Headphones and Earphones have become a must have for everyone these days for one simple reason – to cut off from the external world for that duration. Headphones started off simple with people using it for their basic music needs. Over the years however, the humble music aid to man evolved to something a lot more powerful and functional,thanks to some superior engineering. Today, not only do headphones give you an unperturbed music experience, they also help you to receive your phone calls without having to even touch your cellphone device. Another major development in the field of headphones has been the introduction of wireless variants. This way, people can enjoy their music without having to worry about the wires getting tangled or breaking by accident.Overall, we can safely say that headphones are here to stay for the long haul. Another evidence of this is the sheer number of headphone makers in the world. While most of us have only heard of known entities like Sony or JBL, there are many others out their which give you the same bang for the buck, and sometimes, even more. One of those brands is Skullcandy. Skullcandy earphones and headphones have been known to be the more wallet friendly of the lot, with users getting splendid music output, for a very affordable price. Another factor that Skullcandy have going for them is their design language. The designers at Skullcandy have been consistently giving the world some really fresh designs, which appeal to both the youth, as well as the more executive level crowd. But now, Skullcandy have gone a step ahead and designed headphones focussed on another bracket of users – The Gym Rats. Don’t get me wrong, but gyming has indeed become a fad since the past few years, more so because Music + Workout has been declared a match made in heaven, so why not make headphones suited for that . Right?
So today, I will be reviewing the very device I mention above and that is, the Gym friendly, Skullcandy XTFree earphones. So lets get right into it –
Design – The team at Skullcandy did some research and found that almost all people who visit the gym, or for that matter, do any sort of workout, absolutely hate the earphone cables slapping their face and torso. Keeping that in mind, they changed their earphone stencil, such that the wire now rests snugly behind your head , while a modified earpiece makes sure you don’t have to worry about the earphones slipping out of your ears every now and then. Another factor to consider was the sweat. Its an obvious fact that where there is gyming , there is sweat ,and where there is sweat, there is always the risk of ruining your precious earphones. So, for those worrying about the sweat factor, you will be pleased to know that the XTFree Earphones and completely sweat and moisture resistant.
Now that you know the basic design, lets get a bit more technical. The Skullcandy XTFree earphones have been designed based on the ‘behind-the-ear’ design model, while an in-line mic and remote control have been provided near the left earpiece, as in most other Skullcandy earphones. While the Exterior of the earphones is Black, its the Eartips and ear fins where Skullcandy have lets their imagination run free. I will take a bold step forward and say that the eartips and ear fins of the XTFree earphones are easily the most colorful pair you will ever see. The overall look has been adopted from that of marbelised rubber while the fitting is snug, designed in such a way that only a minor fraction of ambient noise is allowed in,so as to keep you sufficiently aware of your surroundings, while you are on a jog, or working out.
Coming to the in line remote, its a three button variant. The middle button serves the more important of functions such as receiving calls, Play/Pause and also, pairing. The two buttons act as volume rockers as well as allow you to change the music track playing at that moment, if you wish to. The earphones, being wireless, also feature the standard micro USB slot which will allow you to charge the earphones before use. Skullcandy claims that the earphones will give you 6 hours of use on a single charge, while its fairly obvious that the real capacity will vary based on the volume levels.
Now that we have seen the Design part of the earphones, lets move on to the performance department.
Performance – This aspect of any headphone or earphone is something really tough to review, as everyone has their own tastes and opinions. Let me add my thoughts to the mix as well. The Skullcandy XTFree earphones have been designed keeping the gym crowd in mind, which means that you can expect some thunderous bass that does not distort even a bit at the peak levels. Even at reasonable volume levels, the XTFree dishes out an incredible amount of low frequency presence, probably hinting at the inclusion of a subwoofer inside the earphones. Highs have been amped up as well so as to complement the boosted bass to pin point perfection. Even something as trivial as the strumming of a guitar, in a music track has been given a bump up, giving the user that much more of a rich musical experience. The overall feel of this earphones goes to show that they have been designed for the users who aren’t really critical about the listening experience, and are more concerned about getting their work out done smoothly.
All in all, the XTFree earphones aptly fit the description of ‘Work out Earphones’, as it seems that Skullcandy have all the right boxes ticked. All that remains is the price, and at $99, I don’t think its going to be a problem owning these monsters at all.