Skullcandy Hesh ANC Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Jan 28, 2021 at 08:36 am
Skullcandy Hesh ANC Wireless Picture
6.7
Mixed Usage
6.7
Neutral Sound
7.0
Commute/Travel
7.1
Sports/Fitness
6.6
Office
5.2
Wireless Gaming
6.8
Wired Gaming
6.7
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling Yes
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC Wireless are an upgraded variant of the Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless. These over-ears have an active noise cancelling (ANC) feature and their continuous battery life has increased to around 24 hours. However, while their ANC performance is alright overall, it can amplify low-bass noise like bus engines and struggles overall to cut down sound in this range. They also have a very excited, v-shaped sound profile, but lack an EQ so you can't tweak their sound to your liking.

Our Verdict

6.7 Mixed Usage

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC are adequate for mixed usage. These decently comfortable over-ears have an active noise cancelling (ANC) feature that can help cut down ambient chatter at the office. Thanks to their 1/8" TRRS cable, they can be used wired if you want to game, and they also have a stable fit for light physical exercise. However, they have a very excited sound profile that's not the most suitable for fans of neutral sound. Their ANC also struggles to reduce bass-range noise like bus and plane engines.

Pros
  • ANC can cut down ambient chatter.
  • Comfortable and stable fit.
Cons
  • No sound enhancement features.
  • Can leak audio at high volumes.
6.7 Neutral Sound

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC are reasonable for neutral sound. They have a very excited sound profile that adds intense thump and rumble to your mixes while vocals and lead instruments are bright. However, while some users may enjoy this sound profile, it isn't very neutral. There aren't any sound enhancement features to help customize their sound profile either. They're also prone to slight inconsistencies in treble delivery.

Pros
  • Comfortable and stable fit.
Cons
  • No sound enhancement features.
7.0 Commute/Travel

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC are decent for commute and travel. Even with their ANC on, they struggle to cut down bass-range noise like bus or plane engines. They're also bulky, which can make them a bit more difficult to easily take with you on-the-go. However, they have a decently comfortable fit and have around 24 hours of continuous battery life to last through long flights or trips.

Pros
  • Comfortable and stable fit.
Cons
  • ANC struggles to reduce bass-range noise.
7.1 Sports/Fitness

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC are satisfactory for sports and fitness. They have a stable and decently comfortable fit while their wireless design makes it harder for something to snag them off your head. However, they could move around or fall off your head during more intense physical activity. They're also bulky, which doesn't make them very portable, and they don't have an IP rating for water resistance, although we don't currently test for it.

Pros
  • Comfortable and stable fit.
Cons
  • No advertised IP rating.
6.6 Office

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC are okay for office use. They're decently comfortable and have around 24 hours of continuous battery life, so you don't have to worry about battery life throughout your shift. They also have an alright ANC which can help reduce ambient chatter around you. However, they tend to leak audio and your colleagues may be able to hear it if you like to listen to music at a high volume.

Pros
  • ANC can cut down ambient chatter.
  • Comfortable and stable fit.
Cons
  • No sound enhancement features.
  • Can leak audio at high volumes.
5.2 Wireless Gaming

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC can only connect wirelessly via Bluetooth and therefore aren't compatible with PS4 or Xbox One. That said, they're compatible with Bluetooth-enabled PCs, as well as mobile devices, and have low latency on Android, iOS, and PCs.

6.8 Wired Gaming

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC are okay for wired gaming. When used with their 1/8" TRRS cable, they're compatible with PC, PS4/PS5, and Xbox One/Xbox Series X consoles. They're decently comfortable and have a very excited v-shaped sound profile that some gamers may enjoy as they can deliver deep thump and rumble. Their integrated mic also does a decent job in recording your voice. However, they don't have a companion app or any sound enhancement features.

Pros
  • Comfortable and stable fit.
Cons
  • No sound enhancement features.
6.7 Phone Calls

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC are fair for phone calls. The integrated mic does a decent job of capturing your voice, although it sounds a bit thin and dark. It also struggles to separate speech from moderately loud environments, so it's better suited for taking calls in a quiet space like a room. That said, they have an active noise cancelling feature that can help reduce some ambient noise around you.

Pros
  • Comfortable and stable fit.
Cons
  • Mic struggles to separate voice from moderate background noise.
  • 6.7 Mixed Usage
  • 6.7 Neutral Sound
  • 7.0 Commute/Travel
  • 7.1 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.6 Office
  • 5.2 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.8 Wired Gaming
  • 6.7 Phone Calls

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC look almost identical to the Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless. There aren't any markings on the ear cups, and instead, they have a sleek satin finish, giving them a very non-descript style. They're casual enough to use as everyday headphones. They also come in two color variants: 'Black' and 'Mod White'.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.5 lbs
Clamping Force
1 lbs

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC are decently comfortable. Just like the Skullcandy Hesh Evo Wireless, the padding on the cups feels good, and they don't put too much pressure on the ear. However, the padding on the headband feels a bit thin, which could make them uncomfortable for long listening sessions.

