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Skullcandy has, for the most part, hit the mark with this budget-friendly set of in-ear wireless earphones.
Just in case you’re unfamiliar with American currency, a dime works out as approximately seven pence. We’re at pains to stress that, at £29.99, the Skullcandy Dime costs a fair bit more than that – but in comparison to, say, the Apple Airpods Pro, they're hardly an expensive purchase.
The Dime isn't the only pair of budget-friendly earbuds out there at this price – you’ll find cheaper rivals from Lenovo and JVC. But neither of those manufacturers are audio-first brands. By contrast, Skullcandy shot to fame in the Noughties with its stylish range of headphones, and the U.S. brand now has a reputation to protect in a market where Apple and Samsung are taking up increasing amounts of space.
Wisely, Skullcandy is carving out its own space in the market by rolling out a number of audio products in the mid-range and budget-end categories. But are the Skullcandy Dime a genuinely decent affordable option, or are they best consigned to the bargain bin of history? Our experts have put them to the test. Read on for our in-depth review of the Skullcandy Dime – we go into price, features, design and ease of set up.
For a more mid-range offering from the brand, take a look at our Skullcandy Indy ANC review. And for a look at other affordable options, be sure to take a look at our pick of the best budget wireless earbuds.
The Dime ultimately prove themselves a worthy pair of budget-friendly earbuds, let down chiefly by a temperamental UI. But the sound is of a reliable quality, and the design genuinely compact and pocket-friendly. Some might get frustrated by the 12-hour-max battery life, but the Dime earbuds are comfortable, nicely designed, and are unlikely to give you any buyer’s remorse at the price of £29.99.
The Dime is Skullcandy’s cheapest wireless in-ear earbuds. The next pair up is the Skullcandy Sesh Evo, which have an RRP of £49.99 and offer a longer, 24-hour battery life and Tile app compatibility.
The Dime earbuds are all about getting audio from your connected device into your eyes, of course. But let’s take a look at a few key features:
The Dime earbuds are currently only available from the Skullcandy website – and sadly, they're currently out of stock. But Skullcandy has told us that new stock should arrive on 27 April, and you can register your interest below.
The Skullcandy Dime earbuds have an RRP of £29.99.
Yes. We were nervous that the Dime would be a lacklustre set of earbuds that leaned far too heavily on the Skullcandy name. But, our quibbles with the button-tapping aside, this is a pair of earbuds that are an excellent choice for anyone looking for in-ear, wireless audio at no great cost.
Full disclaimer: we tested the Dime earbuds immediately after Skullcandy’s Indy ANC earbuds, which cost an extra £70. When put beside the pricier Indy ANC, the Dime shows a definite climb-down in design and quality compared to their pricier big sibling. They boast a nice design, with slats in the lid that reveal the skull logos on the earbuds.
You can pick these up in four different colour schemes: dark blue/green, light grey/blue, dark grey and true black. In our humble opinion, those first two options look far cheaper than the monochrome versions.
Design-wise, the Dime’s winning feature is the ultra-svelte design. Measuring a mere 6.22 by 3.89cm and weighing just 32g, the case is so small that you may actually want to use the built-in looped hook to attach it to your keyring: it’s about the same size as an electric car fob. There aren’t many pairs of earbuds out there that can genuinely go into your pocket like this.
At first, we found the Dime a little uncomfortable in our ears – but after replacing the gel ear-nibs with a larger size included in the pack, that problem went away. These are a genuinely unobtrusive addition to your ears but also fit securely: the best of both worlds.
We’re not being sarcastic when we say the sound quality of the Dime matches its £30 price tag. These are budget-end earbuds that deliver budget-end sound: solid and reliable, but a little tinny when turned up to the max. Audiophiles will need to look elsewhere – and likely spend in the triple figures, too. Needless to say, there’s no noise-cancellation at this price point, and sadly you can’t connect the Dime to the Skullcandy app to tweak your sounds.
But really, the Dime should be judged in terms of ease of use and convenience – and here’s where we did run into some issues. We got the earbuds up and running in no time (see below) but found them a pain to operate. There’s a single button on either earbud and while we appreciated the simplicity, we found the sequence of button-taps hopelessly complicated. Luckily, the various commands are catalogued in both the included fold-out manual and the Skullcandy website. Trust us: you'll need them.
Tapping either earbud once to play and pause is simple enough, but then holding your finger down from anywhere between two and four seconds will do anything from unpair the Dime from your device to activating your device’s voice assistant. Like anything, these commands will probably become a habit over time – but intuitively, they most certainly aren’t, and we found it far easier to use our phone instead. Anyone planning to wear these while running or working out or in any other phone-free situation might find this an ongoing annoyance.
Budget tech typically comes with a lifespan that pips pricier equivalents, but here’s where we see a clear trade-off between size and capability. While the Dime does have a remarkably small charging case, it only has a collected battery life of 12 hours – that’s 3.5 hours from the earbuds themselves and another 8.5 from the case.
Ultimately, this amounts to a set of earbuds that will need mains charging on a daily or near-daily basis, depending on your levels of use. That’s no disaster, but we would have loved for the Dime to be just a little more low-maintenance.
We got the Dime earbuds up and running in about 35 minutes. This could have easily been just five minutes, but they arrived low in battery, with a message recommending we charged them in the case for half an hour: a minor niggle.
These earbuds come in a long, thin, rectangular box. Inside, you’ll find the earbuds in the case in a white inner box that features a QR code, which, when scanned, takes you through to an instruction page. (Foldout instructions are included, but these are printed in Bible-size text, so the QR code seemed like the easier option.) The online instructions guided us through what was an undeniable hassle-free pairing process: the Dime automatically went into pairing mode, removed from their case, and popped up on the Bluetooth display on our iPhone with no issue.
If you have no need for the noise-cancelling tech or better-quality sound of pricier earbuds, the Dime will more than perform. That button-tapping system might take a little getting used to, but its shortcomings are offset by a comfortable fit in your ear and a fabulously compact build. And did we mention they cost just £29.99?
Overall star rating: 3.5/5
Right now, you can only register your interest in stock availability at the Skullcandy store – but as and when the Dime earbuds are available from other retailers online, we'll be sure to update this page.
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Keen to take your home audio up a notch? Don't miss our best smart speaker round-up.