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Hands-on review: Skullcandy Indy ANC wireless earbuds
Tue, 23rd Mar 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

I'm no stranger to the advantages of noise-cancelling headsets but, Skullcandy's impressive Indy ANC kit is the first pair of active noise cancelling earbuds that I've come across. There's nothing better than being able to shut out background noise when listening to audio, be it gaming or your Spotify playlist.

The kit comes with two Bluetooth in-ear earbuds, a charging case and a USB Type-C cable for charging. There's also a selection of replacement rubber gaskets to cater for different ears.

There are also some replacements for the removable rubber with little handles that aid when pulling them out of the charging case and grip your ears a bit tighter. The replacements have smaller handles. Taking them off makes them look better and fit a bit more comfortably, but are likely to fall out with strenuous activities. If you are just listening to music at your desk, I'd take them off. If you are jogging or even walking about, I'd keep them on. Generally, though, the earbuds are comfortable to wear.

The earbuds switch on automatically when removed from the charging case and switch off when put away. The earbuds were automatically paired with each other, but they can be used independently and repaired manually. Pairing the earbuds with my phone was easy and without fuss.

The earbuds have no physical button. The features are controlled via the touch-sensitive areas with the Skullcandy logo. Audio can be paused, tracked forward/back and the volume adjusted by pressing combinations of the left and right earbud touchpads. Similarly, calls can be answered, voice assistants activated and audio modes adjusted in the same manner. The included user guide details the device setup and all these functions. The is a summary sheet also included that I took a photo of for reference when out and about.

The active noise cancelling works, but the effect is not as dramatic as Skullcandy's sublime Crusher ANC headset. Still, ANC is a pretty impressive feat for a pair of earbuds and enough to drown out the background din of a train carriage.

The actual audio is very nice. The earbuds pump out a meaty bass, but with good mid and high-range as well. Skullcandy doesn't mother you with the volume, either (and it's great that you can adjust the volume using the earbuds without having to reach for your phone), I was able to crank it up to a nice, albeit deafening, level.

The Skullcandy app is the secret sauce if you are using them with an Android or Apple mobile device. The app enables users to test their hearing and create a personal audio profile. The app can also be used to switch noise cancelling on or off. Ambient mode is interesting, using the mic to enhance external noise; useful for cyclists and those walking about a city where situational awareness is important. The Skullcandy app can also be used to switch between the music mode, podcast mode and movie mode audio profiles.

The built-in Tile functionality is a bonus, especially if you are in the habit of misplacing things. Just download the Tile app and pair the individual earbuds with your Tile account. If you do lose an earbud, you've got a better chance of finding it with the app, which can also trigger the earbuds to make a noise.

Fully charged earbuds and charge case will give you up to 32 hours of use. A ten-minute charge allows for two hours of audio playback without noise cancelling.

The Skullcandy Indy ANC wireless earbuds are comfortable to wear, offer good audio and a reasonable level of active noise cancelling. They are nice-looking and fully-featured with a high charge capacity for extended use. As is the norm with Skullcandy products the Indy ANC earbuds are well-constructed and come with a robust charge case.

They are not the cheapest earbuds out there at NZ$249.99/AUD$259.95, but you get a good product for your money.