7.7
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control On/Off
Talk-Through
On/Off
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC have good controls. All the controls are found on the right ear cup. The volume up button also allows you to skip a track forward when you hold it down. Conversely, holding the volume down button allows you to skip back. The middle button lets you play or pause music as well as answer or end calls. If you press this button twice, you can activate voice assistant. There's also a circle button, which turns the ANC on and off. There are voice prompts to let you know when you've changed the ANC as well as a light indicator, which turns on when the ANC is on. There's also a beep when you've reached the minimum or maximum volume limit.

6.3
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 6.2 °C
6.1
Design
Portability
L 4.8"
W 6.5"
H 3"
Volume 93.1 in³
Transmitter Required No

These headphones have mediocre portability. While the ear cups can swivel to lay flat, which can help them take up less space in your bag, they're still quite bulky. Unfortunately, they only come with a pouch, which won't really keep them protected when you're on-the-go.

6.0
Design
Case
Type Pouch
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC come with a mediocre pouch to help protect them. The pouch has two pockets inside it so you can store your cables. It also uses drawstrings to stay closed. While it won't protect your headphones from drops, it can help keep dust off of them.

6.5
Design
Build Quality

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC have an acceptable build quality. They feel a lot like the Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless as they retain a lightweight plastic design, faux leather padding, and a headband that's reinforced with a thin metal frame. However, they don't feel very dense or durable and could be damaged if accidentally dropped. They also don't have an IP rating for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this.

7.5
Design
Stability

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC are stable headphones. They shouldn't move around if you're sitting at your desk or using them for jogging. However, they can fall off your head if you're doing more intense physical exercise.

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

  • Skullcandy Hesh ANC headphones
  • 1/8" TRRS cable
  • USB-C to USB-A cable
  • Pouch
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
6.41 dB
Treble Amount
0.31 dB

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC have a very excited, v-shaped sound profile. They deliver intense thump and rumble as well as bright and sparkling vocals and lead instruments. However, some users may find they sound harsh or piercing. Unfortunately, they lack any sound enhancement features to customize their sound to your liking.

7.5
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.5 dB

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC have good frequency response consistency. Bass delivery is relatively consistent, although you may experience a drop in bass if you have thick hair or wear glasses, as this can break the seal around your ears. Their treble delivery varies a little more, though, and is dependent on the headphones' positioning and fit on your head.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
4.8
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
7.36 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
10.28 dB
Mid-Bass
7.41 dB
High-Bass
7.25 dB

The bass accuracy is poor. It's overemphasized across the range, resulting in intense thump, rumble, and punch which some users may prefer. However, it can also sound overly boomy.

8.3
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.27 dB
Low-Mid
1.74 dB
Mid-Mid
0.81 dB
High-Mid
-0.83 dB

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC have great mid accuracy. The low-mid is a bit overemphasized, so your mix sounds a bit muddy or cluttered. That said, the mid-mid and high-mid are well-balanced, although a little uneven, resulting in slightly forward or weak vocals and lead instruments.

6.2
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
5.04 dB
Low-Treble
1.59 dB
Mid-Treble
6.38 dB
High-Treble
0.69 dB

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC have acceptable treble accuracy. It's overemphasized across the range, resulting in harsh vocals and lead instruments. The mid-treble is especially overemphasized, so sibilants like S and T sounds are piercing.

7.0
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.83 dB
Dips
1.85 dB

The peaks and dips performance is satisfactory. There's a peak in the high-bass, which adds boom to your mixes while the dip in the low-mids thins out vocals and lead instruments. The dip in between the high-mid and low treble weakens and hurts the details of vocals and lead instruments. However, the few following peaks across the treble range result in a harsh sound with piercing sibilants.

8.3
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.26
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.99
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.37
Weighted Phase Mismatch
3.31

These headphones have great stereo imaging. There's a peak in the weighted group delay's low-bass, which results in a loose bass. However, the rest of the response falls under the audibility threshold, resulting in transparent treble reproduction. Also, its L/R drivers are well-matched in regards to amplitude, frequency, and phase response. This means that objects and instruments, like voices and footsteps, are accurately localized in the stereo image, resulting in a more immersive listening experience. However, these results are only valid for our unit, and yours may perform differently.

6.2
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.88 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
5.04 dB
PRTF Distance
14.1 dB
Openness
3.1
Acoustic Space Excitation
4.8

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC's passive soundstage is passable. It sounds natural, wide, and as if coming from out in front of you, rather than from inside your head. However, their closed-back design makes them sound less spacious than open-back headphones.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC don't have any virtual soundstage features.

6.5
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.338
WHD @ 100
0.840

The weighted harmonic distortion performance is alright. Distortion falls under good limits at a normal listening volume, resulting in clean and pure audio reproduction. However, there's quite a bit of distortion present at max volume. This can be hard to hear with real-life content, though.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
Unknown
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings we used to test these headphones, and our test results are only valid in this configuration.

