The market has plenty of wireless headphones, but it is only a few brands that actually offer quality music for audiophiles.
US-based audio equipment maker Skullcandy Inc, which broke into the market in 2003, recently launched its latest offering, the Venue, in India in the sub-Rs 20,000 segment.
The brand has always been synonymous with funky, cheerfully-coloured earphones targeted at the young -- but the Venue is an attempt by the company to break away from that image. The wireless on-the-ear-style headphones boast of active noise cancellation (ANC) and the company also promises a battery life of up to 24 hours.
The Skullcandy Venue is available for Rs 18,999 in the country in two colour options. The matte black colour variant looks every chic. There's a white colour variant too with subtle hints of crimson.
We used the headphones for a few days and here's what we think about it.
Talking about the design, the Skullcandy Venue doesn't scream for attention. It sports a minimalist design aesthetic.
The company's skull logo appears subtle enough (in the black colour variant) to give the impression that it was not there at all.
The slightly oversized oval-shaped ear cups would remind one of the big cans introduced in the 1990s. We loved the sense of nostalgia that they brought.
The company has used memory foam padding underneath faux leather for the cans and the adjustable headband that ensured the device was comfortable for long-time use.
In fact, we used the headphones for almost four hours at a stretch and they still felt comfortable, thanks to the light form factor.
The dedicated physical control buttons on the headphones are aptly placed: The left cup accommodates the power button along with LED indicators (for battery life) and a dedicated active noise cancellation button.
The volume rocker is present on the right cup which can also be long pressed to change tracks. There's an intend in between which made sure we could comfortably pause/play the songs.
The ANC feature creates an immersive listening experience without being overbearing. The dedicated ANC button also let us lower the sound a tad for hearing the outside world, as and when required.
The headphones have 40-mm driver units and a frequency range of 20Hz to 20,000Hz that ensured the audio quality was spot on.
The Venue, surprisingly, produced much balanced sound as compared to other bass-heavy devices from Skullcandy. It was easy to differentiate between individual elements while listening to music.
The "Tile" feature lets users locate and ring-to-find the device via Bluetooth.
The fast-charging capability and battery of the Venue is worth mentioning; we squeezed in almost 23 hours of juice on a single charge which is a bonus considering the price of the headphones.
The company has also bundled a carry case with the headphones which has a solid, rugged feel to it. It is decently-sized and slipping it into a bag won't be a problem in most cases.
A standard 3.5-mm jack sits right next to the Micro-USB port (for charging) which can also be used when you run out of juice.
What doesn't work?
The build quality of the headphones could have been slightly better as it felt creaky and flimsy in the hands.
We also encountered spotty Bluetooth connection and the device often got disconnected especially when we moved around (with the headphones on) while our phone was kept somewhere else.
Conclusion: The Venue is a good attempt by Skullcandy to enter the premium ANC headphones' league. Balanced sound and decent battery life make it attractive in its price segment.
(Krishna SinhaChaudhury can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)