Message from the editor: Here at DRN we have pride ourselves on being independent and unbiased in our work since day one. The passing of the baton from Martin to myself does not change our approach. As our readers would have noticed, this year we have been bringing more editors onboard, more viewpoints, more diversity. And on that last note, we have on our team the grey, the black, the brunette, the ginger and now we have the blonde to complete our colour gamut. Joanna is our latest recruit to the team. I will let Jo introduce herself with her review of the Skullcandy Evo.
I have had a lifelong fascination with learning about how things work. My mum always had to apologise, to all the technicians or tradespeople that came to our house, that I was just watching what they were doing as I was curious to know the process involved. Given my two, much older brothers had long moved out of home, whenever there was anything to repair, whether it was our VCR or even a door that had come off of our display cabinet, I was always eager to fix it. This innate interest led to me working in automation engineering, for over a decade now. I am also studying Mechatronic Engineering to further enhance my skills. So when Kevin Cheng, Editor-in-Chief of DRN, suggested that I come on board as an editor, I leapt at the opportunity to be able to have access to an even greater range of technology that I can explore and assess.
As my first review I was kindly given a pair of Skullcandy Indy Evo earphones, that I happen to be using right now whilst I write this review, as I’ve long found I do such tasks better when listening to music.
The Skullcandy Indy Evo earphones came nicely packaged. The earphone case, that seconds as a charger, is a very convenient size that easily fits most pockets and is a nice, sturdy design. It comes with a few different sized ear buds to ensure a good fit, as well as a spare pair of earphone covers, which is always handy to have. The quick user guide made it super easy and seamless to get going and pair the Indy Evos to the phone. I find them particularly comfortable to wear. As far as fit and comfort, they feel quite similar to my JBL Endurance Run earphones, without the hassle of wires that inevitably get tangled in gym equipment or caught on other things. Also, no more having wires tangled in a bird’s nest amongst everything that is in the abyss that is my handbag.
Whilst different to the typical tap configuration of most headphones, 2 second tap on the left for previous track and 2 second tap on the right for next track makes intuitive sense, which I haven’t found to be hard to remember. Also, a single quick tap on the left to turn volume down and a single quick tap on the right to turn volume up. Although, I did find that it took a while longer to get accustomed to tapping properly, 3 quick taps, to get the phone assistant to be able to make calls.
They certainly don’t have the same depth of sound as my Sennheiser Momentum II headphones, but for the comfort and convenience of the Skullcandy Indy Evos, I would gladly pick them instead. Their level of bass is particularly impressive for a pair of earphones, rather than headphones; they definitely do pack a punch.
Even during exercise, they stay in place well and are better than getting cords tangled on gym equipment or having a heavy set of headphones slip off your head, as you try to lift weights. To ensure that there were no interference issues, I connected them to my phone alongside my Polar H10 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor and it all worked seamlessly.
With having the option of just using one earphone, in solo mode, it makes for a convenient Bluetooth handsfree kit. Due to often being time poor, I more often than not makes calls when I am driving. This is one pair that I consistently received feedback that I could be heard clearly and that background noise or interference didn’t get picked up.
With the Indy Evo lasting 6 hours from fully charged and the case being able to recharge them 4 times over, I haven’t found myself running out of battery, over the course of my normal day. Particularly with naturally finding myself putting them back in their case, when not using them, they quickly recharge. At least even for someone like my partner who is far less likely to part with them over the course of the day, with putting them back in the case and having the case plugged into power, you get 4+ hours of play time in just 10 minutes. The case also 4 LED lights, so you can see the charge status of the case, when you open the lid.
With my partner immediately eyeing off my earphones, it was reassuring to know that with the Tile tech that I’ll know if he does take them. In general, as someone that is at times a little absent minded and who possibly has been known to lose their phone stylus, without being able to locate it again, it’s advantageous that with Tile I will be able to locate the earphones. Without the feature of Tile, I would be far more reticent about where and when I use them. The process of attaching them to the Tile app was easy and quick. With a few test runs of the app, I was easily able to find the earphones when placed randomly within my environment. I did discover, that unlike most normal Tiles, you cannot share the location of the earphones, with another person.
