Skullcandy Indy Review: Affordable AirPod Alternative Ind(y)eed
Great sound, no wires, and not a bad price
After releasing its first pair of true wireless earbuds, the Skullcandy Push, Skullcandy has now released a new pair of truly wireless earbuds called the Skullcandy Indy. The Indy are completely different looking as compared to the Push and seem more in line in terms of design with the very popular AirPods than its own cousin. Of course, Apple Airpods are a bit on the expensive side with a price tag of Rs. 14,990. The Skullcandy Indy, on the other hand, are priced at Rs. 7,499, making them much more affordable. But does that lower price come with cut corners?
As much as companies would like you to believe that true wireless earbuds do not fall out of ears, let us tell you one thing: they do. The only difference is that some fall out more often than others. The Skullcandy Indy fall in the “others” category in this case. For the Indy, Skullcandy has basically clubbed the design of the button-like buds (like Skullcandy Push and Bose SoundSport) and combined them with the stem-like design of the AirPods. So what you basically get is an earbud with a small stem that extends downwards attached to it. The buds come with ear tips with wings that add to the grip of the buds in your ears and also offer a decent amount of noise isolation.
The buds are made of plastic and have a magnet at the end of the stalk. This magnet (much like in the AirPods) connects the buds to the charging case when you put them in and charges the buds. The back of the buds carries the company’s logo and an LED light which blinks to indicate connection, power on/ power off, and other functions.
The case of the Skullcandy Indy is a step up as opposed to the Push, in terms of sheer form factor. Made from a similar plastic material that the buds are made of, the case has a square-ish shape with rounded edges, just like the AirPods. The only difference is that the case of the Indy is slightly bigger than the case of the AirPods, but it is clear where they have taken inspiration from. And it is not a bad thing, really.
The top of the case carries the Skullcandy branding and the front houses three LED lights that indicate the charge left in the case. On the base sits a micro USB port to charge the case.
The Skullcandy Indy (the buds and the case) have a very ergonomic design. Even though the case is slightly big, the shape of it makes it easy to slip it in any pocket and carry around which is a problem with some true wireless earphones, defeating the very purpose of their existence we think. The Indy also come with IP 55 rating, which means you do not have to worry about getting some sweat on them. We wish Skullcandy had used better materials as the plastic feels slightly cheap and the case of the Indy did not close as perfectly and tightly as we would have liked. That said, the Indy are hands down the best true wireless earbuds in terms of design at this price point.
And more AirPod inspiration
It is not just the design department where the Skullcandy Indy have taken inspiration from the AirPods. One of the biggest positives about the AirPods is how efficiently they pair with your phone and of course, some touch features on the buds. Well, the Indy bring similar (if not same) features to the table.
Pairing the Indy with your Bluetooth device is pretty easy. All you have to do is turn on Bluetooth on your device, open the case, take both the buds out and you find the Indy in your Bluetooth list. Tap on the name and the earbuds will connect to your device. That simple. The buds also have touch-sensitive pads on the back of each earbud that carry out different functions with different commands. For example, a single tap on the right bud will increase volume while a single tap on the left one will decrease it. Double-tap on the right bud will play/pause the music. You have to tap and hold right or left bud to skip ahead or back to the previous track respectively.
Now, we have not been the biggest fans of having controls on the buds, neither tiny buttons or capacitive touch control. That said, we would prefer basic touch control over tiny buttons any day.
The touch control performance on the Indy, however, was rather inconsistent, like most wireless earbuds with touch controls. The buds either do not acknowledge your touch at times or end up executing a different command altogether when they register it. A complication is that even when you are just trying to push the buds into your ear, you accidentally end up triggering some command, which can be a little inconvenient.
Great sound and battery…
Unlike true wireless earbuds under Rs. 10,000 that focus on being just “truly wireless” and forget the first and foremost thing that is important for any pair of earphones, the sounds, the Skullcandy Indy have actually done pretty well in the sound department. We actually were pleasantly surprised at how the earbuds performed. The sound on the Indy is much better than most of the earbuds that we have used in the price segment.
One of the most common issues with many truly wireless earphones is that the audio they deliver is mostly one dimensional. That was not a problem with the Indy. The Skullcandy Indy not only came with loud and clear audio but also offered a decent amount of bass, making the experience more wholesome. Also, as the earbuds come with silicon tips that give them a great grip, the noise also gets isolated (and also letting the buds fit more snugly in your ears), making the audio on the earbuds stand out. The Skullcandy Indy are also one of the very few truly wireless earbuds that we felt comfortable using while working out – those silicon ear tips gave them a good grip.
Just like the AirPods, the Indy also carry their mics on the end of the stem tip. And just like the AirPods, the Indy also are great for phone calls, a rarity in this product segment.
In the battery zone, the Skullcandy Indy again impressed us. The buds could see up to four hours of playback, which is pretty decent for true wireless earphones. Skullcandy also claims that the case can give you up to 16 hours worth of battery before it needs charging itself, which means you can charge your buds at least three times before completely running out of charge. Again, decent enough.
…with a few glitches
That said, we did have a couple of issues with the buds. We often found that the left earbud would abruptly turn off, and will disconnect from the device while the right one (the master bud) would keep going. Getting them to work normally again meant turning the buds off and starting all over from scratch. That can be a little inconvenient. We have also pointed out how the touch controls had a tendency of getting triggered accidentally. The audio on the buds also did not sync with videos on YouTube at times, which was a little annoying. And virtual assistant fans will be disappointed to know that the earbuds do not have support for Google Assistant or Siri as of yet – Skullcandy promises to bring it soon with an update, though.
Your “affordable AirPods”
Priced at Rs. 7,490, the Skullcandy Indy are definitely one of the best truly wireless earbuds we have used under Rs. 10,000. The easily beat their own, slightly expensive cousin, the Skullcandy Push in most departments, including audio and design. Yes, they have a few issues but they draw inspiration from and sometimes even come from to the AirPods in terms of design, functions, and features. The fact that their price is almost half that of Apple’s iconic wireless earbuds makes them perhaps the best option for those who want something like the AirPods but do not have the budget for it. The best true wireless earphones on a tight budget? Yes, Ind(y)eed.
- Ergonomic design
- Easy pairing
- Great sound and battery
- Competitive price
- Touch controls not the greatest
- Abrupt disconnection
- Materials used seem cheap
Skullcandy has clearly got its eye set on the truly wireless earphones market. The brand had grabbed attention with the Push, its first truly wireless earphones. And now come the more affordable Skullcandy Indy, which get rid of wires at half the price of the iconic AirPods. But just how good a deal are they?