Grind Wireless headphones by Skullcandy are the accessory I have been waiting for. I’ve always preferred on-ear headphones over wearing earphones as I find them more comfortable. However, products I’ve tried before were either bulky or tangled in bad design – literally. With Grind wireless headphones, Skullcandy has managed to cut the cord and remove one of the foremost barriers to using on-ear headphones.
Grind Wireless sports an adjustable metal headband with minimal branding. A small Skullcandy logo is on both sides – nothing ostentatious or overdone. There’s faux leather and breathable mesh across the top of the headband for added comfort and the earpads are also covered in padded, faux leather which feels like a super, soft cushion over your ears. They are light-weight and the most comfortable headphones I’ve tried to date. I think that can be attributed to the fact that Grind Wireless has a smaller circumference than average, making them an ideal fit for ladies. Conversely though, the six color and pattern variations available are rather masculine. The closest they come to feminine is a brown and turquoise combination with hot pink cables and an all white pair with red cables and logos. Although they don’t fold into a nice bundle or come with a carrying case, they are sturdy enough to travel with. I recently traveled with B&O play headphones and each time I pulled them from my backpack, I expected them to be broken; beautiful, great sounding headphones but far too fragile to travel with on a regular basis.
I like that Grind Wireless gives you the freedom of connecting wirelessly without compromising other features that are commonly found on headphones. The brand has skillfully placed a built-in microphone in the right earcup so that you can take calls while the device is paired to a smartphone. The right earcup also works as “command central” with Call, Track and Volume Control buttons.
In the box, Skullcandy included a backup AUX cable – just in case you want to plug in – and a USB charging cable. There’s no charger or travel bag which is slightly disappointing but at its price point, I can understand why. But, priced at just 349 AED ($89 USD), I wouldn’t mind paying a little bit more to have those accessories added.
According to Skullcandy, Grind Wireless supports up to 33 feet of long-range Bluetooth wireless connectivity. I used them primarily with my laptop and smartphone which were always well within range. Pairing was a snap. I made sure Bluetooth was enabled on my Galaxy Note 5, pulled the headphones out of the box, pressed the power button and was connected in a matter of seconds. In fact, I got three uses (an hour of streaming) out of the headphones before having to charge them for the first time. Skullcandy asserts that on a fully charged battery, Grind Wireless should last 12 hours. The key to getting that 12 hours is to always disconnect the Bluetooth pairing after use. If not, the headphones will remain on and drain the battery; there is no auto sleep function.
The control buttons are positioned on the back of the right earcup. I like that they are out of sight and placed well for the position you’d naturally place your hand in to use them. I was able to access all of the buttons with minor movement of my thumb. You can also skip tracks by holding the up and down buttons for a few seconds to go backward or forward, respectively. I only used the controls to adjust the volume as it seemed easier to select songs using my mobile.
While paired Grind Wireless becomes the primary audio source for your smartphone. One day, during my walk with the kids, a call came through. I was able to accept the call from my Gear S2 smartwatch which was also paired to my smartphone via Bluetooth. I was pleased to see that the headphones did not interfere with my ability to have multiple devices paired at once. Once the call was disconnected there was about a 10 second delay but the music resumed from where it left off. Multitasking between functions and across several paired devices worked well.
Now, the million dollar question. How do they sound? The short answer. Great. Coincidentally, I received Grind Wireless right around the time that I downloaded Beyonce’s recent album, Lemonade. The very first song I listened to using the headphones was Formation, a track that starts with very distinct electronic hits of a classical guitar, and the clarity was surprisingly good. They also flawlessly delivered the drumline of Alessia Cara’s hit single, Wild Things. All in all, Skullcandy has managed to produce a good looking pair of great sounding headphones at a very reasonable price.