The Skullcandy Hesh 2 are mediocre-at-best headphones with a poor audio reproduction. Their all-plastic design doesn't feel sturdy, and they're a bit cumbersome. They also don't block a lot of ambient noise, and the odd ear cup size gets uncomfortable. On the upside, they're wireless, lightweight and relatively affordable.
- Lightweight over-ear headphones.
- Wireless design.
- Poor noise isolation.
- Sub-par sound quality.
- Bulky and plasticky build.
Update 9/28/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.
The Skullcandy Hesh 2 look decent but are not the most comfortable headphones for long listening sessions. They have an entirely plastic design that does not feel durable. The ear cups are oddly shaped and don't quite fit around your ears. They're not sports headphones, although the wireless design does help, they will quickly fall off your head if used while jogging. They don't fold and are a little cumbersome to carry around.
The Skullcandy Hesh 2 look pretty good. They are relatively compact for an over-ear model. They have an all-black color scheme with a matte finish. There are silver accents around the ear cups, and the Skullcandy logo adds a little more flair to the design. They are not the most eye-catching headphones, but they look sleek and their design will work for some.
The SkullCandy Hesh 2 are somewhat comfortable headphones. They have well-padded ear cups and do not feel too heavy or tight once on your head. Unfortunately, the headband is not padded, and the ear cups have an odd size that is in between an on-ear model and an over-model but does not rest on, or encompass your ears properly. This causes discomfort over long listening sessions, especially, for listeners with larger ears.
The Hesh 2 have a distinct button layout that's functional and efficient but takes a little time to get used to. They provide track skipping, volume, and call/music controls. Unfortunately, multiple functions are often relegated to the same button, which can get a little confusing at first. The buttons also don't deliver a good tactile feedback, which is slightly disappointing.
The Skullcandy Hesh 2 are decently breathable headphones. They still make your ears fairly warm during exercise and even long uninterrupted listening sessions. However, the odd shape of the earcups does let a bit of air through unintentionally which keeps the outer ear relatively cool. They won't be the best headphones for sports but they perform a bit better than most closed-back over-ears.
The Skullcandy Hesh 2 Wireless headphones have a somewhat compact design but are not very portable. They do not fold to reduce the volume of space they take in a bag or purse. The earcups also don't swivel or lay flat. On the upside, the earpads are not too big, and the headband is relatively slim, which gives them a slightly smaller footprint than some other over-ear models.
The Skullcandy Hesh 2 are moderately stable headphones. They deliver a decently stable fit for casual listening sessions. They also have a wireless design that prevents them from getting yanked off your head because the audio cable got hooked on something. However, they are not designed for sports and will slip off your ears while running or jumping.
The Skullcandy Hesh 2 is an average sounding pair of closed-back over-ears. They have a good, extended, and relatively consistent bass, a decent and even mid-range reproduction and an unremarkable treble. However, their bass is boomy and muddy, their mid-range sounds a bit forward and vocals, and their treble lacks a bit of detail and brightness. Additionally, they have very good imaging, but like most other headphones, they don't have a large and speaker-like soundstage.
The bass is good. The LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 18Hz, which is great. Accordingly, low-bass is within 1dB of our target response, indicating a well-balanced, yet deep and thumpy bass. However, mid-bass and high-bass are overemphasized by more than 4dB, adding excess punch and boominess to the bass, which can make mixes sound a bit muddy and cluttered.
The mid-range performance of the Skullcandy Hesh 2 is good. Low-mid is even and relatively flat and within 0.62dB of our target response. However, mid-mid and high-mid are overemphasized by more than 3dB, which brings vocals and lead instruments to the front of the mix, by adding to their intensity and projection. The overall sound profile of their mid-range is slightly boxy/honky.
The treble is mediocre. The response is quite uneven and consistently underemphasized. Low-treble is under our target by more than 2dB, and mid-treble is lacking by more than 6dB. This results in a treble that lacks detail and brightness, especially on vocals, lead instruments and cymbals.
The Skullcandy Hesh 2 have a good frequency response consistency. In the bass range, the maximum amount of deviation across our five human subjects at 20Hz is about 5dB. This is noticeable but subtle. In the treble range, the maximum deviation below 10KHz is also about 5dB, indicating that the treble delivery is relatively sensitive to positioning.
The imaging is very good. Their weighted group delay is at 0.43, which is good. The GD graph also shows that the entire group delay response never crosses the audibility threshold. This indicates a tight bass and a transparent treble reproductions. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test bench were very well-matched, ensuring an accurate placement and localization of objects (instruments, voices, footsteps), in the stereo image.
The soundstage is poor. The PRTF response graph shows that there is very little pinna interaction/activation below 8KHz. This also shows in the poor accuracy and size values. The peak around 9KHz, is actually where the 10KHz notch is supposed to be. So instead of a dip there is a peak, which is quite poor. This suggests that their soundstage will be perceived to be small and located inside the head.
The harmonic distortion performance is decent. The overall amount of harmonic distortion is rather elevated, however, there is not a big jump in THD under heavier loads, which is good. The bumps in THD in high-bass/low-mid and low-treble could make the sound at those frequencies a bit harsh and fatiguing.
The Skullcandy Hesh 2 perform poorly at isolating listeners. They only have passive isolation and are not ideal for blocking the ambient noise of a busy commute. The ear cups do not create a good seal around most listeners ears, which lets a lot of noise seep into your audio. This also makes them a bit leaky, distracting the people around you at higher volumes.
The isolation performance is sub-par. The Skullcandy Hesh 2 don't have ANC (active noise cancellation) and isolate passively. In the bass range, important for blocking the rumble of airplane and bus engines, they don't isolate at all. In the mid-range, important for cutting out speech, they achieved about 6dB of isolation, which is poor. In the treble range, occupied by sharp S and T sounds, they reduce outside noise by 24dB, which is above-average.
