It’s that time of year again! If you’re seeking fresh ideas or hoping for inspiration – or even tantalising recommendations then… welcome! Scroll down to dive into this review, and if you want further gift ideas, just click here for the full range from my Critical Popcorn Christmas Gift Guide 2021!
Urbanista Lisbon Wireless Earbuds
We’ve tested Urbanista Earphones before, the ‘London’ remains a sincere favourite and literally one I use day-to-day, check out my review here, so it was with an equal level of trepidation and intrigue to try the new Urbanista Lisbon. This is a smaller than ever in-earphone, so I was hopeful they’d be as exciting as their sibling, plus offer the quality I now demand from the Stockholm-based brand.
As a brief background, Urbanista have been making audio products inspired and rooted in Scandinavian goodness since 2010. Available online and across the Globe, their USP is that they invent products with the urban lifestyle in mind, and brilliantly the Urbanista Lisbon stands up to their ambitious standards from the moment you get the box. It’s bright, fashionable and you feel that from what you’ve paid, that they’re worth the extra for those touches.
The Lisbon is as easy to connect to your phone as their previous models, it take a literal minute by going through your Bluetooth > Find Lisbon > Pair – and you’re away. Yup, that’s it. And it works. These are tiny really, compared to the classic ‘pods’ out there, but they fit snuggly into the inner ear and an instant test of music gave incredible sound levels. There’s also no loss of quality and, utterly importantly, they don’t fall out easily. I assessed them and found no issues, but I also tried them on Jen, and she often finds that earphones don’t stay in the era but this set? They did, and that’s partly down to the design, as it features two small Go Fit Silicone ‘wings’ that slot softly and easily into the ear.
Also, because of their mini size, they almost vanish within your ear, and I personally don’t mind this, just be aware of your surroundings and people talking to you, as ever, I guess! These Urbanista’s arrived in Coral Peach, but there are 5 colours to choose from and fit your personal palette. Of course, they also come with their own charging case, shaped like a medium-sized pebble, and it’s extremely easy to place the earphones in and out of it.
The only downside with smaller earphones is the initial fiddly nature but if you’re okay with those types of things, there are no concerns here. The Urbanista Lisbon offers 9 hours of playtime, are deftly, intelligently compact and give the best sound for something this tiny, considering ANC isn’t involved, that I’ve tried over the past few years from various brands. So, this one is different for its size and style, but they excel where it’s most important: In their fit and with great, reliable sound.
Pick up your pair of Urbanista Lisbon, currently RRP at £44.99, here: https://amzn.to/3EFNii1
Skullcandy – Dime True Wireless Earbuds
Anything from the Skullcandy range of headphones means a balanced measure of hope and hype. Their larger headphones and over-ear range is associated with style, good sound and reliability, so this is an interesting turn as they offer up the in-ear phones with the Skullcandy Dime. There’s another big pull on these to, they’re incredibly affordable even if the design isn’t as ‘touch’ sensitive as others from a similar range, and they’re a little more chunky compared to the current pod favourites.
With most true wireless earphones, you can simply touch them lightly to control what you’re listening to. For the Dime, instead of that soft touch option to skip a track or adjust the volume, you have a literal button within the earphone. While this is a soft touch in general terms, it’s a bit more of a push button, and so using this set might depend on how delicate that area is for you. When you click the left or right button in, you’re putting pressure to choose your function, but also on your ear. Whilst other earphones use a tap method, this button can feel a bit more aggressive, but does an excellent job.
Obviously, the counter side, is that you can change those options on your phone, as it is with any similar setup. When it comes to the Dime sound quality, which is what this comes down to, it’s rather impressive. You can feel the deep bass and the song as it should be, I hate outside noise with any type of headphone, and this was more than sufficient at keeping out what you’d usually expect.
While I did miss the ANC option, which has become a personal must-have, they slot in the ear easily and the difference in their shape (compared to other rounder ones) means you get a ‘Secure Noise Isolation,’ which is suitably decent. I didn’t get much outside noise seeping through, which is the main point here. The Skullcandy Dime also has the handy bonus of being sweat and water resistant to IPX4. This means you’re protected from splashing water – just don’t go putting them in the sink or shower.
As expected, it comes with the charging case, your earphones are pulled into the case with a smart magnet within the case, and that’s a fancy touch. I think you could use any USB cable to charge and while it does come with one, they skimp a bit too much here and it’s barely long enough to reach anything from a USB Plug. This is an odd and cheap move, but with such a low cost, I can understand why that’s barely there.
For the price? This is an easy choice: you’ve got more than satisfactory sound, plus it’s steady enough to be a good stocking present for someone, or yourself!