Once the domain of just a handful of budget-focused brands, the affordable true wireless segment is now seeing the entry of many more brands, including those that are ordinarily known for premium options. This has made the space much more competitive, and buyers looking for true wireless earphones on a budget now have many options to choose from. What has typically been lacking in this segment, though, is interesting design and style. Skullcandy hopes to change that with its latest true wireless headset, the Rs. 2,399 Dime.
The Skullcandy Dime is the company's most affordable true wireless headset yet. It offers a compact form factor, Skullcandy's unique design and styling, and a promise of good sound quality. Is this the best pair of true wireless earphones you can buy for less than Rs. 2,500? Find out in this review.
The Skullcandy Dime has physical button controls on the earpieces
Compact, but old-fashioned charging case on the Skullcandy Dime
The Skullcandy Dime true wireless headset is pitched as a compact option, and while it is indeed small, light, and very pocketable, it isn't considerably more so than options such as the Oppo Enco Buds. Although the specific weights of the earpieces and charging case aren't mentioned, Skullcandy states that the entire set weighs 32g – very light for a true wireless headset, thanks to the plastic body and no-frills charging case.
The earpieces have a proper in-canal fit; while I found the fit secure and the noise isolation decent, the plastic material and shape of the earpieces themselves was a bit tight for me. I was able to wear the earpieces for around 30-40 minutes at a time before needing to take them off for about a minute to give my ears some rest. The earphones look good, with classic Skullcandy industrial design and the iconic skull logo giving them a characteristically modern, youthful look.
Controls on the Skullcandy Dime were a bit awkward for me. Each earpiece has a single physical button right under the Skullcandy logo. I found it quite uncomfortable to use the button controls while wearing the earphones, since this caused issues with the fit, and occasionally also a bit of pain with the earpieces pressing against my ears.
The buttons control playback, and volume. You can invoke the default voice assistant on your smartphone, answer calls, and also control power and pairing functions. I did, on occasion, take an earpiece out of my ear to press its button a bit more comfortably, but I often found it easier to just use my smartphone to control everything.
The charging case of the Skullcandy Dime is quite unique in terms of size and shape, but I also found it a bit too old-fashioned for my liking. The stalks of the earpieces stick out through holes on the lid, which itself feels a bit flimsy and easily breakable. When clipped shut, I also found it a bit difficult to quickly open the case. There is also a Micro-USB port for charging the case, and this is a drawback at just about any price point today.
In terms of specifications and features, the Skullcandy Dime is simple and to-the-point. The earpieces have 6mm dynamic drivers, a frequency response range of 20-20,000Hz, Bluetooth 5 for connectivity, and support for only the SBC Bluetooth codec. There are no advanced features such as active noise cancellation, and not even any app support. However, you can use either earpiece individually, and there's also IPX4 water resistance.
The charging case is small and light, but a bit strange to look at; the top is hollow and doesn't hold the earpieces tightly in place
Battery life on the Skullcandy Dime is very underwhelming, even considering the size of the package. The earpieces each have a battery capacity of 20mAh, with the charging case offering an additional 150mAh. In practice, this made for around 3 hours, 30 minutes of runtime on the earpieces, with the charging case adding two additional charges, for a total of just over 10 hours of battery life per charge cycle. Charging the case was slow, taking around three hours to fully charge when connected to my laptop.
The Skullcandy Dime sounds decent
There are quirks in the design, the specifications and features are basic, and battery life is average. However, the Skullcandy Dime makes up for these shortcomings with sound quality. Despite the fact that the earphones only support the SBC Bluetooth codec, good drivers and tuning make for a pleasant listening experience. I used the Skullcandy Dime with an iPhone 12 mini (Review) for much of my testing, with Apple Music as my main source of music.
Starting with The Whistle Song by Netsky, the Skullcandy Dime made for a clean, spacious sound that was surprisingly good given the hardware and Bluetooth codec capabilities of the headset. Although no slouch when it came to low-end response, the earphones were more adept when it came to detail and feel, bringing out both the upbeat, positive vibe, and the drive and attack of this drum-and-bass track.
Although sound quality on the Skullcandy Dime is decent for the price, this headset has a lot of drawbacks when it comes to design and battery life
The bass attack on the Skullcandy Dime wasn't quite as punchy and aggressive as I've heard on similarly priced options such as the OnePlus Buds Z and Realme Buds Q2, but it had a gentle, laidback sense of drive that gave the wide soundstage, sharp highs, and detail levels enough room to shine.
Sound quality was in line with what you'd expect from the top picks in this price range, and the sonic signature was uncharacteristically detailed and clean for a Skullcandy headset. With This Must Be The Love by Arty, Nadia Ali, and BT, I found that vocals were a bit held back on the Skullcandy Dime; these earphones emphasised the electronic elements in the track, with Nadia Ali's soulful accompanying vocals seemingly lost in the imaging and the electronically synthesised music.
The Skullcandy Dime earphones were loud, and the in-canal fit and engaging nature of the sound made for a pleasant listening experience on the whole. Although I largely used these earphones indoors, the occasional trip outside didn't affect sound quality too much despite the lack of active noise cancellation. I didn't hear any distortion even at the highest volume levels, although the highs did tend to sound a bit shrill at volume levels of around 90 percent and higher.
Connectivity was stable on the Skullcandy Dime earphones, and I was able to use this headset at distances of up to 3m from my smartphone without any trouble. Call quality was ordinary; while I didn't have any real trouble with calls at home, the sound was a bit soft even at high volumes.
Skullcandy is known for its unique design and styling, and the Dime true wireless earphones are undeniably great to look at. However, there are some issues with the fit, the charging case is a bit too old-fashioned with its strange lid and Micro-USB charging port, only the SBC Bluetooth codec is supported, controls are awkward, and battery life is average, even for an affordable headset like this.
All of that said, sound quality is decent, making the Dime a reasonably capable pair of true wireless earphones on the whole. Consider this if you're a fan of Skullcandy's style and want a detailed, fun-sounding pair of affordable true wireless earphones. On the other hand, options such as the Realme Buds Q2 and Oppo Enco Buds are worth looking at as well.
Can Nothing Ear 1 — the first product from OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei's new outfit — be an AirPods killer? We discussed this and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts. Affiliate links may be automatically generated - see our ethics statement for details.