Skullcandy Grind review

Comfortable on-ear headphones are somewhat hard to come by, as they either have a very strong clamp or a set of thin, small-diameter headphone pads. The Skullcandy Grind is the exception: an on-ear headphone which, unlike its competitors, comes with a large 40mm driver that has a flat ear pads, a detachable cable, and also have the ability to take calls and control your smartphone’s music. Here's our Skullcandy Grind review.

Skullcandy Grind review: Price and competition

The Skullcandy Grind was originally launched at £39.99 and £44.99 depending on the colour you chose (there's a choice of ten different colours). However, you can buy the Grind for just £28 on Amazon (we received the Atg/Black/Cream coloured headphones), making it an extremely affordable headphone, given its features.

There are a few on-ear headphones which offer the same features, and rivals include SoundMAGIC P21S at around £50, the AKG Y50 found at around £50, and the Sony MDRZX310 found at around £17.

For more on those, see: Best budget headphones 2016

Skullcandy Grind review: Build quality, design and comfort

The Grind’s build quality is good, and it's a surprise to see a detachable 3.5mm cable at this price. The Grind is terminated by a gold-plated right-angled 3.5mm jack and plugs into the headphones on the left-hand side driver through a straight gold-plated 3.5mm jack.

The cable is made out of a colourful braided fabric, which looks great but causes microphonics (cable noise) when brushed against clothing. This isn’t normally an issue for most headphones which, unlike earphones, often negate cable noise through their headband assembly. Unfortunately, this is not the case with the Skullcandy Grind where there’s audible cable noise. You should note that the headphones come in a variety of different colours and therefore the cables also differ based on the headphones’ colour scheme. We can only comment on the cable we tested.

Moving to the headphones themselves, we found them to be well designed, especially with their one-button control (which Skullcandy calls TapTech), which can be used to answer/reject calls, play/pause music and has skip/previous functionalities for your music. The button is placed at the bottom of the headphone’s left-side driver, where it’s easy to press and use. This is great for those using the headphones with mobile phones, as it makes listening to music easier and less of a hassle through busy commutes.

Read more: Best sounding phone 2016.

The headphones have a set of soft, rounded pads, which doesn’t have an indent as other on-ear headphones do. This means the Grind headphones are very comfortable, as no matter the size of your ears, they sit softly on them. However, when it comes to noise isolation and sound leakage (when music can be heard by people around you) the headphones have serious issues. Due to its design, the headphones do leak music and you’ll find yourself also struggling to have good isolation, be it at home or on a busy commute, where isolation is important. Essentially, in order to be comfortable the Grinds are sacrificing isolation and for some that will be a deal breaker.

Skullcandy Grind review: Sound quality

Sound quality was a pleasant surprise. Powered by its 40mm drivers the Grinds sound good, especially in comparison to other on-ear headphones around this price.

We found them to have a decent sub-bass extension, where they would produce a reasonable amount of deep bass before being cut-off in the lower-end frequencies. Its mid-bass slam was tuned correctly, where it wasn't overpowering the mid-range but nor did it lack impact. However, we did find the mid-bass to be a little uncontrolled, where it lacked refinement and precision.

The mids are a little recessed and therefore sound a little pushed back, which gives the Grind headphones a slightly V-shaped sound. The highs are reasonably well extended, but rolled off at the top-end, which is a shame as this means there's a lack of sparkle at the top-end. 

Finally its soundstage provides a reasonably open sound, which adds a decent width to music. Unfortunately, we did find the sound to be a little shallow and lacking in depth. This is down to its physical driver cup size, which is quite flat and therefore doesn’t give the drivers room to produce a deep soundstage.

Overall the Skullcandy Grind headphones don’t produce an audiophile-grade sound, but given their price provide a good fun-sounding headphone that can be enjoyed for hours without discomfort

Skullcandy Grind: Specs

  • Speaker Driver: 40mm
  • Impedance: 33 Ohms
  • THD: <0.1% (1mW/500Hz)
  • Cable Length: 1.2m
  • Jack: Gold-plated right-angled 3.5mm
  • Weight (without cable): 170g
  • Speaker Driver: 40mm
  • Impedance: 33 Ohms
  • THD: <0.1% (1mW/500Hz)
  • Cable Length: 1.2m
  • Jack: Gold-plated right-angled 3.5mm
  • Weight (without cable): 170g

OUR VERDICT

The Skullcandy Grind provide a fantastic value-for-money sound, which coupled with its removable cable design, one-button remote, comfortable pads and their funky looking design make them a good value buy at £28.

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