For runners and cyclists, the arrival of true wireless earbuds a few years back was a real game changer. While the transition away from traditional earphones that plugged into our mobile devices to Bluetooth models that delivered audio wirelessly was great step forward, there were still issues to contend with. Most notably, there was still a cord running between the two earbuds, which still had the potential to get snagged on clothing or branches, unexpectedly yanking the our tiny little speaker right out of our ears. True wireless models eliminate that cable altogether rand use Bluetooth technology to keep everything in sync and working together, while also freeing us up completely from the cable. Of course, these types of earbuds also bring their own set of challenges, namely battery life and the potential for losing them, but for the most part they are a fantastic step forward.
As someone who is deep inside the Apple ecosystem, the company’s AirPods have been the standard by which I judge all other true wireless earphones. These audio devices are comfortable, fit nicely in my ears, and have never fallen out in more than a year and a half of active use. They also offer things like dead-simple pairing with an iPhone, the ability to use them across all of your Apple devices with ease, and a host of other functionality, like the ability to auto-pause what audio content when you pull one from your ear. But the AirPods also have one serious flaw that has plagued me several occasions and have made them difficult to recommend to others who workout a lot. I’ll have more on that in a moment, but suffice as to say I have been looking for a good replacement and recently found one in the form of the Skullcandy Push.
The Push are Skullcandy’s first leap into the true wireless market, although I can assure you it won’t be there last. As you would expect, these earbuds are lightweight, very easy to pair with your devices (although not as easy as AirPods for Apple users), and are comfortable to wear even for extended periods of time. The earphones ship with three different sizes of silicon tips to help you find the right size to meet your needs in terms of fit and I can tell you that like the AirPods, I haven’t had them fall out while running once I found the right sizes for my ears.
Sound quality for the Push is quite good. In fact, I’d say it is at least on par with Apple’s offering, with crisp, clear, and bright audio. Bass is rather mild on every true wireless earbuds that I’ve tested, and the Push are no exception, but for the most part anyone who isn’t an audiophile is probably going to really love them. If you are an audiophile you’re probably not in the market for these types of devices to begin with.
Once paired with a smartphone and powered on, the two Push earbuds negotiate a connection between each other in just a matter of a second or two. This allows them to stay in sync and playback stereo audio without much of a hitch. There were a few times where interface caused one or the other earbud to momentarily cut out, but the connection repaired itself quickly and the devices were back in sync without missing a beat.
Both earbuds feature a built-in button that gives the wearer some control over their operation while in use. For instance, those buttons allow you to pause or play music, turn up the volume, or skip tracks. They can also be used to activate the virtual assistant on your phone, such as Siri or the Google Assistant, or take incoming phone calls. Built-in mics make it possible to hold a two-way conversation, although performance varies based on the environment you’re in. At home, in a quiet office, the Push performed nicely, but outside in the wind not so much.
Battery life on Skullcandy’s earbuds is six hours of continuous use, with an additional six hours available through the included charging case. The initial six hours of playback is longer than what Apple offers on the AirPods, although the charging case for those earbuds is faster, provides more charges, and is more compact too. That said, the Push charging case works very well and conveniently has a battery life indicator on the outside of the box, which something that the AirPods could use.
If there is an area that Skullcandy has Apple beat –– at least for now –– its in water/sweat resistance. Early on in this review I mentioned that I had an ongoing issue with my AirPods in which the charging connectors inside the case would continually get oxidized, eventually causing them to not recharge my AirPods. I’ve had my case replaced at least three times and it still continues to happen, although curiously it’s only on the left side. The only explanation I have is that I wear them all the time while running and that water and sweat must be causing the reaction.
This isn’t a worry for the Push because they are IPX7 rated for resistance to water and perspiration. That doesn’t mean you can wear them in the swimming pool but it should be adequate enough to ensure they work fine even after sweaty runs or workouts in the rain. So far, I’ve worn them multiple times in some extremely raining conditions and have had zero issues yet.
The other area where Skullcandy has a leg up on Apple is in price. At $130, the Push earbuds $30 cheaper than Apple’s AirPods. Sure, they don’t offer the same level of convenience for those of us who are Apple diehards, but a $30 difference in price is nothing to sneeze at either. Plus, the ability to resist water and sweat as noted above is a feature that is worth having too.
If you’re in the market for a set of true wireless earbuds, but don’t want to break the bank, the Skullcandy Push are a fantastic option. Yes, you’ll find less expensive models on the market, but they come with a steep drop off in terms of audio quality, build quality, and battery life as well. What Skullcandy has delivered here is nothing short of remarkable, offering a great mix of comfort, performance, and style. That makes the Push very easy to recommend for those looking for wireless earbuds to use on their outdoor adventures.
Find to more on the Skullcandy website.
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