Skullcandy Riff Wireless – An Audiophile’s review

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Company: Skullcandy Inc.
Headquarters location: Park City, Utah, United States
Founder: Rick Alden
Founded: 2003, Park City, Utah, United States

Skullcandy in the India’s Audio market:

Skullcandy is a well known name in the Indian Audio market. They sell from low-end to premium (looking) headphones and earphones. Over the years, Skullcandy has garnered many fans across the country. According to Statista, Skullcandy has been among the leading Headphones and Earphones brand in France in the year 2018 and is one of the known names in the US market, perhaps not as premium as it is known in the Indian market. However, when it comes to India the game gets a little tricky to play. According to Fortune, the market in India is THE most important market for Skullcandy to capture. Skullcandy have a contract with a company called BrandEyes Distributers Pvt Limited which is Skullcandy’s official distributor in the South Asian market.

Analysis:

The Riff Wireless model of the Skullcandy headphones is one among the mid to high range headphones available in the Indian market. Priced at Rs. 4999 which is equivalent to $66.10 in the current market price in India. The looks are premium and eye pleasing which on the first glance gives a fairly impressive vibe. The sound is the signature Skullcandy sound – a little high on the Bass with good enough clarity in music with little to no compromise on treble. The earcups are comfortable and the headphone is suitable to be worn for a long duration. Overall, a pretty decent, good Bass, overall balanced sound producing headphone with Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20KHz and Total Harmonic Distortion: <1% (1mW/500Hz). It comes in a box with a charging cable, user guide and 2 year warranty guide.

So far so good? Well, hardly. The points that the headphones gain in terms of sound quality takes a dive when it comes to the hardware build quality of the headphone. The band that holds the earpiece is made of brittle low quality plastic which will crack or snap off within a month of light usage. So much for the premium sound quality! An average Indian guy spending that amount of money to buy one headphone is not going to like that. Not one bit. So the question arise that is skullcandy deliberately cutting the costs by using low quality material in the manufacture process of these headphones? Because if that is so, then it may not fare very well for them in the India’s audio market.

Another negative point for some about these headphones can be that these do not come with an AUX port and are totally wireless to use. Therefore, the buyer must keep these things in mind if he wishes to purchase this headphone. The complaint with the poor quality material has been constant from the headphone users and is still not addressed properly by the company which seems more intent of increasing quantity than quality.

Verdict:

Personally, I am more of a Sennheiser guy. I bought a Wired Sennheiser headphone about 4 years back and it’s still kicking without any issues in it’s sound or hardware quality. I have had a very bad experience with both Skullcandy headphones and earphones. In the course of 5 years I might have bought around 3-4 skullcandy headphones and earphones combined. I quit buying it and switched to Sennheiser instead which was so so much better in all aspects! I bought these headphones recently thinking to give it another try (and their was good discount available on the website. *wink*) and it did not even take a month for its plastic band to crack.

Hence, I will not recommend buying these headphones. There are better options available in the market in this price range.

Skullcandy must learn how to play:

Skullcandy do not seem to be bothered with the negative responses from the customers which is a very grave mistake it is making. Unsure whether it is the same case with the audio devices manufactured in U.S. and other countries or just with India but the company using low quality material for manufacturing the audio devices has been a constant complaint of the users in India, who do not seem to be getting any assurances, returns or improvements.

Hence, Skullcandy has to significantly improve their game if they wish to remain and survive in the long run because with the current ‘No to Chinese products’ campaign in India, a great opportunity is about to open up for other-than-Chinese companies in the Indian market. The question remains that whether Skullcandy is smart enough to recognise and capitalise on the opportunity. A word of advice though to the company, an Indian consumer is very much different than consumers in any other country. To quote an article of Fortune India – “The Indian customer is very well researched and more demanding than other customers. They are very empowered in terms of what their rights are as consumers. So, after-sales service is a huge focus for us. For Skullcandy now India is a very important market globally.”
With the advent of True wireless headphones in the market, the stakes have increased greatly. Though it is still in the R&D and improvement stage for other companies (other than Apple which has patented its true wireless tech), Skullcandy has launched its own TWS models among other companies which frankly speaking will pose a great blow if the company do not gather their wits about their product quality. Therefore, buck-up Skullcandy! Focus more on the quality of product and customer satisfaction than on the bottom line and sales.

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