Skullcandy have already established a name for themselves as designers of hardwearing, high quality and attractive earphones of all shapes and sizes (i.e. over ear and in ear models). The ‘Asym’ model is an in ear piece, designed as a lightweight, comfortable option for those exercising or playing active sports, that are inconspicuous while also being attractive when examined. To achieve this final aim, the Aysm earphones are designed to fit smoothly within the ear, so that they barely stick out at all once inserted. The ‘attractive’ aspect comes from the nimble angled design, distinguishing them from ‘straight out’ conventional earbuds, like those used in the iPod. The upper part of the wire, the insulation leading to the head of the earphones, is also coloured in a choice of different colours (black, pink and white casings), which are smart enough to avoid making an overt fashion statement, but which does add a touch of style to both male and female users. The earphones’ design allows you to easily hide the wire from sight by positioning it over the top of the ear, rather than letting it dangle straight down. This feature also makes the Asym headphones very suited to the most active sports, where over ear models would normally fall off and inner ear models would fall out. The style of the Asym headphones is finished off nicely by the Skullcandy logo, which comprises, unsurprisingly, of a metallic stylised skull.
With sports use in mind for the Skullcandy Asym headphones, the cable has been thoughtfully designed at only four feet long, enough to reach to a pocket, a belt clip, or into a rucksack, while avoiding moving around as you move, or catching on arms or objects. If you are intending on using this model in combination with a television or a computer, however, a standard headphone extension is recommended, as this length is not enough for you to sit comfortably from the screen and is thus a minor criticism of the design. One of the performance areas that Skullcandy have tried to improve upon with the Asym model over previous models such as the ‘Smokin’ model, is the bass response. One of the common complaints of standard manufacturer headphones is that the sound can be tinny and treble heavy. The Skullcandy Asym headphones offer a noticeable emphasis on bass sounds and perform well in terms of distortion when bass levels are turned up on your MP3 player. Of course, if your taste in music is more classical than R’n’B, you can manually lower you MP3’s bass settings to achieve a more neutral sound.
Quality of the manufactured headphones, as with other models from Headcandy, offers challenging competition to other models in the same price range. As the head of the headphones is larger than most other in ear models, they can take some getting used to before they feel ‘right’, but it is this design that ensures they fit snugly within the natural shape of the ear and do not fall out. The ‘user experience’ of the Asym headphones is very good, with a soft carry case, a choice of three different rubber tip sizes and – unusually for a relatively basic bit of technology – a user manual. The manual helps you get to grips with Skullcandy’s innovative system for keeping the headphones securely in place – keeping the principle behind the Aysm (as in, we all have ‘asymmetrical’ ears that deserve fitted headphones) in tact. Once you have become used to fitting them correctly, they fit easily underneath hats and even crash helmets and allow you to avoid worrying about them becoming loose from your ear and causing any discomfort. The Asym headphones offer noticeable sound reduction to the background environment, even when turned off. However, they are not designed to be fully sound blocking as some models, like the ‘Full Metal Jacket’ model aim to do (although this is very difficult to achieve on in ear models and is usually only a feature of high end over ear ‘cans’). Instead, the Asym headphones let in a certain amount of environmental noise to help keep you aware of what is going on around you if, for example, you are using them whilst out cycling or jogging. If conditions change around you (e.g. you enter a park having travelled along a busy road), you are able to easily increase the volume with the in line switch built into the cord. With a standard gold plated 3.5 mm jack, the Skullcandy Asym will fit most MP3 players and make a superior alternative to those included by the manufacturer, available from mobile fun.