying it around in your trousers can be uncomfortable which kind of kills the purpose of having true wireless earphones in the first place. That said, they are dust and water resistant with an IP rating, so are great for travel and gym use.
Connecting the Skullcandy Push with your device is actually not that difficult. You have to take the buds out of the case and long press the circular button present on the back. Your earbuds will be ready to pair when you see red and blue light blinking alternatively on the buds. You can now just bring them close to the device that you want to connect them to, find the Skullcandy Push in your bluetooth device list, tap on it, and Voila! your buds will get connected to the device. The left bud is the main bud which communicates with the device it is connected to but you have to turn them both on because the right one gets connected to the left bud, and that is how you will get audio in both buds. The connection is generally strong but walls and gates can disturb it. Plus there were times when the connection between the two buds would suddenly die which can be a little annoying.
Audio Quality: A-
The Skullcandy Push may look cheap because of its design, but the audio output of the earbuds tells a different story altogether. One of the biggest complaints with most true wireless earphones is their audio output, but that is not the case with the Skullcandy Push. We expected them to deliver a very flat and one dimensional result but to our surprise, Skullcandy has pumped up the bass in the Push which gives body to the tracks that you are listening to. The brand has also not shied away from giving the true wireless earphones a volume boost. So, if you like your music loud and without wires, the Skullcandy Push are the earbuds for you. The clarity on the earbuds is also pretty good. It can get a little screech-y at maxed out volume levels in some songs but other than that they perform very well. And it is not only the high-pitched, heavy metal songs that the earbuds can handle well, they also do well in the mellow zone, which again was a little surprising.
Plus thanks to the wings and the different sized tips that come in the box, the earbuds fit very snugly in our ears, blocking any ambient noise passively that could have hindered our audio experience.
While the music experience on the Skullcandy Push is pretty good, it is how the earbuds handle calls that left us disappointed. Because the left bud is the main one out of the two and the only one which actually gets connected to your phone, you can only hear your call audio output on the left but while the right one sits idle in your ear. It not only kills half of the audio but also feels very weird and year 2007-09 when you had those Bluetooth one ear gadgets to communicate. On top of that, the mic on the buds is not great either -we often found ourselves repeating the same thing again and again because the person on the other end could not hear us properly.
Ease of use: B-
Ease of use is a department where the Skullcandy Push slips up. We like how there is only one big button on the buds that can be used to carry all the commands because having different tiny buttons on tiny earbuds can be very extremely inconvenient to use. But then remembering the commands for that one button can complicate life. The one button lets you increase and decrease volume, double press on the right will increase the volume while double tap on the left bud will decrease it. A single push on either buds will play or pause the music and long press on the right bud will skill ahead to the next song while a long press on the left one will take you back. getting the idea? What’s more, the inconvenience does not really go away with this one big button, as the Skullcandy Push often mistook our command. Sometimes, a long press to skip the track often turned the earbuds off, which was very annoying. As the button is right on the earbuds we often played and paused music accidentally while pushing the buds inside our ears.
Skullcandy claims that the Push can last up to 6 hours on a single charge and our buds gave us about 5 hours of output, which is not too far away from the company’s claim. Once out of charge, you can put the buds back in their case to charge them. That said, the battery on the case is disappointing as it will not charge your earbuds completely for even two rounds. And when you consider the bulky looks of it, the lack of a bigger battery hurts even more. You can charge the case via a USB Type C port present on the case.
At Rs 9,999, the Skullcandy Push are well below the AirPods, and also the wireless options from the likes of Sony, Sennheiser and Bose. That said, they are also well above the cheaper true wireless options from the likes of Noise and Stuffcool, which might not match the Push in terms of sound quality but are priced at half as much
The Skullcandy Push offer a very good sound and battery experience but really fall short in the design and ease of use department. If you find the Apple AirBuds too expensive at Rs 14,999, and still want the true wireless experience from a well known brand, then the Push are a good option. Just be ready to invest some time and patience with the UI and of course, do not expect heads to turn when you wear them!