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Skullcandy Sesh ANC True Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Apr 25, 2023 at 09:46 am
Latest change: Writing modified Apr 25, 2023 at 09:46 am
Skullcandy Sesh ANC True Wireless Picture
7.4
Neutral Sound
8.0
Commute/Travel
8.1
Sports/Fitness
7.3
Office
5.6
Wireless Gaming
5.5
Wired Gaming
7.0
Phone Calls

The Skullcandy Sesh ANC are a sibling of the Skullcandy Sesh Evo True Wireless. While not much is new in their design, these buds feature active noise cancellation (ANC), which lets them block out background noise like traffic or chatty coworkers. They're also the first earbuds in Skullcandy's Sesh lineup to have full compatibility with a companion app, which lets you fine-tune the sound to your liking using a graphic EQ and presets, as well as change their ANC settings.

Our Verdict

7.4 Neutral Sound

The Skullcandy Sesh ANC are decent for neutral sound. The bass and mid ranges are both well-balanced, but the treble range suffers from an underemphasized low-treble and overemphasized mid-treble. As such, vocals and instruments lack detail, while sibilants, like cymbals, sound piercing. Fortunately, you can fine-tune the mix how you'd like with their companion app's graphic EQ and presets. Being closed-back earbuds, however, they don't create an immersive soundstage.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets in the companion app.
Cons
  • Uncomfortable for long durations.
8.0 Commute/Travel

The Skullcandy Sesh ANC are great for commuting and travel. Their long battery life lasts through both short commutes and long flights alike. Their powerful ANC system also isolates you from pesky background noise, like rumbly bus engines and chatty passengers. They're also compatible with the Tile app, so you won't need to worry if you misplace them at the airport or if your luggage gets lost. However, they're fatiguing to wear for long periods due to a protruding bump in their inner shell.

Pros
  • Long battery life.
  • Powerful ANC system.
  • Good stability.
Cons
  • Uncomfortable for long durations.
8.1 Sports/Fitness

The Skullcandy Sesh ANC are great for sports and fitness. Their IP55 rating protects them against water splashes, making them well-suited for the outdoors. They don't move around during light workouts but are likely to fall out with more intense movement, like a jog. However, they're only decently comfortable and may cause some in-ear fatigue during longer workouts.

Pros
  • Long battery life.
  • Powerful ANC system.
  • Good stability.
Cons
  • Uncomfortable for long durations.
  • Mic makes your voice sound thin.
7.3 Office

The Skullcandy Sesh ANC are decent for use in an office. Their ANC does a good job of blocking out chatty coworkers and whiny AC systems. With ANC on, the battery lasts long enough to get you through most of your workday. Unfortunately, a bump on the inside of the buds makes them uncomfortable after prolonged use. They also don't feature multi-device pairing, so you can't keep them connected to your laptop and phone at the same time.

Pros
  • Long battery life.
  • Powerful ANC system.
Cons
  • Uncomfortable for long durations.
  • High latency on PCs.
5.6 Wireless Gaming

The Skullcandy Sesh are Bluetooth-only earbuds and can't connect to Xbox or PlayStation consoles. That said, while their default Bluetooth connection's latency is too high for gaming, their 'Gaming Mode' substantially lowers audio lag on PCs and mobile devices. Their nearly eight-hour battery life lasts through long play sessions, and their mic makes your voice sound clear and understandable, if not a little thin, over team chat. Unfortunately, their build isn't suited for every ear shape, so you're likely to feel discomfort after a few hours with them in.

5.5 Wired Gaming

The Skullcandy Sesh ANC are Bluetooth-only headphones, and you can't use them for wired gaming.

7.0 Phone Calls

The Skullcandy Sesh ANC are satisfactory for phone calls. The internal microphone makes your voice sounds natural and understandable but thin and lacking in body. Fortunately, they do a decent job of separating your voice from moderate and louder background noise.

