Reviews

Review: Skullcandy Indy ANC, true wireless, extremely comfortable and great sound

It wasn’t that long ago that true wireless headphones were brand new on the market and to say they sounded a fraction as good as their wired counterparts is a massive understatement.  Since then, not only has their audio improved out of sight but they are now including active noise cancelling — and really good noise cancelling.

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Skullcandy have always positioned their products in the upper to mid segment of the market offering quality sound at reasonable prices.  Their previous true wireless offering, the Indy has now been superseded by an active noise cancelling version, the Skullcandy Indy ANC.

Design

Apple were first with the stem design for true wireless earbuds and while their first offerings didn’t sound as good as other earbuds, they popularised that design. As such, many other manufacturers have since offered their own takes on the design. The stem allows the manufacturer to include much more hardware into an earbud that is well balanced in the ear without looking like Frankenstein’s monster.

The Skullcandy Indy ANC true wireless earbuds follow the stem design by Apple (and many others now) but with their own twist — a fin at the top of the earbud for comfort and ear security.  Oh, and did I say they come in black or pink too?

Each earbud has a touch sensitive button on the side of it which can be used for a LOT of functions — assuming you can remember the vast number of button press and long press combinations to use them.   Lucky there is an app for some of this functionality.  The app has the basics along with a “Personal Sound” setting where the app tests your hearing in each ear to tailor the sound to your ear sensitivity.  

Each earbud also comes with Tile and while they are not the only headphones with this capability, they are the first I’ve used with it.  Each individual earbud is connected to Tile, but not the case.  You will be able to make your earbuds make a sound using the Tile app but not the case.  If an earbud gets lost though you’ll be able to find it with Tile.

The earbuds come with a carry charging case and offer IPX4 sweat and water resistance so can be used anywhere (aside from the pool and shower) and you don’t have to worry about your sweat or rain destroying them.

Comfort and fit

I’ve never ever been able to get these stem-variety earbuds to stay comfortably in my ears, ever.  My ears have met their match though with the Skullcandy Indy ANC earbuds.  The “fin” that they have at the top of the earbud is unlike any I have seen on other earbuds, but it works as well, if not even better than the others.  Other fins are a crescent shaped design fitting into the ear cartilage, but these have a simple, small fin that sits directly superior to the earbud.  Not only does it result in a secure fit but is extremely comfortable.

Sound quality

Whether fair or not I compared the Skullcandy Indy ANC against my go to true wireless ANC earbuds — the Bose QC Earbuds.  As expected, the Indys do not have the sound clarity nor the bass of the Bose but they are a darn sight smaller and cheaper.  The ANC is also not quite up to par with the Bose earbuds but damn are they close (and at $259 vs $400 they pack a decent punch for their price).  In the end though the Skullcandy Indy ANC earbuds by themselves are amazing.

The sound is great albeit lacking a bit in the lower end — just like virtually all true wireless earbuds are.  The ANC is still good enough to block out any nagging noises in the background and the ability to easily switch to ambient mode (hearing background noises) with the app or tapping the button on the earbuds once followed by a long press of two seconds.  

The earbuds can also be used in solo mode if you do need to fully hear your environment with either earbud being able to be used while the other is inside the case still and the case closed.

Skullcandy offer three different EQ settings that can be selected using once again a convoluted button press sequence on the earbuds.  These EQ settings are not customisable and in the end I just left it on music as I liked that sound the best.

Battery life

Skullcandy says that you should get over 5 hours of playback in the earbuds with a further 14 hours in the charging case, with ANC on which is some feat (this extends to over 9 and 23 hours with ANC off).  After my testing I have no reason to doubt this at all.  I was easily able to push them to that level and even further given a good chunk of my listening time was non-music and instead a softer (not as loud) sports streaming.  Of course, if you need any more battery life turn off the ANC — they give a decent seal over the ear hole anyway so can be noise isolating instead if you prefer an extended battery life.

The charging case is a lot smaller than that in Bose’s or Sony’s offering and is charged using USB-C so will charge quickly if you are in need of some extra juice in a hurry.  The Rapid Charge technology will provide over 1.5 hours of playback with ANC on and over two hours with ANC off with just 10 minutes of charging.  The charging case has four LED lights on it with each light signifying 25% charge left in the case.

Should you buy them?

When I sit down and think about whether you should buy them it is difficult to find reasons why not. They do not have the best sound available in a true wireless earbud but with only the best of the best outperforming them you will have to pay for better quality sound. The Bose QC Earbuds sound better and have better ANC but are about 1.5 times the price of the Skullcandy Indy ANC earbuds.

The price is not the cheapest either but at $250 they are great value. They most definitely fit better and sound a lot better than the sub-$150 mark headphones. I am not actually sure I have used a true wireless earbud that is this comfortable and feels more secure at the same time than this.

I am happy recommending these to anyone who wants good quality sound with decent ANC and a secure fitting true wireless earbud without breaking the bank. You can pick some up from the Skullcandy website or JB Hi-Fi for
$259.95 in either pink or black.

Review: Skullcandy Indy ANC, true wireless, extremely comfortable and great sound
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