Isolation
6.9
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-17.2 dB
Bass
-8.73 dB
Mid
-17.77 dB
Treble
-26.02 dB

The noise isolation performance is alright. Although they have an ANC feature, it can amplify some bass-range noise like the rumble of a bus engine around you. It does a better job of reducing ambient chatter and the hum of an AC unit.

5.8
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
45.89 dB

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC have sub-par leakage performance. If you like to listen to your audio at a high volume, those around you can hear some of it, even in a moderately noisy environment like an office.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No

These headphones have an integrated microphone.

7.2
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
306.43 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
2.94 dB
HFE
6,639.82 Hz
Weighted THD
0.029
Gain
-10.3 dB

The microphone has a decent recording quality. Your voice sounds neutral, although thin and a bit dark. However, you shouldn't have too much of a problem being understood by whoever's on the other end of the line.

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

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC's mic's noise handling performance is just alright. It's best-suited for taking calls in quiet spaces and can struggle to separate your voice from ambient noise in moderately loud environments.

Active Features
7.6
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
24.2 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
24.2 hrs
Charge Time
1.6 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Yes
Charging Port USB-C

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC have a good battery performance. They have around 24 hours of continuous playback time and are advertised to have a 10-minute quick charge, which is supposed to give you around three hours of playback time, but we don't currently test for this. However, battery performance can vary depending on usage, so your experience may vary. That said, they don't have any power-saving features and you can't use them while charging. They support passive playback though, so you can use their 1/8" TRRS cable to listen to audio if you run out of battery life.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

These headphones don't have a companion app.

Connectivity
7.3
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
299 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
128 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
51 ms
Android Latency
67 ms

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC have decent Bluetooth compatibility. Unfortunately, you can't connect them with more than one device at a time and they don't support NFC pairing to make it easier to connect devices to them. That said, they have low latency on PC, iOS, and Android, which makes them suitable for streaming video. However, some apps compensate for latency differently, so your experience may vary.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

These headphones are only Bluetooth-compatible.

9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 4 ft
Connection 1/8" TRRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC come with a 1/8" TRRS cable. They also come with a USB-C to USB-A cable for charging the headphones.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio + Microphone
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones are compatible with PCs, PS4s, and PS5s when using their 1/8" TRRS cable. With this connection, you have full audio and microphone support. These headphones are also fully compatible with PCs using a Bluetooth connection.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No

You can receive audio and use the microphone when connected to an Xbox One or Xbox Series X console via plugging in the 1/8" TRRS cable into the controller.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC don't have a base or dock.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC come in two color variants: 'Black' and 'Mod White'. We tested the Black variant, and you can see its label here. We expect both colors to perform similarly to our model.

If you come across another variant, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC are over-ear headphones and are the updated variant of the Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless. This variant has an alright active noise cancelling feature, as well as increased continuous battery life. However, they don't isolate as much noise as similarly priced headphones like the Razer Opus Wireless or the AKG N60NC Wireless. If you're looking for more headphones with an ANC feature, check out our recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones under $200, and the best noise cancelling headphones. If you want to check out more wireless headphones, consider our recommendations for the best wireless Bluetooth headphones.

Skullcandy Venue Wireless

The Skullcandy Venue Wireless are somewhat better headphones for most uses than the Skullcandy Hesh ANC Wireless. The Venue are better-built and their ANC is able to reduce more ambient noise around you. They can also be paired with up to two devices at the same time and you can listen to audio while they're charging, which is nice. However, the Hesh have a more neutral sound profile and their integrated mic offers better overall performance.

Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC Wireless are better headphones than the Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless. While they look and feel very similar, the Hesh ANC have an active noise cancelling feature that can reduce more ambient noise around you. Their integrated mic performs better and they have longer continuous battery life.

Skullcandy Hesh Evo Wireless

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC Wireless are better headphones than the Skullcandy Hesh Evo Wireless. Although both headphones are similarly comfortable, the Hesh ANC have a noise cancelling feature, which helps cut down some ambient noise around you. However, the Evo have longer continuous battery life.

Beats Solo Pro Wireless

The Beats Solo Pro Wireless are better headphones than the Skullcandy Hesh ANC Wireless. The Beats are better-built, have a more neutral sound profile, and their active noise cancelling feature can reduce more ambient noise around you. They also leak more noise. However, the Skullcandy are more comfortable and have a more stable fit. They also support passive playback if you want to use them wired.

Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless

The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless are better headphones for commuting than the Skullcandy Hesh ANC Wireless. The Anker are better-built, more comfortable, and their active noise cancelling feature has a significantly better performance. They also have a longer continuous battery life, can be paired with up to two devices at a time, and have a companion app with a graphic EQ and presets to help you tweak their sound. However, the Skullcandy have a more stable fit.

Razer Opus Wireless

The Razer Opus Wireless are better headphones than the Skullcandy Hesh ANC Wireless. The Razer are significantly more comfortable, better-built, and their sound profile is more neutral. If you prefer a different sound, their companion app also has a graphic EQ and presets to help tweak their sound. Their active noise cancelling feature significantly reduces ambient noise around you too and they have longer continuous battery life.

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