In these changed times, with a lot of us now predominately working from home, it’s become all the more crucial to be able to create our own spaces without needless noise interruptions. The Evos worked perfectly to be able to tune out my partner being on the phone, while I was trying to work. Not to say that there might not be a couple of enthusiastic co-workers that I also wouldn’t mind a little bit of quiet from, once I return to working in the office. On that same note, due to how well they do block out other sounds, I would only use both earphones in ambient mode, if I were to be walking by myself. I was pleasantly surprised at well I could still hear things in my surroundings, when using ambient mode. All the other earphones I’ve had over the years, I always had to use only one at a time due to situational lack of awareness. I certainly never felt safe enough to use headphones for the very same reason. So now with the Indy Evos, it is a welcome change to be able to still have stereo rather than mono sound, without risking my safety.
Whilst it only occurred a couple of times that I unintentionally put the earphones into solo use, I found the easiest to go back to using them as a pair was by putting the ear phone that was disconnected into the charger and then pulling it back out. That only works provided they are still paired to each other.
It wasn’t till my partner accidentally unpaired them from each other, that I found that I had difficulty in getting them to recognise each other. In part, that would have been due to having found many online guides and videos with outdated ways of re-pairing. So to save anyone else any frustration, for what is otherwise a great product, here are the steps that worked for me:
- Delete Indy Evo from your phone’s Bluetooth paired list (there should be 2 entries).
- Turn off phone’s Bluetooth.
- Put both earphones in your ears (just so you can hear the commands) and hold down the button on both till both say, “turning off”
- Then hold the button on both again, it’ll go through “turning on”, “pairing” and finally “turning off”. This second time is to factory reset them.
- Put both earphones into the case without accidentally touching the buttons. Red charge lights should appear on both.
- Wait 20 seconds.
- Take the left earphone out, followed by the right earphone shortly after.
- Both should be blinking blue. Wait about 30 seconds. At that point they should have found each other. The left one should be flashing red and blue, and the right just blue, indicating that they are ready to pair to your phone. (If this is not the case, repeat Steps 3 to 7).
- Now turn on your phone’s Bluetooth, when prompted, click pair to Indy Evo (only one should appear in the list at this point). Once successfully paired, the single entry will change to two).
- Now you’re good to go and can play music and make calls with both again.
I was able to re-confirm that the above works, when I was suddenly interrupted and put the earphones button down on the bench and came back to find that I’d inadvertently managed to unpair them.
Given that they are both properly their own Bluetooth device, this type of issue is entirely to be expected.
I found the Skullcandy app easy to use, but did find it sometimes had difficulty in detecting the earphones. I did find it was easier to toggle ambient mode in the app, rather than trying to use the button sequence which I was a little hit-or-miss for me. Would also be nice to have a few more features like being able to change the EQ mode in the app and perhaps also have an option of a custom EQ setting. Although the Music Mode Equaliser did seem to do well with all of the genres of music that I tried. Ideally, as some of the press sequences are a little finicky at times, it would be most convenient if you could reassign the button presses to whichever function you wanted, depending on how you most use the earphones.
Overall, with their quality of sound, comfort of use, versatility, quick charge, handy small carry case and with Tile functionality these definitely have become my preferred daily earphones.
The Skullcandy Indy Evos are widely available and retails for AUD$179.
Whilst all views are my own, I would like to thank Skullcandy again for the pair to review.
Headphone Type: True Wireless In-Ear
Connection Type: Bluetooth® 5
Impedance: 32 Ohms ±15%
Driver Diameter: 6mm
THD: <3% at 1KHz
Sound Pressure Level: 99-105dB
Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20KHz
Battery: 6 hours on single charge, with 24 additional hours with recharging using the case