Skullcandy S2IKFY-024 Ink'd 2 Headphone Review
For the price, the Ink'd 2 do exactly what you need them to—nothing more.
If you're in need of some seriously cheap personal audio, the Skullcandy S2IKFY-024 Ink'd 2 in-ear headphones (MSRP $20.99) might catch your eye.
That's because the price tag is sure to please most—but unfortunately, the performance isn't. You can't expect the world from $20 headphones, but believe us—you can do better and still save money.
Simple, cheap, and lightly decorated
For $20, you probably wouldn't expect high-quality materials and well-shielded flex points here—and you'd be right. The Ink'd 2 in-ears have a flattened cable that resists tangling, and light plastic shielding on the buds and in-line mic, but that's about it for durability. We're not saying they're precious porcelain... but you'll have to treat them right if you want them to last.
"Porcelain" might be a color option, though. The Ink'd 2 buds come in a ton of colors and styles (gray, red, cyan, green, tan—the list goes on), ranging in price from $15.99 to $24.99. There's even a Lakers style.
No matter the color, you'll find Skullcandy's logo on the silicone ear sleeves, the backs of the buds, the single-button remote, the static neck split, and the cable jack.
As far as comfort goes, the Ink'2 in-ears aren't too shabby. The only included accessory is an extra, smaller set of silicone sleeves, but the standard pair fit snugly in the ear. I found myself adjusting them a lot at first, but after a while I forgot they were even there. This fit is in no way luxurious, but it gets the job done.
For this price? Palatable
As a personal listening device, the Skullcandy Ink'd 2 headphones are not going to win any awards for their sound quality. The audio performance is tolerable, but certain flaws take things down a peg in terms of overall quality.
The most notable issue is that the speakers are out of sync. Specifically, the right ear delivers healthy, normal emphasis in the bass range, but the left bud drops in volume throughout this portion. Happily, both speakers manage middle and high notes much better (think acoustic guitar and cymbals).
These are very decent isolators, too. As in-ear headphones, the Skullcandy Ink'd 2 do a great job blocking outside ambient noise. They've got nothing on a good pair of active cancelers, but for $20 you can't complain.
We also tested practically no distortion—a fantastic performance perk. Still, the imbalanced speakers are a real drawback. Throughout almost the entire bass range, sounds are both louder and more heavily emphasized in the right speaker than in the left, and you don't need gilded ears in order to hear it. This may not be a deal breaker for every listener, though, considering that small asking price.
Not a diamond in the rough
Reviewing a product this cheap is always a challenge. The Skullcandy Ink'd 2 in-ear headphones went through the same rigorous testing process that very expensive headphones undergo—the bar is high.
With so many color and style options, and with an MSRP of just $20, the Ink'd 2 in-ears are sure to find plenty of willing budget buyers. But if you care more about sound than looks—and you still want to save a buck—then be sure to consider the competition before scooping these up.
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