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Reviewed on Aug 15, 2017

Skullcandy Grind Wireless HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
6.5
Mixed Usage
7.2
Critical Listening
6.2
Commute/Travel
6.8
Sports/Fitness
6.6
Office
5.8
TV
5.5
Gaming
Type : On-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Skullcandy Grind are versatile and comfortable on-ear headphones. They have an above-average sound, they're lightweight and surprisingly comfortable for an on-ear model. However, they're not as portable as some of the other on-ears we've tested, and they do not block a lot of noise so they won't be the ideal headphones for loud environments.

Test Results
Design 6.8
Sound 7.2
Isolation 4.8
Microphone 6.2
Active Features 6.2
Connectivity 6.1
Pros
  • Above-average sound quality.
  • Sturdy and comfortable design.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Less portable than most on-ears.
  1. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  2. Update 9/28/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here

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6.8

Design

The Grind have a simple and sturdy design, with few moving parts and a great control scheme. They're one of the best on-ear headphones we've tested so far and they are more comfortable than a lot of other on-ears we've tested. They're also sufficiently stable to jog with but won't be the ideal headphones for more demanding activities like running and working out. They don't have any folding joints, which makes their design more durable but also less compact since you can't fold them. 

Style

The Skullcandy Grind have a straightforward on-ear design that will work for some. They have thin but large metal frame and small circular ear cups. They don't have any folding hinges, so they have a very minimalistic look with few moving parts. They also come in a couple of color schemes that will stand out a bit more than the black color variant we've reviewed.

7.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.4 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0.7 lbs

The Skullcandy Grind are surprisingly comfortable on-ear headphones. They're lightweight, and the padding on the ear cups is soft. They're comfortable to wear for hours, unlike most similarly designed headphones which put quite a bit of pressure on your ears. However, the headband is not as decently padded as the ear cups.

7.4 Controls
Ease of use : Decent
Feedback : Good
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : No

The Skullcandy Grind have an efficient and easy-to-use control scheme. The button layout is good, and the buttons are responsive providing track-skipping, call/music, and volumes controls. The buttons may be a bit difficult to distinguish by touch a lone at first, but they don't take too long to get familiar with.

7.2 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 3.6 C
5.9 Portability
L : 6.8 "
W : 6.4 "
H : 2.6 "
Volume : 117 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The Skullcandy are relatively small on-ear headphones that unfortunately do not fold into a more compact format. This makes them less portable than other on-ears we've reviewed and a bit more of a hassle to carry around on your person if you don't have a bag.

0 Case
Type : No case
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A
7.0 Build Quality

The Grind have an above-average build quality. The headband is a thin but has wide metal frame that feels durable and sturdy enough for most use cases. The ear cups are not especially dense but can easily withstand a shoulder height drop unscathed. However, the audio cable from the headband to the ear cups are exposed and could get damaged from regular wear and tear and head band although sturdy does not feel very flexible and could get bent out of shape with enough force.

7.0 Stability

These headphones are quite stable. They're able to maintain their position and fit during casual listening sessions. Their wireless design also prevents them from being yanked off your head because the audio cable got hooked by the something. However, they are not designed for sports and will start to slip off your ears during high-intensity activities like running or working out.

Cable
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS

Comes with three cables; a 1/8 TRS audio cable, another a 1/8" TRRS audio cable with an in-line remote and a USB charging cable.

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Headshots 1
Headshots 2
7.2

Sound

The Skullcandy Grind is a decent-sounding pair of closed-back on-ear headphones. They have an excellent and extended Bass and a good Mid Range. However, their Treble can be a little too sharp, and their Bass is prone to inconsistencies across multiple subjects. They also have an average Soundstage, Imaging and Distortion performance.

9.1 Bass
Std. Err.
:
1.39 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
13.54 Hz
Low-Bass
:
0.57 dB
Mid-Bass
:
1.49 dB
High-Bass
:
1.89 dB

Excellent Bass Range performance. Low-frequency extension is at 14Hz which is great. The overall response is virtually flat and only slightly over our target. This will give more emphasis to Bass Range of these headphones.

7.9 Mid
Std. Err.
:
2.77 dB
Low-Mid
:
1.16 dB
Mid-Mid
:
-3.59 dB
High-Mid
:
0.53 dB

Very good Mid Range performance. Low-mid is only slightly over our target, and it is the continuation of the high-bass overemphasis. The dip surrounding 700Hz pushes vocals/leads to the back of the mix, but at -4dB the effect will be subtle. High-mid is well-balanced but shows a tilt favoring the Treble frequencies.

6.2 Treble
Std. Err.
:
4.96 dB
Low-Treble
:
2.08 dB
Mid-Treble
:
1.73 dB
High-Treble
:
-6.97 dB

Mediocre Treble Range performance. Low-treble is over our target by about 2dB, giving a bit of excess presence to the sound. Treble has a 5dB bump between 5KHz and 10KHz, making these headphones sibilant and piercing to those with sensitive ears.

7.1 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.58 dB

Average consistency. The Bass Range of the Grind is susceptible to inconsistencies depending on the positioning preference and head shape of the user. The maximum deviation we measured was -3dB at 300Hz which is quite significant. The consistency in the Treble Range, however, is very good.

7.9 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.23
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
1.16
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
2.73
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
8.81
5.5 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
3.13 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
1.9 dB
PRTF Distance
:
10.26 dB
Openness
:
6.0
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
3.9
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.0 dB
6.4 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
4.439
Weighted THD @ 100
:
34.725

Mediocre Harmonic Distortion performance. The overall amount of harmonic distortion is low, and the Bass distortion is well-controlled under heavier loads. However, the spikes in the Treble Range could make those frequencies harsh and piercing.

