The Skullcandy Hesh 3 are decent mixed usage headphones with an exciting but bass-heavy sound that won't be for everyone. They have a lightweight design, they're easy-to-use and they're decently comfortable but a bit tight on the head. This makes them stable enough to take to the gym although they won't be the most breathable headphones for sports. They also do not isolate well in noisy environments and are a bit leaky at high volumes, which may be distracting to those around you.
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 are a lot better designed than the Hesh 2. They have a more polished and understated look, the ear cups are well padded and do not protrude like on the previous model, and their control scheme is easy-to-use. Unfortunately, their build quality feels a bit cheap and plasticky, they do not have the most breathable design for sports (see our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones for the gym), and the buttons on the right ear cup feel a bit mushy and slightly lacking in feedback. They also do not come with a case or pouch which is a bit disappointing.
The Hesh 3 have an understated design that looks a lot better than the Hesh 2. They have a wide and flat headband, and the ear cups do not protrude as much, giving the headphones a relatively low profile once on your head. They come in a couple of different color schemes and they look good enough to use outdoors as your every day casual headphones. However, the plastic used in their build feels a lot cheaper than it looks, which may be a deal breaker for some.
The Skullcandy Hesh3 are decently comfortable but a bit tight on the head which won't be for everyone. They're lightweight and have relatively large ear cups that fit well around most ears. The ear cups are decently well-padded but the headband is not, which makes them slightly less comfortable, but shouldn't be much of an issue since they're fairly lightweight. They're more comfortable than the Cowin E7 Pro but, unfortunately, the tight fit of these headphones does clamp the head quite a bit and will get uncomfortable after a long listening session especially on wider heads.
These headphones have a decent control scheme that's easy to use but lacks a little feedback. They provide the essential functions; call/music, track skipping and volume controls. Unfortunately, the controls have a layer of rubber coating that makes the buttons feel mushy and a bit unresponsive. It's not as bad as some of the other control schemes we've tested, but it makes the experience slightly more frustrating than intended.
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 are not very breathable headphones. They create a fairly good seal around your ears and have a closed back around the ear design that prevents a lot of airflow. They will make you sweat a bit more than average if you use them while working out and your ears will get warm after a couple of hours of critical listening. They are not much worse than other closed back over-ears with nonporous pads, but they won't be ideal for more intense exercises. But if you really prefer over-ear headphones for working out, they're a decent option.
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless fold into a more compact format that's decently portable. They won't be the easiest headphones to carry around on your person due to their moderately large ear cups and mid-sized over-ear design, but they will easily fit into a gym bag or backpack. Unfortunately, they do not come with a case or a pouch which is slightly disappointing
The build quality feels plasticky and a bit cheap. They have a lightweight design and a headband that's reinforced with a thin metal frame which should make them sturdy enough to withstand a couple of accidental drops without getting damaged. Unfortunately, the plastic used in their build quality feels relatively weak and not as dense or as durable as some of the other budget wireless headphones we've tested like the Bluedio T4 or the Mpow 059.
These headphones have a tight fit on the head that makes them stable enough to go running with. They're also wireless so they won't get yanked of your head because the audio cable got hooked by something. However, they still have a somewhat cumbersome design that won't be ideal for more intense workouts, since the headband will occasionally slide off your head when tilted. They're a decent option to take to the gym but they won't be ideal for serious sports.
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless is an average sounding pair of closed-back over-ear headphones. These headphones have a deep, thumpy and powerful bass, an even mid-range, and a detailed and present treble. However, their bass is boomy, overpowering and prone to inconsistencies, their mid-range is significantly lacking on vocals and lead instruments, and their treble is noticeably sharp on S and T sounds. This gives them a classic "V-shaped" or "Smiley Face" sound profile, which is known for sounding "exciting" but it's a little bit overdone here. On the up side, they image pretty well, but like most other headphones don't have a large and speaker-like soundstage.
The bass is very good. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, and low-bass is overemphasized by about 5dB. This indicates a deep and extended bass with quite a bit of excess thump and rumble. Mid-bass and high-bass are relatively flat and even, but over our target by at least 1.5dB. Overall, their bass is quite heavy and boomy and not neutral, but they may please fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM and Hip-hop due to their excess thump. Also, their bass delivery varies noticeably across users, and is sensitive to the quality of fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. The response here represents the average bass response and your experience may vary.
