Skullcandy is an audio brand that I have reviewed extensively over the years and the latest true wireless creation from them is the Indy ANC, which costs £89.99. Skullcandy used to have that image that they were only really suitable for teenagers but over the last few years, they have become more of a brand that any age group would feel happy with.
In this review, we will be looking at the Skullcandy Indy ANC which is an upgrade on the previous Indy range. The main difference is the inclusion of ANC (Active Noise Cancellation).
The first impressions of these buds are they offer good sound quality and as with a number of the latest Skullcandy products, they offer the chance of personal sound by audiodo which creates a custom sound profile based on your hearing. The Indy ANC offers the following features:
- Active Noise Cancellation
- 32 hours playback
- Rapid Charge
- Built-in Tile
- Touch Controls
- Ambient Mode
Design of the Indy ANC
The Indy ANC was designed as an alternative to the more expensive Apple Airpods Pro and earbuds with ANC included are now becoming more popular than ever before with a number of well-known brands all offering alternatives to what Apple offer.
The Indy ANC follows that design that quite a few brands follow with small round buds with a short stem. Each bud is angled so that it fits comfortably around the folds of your ear. They also include gel covers that fit over the end of each bud, in the packaging, you get two pairs of Stability Ear Gels (Small & Large Sizes) as well as standard ear gels (Small, Medium & Large). This is done to offer a good level of comfort and make sure the buds stay in your ears even when doing exercise. The Fit also goes to offer a good fit in your ears which prevents you from hearing to much ambient noise.
The buds are very lightweight but I did find after long periods of use my ears did feel a little uncomfortable which was a shame. On a recent bike ride, the buds survived in light rain due to the fact they are IPX4 rated meaning they are water-resistant. They should also work well in the gym when we can return to pumping iron when they are allowed to open.
Moving to the charging case it’s a solid build that passed the shake test. The case is very small and will fit in your pocket. The case on the outside is plastic with a small Skullcandy logo but you have metal insides which protect the buds. The case is finished off with wireless charging technology and you also have a USB-C port at the base of the case if you wanted that cable charge.
Features of the Indy ANC
One of the main features of the Indy ANC is the option to use the Skullcandy app that allows you to personalise your sound using Audiodo. This feature actually offers a hearing test to get the perfect sound levels for that user. The Skullcandy app also allows you to switch between some EQ presets such as Music, Movie & Podcasts.
The buds are set in music mode when you first use them and the chances are most users won’t change them. The Podcast preset reduces the bass at the same time as increasing the vocals. When watching a film the movie preset amplifies everything to give you if you were at the movies sound profile.
Once you have set your perfect sound you also have the ANC mode (Active Noise Cancelling). Normally I would test these in a busy station but due to the pandemic that has not been possible but instead, I have quite a noisy house and the ANC could have been better it did remove about 50% of the outside sound but I wanted to remove all the outside noise but unfortunately this did not happen. If I’m honest the overall sound quality when using the ANC or Ambient mode it was hard to tell the difference.
Speaking of the Ambient mode the point of this is to let in outside noise when listening to music or on a call. It’s ideal if you want your senses about you for example when on a busy street or at a station waiting for a train and don’t want to miss your announcement. It works well for when someone is speaking to you but other sounds it was not much of a difference and I found myself taking the bud out at times.
Other features include touch controls which are quite common for a pair of true wireless. A mixture of taps and long presses allow you to play/pause, volume and track control and be able to switch between ANC or Ambient mode. I found the buds very responsive.
A feature you will see a lot with Skullcandy is the partnership with Tile. You can pair the buds via the Tile app. If you misplace the buds you can send an alert and the buds will start playing a loud sound to help you find them but this will only happen within a limited Bluetooth range so this only works if you have put them down in another room.
The Skullcandy Indy ANC has continued the excellent sound they have produced in other models I have tested only with ANC switched on. I have tested these with a number of different tracks such as Alice Merton “No Roots” and the Indy ANC offer a good level of bass. Listen to something like Freya Ridings “ Lost Without You” and you get clear powerful vocals due to the 6mm drivers.
When listening with ANC switched on it does improve the overall sound you get a fuller sound and this does even give you a little extra volume. Switch off the ANC and the sound is actually significantly different they sound empty when listening to a bass-heavy track. So my suggestion is just to leave ANC switched on but this does reduce the battery life. As mentioned earlier the ANC is not the best on the market but it’s acceptable. If ANC is the key factor when buying a pair of buds maybe look elsewhere.
Unfortunately, the bad news does not stop there the Indy ANC also allows you to make and receive calls but the microphone quality was mediocre which was expected when you consider the distance the mics are from your mouth.
Battery Life of the Indy ANC
The Indy ANC comes with up to 32 hours of playback that is broken down as 9 hours in the and the other 23 hours via the charging case. However, this is with ANC off where the sound quality is not perfect. Switch on the ANC and you get quite the reduction to just 20 hours, that is 5 hours in the buds and just 15 from the case. However, even at these figures they are not bad and will last the whole day and will compete against the likes of Airpods Pro.
However, charging is a real bonus the Indy ANC charging case offers rapid charging along with the fact they are Qi-compatible. The case offers 2 hours of battery life from just 10 minutes of charge. Which is a fantastic feature to have considering I have an STM charge tree in my home office meaning I can top up the battery life and can charge the case even when the buds are in use.
The Skullcandy Indy ANC do have their faults but on the whole, they are not a bad option to consider the rapid charging is a real bonus when using these on the go. The ANC option makes a pair of average sounding buds really shine. When ANC is switched on you get a powerful bass and also increases volume but it’s fair for the best of the market but to get the best you will need a higher price point pair of true wireless. For the price point, these do sound good and the personal sound via audiodo makes it unique to you.
The fit can be comfortable for short periods but my personal experience was after long periods of use they hurt my ears. However, this is just my personal experience when my son used the Indy ANC he had no such issue.
If your budget conscious and want a pair of earbuds these do provide a lot of benefits and with ANC on they sound good have no lag and a rapid charge is an excellent option. However, if ANC is the main reason for your purchase I would look elsewhere and they let in more ambient noise then I would have hoped.
Design: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
Features: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
Audio Quality: 3.0 out of 5.0 stars
Value For Money: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
Overall Rating: 3.8 out of 5.0 stars – 3.75 Stars
Also Read: Skullcandy Crusher EVO
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