Technophile

Go wireless -- in psychotropical teal

Mala Bharghava | Updated on March 29, 2019 Published on March 29, 2019

Skullcandy sheds wires for the first time with the Push earbuds and they’re for listening, not working out

Love it or hate it, but ‘psychotropical teal’ is the colour the new Skullcandy wireless earbuds are dressed in. It’s a metallic marine sort of blue-green and rather unusual, and how it looks on you depends on, well, nothing in particular. I had no quarrel with the colour, teal in general being a favourite, but I did come across some reviewers online who took a bit of an objection to it.

But, of course, the Push earphones are hardly about the colour. This is the company’s first push, as it were, into totally wireless territory with a set of buds that are reminiscent of Apple’s AirPods, imitated by many once popularised by the Cupertino giant.

Like the AirPods, the Push has its charging case, but it’s nowhere near the shape or build of the AirPods. The Push’s case is, instead, rather big and clunky and extremely plasticky — but it works well enough. It would cause a bit of a bulge in a pocket. A tiny press button on the case releases the lid allowing you to place the buds inside in a specific indicated position, with the connectors touching. This is where they rest and charge.

You connect the case to power using a USB Type-C cable provided in the box. At this point, four little blue lights come on and I have to say I find them rather blindingly bright, but they at least indicate the battery charge status, which is good. The Push gives you about six hours of playing time, with the case giving you one round of charge when you’re on the go. That’s about average, but should serve most people fine.

Usually, totally wireless earphones are targeted at those who like to take their workout guidance or music along on a run or during exercise. But the Push earbuds are actually not water or sweat resistant, so if you’re a profuse sweater, they may not work for you. They’re also not OK to be wearing in the rain. In India this is not a big deal, as, when it rains, there’s so much chaos on the roads, you really need your wits about you and can’t afford to cut off auditory cues anyway.

Chancy fit

The fit for the Push earbuds is a bit tricky. There are three sizes of silicon ear tips provided in the box, but the device overall fits some people well and some not. This is often the case with these wireless little chunks. They have a little wing attached for stabilisation and have to be twisted and locked into place vertically, whereupon they fit securely for some but fall out for others. Using the default tips, I found they fitted OK but felt a little insecure and could be dislodged if I jumped about with my head tilted — fortunately not a big habit of mine. If you traditionally have trouble with earphone fits, you should probably check them out somewhere before buying online.

If the fit is fine for you and you’re used to loud music, there will be some amount of passive cutting out of outside noise, as there often is with in-ear audio products. But there’s no separate noise cancellation available, and there wouldn’t be at this price point.

The audio quality from these earbuds is nice enough. Nothing spectacular or memorable, but overall balanced and loud. Let’s say that it’s definitely better than the plastic build would have you expect. The higher frequencies can get rather shrill and harsh, so you’ll have to turn it down specially with vocals. Those who want an emphasis on bass may not quite find it here but there is a nice realistic level of bass present. It does very well with clarity and volume. Some find them somewhere in the range of sound quality from Bose and other more expensive earphones.

Just one button

While that’s all just fine, it’s the music controls that are quite baffling. There’s a single big button on either earbud, for which Skullcandy gets points for minimalism. But using those buttons is no lark. If you try to reposition the earbuds, the music will promptly shut off because the buttons turn the sound on or off. The same buttons are used for all other functions: press twice on the right to increase volume, press twice on the left to decrease volume, press and hold for three seconds on the right to skip songs forward, press thrice left to go back a song, press thrice to take a call or summon up the assistant — those who are laterally challenged will get all confused and everyone else may not remember what control to use how. Still, perhaps one gets used to it in the long term.

Price: Rs 9,999

Pros: Good audio quality, light to wear, totally wireless

Cons: Plastic feel, very confusing controls, fit doesn’t work for everyone, not water or sweat resistant, no dedicated app to tune audio

Published on March 29, 2019
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