Every time I pick up a Skullcandy product I get the feeling I’m entering a Hell’s Angels world. But Skullcandy is a very acceptable brand and has been bringing out some very interesting audio products over the years. Its latest is the Crusher ANC wireless headphones, which comes with some unique features.
The Skullcandy Crusher ANC wireless headphones does not have a loud design and though I would not personally pick up the red unit that came for review, there is a black that is pretty stylish and subtle. The earcups are large in a slightly oblong shape and envelope your ears fully. The foam is soft and comfortable for long hours, so is the headband.
The headphone is called Crusher and you can feel this on your skull with the two ear cups exerting enough pressure to stay in place and keep some of the ambient noise out even without the noise cancellation.
The Skullcandy Crusher has a bass adjust toggle on the left along with the power/pairing button and play/pause as well as volume buttons on the right. Different types of clicks on these buttons also lets you control your playlist or take calls. A three finger long press on the left earcup lets you switch to ambient mode in noise cancelling.
One unique feature of the Skullcandy Crusher is the ability to personalise audio for the user’s ears. This is done via the Skullcandy app and involves listening to some sounds across frequencies and giving your feedback. This takes a few minutes to do and can be saved as an audio profile. This is a pretty good feature and tunes the headphones to the user’s hearing, not taste.
Now, the app does nothing else and does not even offer an equaliser or ANC controls, which is a waste of the space on my phone among other things. Why Skullcandy can’t do this is beyond me.
The other unique feature is the haptic bass on the headphones. The toggle on the left can be used to push up the bass. But this is haptic bass and you can actually feel the vibration on your ears. It works well for the bass fans, but you also get a ear massage in the process when you are at the higher levels.
Then the Skullcandy Crusher has an inbuilt Tile which lets you locate the headphones in case you misplace them somewhere. You have to use the Tile app to configure this and this is not included in the Skullcandy app. My iPhone could recognise the Tile in the headphone via the app, however after this comes a verify step where you have to hold the press the power and pause buttons simultaneously to clear the task.
I did fail miserably in getting past this step despite multiple attempts. In fact, I felt I was better at playing my son’s Switch games than this. An unnecessary hurdle that prevented me — and could prevent paying users — from using the feature.
Now, let’s come to core part of any headphones, the music. First, the noise cancellation is good and manages to keep most of the ambient noise out. The audio profile of the Skullcandy Crusher is good, especially at higher volumes. It does sound a bit muffled at the volumes that are lower, almost as if the higher volumes let the headphone express itself better.
Before you amp up the base using the toggle, the profile is more or less neutral and ideal for all kinds of music. I enjoyed listening to AR Rahman’s Kadal, one of my all-time favourite albums that also offers a wide range of music that can test any headphone. However, I have to say this is not the best headphone I have listened to in this price range. So you should test out other headphones before you decide.
The battery life is good for at least six hours of noise cancelled music at high volumes and more if you just want the ANC which is what I do often, especially on flights.
Overall, the Skullcandy Crusher seems like an opportunity missed. The audio offers a lot of potential, but the overall experience can be better, especially since this is going to compete with some top dogs from Sony and Bose. Buy this if you are a Skullcandy fan and love a lot of bass.