Hands-on review: Skullcandy Dime wireless earbuds
It amazes me that you can pay a fortune for a pair of wireless earbuds. These tiny little devices do little more than the wired earbuds that you likely got free with your phone. Of course, there’s the convenience of not having wires trailing from your ears, getting caught up and nearly pulling your ears off by mistake, and wireless earbuds are a bit more discreet. Of course, if you are an audiophile, the sound quality from a premium pair of wireless earbuds will beat the $2 wired buds given away with your phone.
What if you want the convenience of wireless earbuds, decent quality audio, and all the functionality you’d expect from a premium pair of wireless earbuds, but don’t fancy spending a week’s wages on them? The folks at Skullcandy must have thought the same thing. The new Skullcandy Dime wireless earbuds look the business and come in a smart-looking charge case but without the huge price tag.
The earbuds were easy to pair with my phone. They paired the first time, just by getting taken out of the charging case. Even so, in the interest of science, I did a manual pairing, following the instructions in the included user guide- the earbuds paired without issue.
The middle size ear gels were a bit too big, weird as they are usually the right size. With the small ear gels, the earbuds fit tight and snug. They felt a little uncomfortable at first but soon became unnoticeable. They are designed to fit tightly in your ear (which is what you want really- so they don’t fall out and isolate outside sound, somewhat).
According to Skullcandy, the fully charged earbuds have 3.5 hours of battery life. There are another 8.5 hours of charge in the charging case, giving you 12 hours of audio in total. They are charges via a standard USB cable that the big brains at Skullcandy have designed to fit in a USB Type-A socket either way up, so no fumbling around! Genius move.
The charging case is tiny, not much bigger than a car remote/key fob. It has a little strap so you can attach it you your bag or even your keys. The case lid snaps shut very tightly and is unlikely to open by itself, unlike some of these fancy magnetic case lids. There are two holes in the top of the lid which the earbud buttons poke though, so you do need to be careful not to be too rough with it. The earbuds are pretty rugged though, and IPX4 sweat and water-resistant.
The long parts of the earbuds are the devices’ sole buttons. Pressing them is a bit awkward as you need to grip the underside to stop the back jabbing your ear. As the buttons on each earbud need a combination of presses to perform functions, they need to be kept still to avoid a miss-press. Trying to increase the volume with a double-press of the right side often resulted in muting the sound as it didn’t register the second tap.
The audio is good, it’s not as crisp as some of the more expensive Skullcandy earbuds, but it's not at all bad. I could still hear the full range of audio tracks from the soft sound of a snare drum right up to base beats. As a fan of loud music, I found the earbuds’ volume to be a little tame. Don’t expect to shatter your eardrums.
Skullcandy Dime earbuds are a lot better than you should expect from a pair of sub-$100 wireless earbuds. The sound quality is great for the price if a little quiet for my taste. They look stylish with that cool-looking Skullcandy logo and come in a practical small charge case. The 12-hour charge should be enough for most and I still can’t get over that amazing USB cable.