The mid-range performance is about average. The overall response is even and flat, but underemphasized and recessed constantly by about 4dB. This pushes vocals and lead instruments to the back of the mix, by favoring bass and treble frequencies. So if you are looking for clear, well-balanced and present vocals, the Skullcandy Hesh 3 won't be a good choice.
The treble range performance is very good. Low-treble is even but under our target by a bit more than 1dB. This is the continuation of the mid-range recess. The bump in mid-treble between 6KHz and 9KHz covers most of the sibilance range, making vocals and cymbals noticeably sizzly and sibilant (sharp and piercing on S and T sounds). Also, their treble delivery varies noticeably across users. The response here represents the average response and your experience may vary.
The frequency response consistency of the Hesh 3 is mediocre. In the bass range, the maximum deviation recorded on our 5 human subjects at 20Hz, is about 6dB, which is noticeable. It seems that the drop in bass is more likely to happen if you have long hair or wear glasses that can break the air-tight seal between the headphones and your head. In the treble range, the maximum deviation below 10KHz is also about 6dB, indicating that their treble delivery is highly sensitive to positioning.
The imaging is great. Their weighted group delay is at 0.26, which is low and within good limits. This indicates a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched in amplitude and frequency response, which is important for the accurate localization and placement of objects (instruments, voice, footsteps) in the stereo image. The phase mismatch in the bass range although not ideal, is not high enough to make a significant negative effect.
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 have a sub-par soundstage. Their PRTF response doesn't follow our reference very closely, and there doesn't seem to be much pinna interaction happening anyway. This results in a soundstage that is perceived to be small and located inside the listener's head. Additionally, the closed-back design will make them sound less open and spacious, compared to an open-back headphone.
The harmonic distortion performance is about average. The overall amount of harmonic distortion is a bit elevated throughout, especially in the treble range, making those frequencies a bit harsh and fatiguing. However, under heavier loads, the THD in the bass range remains constant which is good, suggesting that they can handle a bit of EQ boost.
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 do not isolate well in loud environments. They create a fairly good seal around your ears which prevents some of the higher frequency noise from seeping into your audio. Unfortunately, unlike the Skullcandy Venue which have active noise canceling, the Hesh 3 only isolate passively, and cannot block the rumbling noise of an engine or the chatter of public transit. You can mask some ambient noise by listening to your music at high volumes, but they may be a bit distracting to those around you since they also leak quite a bit.
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 has a sub-par isolation performance. These headphones don't have ANC (active noise cancellation) and isolate only passively. Therefore, they don't not achieve any isolation in the bass range and will let in the rumble of airplane and bus engines. In the mid-range, which is important for blocking out speech, they achieve about 9dB of isolation, which is below-average. In the treble range, occupied by sharp S and T sounds, they achieved 34dB of isolation, which is good.
The leakage performance is mediocre. The significant portion of their leakage is spread between 300Hz and 5KHz, which is a broad range. The overall level of leakage, however, is not very loud. At 100dB SPL and 1 foot away, the leakage will peak at around 60dB SPL, which is 10dB above the noise floor of most offices.
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless has an average integrated microphone. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with their mic will sound relatively thin, but noticeably muffled and lacking in detail. However, speech will still be decently understandable. In noisy environments, they perform decently in moderately loud environments, like a busy street, but they will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in loud situations, like a subway station.
The microphone has a mediocre recording quality. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 258Hz means that speech recorded/transmitted with it will sound a bit thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3.4KHz indicates a speech that lacks detail and is relatively muffled. However, it won't affect the speech intelligibility much, since that is mostly dependent on the 500Hz-4KHz range.
The noise handling performance of the Skullcandy Hesh 3's integrated mic is about average. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 17dB, indicating they are best suited for quiet environments but should be able to handle a moderate amount of noise as well.
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 have a great battery performance but no app for added customization. They lasted about 19 hours on a single charge which only took an hour. This means you will rarely be out of battery and in the worst case scenario you can use them passively or plug them in for 10 minutes and get a lot of playtime thanks to their quick charge feature. Unfortunately, they do not automatically switch off when inactive which would have made their battery performance even better and their lack of an app makes them a lot less customizable compared to other similarly priced wireless headphones.
