Skullcandy Grind Fuel review

Skullcandy Grind Fuel

Skullcandy recently introduced its latest wireless earbuds names the Skullcandy Grind Fuel. It come with a smart feature technology, hands-free voice control, 40 hours of battery, IP55 Sweat and water resistance, and much more.

Pros

  • Integrated voice assistant
  • Tons of customization within the Skullcandy app
  • Wireless charging
  • Durable and water-resistant

Cons

  • No active noise cancelling
  • No auto play/pause
  • Below average microphone quality
  • No Bluetooth multipoint or high-quality codecs

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Box Content

Skullcandy Grind Fuel
  • Product
  • charging case
  • USB cable
  • Use Guide mannual

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Skullcandy Grind Fuel : Design

Skullcandy Grind Fuel

Both the Skullcandy Grind Fuel earbuds and the charging case are made of hard plastic. Which does not exactly scream premium. The design has the opposite durability: I have no hesitation in throwing grind fuel into my gym bag or walking out in the rain with the IP55 dust and water-resistant build of earbuds.

Charging cases and earbuds are all big and wide. So if you have small ears or small pockets you may want to be clear. The skullcandy includes three ear tip sizes in the box for a secure and comfortable fit. And the earbuds for the first time are fairly easy to connect to the device.

On the iPhone, a notification to connect to the Skullcandy app pops up whenever you open the case. You must approve this connection to access the main selling point of Grind Fuel-Skull-IQ Hands-Free Voice Control. Similar to the “Hey Siri” functionality of Apple AirPods, you can say “Hey skullcandy” to control playback on grinded fuel. When you want to field an incoming call, just say, “Accept” or “Reject.” You can also use Skullcandy voice control to access Siri or Google Assistant and unlock full control over your device (e.g., send text, call, set timer and more).

How do you control the earbuds?

One button on each earbud controls music playback, paired with new devices and launches Spotify Tap, the last Spotify playlist you were listening to. Automatic ear detection from Grind Fuel is absent, so removing earbuds does not interrupt playback.

You can use the Skullcandy app to customize the controls, but below are the default settings.

 Left earbudRight earbud
One tapPlay/pause, answer/end callPlay/pause, answer/end call
Double-tapVolume downVolume up
One tap and 1s holdPower on, Spotify Tap (requires Spotify)Power on
One tap and 3s holdJoin audioShare audio (Skullcandy app required)
Double-press and 1s holdPower offPower off

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Should you download the Skullcandy app?

Skullcandy Grind Fuel

Despite its affordable price, Grind Fuel comes with a plethora of premium software features through the SchoolCandy app, such as tile tracking and audio sharing with other Skull-iQ headsets. Moreover, the battery indicator shows how much interest is left in earbuds, while firmware updates download the latest security and features on earbuds.

Furthermore, personalized sound attributes test the hearing and create an EQ profile accordingly. As we have seen from companies like Jabra and Beats. There is also the option to create a custom sound profile with a five-band equalizer to change the sound of earbuds to your liking.

You can toggle “Stay-Aware” mode to amplify environmental sounds, which is an easy way to stay aware of your surroundings while enjoying music. Additional customizations include the ability to adjust onboard button controls on each earbud (one, two or three taps). This extends touch control and gives you the option to take a photo, drop or revert to the previous track, adjust the volume, activate your assistant and toggle Spotify Tap.

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Skullcandy Grind Fuel : Sound Quality

Skullcandy traditionally targets workout and entry-level audio markets, where people tend to pick a little more bass into their music. The default skullcandy grind fuel frequency response is no different and has a very bass-heavy sound.

The bass notes sound twice as loud as the mids, which leads to audible masking (while loud sounds become harder to hear relatively quietly). You will find that the vocals and other instruments lack a little detail and clarity. I see Ed Sheeran’s bad habits catch the auditory masking at 1:00 when kick drums and bass lines affect vocals and guitar.

How well does the Skullcandy Grind Fuel block out noise?

When it comes to noise control, skullcandy struggles to keep pace with grind fuel competition. Without sound cancellation, you have to rely well on silicone ear tips to block any environmental noise. Skullcandy’s ear tips intercept some high-frequency accidental sounds, but will not drown out any low-frequency sounds, such as thunder from an airplane engine. These are definitely not earbuds to get if you travel frequently or travel. External sounds will overwhelm your audio, forcing you to turn on your music and potentially damage your hearing.

How should you equalize these earbuds?

You can fix auditory masking problems by applying custom EQ in the Skullcandy app. For more accurate sound, lower the 60Hz frequency band and boost the 12kHz frequency band within a custom EQ.

