Reviewed on Mar 23, 2018

Skullcandy Hesh 2 Wireless HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
6.1
Mixed Usage
6.3
Neutral Listening
6.1
Commute/Travel
6.7
Sports/Fitness
5.9
Office
4.9
Wireless Gaming
6.4
Wired Gaming
5.8
Phone Call
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

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.

Test Results
Design 6.3
Isolation 4.6
Microphone 6.1
Active Features 7.3
Connectivity 6.6
Pros
  • Lightweight over-ear headphones.
  • Wireless design.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Sub-par sound quality.
  • Bulky and plasticky build.
  1. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  2. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  3. Update 9/28/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  4. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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6.3

Design

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 (see our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones under $50).

Style

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.

6.0 Comfort
Weight : 0.55 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0.78 lbs

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.

7.2 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Ease of use : Decent
Feedback : Decent
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : No

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.

6.9 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 4.4 C

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.

5.7 Portability
L : 7.09 "
W : 6.30 "
H : 3.15 "
Volume : 140.6 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

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.

5.5 Case
Type : Pouch
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

These headphones come with a soft, cloth pouch which will protect them from scratches but not from hard falls or water damage.

6.5 Build Quality

The headphones have an all-plastic build that feels dense but not very durable. They should be able to withstand a couple of drops without getting damaged. However, the frame of the headband is made of a cheap-looking plastic that feels susceptible to breaking under moderate physical stress.

6.5 Stability

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.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
Top

Sound

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.

Sound Profile
Neutral
:
5.5
Bass-Heavy
:
5.5
Warm
:
8.7
Bright
:
2.8
6.9 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
1.91 db
Dips
:
1.98 db
7.5 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.5 dB

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.

8.2 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.43
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.56
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
2.19
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
6.38

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.

4.3 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
3.64 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
1.12 dB
PRTF Distance
:
4.8 dB
Openness
:
6.1
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
4.5

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.

7.5 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.237
WHD @ 100
:
0.192
4.6

Isolation

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. 

3.9 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-9.43 dB
Bass
:
0.19 dB
Mid
:
-5.38 dB
Treble
:
-23.46 dB

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.

6.1 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
44.38 dB

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.

6.1

Microphone

Integrated
:
Yes
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

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.

6.2 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
269.09 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
3.66 dB
HFE
:
2957.7 Hz
Weighted THD
:
6.223
Gain
:
22.68 dB

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.

5.9 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
10.15 dB

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.

7.3

Active Features

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.

8.1 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
:
28.3 hrs
Additional Charges
:
0
Total Battery Life
:
28.3 hrs
Charge Time
:
2.6 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
No
Audio while charging
:
Yes
Passive Playback
:
Yes
Charging Port : micro-USB

Update: 04/29/2019: We've updated the Passive Playback comparison to show that the Hesh 2 can be used passively with an audio cable

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 you're not using them.

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

These headphones do not have a compatible app more customization options.

6.6

Connectivity

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.

6.9 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
4.0
Multi-Device Pairing
:
No
NFC Pairing
:
No
Line of Sight Range
:
64 ft
Default Latency
:
144 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

These headphones connect via Bluetooth but do not have multi-device pairing or NFC support.

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.

0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
9.5 Wired
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.33 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS
Wired Latency
:
0 ms

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.

PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
Audio + Microphone
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox Analog
:
Audio + Microphone
Xbox Wired USB
:
No
Xbox Wireless
:
No
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A

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 the box

  • Skullcandy Hesh 2 Headphones
  • Carrying pouch
  • Audio cable
  • USB cable
  • Manual

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. See our recommendations for the best Bluetooth over-ear headphones and the best headphones under $100

Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The newer Skullcandy Hesh 3 are better headphones than the Skullcandy Hesh 2. The cups are noticeably larger and feel more comfortable than the Hesh 2. They also have better sound quality and you get a bass slider as well. Their wireless range is also noticeably better, but they have more latency than the previous model. On the other hand, the Hesh 2 has noticeably better battery life and also has an in-line microphone, which the Hesh 3 lacks.

Skullcandy Crusher Wireless 2016
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Skullcandy Crusher Wireless are a much better headset than the Skullcandy Hesh 2. The Crusher Wireless are better built and look more premium. They also have a longer battery life a, better wireless range, a better default sound that you can further enhance with the bass slider, and they're also a bit more comfortable despite being a little tight on some heads. The Hesh 2, on the other hand, have a unique design that comes in a bunch of color schemes to match your taste and preferences. They're also considerably cheaper, but overall the Crusher Wireless are the superior headset in almost every category.

Parrot Zik 2/Zik 2.0 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Parrot Zik 2.0 are much better wireless headphones than the Skullcandy Hesh 2. The Zik have a lot more customizable features than the Skullcandys. They're also better built and a bit more comfortable than the Hesh and they're noise canceling headphones so they do much better in noisy conditions. On the other hand, the Skullcandys are much lighter and have an easier to use control scheme. They also have a longer battery life than the Parrot, and since they're cheaper, they might be a better value for some.

6.1 Mixed Usage

The Skullcandy Hesh 2 are average-at-best mixed usage headphones. They're wireless and have a decent sound, but they're not meant for critical listening. Their isolation performance doesn't make them versatile enough for loud environments. Also, their design feels a bit cheap. On the upside, they're fairly easy-to-use, lightweight and they are a bit more breathable than other closed back over-ears.

6.3 Neutral Listening

Average for neutral listening. They sound a bit too boomy and boxy and have small, closed on-ear cups cannot create a good soundstage. Their sound is not balanced or neutral enough for neutral listening. Also, they're wireless which is not ideal for lossless audio.

6.1 Commute/Travel

Mediocre for commuting. The noise isolation is not strong or efficient enough for the level of ambient noise involved in busy city commute. On the upside, they're easy to use and fairly lightweight.

6.7 Sports/Fitness

Average-at-best for sports. The Skullcandy Hesh 2 are wireless and have an easy to use control scheme. However, they're a bit bulky, and too unstable for sports and to use while running or working out.

5.9 Office

Mediocre for office use. They won't leak too much unless you less to your music at high volumes but they won't isolate you from the chatter of a busy office.

4.9 Wireless Gaming

Sub-par for gaming. The Skullcandy Hesh 2 have a bit too much latency, an average-at-best mic, and no customization options. They're also not the most comfortable headphones which will not be ideal for long gaming sessions. On the upside, they're a bit more breathable than typical closed back over-ears.

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