In this Skullcandy Grind Fuel review, I’ll endeavour to find out what makes these true wireless earbuds special. Is it the long battery life or the personalised sound? Maybe the premium build or the fact that you can locate your buds using Tile technology?
One thing is for sure: the Grind Fuel is one of the best Skullcandy headphones options available today, and is well worth considering. These buds are especially well-suited for people who need quality headphones for cheap.
Read on to find out if the Skullcandy Grind Fuel is the fitting earbuds for you. Pun very much intended.
Skullcandy Grind Fuel review: price and availability
The Skullcandy Grind Fuel is available from Skullcandy for a recommended retail price of $99.99 – at the time of writing, it's not available in the UK or Australia yet.
Currently, it’s only available in one colour option (Black/Orange). In the box, you’ll find a pair of Grind Fuel True Wireless Earbuds, a Wireless Charging Case, three sets of Ear Gels (S, M, L), a USB-C Charging Cable and a User Guide.
Skullcandy Grind Fuel review: sound quality
The sound quality is not mind-blowing but decent enough for earbuds this size. The Grind Fuel has 12mm drivers – compare this with the Jaybird Vista 2’s 6 mm.
Music plays clearly; there is no fuzziness audible, especially if the personalised sound is enabled (more on this in just a second). Voice comes through nicely, too; singers cut through their songs well.
You can enhance the sound of the Grind Fuel by personalising the sound in the Skullcandy App. This time around, Skullcandy teamed up with Mimi Hearing Technologies to fine-tune the sound output of its headphones. The result is a sound that helps make the music coming out of the Grind Fuel feel more energetic.
To activate personalised sound, all you have to do is perform a short hearing test in the Skullcandy App. Once done, you will instantly feel the difference in sound. It’s like getting your first premium buds; you will start hearing sounds you haven’t noticed before, turning old songs into new experiences.
Better still, the level of personalisation can be adjusted using the slider in the app.
Considering the small form factor, it probably comes as no surprise that bass is not overly emphasised, but this doesn’t mean the Grind Fuel lacks power. If you need more bass, check out the Skullcandy Crusher Evo, which delivers all the bass in the world, and then some.
Skullcandy Grind Fuel review: build quality
The Skullcandy Grind Fuel weighs 76 grams in total, not too heavy but heavy enough for it not to feel too flimsy. The plastic body of the Grind Fuel is IP55 rated, so feel free to use it as workout buds if you want to. I would probably recommend the other new Skullcandy buds, the Push Active, for people who jump around a lot as those have ear hooks, unlike the Grind Fuel.
The buds themselves are a muted black, albeit with a skull logo on. They're not too big, though are chunkier than some.
Skullcandy Grind Fuel review: battery life
The Grind Fuel has amazingly long battery life.
Overall battery life is 40 hours, of which nine is stored in the buds, the rest in the case. This means – quick maths! – you can fully charge the buds three times over using the case only. Better still, for 10 minutes spent in the case, you receive 2 hours of battery life, so even if you forgot to pop them back in the case overnight, they would be ready for your next run by the time you get dressed.
The case is wireless charging-enabled (should you have a wireless charger already), but it can also be charged via the case’s USB-C port.
Long story short, you won’t have to reach for the USB-C cable too often. Even if you listen to the Skullcandy Grind Fuel for eight hours a day, it will last for the whole workweek.
Skullcandy Grind Fuel review: Skull iQ and voice control
The new Skull iQ system not only makes the Grind Fuel ‘smart’ but also enables the buds to receive software updates over the air. Skullcandy promises minor tweaks and even full-blown new features to be added to Skull iQ-powered products in the future.
Another Skull iQ feature is voice control. These days, voice-controlled earbuds are not all that unique… but the assistant here is. It's Skullcandy's own control system, and you have to say “Hey, Skullcandy!”. You’ll hear a little beep in the buds, telling you it’s ready to be commanded.
Truth to be told, shouting “Hey, Skullcandy!” in public every time you need the volume raised will not make you too popular, but it could come in handy if you’re wearing a helmet, for example… but is it doomed to be as popular as Samsung's Bixby assistant?
Speaking of wearing a helmet: the Grind Fuel has a “Stay-Aware Mode”, which lets sound in from your surroundings, ideal for people riding a road bike or an e-scooter. This mode can also be activated via voice command.
Skullcandy Grind Fuel review: verdict
Skullcandy has come a long way since the early naughties: gone are the days of brightly coloured mediocre headphones emblazoned with an image of a skull. If Skullcandy keeps on producing quality headphones such as the Grind Fuel for this cheap, I’m sure a lot more people will take notice of the brand and start taking it seriously.
The Grind Fuel might not be the best true wireless earbuds overall, but in its price bracket, it’s well worth considering. It produces a decent sound – especially with the personalised sound on – lasts long and even has additional features such as find My buds with Tile, all for a very friendly price.
And who knows what other features will it get later, once Skullcandy started rolling out updates via Skull iQ? Probably a lot more.
Skullcandy Grind Fuel review: also consider
Similarly priced, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus may not look anything special, but they are some of the best sounding true wireless earbuds you can get today. What’s more, the Melomania 1 Plus has an even longer battery life than the Grind Fuel!
More eco-conscious customers might want to check out the House of Marley Rebel earbuds. They are made from sustainable bamboo and recycled plastics, yet they’re more than capable. Granted, the touch controls aren’t the most reliable and the ear detection doesn't always work, but they do have decent sound paired with long battery life and a few nifty extra features.