Skullcandy is not a brand I would usually touch. The last set of them I had was the original Skullcrushers way back in 2005/2006. Those things for all their lacking in build and technical prowess were incredibly fun with the vibrating subwoofer like active bass. After the Skullcrusher there weren't any headphones from their lineup that peaked my interest. The company became a somewhat tacky fashion brand with a focus on style over performance. After finishing off the Noontec Hamo Wireless review last week a lot of readers got in touch asking about our thoughts on the Skullcandy Hesh 3 Bluetooth headphones.
What is the Skullcandy Hesh 3?
The Hesh 3 is a set of over the ear Bluetooth headphones that are competitively priced at the low to mid-end of the market. They are readily available online as well as in most high street electrical stores in the US and Europe. They claim a 22-hour battery life that would put it up there with some of the best in its class and they also make the very dubious claim of having the best sound quality in class.
Build quality is pretty good, for the price it is about what I would expect to find. The headphones are constructed mainly from plastic but it's of decent quality and free from cracks and creeks. The most important part of the headphone, the headband, is reinforced by a metal band that inspires even more confidence.
Buttons are nice and chunky and provide good tactile feedback. I like that they are sleeved in a soft rubber that will stop dust from getting trapped like it does on Bose's QC35.
The earcups have a nice soft touch matte finish to them that adds a more premium feel and look to them. Swivel points on the earcups are also quite robust and we like that they allow the Hesh 3 to be laid flat on a table.
Earpads are a good quality synthetic protein leather that after a couple of months of testing on our set looks as good as new. The one thing I couldn't discern when putting together this review is if the earpads are replaceable. Sure you can take them off but I couldn't find any aftermarket parts for sale. Not a killer at this point but something to keep in mind.
Let's face it Skullcandy has, for the past decade, put out some of the worst looking headphones the market has ever seen. The Hesh, on the other hand, is far better looking. They are available in four different colors (Black, Blue, Red, Beige) all look pretty good but we went with the black model because to me they are the cleanest looking.
They have a simple and clean finish to them that deceptively hides how bulky they actually are. In the hand, they feel small but on the head, they have a big presence and sit quite far off the head. Perhaps some tapering of the earcups would have made for cleaner lines.
The finishing materials such as the matte soft touch plastic on the earcups and good quality pads also add a touch of class. On a whole, they are far better looking than most headphones at this price point but they are by no means a good looking set of cans.
Bluetooth and Battery life
We found in outr testing that whilst the Hesh 3 didn't live up to its bold claim of 22 hours from a single charge that it did come pretty close. We got around 19 hours when listening from our phone at moderate to high listening levels.
You just get standard Bluetooth on the Hesh 3 and you wont find the higher quality Aptx codec. Range was good taking about 60ft before breaking up in clear line of sight with our device. It also should be noted that you can only connect to one device at a time and that you wont have the ability to similtaneously hook it up to both a computer and phone.
The Hesh 3 aren't a very comfortable headphone if you intend on wearing them over a long period of time. High clamping pressure and a build up of heat on the ears were two issues I faced during the period of time I spent reviewing them.
Despite not being a set of noise cancelling headphones the Skulcandy Hesh 3 do a great job of isolating you from external noise. When commuting the clamping pressure mentioned above becomes a bonus as it helps create a solid seal over the ears an block out unwanted noise.
Also worth noting is that there is very little in the way of sound leaking from the earcups even when playing music back at moderately high volumes.
If you like hard hitting bass and don't consider yourself an audiophile you will love the sound of the Hesh 3. Yes it might not be as refined as the noontecs but it has an abillty to throw out a lot of bass quantity.
Everything else is pretty much what I would expect from this sort of headphone. Enough to get by with no glaring flaws but not enough to convince a headphone collector to pick one up. Its sound is aiming to supply the masses and has a distinctly consumerish sound to them.
Highs are rolled off and very laid back. You don't get a lot of sparkle and that makes them
Midrange is actually ok its smooth and warm and lacks detail that you find in heigher priced cans but it does a solid job of recreating male and femaile vocals. Strings would benifit from having a faster response but as the midrange stands it should work well for most modern genres of music.
Bass hits hard and it is definetley a standout feature of the Hesh 3. What it lacks in refinement it makes up for it with quantity. Bass drops on various EDM tracks from Skrillex and Infected Mushroom sounded pretty damm good and definetly got the heart pounding. There is a slight bleed into the lower mids but you would expect that from something that goes so hard on the low end.
The Hesh 3 is the first decent Skullcandy headphone in years and if you are the right buyer (Someone who likes a lot of bass and is on a budget) then these might be right up your street. If you are looking for a bit more refinement then I suggest trying out the Noontec model we mentioned above or the Koss BT539iK would be an excellent alternative.
All in the Hesh 3 is a solid headphone for the right person, it has good build quality and killer battery life. Without a doubt it is Skullcandy's best headphone to date.