Pros
  • Powerful ANC system.
Cons
  • Mic makes your voice sound thin.
  • 7.4 Neutral Sound
  • 8.0 Commute/Travel
  • 8.1 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.3 Office
  • 5.6 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.5 Wired Gaming
  • 7.0 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Apr 25, 2023: Review published.
  2. Updated Apr 17, 2023: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Skullcandy Sesh ANC come in one color variant: 'Black', and you can see our unit's label here. If you come across another variant, please let us know in the forums, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Skullcandy Sesh ANC are an upgraded version of the Skullcandy Sesh Evo True Wireless. They feature ANC and can now connect to a companion app to adjust ANC settings and fine-tune your mix using a graphic EQ and presets. Their continuous battery life of over seven hours can get you through most of your day without an issue, but they don't last as long as some of Skullcandy's other non-ANC earbuds, like the Skullcandy Grind Fuel True Wireless. Although they perform well for their price, cheaper earbuds are available that do a better job of isolating you from background noise, like the Anker Soundcore Space A40 Truly Wireless.

Looking for more options? Check out our recommendations for the best noise cancelling earbuds, the best Skullcandy headphones, and the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds.

Beats Studio Buds True Wireless

The Skullcandy Sesh ANC True Wireless are better noise cancelling earbuds than the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless. Their ANC can isolate you from more lower-frequency background noise, like the deep rumble of a bus or plane engine. Their companion app also lets you fine-tune their sound profile using a graphic EQ and presets, a feature that the Beats' companion app does not have. Their battery life also isn't as long, but if you're a dedicated Apple user, you'll benefit from the Beats' H1 chip for seamless pairing with Apple devices, as well as their compatibility with Apple Music's Spatial Audio feature, which creates a more immersive virtual soundstage via head tracking.

Skullcandy Sesh Evo True Wireless

The Skullcandy Sesh ANC True Wireless are better earbuds than the Skullcandy Sesh Evo True Wireless. The Sesh ANC are an updated version of the Sesh Evo and come with new features, like ANC and compatibility with a companion app, allowing you to change the ANC settings and fine-tune the mix using a graphic EQ and presets. The Sesh Evo don't have a customizable sound profile and can't isolate you from as much noise since they don't have ANC. Their battery also doesn't last as long despite their more stripped-back features - nearly five hours continuously compared to the Sesh ANC's nearly eight hours. However, their default sound profile is much more bass-heavy, which you will prefer if you listen to EDM or hip-hop.

Skullcandy Indy ANC True Wireless

The Skullcandy Sesh ANC True Wireless are better in-ears than the Skullcandy Indy ANC True Wireless. Their ANC can isolate you from more low and mid-range background noise, like rumbly bus engines and chatty coworkers. The Sesh ANC also have a longer continuous battery life and access to a graphic EQ via their companion app, compared to the Indy ANC's preset-only app, which limits personalization. However, the Sesh ANC's mic isn't as good for calls, making your voice sound thinner and quieter than the Indy ANC's mic. If you're a fan of the bud-and-stem design, like Apple's AirPods lineup, you'll also prefer the Indy ANC's design to the Sesh ANC's more compact build.

Skullcandy Grind Fuel True Wireless

Ultimately, the deciding factor between the Skullcandy Grind Fuel True Wireless and the Skullcandy Sesh ANC True Wireless comes down to your preferences around noise isolation. Since the Sesh ANC have active noise cancellation (ANC), they can block out much more background noise during a commute or busy workday in a loud office. Since the Grind Fuel don't have ANC, they can't isolate you in the same way. However, they're substantially cheaper than the Sesh ANC and have a longer battery life.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Truly Wireless
Transducer Dynamic

The Skullcandy Sesh ANC have a minimalist monochrome design that's very similar to other models in the Sesh lineup. The body is mostly matte plastic, save for a shiny embossed manufacturer's logo on the control buttons, which take up the whole outer side of each bud.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.03 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

These earbuds don't fit too deep in-ear or apply pressure to the ear canal, but a bump on the body can apply pressure to your outer ear over time. Additionally, pressing the buttons applies extra pressure to your inner ear, which feels uncomfortable.

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 controls are simple to learn and have good feedback. There are voice prompts and chimes when making inputs, and the buds tell you if noise cancelling is on or off when you put them in your ears. However, pressing the physical control buttons pushes the earbuds deeper into your ear canal, negatively impacting their comfort.

