Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless Headphones Review

Updated Mar 20, 2018 at 04:16 pm
Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless Picture
Usage Ratings - Version 1.3.1
6.6
Mixed Usage
7.0
Neutral Sound
6.6
Commute/Travel
7.2
Sports/Fitness
6.4
Office
5.3
Wireless Gaming
6.9
Wired Gaming
6.4
Phone Call
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

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.

Our Verdict

6.6 Mixed Usage

The Skullcandy Hesh 3 are average mixed-usage headphones. They have a good battery life and an excellent wireless range. They also have a bass-heavy sound that will be exciting for some. Unfortunately, they have a plasticky and cheap build quality that doesn't feel as durable as other headphones in their price range, they're quite tight on larger heads and they do not block enough noise for very noisy environments. Overall, they are decently versatile headphones but do not excel at any particular use case.

7.0 Neutral Sound

Average for neutral listening. They have a V-shaped sound profile that has a lot of bass, pronounced highs and a recessed mid-range which makes them sound exciting. Unfortunately, this also means the bass slightly overshadows instruments and vocals making the sound feel a bit boomy and overly bass-heavy which will not be ideal for more neutral listeners. They also have a fairly small soundstage since they're closed back over-ear headphones.

See our Neutral Sound recommendations
6.6 Commute/Travel

Average for commuting. They're lightweight, easy-to-use, and decently portable. Unfortunately, they do not block a lot of noise so they won't be ideal if you have a very noisy commute.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
7.2 Sports/Fitness

Decent for sports. They're relatively lightweight and tight enough to stay on your head when jogging. Their great wireless range makes them suitable for most activities. However, they get fairly warm during physical activity which is not ideal.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
6.4 Office

Average for office use. The Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless do not block a lot of noise so you will hear what's going on around you and they leak quite a bit at high volumes. On the upside, they're easy-to-use, they have an all-day battery life and they're somewhat comfortable if a bit tight on the head.

See our Office recommendations
5.3 Wireless Gaming

Sub-par for gaming. The Skullcandy Hesh 3 have a bit too much latency, an average-at-best mic, and no customization options. They're also a bit tight on the head which might not be ideal for long gaming sessions.

See our Wireless Gaming recommendations
6.9 Wired Gaming
6.4 Phone Call
  • 6.6 Mixed Usage
  • 7.0 Neutral Sound
  • 6.6 Commute/Travel
  • 7.2 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.4 Office
  • 5.3 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.9 Wired Gaming
  • 6.4 Phone Call
Pros
  • Great wireless range.
  • Long lasting battery life and fast charging.
  • Lightweight and stable design.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Plasticky build quality.
  • Can be overly bass-heavy for some.
  • Bass and treble delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.
  1. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

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.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.5 lbs
Clamping Force
1.2 lbs

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. For more comfortable budget headphones, we suggest taking a look at the Mpow H10 or the Anker Soundcore Life 2.

7.2
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Okay
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
N/A
Noise Cancelling Control N/A
Talk-Through
N/A
Additional Buttons No

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.

6.3
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 6.3 C

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 (see our recommendations for the best closed-back headphones). 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.

6.4
Design
Portability
L 4.2 "
W 6.2 "
H 2.6 "
Volume 68 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required N/A

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

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

These headphones do not come with a case or pouch.

6.5
Design
Build Quality

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.

7.5
Design
Stability

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.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Skullcandy Hesh 3 Headphones
  • Audio cable
  • USB cable
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
4.37 db
Treble Amount
2.61 db
6.4
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.8 dB

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.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.8
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.02 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
4.74 dB
Mid-Bass
1.99 dB
High-Bass
1.5 dB

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 the fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. The response here represents the average bass response, and your experience may vary. If you like the deep heavy bass of the Hesh 3, then you might also like the Skullcandy Crusher wireless which have a tactile bass feature that you can adjust with a slider on the side of the ear cups.

6.8
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.24 dB
Low-Mid
-4.28 dB
Mid-Mid
-3.92 dB
High-Mid
-4.18 dB

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.

8.4
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.0 dB
Low-Treble
-1.32 dB
Mid-Treble
3.72 dB
High-Treble
-0.75 dB

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.

7.4
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.61 db
Dips
1.38 db
8.1
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.26
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.79
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.76
Weighted Phase Mismatch
6.95

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.

4.9
Sound
Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.64 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
2.47 dB
PRTF Distance
5.84 dB
Openness
4.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
4.9

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.

7.4
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.211
WHD @ 100
0.269
Isolation
5.3
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-14.37 dB
Bass
-1.17 dB
Mid
-8.71 dB
Treble
-33.68 dB

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.

6.0
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
44.8 dB

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.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
N/A

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.

6.5
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
257.68 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
3.53 dB
HFE
3417.19 Hz
Weighted THD
2.263
Gain
19.12 dB

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.

6.5
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
17.14 dB

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.

Active Features
7.5
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
19 hrs
Additional Charges
0
Total Battery Life
19 hrs
Charge Time
1.1 hrs
Power Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Yes
Charging Port micro-USB

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.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name N/A
iOS N/A
Android N/A
macOS 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

The Skullcandy Hesh 3 headphones do not come with an app or software for added customization options.

Connectivity
7.2
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
4.1
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line of Sight Range
189 ft
Default Latency
170 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 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.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 3.5 ft
Connection 1/8" TRRS
Wired Latency
0 ms

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.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
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 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.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

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

Skullcandy Hesh 2 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 Venue Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Skullcandy Venue are better headphones than the Skullcandy 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 great battery life for their price tag but still don’t beat the 24 hours of the Venue.

Skullcandy Crusher Wireless 2016
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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.

JBL E55BT Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The JBL E55BT Wireless and the Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless are pretty similar, but the JBL E55BT might be a slightly better option. They are a bit more comfortable to wear during long listening sessions and they don’t feel as cheaply made as the Hesh 3. The E55BT can connect to two devices simultaneously and also have an in-line microphone, which the Hesh 3 is lacking. On the other hand, the wireless range of the Hesh 3 is significantly better and they take half the time to charge for about the same battery life. However, the mid-range of the Hesh 3 is pretty underemphasized, which will push vocals and lead instruments to the back of the mix.

Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT are better mixed-usage headphones than the Skullcandy Hesh 3, thanks to their app that gives you access to a good EQ. They also have less latency, which is good for watching videos. Other than that, they are similarly performing headphones; they even have a very similar look. The Hesh 3 might be a better choice for you if you like bass-heavy genres.

Anker SoundCore Life 2 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 are better and more versatile headphones than the Skullcandy Hesh 3. They outperform the Skullcandy headphones in pretty much every category. They sound better, are more comfortable, and isolate more ambient noise due to their ANC feature, although it isn’t the best. They offer longer battery life and an in-line mic, which the Hesh 3 is lacking. On the other hand, the Hesh 3 don’t get as hot as the Life 2 and they feel more stable once on your head.

Mpow H10 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Mpow H10 are better headphones than the Skullcandy Hesh 3. The H10 have a decent ANC feature while the Hesh 3 only passively isolate, which makes the Mpows better suited for the office and while commuting.  Sound-wise, the Skullcandy headphones are really bass-heavy, so fans of EDM and dubstep might prefer their sound profile. However, the H10 are slightly more comfortable and their Bluetooth latency might be low enough for people not to notice a delay. On the other hand, the Hesh 3 takes half the charging time of the H10 and provides you with about 20 hours of battery life, which is great.

Cowin E8 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Cowin E8 are slightly better headphones than the Skullcandy Hesh 3, but not by much. The Skullcandy charge much faster than the Cowin, 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 Cowin 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.

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Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless Price

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