Skullcandy is one of the headphone companies that, very smartly, got ahead of the marketing curve and as a result is one of the few audio companies that currently has mainstream recognition. Years ago, Skullcandy was the butt of audiophile jokes – they were the cheap products that only the “normies” used because they didn’t know any better. Skullcandy has come a long way though, and has invested a lot into improving the audio quality of their products, and in any case has been and continues to be massively successful.
Enter the Dime 2, the aptly named 2nd generation version of the original Dime, that are Skullcandy’s newest and current ultra budget offering. I’ve previously reviewed the original dime favorably, and I was definitely curious to see how different the Dime 2 actually is and if it improved upon its predecessor.
From the looks of it the Dime 2 has the exact same build as the original Dime, and the only specific differences between the two are that the former got upgraded from Bluetooth 5.0 to 5.2 and got added compatibility with an app called Tile, which is designed to help people find lost keys, wallets, phones, ect.
Skullcandy Dime 2 Specs and Features
Released: Jan 2022
Price-point: budget-tier (around $25)
Design/Driver style: uncontoured stemmed housing, single dynamic 6mm driver
Purported battery life: 3.5h earbuds; 12h total with case recharges
Bluetooth version 5.2
Weatherproofing: IPX4 certified (water resistant up to moderate splashing, no protection against ingress of dust/debris)
EQ app compatibility: No
Noise cancellation/transparency modes: No
Warranty: 1 year
Skullcandy Dime 2 Charging Case
The case is nicely light and has a compact shape, resembling a simple lighter. I suppose the hollowed out tops that put the backs of the buds flush with the surface area help the case be as thin as possible, but, I really just don’t understand this design choice – why not just make the case a few mm wider so it can fully close around and protect the buds? As is, when the buds are in the case, the backs and button controls are exposed to getting hit and damaged, and when the buds are not inside, the two gaping holes are going to potentially let water or objects inside that could damage the charging nodes. The lid hinge also feels pretty flimsy.
I understand that part of the marketing of the Skullcandy brand is it being fashionable, but, when aesthetics, edginess, or whatever you want to call it comes at the expense of utility and performance – a case with two giant holes for example – it quickly just becomes cringey and a big minus against the product in my opinion.
Fit and Comfort
I was able to get a secure fit and achieve a seal that didn’t break, though I did have to opt for the large set of tips. I had to kind of wiggle and twist them a bit to feel the tips lock in the right way.
The fit comfort is not the greatest – kind of shallow and out and down. The short nozzles, the shallow and disc like shape of the housing, and the wide and bulky stems that don’t have much clearance resulted in me feeling a small hot spot on the bottom of the tragus.
Again, with the edgy logo topographically placed right on the surface area of the tips, which are supposed to perform the critical function of sitting flush against the ear skin to create a proper seal. This is just stupid and pointless. Not only that, the logo “bumps” aren’t mirrored to the opposing side, so the skull on the left tip will be upside down and differently shaped, which effectively means you’re wearing different tips on the left and right earbud. I don’t think this actually affects the tips’ performance or functionality, but, again, when ostensible aesthetic “coolness” comes, even just possibly, at the expense of quality it annoys me.
The Dime 2 does not come with any noise cancellation or transparency modes, which isn’t surprising considering their bare minimum price, and there isn’t much natural isolation either. Not ideal for commuter use in the midst of potential ambient noise.
The Dime 2 has an onboard control schematic that has all of the function you’d expect on TWS earbuds in 2023, as well as a few neat extra quality of life touch functions like the ability to turn either the left or right earbud off or to leave/reenter pairing mode and resync if you need to. You can also track from the paused position which is nice, and tracking has a distinct beep to acknowledge that command went through.
The Dime 2 has pressable buttons for the onboard controls rather than being purely touch based. The buttons design is pretty bad – they are on the middle/lower portion of the stem where the Skullcandy logo is, and they require a lot of force to depress, to the point where it actually hurts against my ear and it feels like I might mess up the earbud fit and placement.
How to Pair the Skullcandy Dime 2
Pairing the Dime 2 is easy and straightforward. They automatically enter pairing mode when you remove them from the case after the initial charge, indicated with a red and blue flashing light. Simply select “Dime 2-Light Gray” and you’re good to go (I’m assuming the color in the name depends on which earbud color you choose).A note before the next section: this page describes how I evaluate the sound quality of headphones and earbuds.
Does The Skullcandy Dime 2 Have Good Sound Quality?
I’m fairly certain the Dime 2 has the exact same hardware as the original Dime, but I treated my listening test the same as if I were listening to a new pair of headphones. I also haven’t listened to the original Dime earbuds in quite a while.
And I have to say, I am really impressed with the overall sound quality of the Dime 2, once again, just as I was with the original Dime. The balance is great, and feels right about where it should be, and the clarity and accuracy of all instruments from low to high is really good as a result. The overall sound profile also manages to feel a nice touch soft and airy. The mids are present without things sounding hollow and boxy – not an easy feat on a budget. The Dime 2 is a little bassy, but, that’s pretty par for the course for mainstream marketed budget headphones.
If any engineers working at Skullcandy happen to read this, I will say: I can really tell that you guys have put in a lot of effort into the EQ and tuning because it shows. The Dime 2 is right up there in the best-of conversation at the increasingly competitive budget price-point. Furthermore, the fact that you get this right out of the box, without any necessary EQ adjusting in an app or otherwise, is impressive! Yes you get an exclamation point! It’s particularly great for casual users who don’t want to deal with EQ tweaking.
The quoted response range of the Dime 2 is 20 – 20k Hz, which is pretty much dead average for budget headphones, but the bass extension is decent. The drops I normally test came through pretty consistently and didn’t have any roll off or jump back. The bass tone is a little loose, but, given everything else and the low price tag I am fine with that small concession.
The Dime 2 sounds great, and right out the box too. They might truly be some of the best fidelity you can get for their bare minimum price. Yes, I’m saying this about a Skullcandy product – their engineering has actually come a long way as they correctly realized years ago that fidelity is becoming more and more demanded and expected. I would say the Dime 2 is a worthwhile purchase for that reason alone.
But, the Dime 2 does have some major shortfalls from a usability perspective. The battery capacity is just bad for 2023 – most wireless earbuds, even similarly priced budget ones, are getting 2-3 times as much as this point. If there was one thing I hoped Skullcandy would improve with the Dime 2 it’s the battery life, especially since the Bluetooth version was updated, but that didn’t happen apparently.
Also the button based controls are not that good, mainly because they require so much force to depress. And the charging case with the holes and the the tips with the logo on the contact surface is just… yea, just don’t do stuff like that. With audio products, utility and performance comes first over aesthetics always, end of story.
Get the Skullcandy Dime 2 wireless earbuds on Amazon (affiliate link)
For those who are curious how the Dime 2 fares against the popular competitors: