The Skullcandy Push Active (and Grind Fuel) are the debut platforms for the Skull-iQ Smart Feature Tech, the all-new, intuitive voice-driven platform provides users with the ability to go completely hands-free, and share your music with a friend.
Whilst everyone is enjoying a well earned break over the holiday season, DRN has been busy testing the Push Active with thanks to Skullcandy.
As the name implies, the Push Active is designed for exercise. The carry case is made of hard plastic, my review unit is black that is a powder orange on the inside.
The earbuds themselves are in a similar vein, hard black plastic with a splash of orange for the button. The exercise focused secure fit ear hooks are a softer non-rigid rubber so you fit it securely around your ear.
True to the target market the Push Active has a IP55 rating, meaning it is protected against dust limited ingress and against low pressure jets of water from all directions.
The case is about 8.5cm wide by 6cm deep, and to be honest the plastic build does feel less than premium. The focus is clearly on durability for the very active lifestyle.
The Push Active is ready for pairing when you open the lid to the carry case (assuming the little sticker to prevent contact is removed). To utilise all the best features of the Push Active, you will need the Skullcandy app.
I initially tested the Push Active on a Pixel 6 Pro, the pairing went fine and music works fine. However I ran into issues with the Skullcandy app refusing to connect to the earbuds which meant none of the Skull-iQ features would work.
Swapping over to the Pixel 5, I did not encounter the same problem and the app updated the earbuds to the latest firmware. Incidentally firmware version 4.6.1 fixes the issue with the connection on the Pixel 6 Pro.
The design of the Skullcandy Push Active is for the ear hooks to go around your ears, and the actual ear tips sort of rests just on your ear canal without going in very deep. Whilst this makes it secure, it does not create a tight seal so ambient noises will leak in.
If you are pounding the pavement it is not a bad thing as you can stay aware of your surroundings. However if you want to block out all distractions say in a gym, these will not fit the bill.
The Push Active supports the standard SBC Bluetooth codec, which means you will not be getting particularly high quality audio streams. Bearing in mind that these are for the active lifestyle demographics, rather than audiophiles, the decision makes plenty of sense.
The sound is inoffensive, Skullcandy has kept things balanced throughout the bass, mids and highs. There is no heavy bias to thumping bass that seems to be the default for workout headphones. There is a little bump that gives you a little extra on the bump, but nothing so heavy that it distorts and mask other instruments and vocals.
If you are a classical music lover, then some of the sound can be a little thin and tinny. That said as a classical music lover these would not be the headphones I reach for in the first place; nor do I find classical music particularly inspirational when exercising. That’s just my two cents.
The Skullcandy app offers three EQ presets – music, podcast and movie. If these are not to your liking, then the app offers a custom five-band EQ so you can tweak them to just the way you want them.
The microphones on the Push Active are underwhelming and picks up a lot of background noise. They are useable if you only need to do the occasional call, but if you are intending to heavily rely on them for calls then it could be an issue.
Out of the box, the Push Active have some permanent shortcuts to make it easy to access calls and music. The app also give the option for customising the controls. In summary, these are what you can do.
|Shortcut||Left earbud||Right earbud|
|Press 1 time||Play/Pause||Play/Pause|
|3 second hold||Join audio||Share audio|
|Double-press and 1 second hold||Power off||Power off|
|Press 2 times||Volume down||Volume up|
|Press 3 times||Empty by default||Empty by default|
|1 second hold||Spotify Tap||Empty by default|
The Push Active is rated for 44 hours of listening time, including charge on buds and the carry case. Skullcandy rates the earbuds for 10 hours of listening per full charge but you can expect the real world figure to be lower. During my testing over the holidays, I could get easily through the days without having to recharge the carry case. It was hard to get a full block of listening in whilst entertaining the kids.
Charging is via USB-C (thankfully), the port is protected by a colour rubber tab which fits over the opening quite snuggly.
The greatest strength of the Push Active Sport True Wireless is the Skull-iQ, and Skullcandy will be continuing to develop and add more smarts with over-the-air updates via the app. Currently the Skull-iQ voice commands include:
“Hey Skullcandy, Spotify”
“Hey Skullcandy, Pause”
“Hey Skullcandy, Next”
“Hey Skullcandy, Previous”
“Hey Skullcandy, Volume Up”
“Hey Skullcandy, Volume Down”
“Hey Skullcandy, Stay-Aware On”
“Hey Skullcandy, Stay-Aware Off”
“Hey Skullcandy, Assistant”
However, that is not where Skull-iQ stops. When you say “Hey Skullcandy, Spotify”, it will kick off Spotify on your mobile. There is a delay of a few seconds, and if you are expecting the Spotify app to launch then you will be disappointed. On Android it comes up on the notification bar and starts streaming your music.
The share audio is also a Skull-iQ feature. Skullcandy says you need to be in close proximity to the person you want to be sharing audio with, someone also with a Skull-iQ enabled earbuds. The recommendation is to stay within 15 feet. It will take about 5 seconds to kick in, which is about how long it takes for Spotify to kick in when you voice command the Skullcandy. Just seems to be a standard time interval.
Another handy feature with Skull-iQ is the ability to use your earbuds as a remote camera trigger. You can skip the selfie stick, or arms out, or use a timer and run like the wind to get into frame and pose. You can set your phone somewhere stable, and press the button on your earbud to trigger a shot.
Lastly, the Skullcandy Push Active has Tile integration. If you don’t know what that is, Tile is one of the earliest and best crowd-source GPS object tracking products around. If you happened to misplace your earbuds, the Tile app can help you find them again.
The Skullcandy Push Active are a good, inoffensive workout earbuds. There are no glaring faults anywhere and has a solid IP55 rating. It is worth noting that the carry case is bulky, but if you are throwing them into the gym bag then it is hardly an issue. There is no wireless charging and no Bluetooth multipoint support.
On the plus side, the Skull-iQ features gives them a boost that lifts the game with some clever features such as remote camera trigger and audio sharing.
The Skullcandy Push Active have a RRP of AUD$179.95 and is available from Skullcandy. There is a choice of Black/Orange, Light Grey/Blue, or Dark Blue/Green.
DRN would like to thank Skullcandy for their on-going support.
Headphone Type – True Wireless In-Ear
Connection Type – Bluetooth® 5.2
Impedance – 22 Ohms
Driver Diameter – 6mm
Sound Pressure Level – 112dB ± 3dB
Frequency Response – 20Hz – 20KHz
Weight – 95g