Spring is in full swing and I’m fully embracing the R’s: rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection, regrowth and rap music. Specifically, the “90s rap/hip hop” playlist on Spotify. And I’ve been blasting said music this week via three new toys by Skullcandy: the Crusher Wireless around-ear headphones, the Method Wireless in-ear headphones and the Barricade Mini wireless speaker.
First, I wish to bestow praise upon the Crusher Wireless. This ‘beaut is damn sleek. I’ve been sporting a pair of the white-color variety and all of the ladies in this ‘hood have been attempting to steal ’em. (Boys, take note. A gift for the lady in your life, perhaps? There’s also the matte black colorway, for those interested.) I’ve managed to thwart the attempted robberies thus far, but I fear my luck may run out. Because underneath the stylish shell is a mean machine that delivers serious bang for your buck ($199.99).
Skullcandy touts this headphone as offering “directional [haptic] bass you can feel,” and I’m certifying that this statement is spot-on. Thanks to an adjustable bass slider on the side of the left ear cup, you can crank these puppies to pure haptic bass bliss. When you’ve got the volume at approx’ 75 percent or above, these things truly bump. Dr. Dre’s Xxplosive is streaming as I pen these thoughts and “xxplosive” is a fitting description of the listening experience.
Explained: When the bass slider is not engaged, the sound is excellent. The treble and mids are crisp and clean and the bass is present but not overwhelming. When you do crank that slider, the fun really begins. Each ear cup houses a 40-mm driver as well as a second 34-mm driver that shifts into gear when activated by the slider. Maxing out the bass is comparable to strapping club-like bumping levels right onto your noggin. If that all sounds like your cup of tea, you’d be hard-pressed to find a comparable product at an equally affordable price-point.
Beyond the Crusher’s bumpin’ bass, there’s a lot to love: Going cord-free is a dream (note: it still has a 3.5-mm audio jack for wired listening); the battery life is extraordinary (up to 40 hours); you can seamlessly take calls, manage music and adjust volume using the built-in remote and microphone; and comfortable memory-foam ear pads allow for extended listening sans irritation and also provide commendable isolation, blocking out exterior sound (crying babies on airplanes, the daily buzz of an office, etc.). A foldable design and included travel bag make for easy storage and transport, as well.
For those seeking an in-ear option, Skullcandy’s Method Wireless ($59.99) boasts many exciting attributes: A sweat-resistant around-the-neck collar and DualLock™ (read: mighty snug) ear buds allow you to focus on your spring skiing, workout, hike, bike, run, climb, etc. without fumbling with your head-gear; Bluetooth wireless connectivity (up to 33 feet) allows for cord-free listening; calls and music can be easily managed via the built-in microphone and remote integrated into the neck collar; and a nine-hour battery life ensures the beats will be flowing non-stop.
We’ve used these headphones running, hiking and rollerblading (under a helmet), and we experienced no slipping nor ear-bud trouble. They’re well suited to a variety of activities. They’re also nice to sport around the office; we appreciate listening to casual tunes and also making and taking calls without any bulk on our heads; the overall package is light as can be and the collar is hardly noticeable around your neck. Final note: The cables tuck into a groove in the collar for a customizable fit and also tidy storage.
The most compact and affordable of Skullcandy’s wireless speaker line-up (including the Barricade, $76.99, and Barricade XL, $169.99), the Barricade Mini ($39.99) delivers portability, “stash-ability” and rugged performance above all else. Both impact and water resistant, this little guy (3.8 x 3.6 inches, 1.8 oz) stands tall in the face of abuse. It also delivers powerful, crisp sound for its compact size. Furthermore, a six-hour rechargeable battery and Bluetooth® connectivity allow you to easily share music on the go. You can play and pause tunes, skip tracks and adjust volume up to 33 feet from your phone with the built-in remote buttons.
We love to use the Barricade Mini outdoors more often than not (a convenient attachment loop allows you to clip it to a backpack, bike, etc.), yet its sleek design makes it a great addition to any room in your home, too. At the end of the day, though, we circle back to that word, “portability” … this thing is ideal for music lovers who are constantly in motion.
And on that note, I leave you with this. Happy listening, folks.