When Skullcandy got in touch about their new Push Active earbuds, I was intrigued. Why? The hook is back. The extra piece of plastic that hooks around your ear, for added security, to keep the earbuds in position while exercising. This is a big thing for me, I always tend to favour buds with extra support, so they don’t fall out when running or cycling. The hook might be too much, or maybe it wont, lets find out.
- iQ, a Skullcandy app that syncs with your buds for extra flexibility and options.
- Hands free voice control
- IP55 sweat resistant
- Tile built in, track them if you lose them.
- Bluetooth 5.2
- Battery life upto 44hours, 10hr bud, 34hr via case
Lets start off with the funky colors. The buds come with either a black and orange combo, dark blue and green, or light grey and blue and I’m all for it. We got the black and orange set and the later colour only refers to the internal case colour. So black and orange, black buds and external case, with orange insert. The bud itself looks like any other, with a rubber tip, which leads into a slightly larger base area that will take up the inner area of your ear, like an in ear monitoring system, if you’ve seen them before. From there, a flexible rubber hook that sits around the back of your ear for better support. The bud has a single button, orange, push to use. There is also a small indicator light and some subtle branding.
As you can imagine, the case housing the buds is rather large and it does have some weight to it too. It’s still very much handheld and it will fit within your trouser pocket or bag easily enough. Minimalist in design, the case is matte black with a subtle glossy Skullcandy logo to the top. To the front of the case are four small indicator lights, showing the battery level for the case in increments of 25%. To the rear, a small rubber flap, which covers the USB-C port. The case does include rapid charge, so 10minutes charge will provide 2hours of juice. There is no wireless charging with the case. A very small USB cable is provided in the box, along with some replacement, different sized rubber tips.
Lets talk about this Skull iQ system. Essentially, its a smart assistant, similar to Siri and it’s aim is to make things easier for the consumer. Via the app, a must have to get the most out of the earbuds, you can activate voice control, enabling you to control your content, handsfree. With the Skullcandy app open, you can say “Hey Skullcandy” followed by various phrases to control your content, Open spotify, play, pause, change tracks or volume, and accept calls.
When I read “with the Skullcandy app open”, I thought, surely I dont need to have my phone unlocked with the app open for the voice commands to work?! No, no you dont, all you need to do is ensure the app is open and working in the background for the voice commands to work. Open the app up, wait for the voice prompt stating voice command is active, close your phone, leave it on the side or in your pocket and you’re good to go.
The voice commands work really well. The buds pick up your voice very quickly and all you have to say is “Hey Skullcandy” followed by an action, play, pause, next track, volume up etc. The app isnt limited to just the voice commands, it can also push out firmware updates to the buds which is great. It can also show battery life for each bud, current volume level plus control. There is an equalizer with presets for music, podcast and movie, plus you can customise to suit you. There is an ambient mode, or ‘stay aware mode’, that amplify external sounds to help you have some awareness of things happening around you, cars and alike. Share audio, a neat feature, a bit like sharing one earphone with your friend at school, back in the 2000’s. If your friend has another Skull iQ enabled pair of buds or headphones, you can share music from your smartphone to theirs.
If you didn’t want to use the voice commands, you can use the touch controls. There is a small button on each earbud that’s sits on the outside of the bud, facing the back of your head. It’s position means you can only use it with your thumb, while using your index finger the other side for support. I like it, I like it alot. It’s a rubber push button and depending on how you press it in and each ear, depends on the command, which are all detailed in the instructions.
Audio performance is great, I’m really impressed. Very well balanced sound profile, plenty of low end but it’s not overpowering, with mids and highs keeping up. I listened to a bunch of music, some old school garage, country, chart stuff, all of which sounded great, for this price range.
Putting the buds in for the first time, it was a case of inserting, twisting and then hooking over the back of my ear. They were then into position, they felt very secure but they weren’t tight or felt uncomfortable in any way. I used these while walking and cycling, and at no point did I feel the need to adjust or feel they were falling out. I’m sure these would be fine for joggers, gym goers and alike.
Lastly, battery life sounds good at upto 44hours and I’ve racked up about 14hours over the last week but like any other, the buds continuously charge while in the case. Microphone quality is good, I took one call, one Facetime with them in and had no complaints from the other end .
Overall, the Skullcandy Push Active offer alot for the money. Right now, they’re on sale for just £69.99 and at that price, I’m amazed. At this price point, the audio quality is superior to anything I’ve tried in a long time and the features are plentiful. I have a feeling these will be my new go to for cycling, they really are that good.
For more info and to purchase, head over to the official Skullcandy website.