The leakage performance of the Hesh2 is mediocre. The significant portion of the leakage is spread between 300Hz and 4KHz, which is a relatively broad range. That is, the leakage will sound fuller than that of in-ears and earbuds, but not as full-bodied as open-back headphones'. On the plus side, the overall level of leakage is not very loud, peaking at around 60dB SPL at 1 foot away, which is just above the noise floor level of most offices.
The integrated microphone has a mediocre performance. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with it will sound relatively thin and noticeably muffled. However, it will still be relatively easy to understand. In noisy situations, the Skullcandy Hesh 2 will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in even moderately loud environments, like a busy street.
The microphone has a mediocre recording quality. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 269Hz, means that speech recorded/transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3KHz, indicates a speech that is muffled and lacking in detail. However, it will still be decently understandable, since speech intelligibility is mostly dependent on the 500Hz-4KHz range.
- 100% SpNR
The noise handling performance of the integrated mic is sub-par. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 10dB, indicating they are best suited for quiet environments. In moderate and loud situations, they will struggle to separate speech from background sounds.
The Skullcandy Hesh 2 wireless headphones have a good battery life but no companion app for more customization options. They last very long on a single charge at 28.3 hours which is a lot more than typical wireless headphones, however, they do take quite a bit of time to charge too. They should last long enough for an entire weekend of casual use, but they do not have an auto-off feature so the battery will continue to drain even when inactive which is a little disappointing.
The Skullcandy Hesh 2 have a good battery life that will last up to 28.3 hours of continuous play time. They take a bit longer than average to charge but can play audio at the same time. This makes them decent headphones for traveling especially if your travel option has a lot of power outlets. Unfortunately, they have no power saving features and will continue draining the battery when your not using them.
These headphones do not have a compatible app more customization options.
- 10% Bluetooth
- 32% Wired
- 10% Base/Dock
- 22% Wireless Range
- 25% Latency
The Skullcandy Hesh 2 are Bluetooth headphones with a regular audio cable with an inline mic, that unlike the Hesh 3, is compatible with most consoles and PCs. Unfortunately, they do not support simultaneous multi-device pairing or NFC. They also have a mediocre wireless range and a bit too much latency for watching a lot of video content.
- 79% Multi-Device Pairing
- 20% NFC
- 0% PS4 Compatible
- 0% Xbox One Compatible
These headphones connect via Bluetooth but do not have multi-device pairing or NFC support.
- 13% Analog
- 9% USB
- 26% PS4 Compatible
- 26% Xbox One Compatible
- 26% PC Compatible
The Skullcandy Hesh 2 come with a regular 1/8TRS audio cable with an in-line microphone. The microphone is compatible with both the Xbox One and PS4 controllers as well as laptops but may need a mic and audio adapter for desktops.
- 4% Optical Input
- 22% Line In
- 4% Line Out
- 22% USB Input
- 4% RCA Input
- 9% PS4 Compatible
- 9% Xbox One Compatible
- 9% PC Compatible
- 2% Power Supply
- 13% Dock Charging
The Skullcandy Hesh 2 do not have a base/dock. If you want a versatile headset with a base that you can also use wired, check out the SteelSeries Arctis 7.
In our Skullcandy Hesh 2 review, we've found the wireless range to slightly bellow average especially in the direct line of sight. They do a well up to 33ft when the Bluetooth source was in another room. But only have a range of 64ft in direct line-of-sight, which is poor. This means they might not be the best headphones if you have a big house or work in a large office and don't want to have your Bluetooth device on you at all times.
The Hesh 2 have 144ms of latency which is not ideal for watching a lot of video content. It's a bit better than average for most Bluetooth headphones with no low latency codecs but won't be suitable for gaming and watching movies. If you need to watch a lot of videos, use them wired.
In the box
- Skullcandy Hesh 2 Headphones
- Carrying pouch
- Audio cable
- USB cable
Compared to other Headphones
The Hesh 2 are average-at-best wireless over-ears with a lightweight design and a somewhat decent sound. They're easy to use and have a long battery life but they're also a bit plasticky and feel a bit cheap. They do not have the most comfortable design and lack a lot of features compared to more recent wireless headphones in their price range.
The Skullcandy Grind are affordable wireless headphones with a surprisingly comfortable design for an on-ear. They have a much better sound and build quality than the Hesh 2 and they're a bit more portable although they do not fold into a more compact format like other on-ears. They have a decent battery life and a good wireless range but like most headphones, they won't be ideal for watching movies. Overall, the Grind are much better than the Hesh 2.
The Beats Studio Wireless are good mixed-usage headphones with a comfortable and stylish design that's stable enough for sports. They have a much better sound and build quality than the Skullcandy and are more versatile for everyday casual use. However, they are considerably pricier than the Hesh 2 so if you're on a tight budget and need a wireless headphone with really long battery life, the Skullcandy may be a somewhat decent alternative but for everything else, the Beats perform much better.
The Skullcandy Crusher is a wired headset for fans of bass. They have a unique bass slider that lets you physically adjust the level of thump and rumble that the headphones produce. They're also a lot more comfortable than the Hesh 2 since they have larger and better-padded ear cups. If you want a headphone that shakes and vibrates with every thump of the bass, then go for the Crusher, however, the convenient wireless design and long battery life of the Hesh 2 make them the better option for everyday casual use.
The Parrot Zik 2.0 were one of the most versatile headphones at the time of their release. They have an excellent build quality, a good active noise cancellation performance, and a decent sound that you can customize with the Parrot app. They are much better for every use case compared to the Hesh 2 but they are considerably more expensive. They also have a much shorter battery life. If you have the budget, go for the Parrots instead; they're a much better headphone overall.