On the right bud:

  • Single press: Plays and pauses audio. Also answers and ends calls.
  • Press twice: Raises the volume.
  • Press three times: Activates your device's voice assistant.
  • Press and hold for one second: Plays the next track.
  • Press and hold: Toggles ANC on/off as well as Stay Aware transparency mode.

On the right bud:

  • Single press: Plays and pauses audio. Also answers and ends calls.
  • Press twice: Lowers the volume.
  • Press three times: Activates your device's voice assistant.
  • Press and hold for one second: Plays the previous track.
  • Press and hold for three seconds: Toggles ANC on/off as well as Stay Aware transparency mode.

9.4
Design
Portability
L 1.2" (3.0 cm)
W 1.2" (3.0 cm)
H 1.2" (3.0 cm)
Volume 1.87 inยณ (30.70 cmยณ)
Transmitter Required No

While the Skullcandy Sesh ANC True Wireless Earbuds are a little bigger than the Skullcandy Sesh Evo True Wireless, they'll still fit in your pocket without taking up much space.

7.5
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 3.1" (7.8 cm)
W 1.5" (3.9 cm)
H 1.3" (3.4 cm)
Volume 6.32 inยณ (103.60 cmยณ)

These earbuds have a good case. It feels plasticky but durable enough to withstand some wear and tear. The four LEDs on the front of the case will indicate how many full charges the case has left. However, the hinge holding the lid of the case feels a little loose and prone to breaking. It's also bulky and takes up more space in your pocket than other wireless earbud cases.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

Build quality is good. The buds are made of matte plastic all over and feel well-built. They're rated IP55 against water splashes, so they're less likely to get damaged during a run in the rain. Unfortunately, the case feels cheaper than the buds and doesn't have an IP rating, meaning it could get damaged with prolonged exposure to the elements.

7.5
Design
Stability

The Skullcandy Sesh ANC have good stability. Once you get a good fit and seal, they don't move around during moderate exercises, like a jog. However, they still fall out during a more intense workout. Fortunately, they come with three different-sized ear tips to help you find the best possible fit.

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

  • Skullcandy Sesh ANC headphones
  • Charging case
  • USB-A to USB-C charging cable
  • 3x tip size options
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
1.91 dB
Treble Amount
-1.32 dB

The Skullcandy Sesh ANC have a fairly neutral sound profile. There's a touch of extra thumpy low-bass, which compliments genres like hip-hop and EDM. The mid-range is very flat, ensuring vocals and lead instruments are reproduced accurately. However, the treble range is less balanced. Instruments and voices lose some of their detail and sibilants, like cymbals, sound piercing. If you prefer a different sound, their companion app's graphic EQ and presets let you fine-tune the mix to your liking.

9.0
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.2 dB

The frequency response consistency is outstanding. As long as you get a good fit with the assortment of included ear tips, you'll get consistent audio delivery every time you use them.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
9.2
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.1 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
1.55 dB
Mid-Bass
0.5 dB
High-Bass
0.89 dB

These earbuds have fantastic bass accuracy. The range is flat and well-balanced, save for a slight boost at the lower end of the low-bass range. House tracks like So Let the Wind Come by Kerri Chandler have ample thump, rumble, and punch without overpowering the rest of the mix.

9.1
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.26 dB
Low-Mid
-0.15 dB
Mid-Mid
-1.83 dB
High-Mid
0.01 dB

The mid-range is outstandingly well-balanced. Vocals and lead instruments sound clear, intense, detailed, and well-placed in the mix.

6.9
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.63 dB
Low-Treble
-3.26 dB
Mid-Treble
3.69 dB
High-Treble
-9.88 dB

Accuracy in the treble range is okay. The low treble is underemphasized, which impacts how detailed vocals and instruments sound. An overemphasis in the mid-treble also makes sibilants, like the cymbals in Limelight by Rush, sound piercing.

6.4
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
2.63 dB
Dips
1.25 dB

These earbuds have a reasonable peaks and dips performance. A small peak in the low-bass adds tump to the mix, while a small peak in the high-mid makes vocals and instruments sound slightly honky and harsh. The treble range suffers the most, with a dip in the low-treble negatively impacting the detail of voices and lead instruments. A tall peak in the mid-treble also makes sibilants, like S and T sounds, extremely piercing.

