Sunday, August 9, 2009

Skullcandy Winter Camo G.I. Headphones

Well, our youngest dog was in the mood for electonics a week or so ago and decided my earbuds would make a great snack. At first this angered me of course, but then it dawned on me that this would give me an excuse to go one of my favorite things - shop for gadgets! Only this time I didn't go for earbuds, I wanted something a little more robust and a bit more comfortable that I could use on my netbook as well as my Fuze, so I went shopping for headphones instead. Being as I haven't won the lottery yet, though, I went out cruising Amazon for a pair that had three things: a decent price tag, acceptable sound quality (my hearing is fading anyway) and a bit of flair. I came across the Skullcandy G.I. line of headphones (my son has a pair of their Lowriders and loves them) and so I believe that what I settled on met all three criteria.

The ones I chose came in the "Winter Camo" design, which was not too flashy but at the same time a bit stylish. I see from Skullcandy's website that this particular design changed fairly significantly, so what I was purchasing was last year's model which didn't really make much difference to me, but probably also partially accounted for the $11 price difference between what I paid for them and the retail price quoted on Skullcandy's site. I've only had them a few days, so what I'm going to blog here is pretty much a brand new user's experience rather than someone who's dealt extensively with a particular brand or been through a variety of models from different manufacturers. So far here are my initial impressions. They feel and appear to be relatively sturdy. As far as fit goes, I appreciate the fact that the individual headphones rotate separately so that you can get them oriented on your ears just right. I'm sure this will differ from one individual to another depending on the size of your head, but these fit me just right - not too loose, not too snug. One of the things I was most impressed by was the fact that they came with cloth earpads installed, which I did not find comfortable AT ALL, but much to my surprise I found that there were also a pair of leather pads packed in the box as well. It was simply a matter of snapping the old ones off and snapping the new ones on. This made a HUGE difference in comfort for me. I've been using these to listen to movies and fairly long playlists while doing some writing as well as wearing them to bed to listen to my podcasts, so based purely on comfort I would probably have to give them 5 stars. However, here is the rub. A) they are a bit quiet and B) they are somewhat lacking in the low end department. I'm not a big fan of bass or heavy beats, but in songs that require it, such as some of the older R&B and Disco tracks I occasionally listen to (yeah, I'm an old guy - 45), I'd a appreciate a bit more bass, but the midrange seems great for a pair of phones with 41mm drivers. I also appreciate the fact that you only have one cord to deal with coming from the left headphone. They come with a cable extenison (thank goodness, because the main cord is super short), but it is a bit long which some may find inconvenient if you use them for more portables listening. The connectors are all gold plated, and one feature that I REALLY like that had been present on a favorite pair of Panasonic headphones I had owned some years back is an in-line volume control, especially useful when I'm lying in the dark listening to my podcasts at night so I'm not fumbling around with my media player in the dark.
On a final note (no pun intended) those who are worried about the durability of these headphones from reading other reviews should keep in mind that Skullcandy does carry a lifetime warranty on all of their products. Of course they will replace them if they become faulty due to a manufacturing defect, but what I find particularly impressive is that they will go as far as replacing them at a 50% discount even if the damage was intentionally caused due to abuse by the owner. Overall, a good purchase for the price you pay (in my case $54 - had to get them from Amazon, Overstock was backordered/canceled). So if you're looking for a decent pair of reasonably priced headphones, I can definitely recommend these if you don't mind they few caveats mentioned above.

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