The Skullcandy Grind Wireless is a fine follow-up to the original Grind, but its media controls can be very fiddly
When I reviewed the original Skullcandy Grind, I thought it was incredible value for money. At around £40, it just couldn’t be beaten on sound and its excellent build quality also exceeded my expectations for a budget headset. The Skullcandy Grind Wireless then, as you’d expect, removes the need for a 3.5mm cable and uses Bluetooth instead. Not only is this more convenient than having to deal with a tangled headphone cable, but it might also serve you well if a certain future iPhone really does do away with its headphone jack as everyone’s expecting.
Being wireless comes at a price, though, as the Grind Wireless costs £70 at time of writing. However, it’s still very competitively priced, as it still has exactly the same great design and overall build quality as its predecessor. There’s the usual vast array of colour finishes available, too, from the comparatively subdued brown and black model I reviewed to decidedly more eye-catching blue and green options.
The metal headband is well-padded, and there’s a small indentation in the centre that conforms to the top of your head. The earcups are equally comfy, and I found the headband didn’t press down on my head during longer listening sessions. My ears also didn’t get too warm wearing the headphones, even on bright sunny days.
The ear cups only have a very small amount of horizontal swivel, so they might not be as easy to fit as other headphones, but generally this wasn’t really an issue. Ideally, it would have been better if they could rotate, but even without this feature the headphones still happily sit round your neck and remain out of the way. In fact, I often forget I had them round my neck at all.
Media controls are found on the side of the right earcup. These allow you to play and pause tracks and adjust the volume. You can also skip tracks by holding the volume buttons down, but this proved very frustrating in practice, as you need to hold them down for around two seconds before it registers the input, which is much longer than other wireless headphones I’ve tested with this feature. The original Grind doesn’t have any buttons, of course, so this was never a problem on the wired version.
It also means that skipping back a track on a Spotify playlist, for example, requires very specific timing. Some apps will automatically skip back a track, but Spotify by default only skips back to the beginning of the track you’re currently listening to. As a result, you’ll need to hold it down once to skip back to the beginning of the track and then let it go and hold it down again to skip back to the previous track. However, if the song starts playing, it will just skip back to the beginning of that same track again, so you need to have ultra fast reflexes to actually skip back to the track you want. This is incredibly fiddly, and it makes using the controls very irritating.
Alongside the media buttons there’s a Micro USB port for charging and a 3.5mm auxiliary jack so you can still connect the bundled headphone cable for when the battery dies or you don’t have a Bluetooth audio source. Battery life is rated at a very respectable 12 hours and I certainly didn’t find myself having to charge it more than once a week. The Grind Wireless also has a built-in microphone means you can use for handsfree calling, which I found worked perfectly in practice.
Sound quality remains unchanged from the original Grind, so the Grind Wireless still sound excellent. There’s a good level of bass presence, giving electronic and hip-hop tracks a pleasing amount of energy, but there’s also plenty of detail in the mids and trebles, making them equally suitable for classical and acoustic music.
At around £30 more than the original Skullcandy Grind, it’s a worthy upgrade if you want to do away with the cable, but the Grind Wireless isn’t quite as fantastic value. At £70, they’re now competing with other Bluetooth headphones, such as my personal favourite, the Plantronics Backbeat Sense. These have dropped in price now and are available for a fraction more at around £90, but are more comfortable and come with other clever features, such as automatically pausing when you take them off your head, making them a better buy overall. Buy Now from Amazon
|Headphones subtype||On-hear headset|
|Headphones impedence||32 ohms|
|Plug type||3.5mm headset jack plug|
|Warranty||One year RTB|