Over the years Skullcandy has built a reputation for themselves by launching products that adhere to the youth, the rebels, the freethinkers and everyone in between. The design philosophy of their headphones range from the funky to the ‘notice-me-now’ and people absolutely love it. The brand is no slouch when it comes to audio quality as well as keeping in line with their design mantra, the output of their products tend to be bass heavy and this appeals to the demographic they target.
Recently, Skullcandy has built upon its headphone portfolio by adding a premium mid-range headphone termed as Riff Wireless aimed at those who want to live life on-the-go as they feature stylish looks, a massive 12-hour battery life, lightweight and durable construction as well bass that said to be bone-shaking.
In our labs, I received a Grey/Teal variant for review and I was excited from the get-go.
Upon unboxing the Riff Wireless, I was actually left wanting. Considering the price of these cans @ Rs 6,000, I expected the brand to package to be refined. Instead, it was packaged in cheap-feeling plastic along with a small box that held the micro USB charging cable and the instruction manual. Not to be deterred, I removed the headphones from the packaging and my initial excitement was dashed. The headphones are really light in weight and appear to be made of plastic that looks too fragile to last the unboxing. It took me just a couple of minutes with it to change my opinion, for the better.
The Skullcandy Riff Wireless comes in a bold design that and keeps up the traditional artistic impression that the brand’s headphones are synonymous with. The headphones come in three colour options, all Black, Blue/Sunset and Grey/Teal. In all honesty, I find all three colour options to be appealing but for me, the Grey version stands out the most because of its subtle Teal accents on the cushions and the branding.
The Skullcandy Riff Wireless are supra-aural headphones which basically mean that they’re of the on-ear variety. It features an overall matte finish that helps in reducing the grit that arises from fingerprint residue. The headphones are made entirely out of plastic and they don’t feel all that sturdy. In fact, if just handled, they feel really clunky and it rattles like crazy. They actually do feel like they will break if a bit of force is applied to them; however, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The headband is really strong and can withstand a lot of tension which surprised me a lot considering how fragile it looked. This helped change my opinion about the build quality quite drastically and I have been impressed ever since.
The earpads are fitted with a faux leather cover over the cushioning that feels extremely soft. The overall feel is very comfortable and I give full marks to the brand for taking this minute point into consideration that can go a long way in its general usability. This plays a massive role for those who use headphones for longer periods as apart from audio quality, comfort is a very important factor while purchasing headphones.
While the earpads are well cushioned, it’s rather strange that the headband has absolutely none. Some headphones come with a rubber padding to keep the headphone from slipping off. With the Riff Wireless, there’s absolutely none. The adjustments are pretty strong though and they don’t easily slip off your head even while undertaking strenuous activities.
The right ear cup is hone to the controls which include a multi-function button that’s used for power/pairing, answering and cutting calls as well as accessing your voice assistant. In this unit, we also find the buttons for controlling the volume as well as changing the tracks. This feature is pretty standard on headphones these days and nothing really special about it. However, it's worth mentioning that it's an easier task to adjust the tracks from the music source as it's not only quicker but also leaves no room for error. Below the buttons is the micro USB charging port that supports a quick charge feature.
Overall, the design of the headphones does gather the right amount of attention and the build quality is something that I have really grown to appreciate despite my initial misgivings.
The Skullcandy Riff Wireless comes with 40mm drivers in each can that can produce a frequency range of 20Hz to 20KHz and has an impedance of 32 Ohms. These headphones don’t have much in the way going for it in terms of features as they are a standard pair without any additional tech embedded in them such as Active Noise Cancelling and auto play/pause. However, these Bluetooth 4.1 headphones do come with features that are on par with products in its price range.
The Riff Wireless features the sweet bass output that Skullcandy is known to deliver. The bass has enough of a punch that resonates in its impact but at times it does have the tendency to spill over into the mids. In certain bass-heavy tracks, I found that the mids would get a bit overwhelmed by the bass and in the process, they tend to recess the vocals. As far as highs go, the reach is sufficient without having the overreaching sparkle that we find on headphones that cost a pretty penny more. This isn’t to say that it lacks the highs, it does and it manages to balance out bass-heavy audio.
The battery life is rated at 12 hours on a single charge and it does have a rapid charge feature that allows you to get up to two hours worth of playback on just a 10-minute charge. During testing, I observed similar battery performance with the volume set to about 50 per cent. However, battery performance also does depend on the volume level and person to person usage.
The Skullcandy Riff Wireless is priced at Rs 6,000 in India and they feature a lightweight design and comfortable ear cushions that can be worn for hours together. While they may feel cheap and you might question its build quality, you can be rest assured that it's built to last. The audio performance is pretty stellar and they definitely appeal to those looking for a bass-heavy sound. Skullcandy’s signature sound delivers in spades and these headphones are certainly ones that should be worth considering....