4.8

Isolation

The Skullcandy Grind have a poor noise isolation performance. They only block noise passively, and unfortunately, the small on-ear ear cups do not prevent noise from easily seeping into your audio. This means you may struggle to hear your music in loud environments making, the Grind a below-average option for traveling and commuting. They also leak quite a bit at higher volumes so they may be slightly distracting to the people around you in quieter settings.

3.9 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-9.91 dB
Bass
:
0.4 dB
Mid
:
-1.42 dB
Treble
:
-28.48 dB
Self-Noise
:
16.31 dB

Poor Isolation. These on-ear headphones do not isolate at all in the Bass Range, and only 1.5dB in the Mid Range. In the Treble Range, they achieve about 29dB of isolation, which is decent.

6.6 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
41.88 dB

Average Leakage. The significant portion of the Leakage is spread between 500Hz and 6KHz which is a relatively broad range. However, the overall level of Leakage is not too loud.

6.2

Microphone

Integrated
:
Yes
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A
6.4 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
261.43 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
3.36 dB
HFE
:
3368.2 Hz
Weighted THD
:
3.504
Gain
:
18.51 dB
6.0 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
12.69 dB
6.2

Active Features

The Skullcandy Grind have an above-average wireless range but high latency. They're not really suitable for gaming or for watching movies but should be fine for listening to audio. They also have a good battery life of 15 hours, better than the JBL T450BT, but lack a few power saving features that would have made their battery performance better. Unfortunately, they have no app or customization options, which is a bit disappointing.

6.8 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
:
15 hrs
Charge Time
:
1.7 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
No
Audio while charging
:
No
Passive Playback
:
Yes

The Grind delivers up to 15 hours of continuous playback at average volumes. They also don't take too long to fully charge at 1.5 hours. Unfortunately, they do not have an auto-off timer to help prolong their battery life, and you can't use them while they are charging. On the upside, they can be used completely passively even when the batteries are dead.

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

No compatible app.

6.1

Connectivity

6.0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
4.1
Multi-Device Pairing
:
No
NFC Pairing
:
No

These headphones are Bluetooth compatible but don't support NFC. If NFC is a must-have for you, take a look at the Sony WH-CH400.

9.1 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
PC Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
7.9 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
39 ft
Line of Sight Range
:
100 ft

The Skullcandy Grind have an average wireless range (see our recommendations for the best on-ear wireless headphones). They reached up to 39ft when the Bluetooth source is obstructed and 100ft in direct line of sight. This makes them slightly worse than average in direct line of sight, but they should still be a decent option to use at home or the office. Unfortunately, they lack an NFC chip which makes their pairing procedure a bit tedious.

3.1 Latency
Default Latency
:
176 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

These headphones do not support any additional codecs. This means their base SBC latency is about 165ms which is fine for streaming music but maybe become an issue when watching videos or gaming. The slight sync issues are even more prominent on high frame rate content.

In the box

  • Skullcandy Grind Wireless Headphones
  • Audio cable (x2)
  • USB cable
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

The Skullcandy Grind are one of the best closed-back headphones we've tested in this price range. See our recommendations for the best headphones under $50 and the best wireless headphones under $100.

Sony WH-CH500 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Overall, the Skullcandy Grind are better headphones than the Sony WH-CH500. Their sound quality is better, and their on-ear design is more comfortable. They can also be used wired, even if the battery is dead, and they don’t feel as cheap as the Sonys. On the other hand, the WH-CH500 have a slightly better battery life with power saving features, which the Grind lacks, and have better wireless range.

JBL T450BT Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Skullcandy Grind are much better on-ear headphones than the JBL T450BT. The Grind have a great build quality for their price, they're also a lot more comfortable than the T450BT. The Grind also have longer battery life, a slightly better-balanced sound quality, and a headphone jack so you can use them wired with most devices, unlike the JBLs. On the other hand, the JBLs have a more compact and portable design that folds and can even fit into some larger jacket pockets. They're also lighter and leak a little less at high volumes.

Sony WH-CH400 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Skullcandy Grind Wireless are more comfortable on-ear headphones that can also be used wired. They’ll be more versatile than the Sony WH-CH400 and they are noticeably more durable too. These headphones will sound fairly similar, but the Grind will have a more accurate bass for most, with a slight V-shaped sound profile. They also take about half the time to charge, which is nice. However, the Grind don’t support NFC like the CH400 do, but you can use them wired, and also get an in-line microphone, which the Sonys are lacking.

6.5 Mixed Usage

The Grind are decent mixed usage headphones. They're quite comfortable for an on-ear design, they have an efficient and easy-to-use control scheme and a sturdy build quality. Unfortunately, they do not block enough noise for commuting, and they're slightly too unstable for sports. On the upside, they deliver an above-average audio reproduction which should be good enough for most listeners.

7.2 Critical Listening

Above-average for critical listening. They have a decently balanced audio reproduction that caters well to instruments and vocals. Their bass is not too overwhelming but the Treble range can sometimes be a bit too sharp on some tracks. Unfortunately, they don't have the best Soundstage due to their small and closed-back ear cups but they should sound good enough for most listeners.

6.2 Commute/Travel

Mediocre for commuting. They a lot of noise seep into your audio which is not suitable for the loud environments involved in commuting.

6.8 Sports/Fitness

Average for sports. They're wireless with an easy to use control scheme and they do not get too hot when exercising. However, they are not the most stable and ear cups sway a lot while running which is not ideal for sports.

6.6 Office

Average for office-use. They have an efficient and easy to use control scheme, but they're a bit leaky at high volumes and they won't block the noise of a particularly lively office.

5.8 TV

Below-average for home theater. Unless you use these headphones wired they won't be the best for watching videos as their latency will cause some sync issues. On the upside, they're above average comfortable so they should be ok to wear for a couple hours.

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