The Skullcandy Hesh 3 are fun-sounding, bass-heavy headphones that don’t break the bank. It’s playful sound, 22 hour battery life and solid build quality make the Hesh 3 a great value for those looking for a value over-ear headphone.
- Fun, bass-heavy sound
- Blocks out ambient noise
- 22-hour battery life
- Tight clamping force
- Bloated bass
- No multipoint Bluetooth
With phones like the iPhone X, Pixel 2 and others dropping the 3.5mm wired jack, it’s become abundantly clear that the future of audio is wireless.
While this likely means that you’re going to have to buy a pair of wireless cans to use with your new smartphone, it doesn’t mean you have to pay top dollar on a pair: For their price, the Skullcandy Hesh 3 are basic wireless headphones that will satisfy bass lovers looking for a headphone that just works.
As expected, Skully candy’s bass-heavy sound signature is present with the Hesh 3 but it’s not overbearing. There’s a ton of bass that makes rap, electronic, and pop music sound great but it won’t satisfy audiophiles looking for a more balanced approach. That said, you also won’t find fancy features like auto play/pause, active noise cancellation or a carrying case but for the money, you wouldn’t expect to.
When taken as a whole, however, the $130 (£100, about AU$170) Hesh 3 are a compelling package for listeners on a budget looking to make the jump into the bold new future of wireless headphones.
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 offer a minimal design that’s slightly generic but will fit most tastes. The headphone is constructed with soft-touch plastic which feels nice in the hand, resists fingerprints and makes for a very lightweight headphone. The Hesh 3 come in four colors: black, blue, red and gray.
There are faux-leather ear and headband pads that are comfortable if you don’t wear glasses. The earpads are supple but its tight clamping force means those with big heads and glasses will feel uncomfortable during extended sessions.
However, the pads do an excellent job at blocking out ambient noise without the need for active noise cancellation. With a good seal, the headphones block an impressive amount of noise and offer a ton of bass to boot.
All of the headphone’s controls are located on the right earcup. There are only three buttons to control volume, playback and power. Double tapping the middle button will active your voice assistant, like Siri or Google Assistant.
The right earcup also houses the 3.5mm jack for listening in wired mode if the battery runs out. Speaking of batteries, charging is done via a microUSB connector and the headphones support rapid charging. This means you can get 4 hours of playback with just 10 minutes of charge. It would have been nice to see USB-C charging as most phones today use that port instead – but the decision to use microUSB isn’t all that bad.
While the Skullcandy Hesh 3 don’t come with a carrying case, they fold flat or up for easy transport. It would have been nice to see a carrying pouch or case but the headphones feel durable enough to be stuffed in a bag without a case.
Features and performance
In terms of a feature set, the Skullcandy Hesh 3 are a basic pair of headphones: You won’t find active noise cancellation, auto play/pause, or multipoint Bluetooth here. It’s annoying that the Hesh 3 can’t connect simultaneously to two devices at once but it’s par for the course in this price range.
In terms of sound, Skullcandy’s signature bass-heavy sound is alive and well in the Hesh 3. Bass is punchy with excellent impact but will bleed into the mids, recessing vocals at times. The Skullcandy Hesh 3 sound the best with dance, electronic and rap music because of its bass-heavy sound signature.
Highs are exciting without being too bright, balancing the bass-heavy sound.
As you might expect, more expensive wireless headphones like the Bose QuietComfort 35 II and Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 2 do a better job at conveying a sense of space and the timbre of instruments like the violin and cymbals, and to that end the Hesh 3 sounds wooden and two dimensional when compared to its more high-end competitors.
As for battery life, the Skullcandy Hesh 3 last 22 hours on a charge and offer rapid charging, which we wish more headphones offered. You can get 4 hours of playback from just 10 minutes of charge.
If you’re looking for a basic pair of over-ear wireless headphones for around $100, the Skullcandy Hesh 3 are a good choice: The headphones feature a minimalist design, rapid charging and a fun sound signature for the money and are comfortable on the head thanks to its plush earpads and lightweight.
Sound quality is good for the price but the bass definitely dominates the audio spectrum and even intrudes into the mids. But, for casual listeners, this won’t matter much. Highs are extended and exciting without being sibilant.
For the money, the Skullcandy Hesh 3 are great over-ear wireless headphones for the price. You won’t find any fancy features like multipoint pairing or noise cancellation but Skullcandy’s wireless headphone really nails the basics.