They have a great battery life and a fast charge time. They have about 19 hours of continuous playtime on average and charged completely within an 1 hour. They should easily last you throughout the day and the fast charge time means even if you forget to charge them overnight you can always get a couple hours of playtime from a quick 10-minute charge. Unfortunately, they do not automatically switch off when inactive which would have been ideal.
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 headphones do not come with an app or software for added customization options.
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 are Bluetooth headphones with a regular audio cable that does not have a compatible mic for consoles or PCs. They also do not support simultaneous multi-device pairing or NFC. On the upside, they have a great wireless range that makes them suitable enough for most use cases but like most Bluetooth headphones they have a relatively high latency performance so they won't be suitable for watching a lot of video content.
These headphones connect via Bluetooth but do not have multi-device pairing or NFC support.
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 come with a regular 1/8TRS audio cable with no in-line microphone. This means you will be able to use them with your Xbox and PS4 controllers but only for audio as they will not work with Hesh 3's integrated mic.
The Hesh3 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.
These headphones have a great wireless range. They reached up to 50ft when the Bluetooth source was obstructed and up to 189ft in direct line of sight. This makes them suitable for most use cases and environments especially if you keep your phone or your Bluetooth source on you.
The Hesh 3 have 170ms of latency which is not ideal for watching a lot of video content. It's about average for most Bluetooth headphones with no low latency codecs, so if you need to watch a lot of videos, use them wired.
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 are decently versatile headphones with a great wireless range and a lightweight, understated design. They're easy-to-use and decently comfortable if a bit tight on the head and have a bass-heavy audio reproduction that sounds exciting but won't be for everyone. Unfortunately, they do not isolate well in loud environments and their build quality feels a bit cheap and plasticky compared to some of the headphones below.
The Skullcandy Venue are better headphones than the Hesh 3. Their build quality is better, and they feel more durable. They are also less prone to bass inconsistencies, and they also isolate more noise thanks to the ANC feature. On the other hand, the Hesh 3 have a better microphone for calls and are less expensive. They also have a great battery life for their price tag but still don’t beat the 24 hours of the Venue.
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 have similar performance to the Skullcandy Crusher Wireless in most aspects. The Hesh 3 have a greater wireless range, a slightly better-balanced sound, and a lighter and more comfortable design. They also tend to block a bit more noise passively, although not by much. On the other hand, the Crusher Wireless have a much better build quality than the Hesh 3. They also have a longer battery life and an adjustable bass slider that makes them slightly more customizable.
The Cowin E8 are slightly better headphones than the Skullcandy Hesh 3 but not by much. The Skullcandy charge much faster than the E8 which is convenient if you forget to charge them overnight. They also have an easier to use control scheme, a better sound quality with more bass and a better wireless range. On the other hand, the E8 have a slightly more comfortable over-ear fit and a more sturdy design. They also have a longer battery life and with a good case that makes them decently portable although the Hesh 3 are a bit more compact since they fold.
The Hesh 2 are the older model of the Hesh series by Skullcandy. They have a completely different design, which doesn't feel as polished and protrudes quite a bit once on your head. They also have a worse battery performance and do not sound as good as the newer model. Unless you're on a really tight budget get the Hesh 3 instead of the Hesh 2 as they're a much better headphone overall in almost all categories.
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 bit more comfortable than the Hesh 3 since they're not as tight on the head. 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, better aesthetics and better sound makes the Hesh 3 the better headphone overall.
The Sony MDR-XB950B1 are a well-built and premium looking headphones for bass-heads. They have a good battery life and wireless range although the Hesh 3 perform a little better. Unfortunately, their bass-oriented sound can overpower instruments and vocals which won't sound as exciting as the Hesh 3 even when you EQ them. The ear cups also do not fit as well on all listeners. If you want the more durable headphone then get the XB950B1 but if you don't mind the slightly tight fit of the Hesh, then they have a better battery life, sound quality and wireless range than the Sonys, and they're a bit cheaper too.
The JBL E55BT are decent wireless headphones for most use cases. They're around the same price as the Hesh 3 and have a slightly better build and sound quality. They also have an audio cable that's a bit more suitable for gaming thanks to the in-line microphone that's compatible with most consoles. However, their overall performance is fairly similar, so if you prefer the design and more balanced sound of the JBL then go for the E55BT but if you want a more exciting sound profile to listen to bass-heavy music go for the Skullcandy instead.