Since there is no ANC in the grinded fuel, earbuds sound different than in a quiet room in a noisy environment. The roar of the engine can drown out the low-frequency in your music, which can make you wonder where all the bass went.

How good is the microphone on the Skullcandy Grind Fuel?

There’s nothing like writing about microphones on Skullcandy Grind Fuel earbuds. They’re not as obvious as microphones on more expensive earbuds like the Apple AirPods Pro. In addition, microphones struggle to contain environmental noise, so people may struggle to hear you on the call when you are walking on busy streets.

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Skullcandy Grind Fuel : Battery

Earbuds are rated for 9 hours on a single charge, with a total of 40 hours of playback, including a charging case. In our battery test of continuous playback at 75dB (SPL), the earbuds lasted only 5 hours and 56 minutes. While this is less than the promise, it is the equivalent of other true wireless earbuds.

An included USB-C cable charges the case, providing 120 minutes of playback with a 10 minute charge with fast charging. The case also supports wireless charging, so you can power up earbuds with a Qi wireless charger.

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Skullcandy Grind Fuel : Connectivity

Skullcandy Grind Fuel only supports the standard SBC Bluetooth codec. Which means there is no substitute for high-quality streaming on iPhones or Android devices. While this is a bit confusing, Grind Fuel is for active listeners, not for audiophiles. Bluetooth 5.2 keeps grind fuel connected to the device and this Bluetooth version offers efficient power consumption. Listeners can use earbuds in stereo or mono mode, which is responsible for people with hearing loss.

If you do not want to download the mobile app, you can remove the earbuds from the case and attach the grind fuel to your phone. A tone indicates that the earbuds are turned on, and then the voice will say, “Ready to attach.” Then, both earbuds will pulse red and blue when in pairing mode. Once you notice the flashing, open your device’s Bluetooth settings and select “Grind Fuel” from the detectable devices.

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Verdict

At $100 USD, Skullcandy Grind Fuel makes an amazing offer. The Skullcandy app has enough features to satisfy any user, and build quality is enough to survive the rough parts of life. Noise control is also very convenient for those who are often busy with their hands.

The most important decision to make before buying grinded fuel is whether or not you need an ANC. As new affordable ANC earbuds pop up every other day, it is harder and harder to recommend earbuds that are lacking.

Last but not least, if you don’t frequently find yourself in a noisy environment and just want durable true wireless earbuds with lots of customization options, Skullcandy Grind Fuel won’t be disappointed.

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What are some alternatives to the Skullcandy Grind Fuel?

Listeners who want many of the same features as the Grind Fuel with a more secure fit might want to look into the Skullcandy Push Active. This includes hooked earbuds that remain secure no matter how you move. The Push Active is about as well built as the Grind Fuel, which is to say that build quality is only okay. Still, you get plenty of software features and hands-free access to your favorite voice assistant, making it a unique pick among a sea of options.

If you don’t need all the features of the Skullcandy Grind Fuel and want earbuds that just work, check out the Beats Studio Buds. As the name implies, these earbuds (literally) strip away all the fancy coating and deliver solid all-around performance for under $150 USD.

For one of the best bangs for your buck, you may want to look into the Jabra Elite 7 Active. This includes a wireless USB-C charging case, stabilizing wing tips, and support for mono playback. There’s nothing too special about this headset, but for less than $170 USD, you get app support with multiple EQ preset options.

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Frequently asked questions

Do I need an iPhone to use these earbuds or can they be used with an Android phone?

You can use schoolcandy earbuds with any smartphone on Bluetooth. Most, if not all, true wireless earbuds work with iOS and Android. Some features may be missing if there is an application that is only available on one or the other OS, but it can transmit all audio and handle phone calls. Here is the link to the Skullcandy app for Android.

How does the Skullcandy Grind Fuel compare to the Skullcandy Push Active?

The Push Active features a more secure wrap-around design but lacks wireless charging. It’s cheaper than the Grind Fuel, but be mindful of how large the charging case is.

How does the Grind Fuel compare to other Skullcandy earbuds?

The biggest difference with Skullcandy Grind Fuel compared to previous generation earbuds is the Skull-IQ technology that enables voice-control functionality. Other new features include Spotify Tap, tile tracking and wireless charging.

How to update Skullcandy Grind Fuel?

Firmware updates will be indicated on the home page of the Skullcandy application. Just press the “Update” button and make sure your earbuds are charged and stay connected to your device throughout the updating process.

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