9.1
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.11
Weighted Phase Mismatch
2
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.54
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.36

The imaging performance is fantastic. Skullcandy generally has good quality control and ergonomics. The weighted group delay falls below the audibility threshold, resulting in a tight bass and transparent treble. Our unit's L/R drivers are also well-matched in amplitude, phase, and frequency response, meaning that sound objects are accurately placed in the stereo image. Keep in mind that imaging can vary between units.

0.6
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
1.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
1.0

The Skullcandy Sesh ANC have a terrible passive soundstage. You need sound to engage with all parts of the ear to create an immersive and natural-feeling soundstage. Since these buds deliver audio directly into your ear canal, their soundstage is perceived as closed off and unnatural, as if the sound is originating from inside your head rather than all around the room.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
7.7
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.307
WHD @ 100
0.124

These earbuds produce clean and pure audio without distortion at moderate and high volumes. While there's a slight bump in the treble range, it's not audible with real-life content.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
0.0.2.3
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 44.1kHz
EQ
Music (Default)
ANC
On
Tip/Pad
Silicone (small)
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings we used to test these earbuds. Our results are only valid when using these settings.

Isolation
8.5
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-25.17 dB
Noise Cancelling Yes
Bass
-15.91 dB
Mid
-29.45 dB
Treble
-31.7 dB

The ANC on these earbuds is excellent. They isolate you from the low rumble of a plane engine, the mid-range chatter of nearby coworkers, and the annoying high-pitched whine of a PC fan.

Note: There's a high peak on our noise isolation graph in the high bass range. The volume in this range is being measured by our test rig as louder than we've heard during subjective listening passes. Thankfully it's not noticeable during everyday listening. We're currently investigating this and will update the review when we can.

9.1
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
26.62 dB

Thanks to their in-ear design, these earbuds have outstanding leakage performance. There's some leakage in the treble range at high volumes, but escaping audio sounds thin and is only audible in quieter environments, like your living room.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
Mic Yes
6.7
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
239.73 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
3.8 dB
HFE
7,136.96 Hz
Weighted THD
1.572
Gain
-7.39 dB

The integrated mic has reasonable recording quality. Your voice sounds bright and natural, but thin and lacking in body.

7.0
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
17.96 dB
Noise Gate
Always On
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
7.0
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
7.0
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The integrated mic has decent noise handling performance. Though moderate background noise, like a busy street or crowded mall, is always audible during your call, your voice still sounds clear and understandable. It performs decently with loud ambient noise as well but ends up blocking out your voice while trying to cut out louder interruptions, like a passing subway train.

Active Features
6.6
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
7.6 hrs
Additional Charges
4.0
Total Battery Life
38 hrs
Charge Time
0.8 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port USB-C

The battery performance on these earbuds is just okay. They last nearly eight hours on a single charge. Battery life varies depending on use, though. Their extra four charges in their carrying case bring their total battery life to nearly forty hours, and you get two hours of playback from a ten-minute charge. However, they don't come with any power-saving features, so if you leave them on your desk overnight, you'll drain the battery.

7.5
Active Features
App Support
App Name Skullcandy
iOS Yes
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
Graphic + Presets
ANC Control
On/Off
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

For the first time in Skullcandy's Sesh lineup, these earbuds are compatible with Skullcandy's companion app. You can see how it works here. You can adjust the sound profile with the graphic EQ and presets, change the ANC settings, and activate Gaming Mode, which lowers audio latency while playing video games. These earbuds are also compatible with the Tile app, which lets you track and find them if they get lost. However, you'll need to pay separately for a subscription to this service.

Connectivity
7.0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.2
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
260.83 ft (79.50 m)
PC Latency (SBC)
232 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
127 ms
Android Latency
120 ms

These earbuds have decent Bluetooth performance. By default, PC latency high too high for gaming or streaming video content. iOS and Android latency fare better, which is great if you watch videos on the bus or play games on your phone.

However, when these earbuds are in their low-latency Gaming Mode, they perform much better. Latency on PCs is low enough for casual gaming and streaming without any noticeable sync issues. iOS and Android latencies also see an improvement. Keep in mind that some apps compensate for latency, though.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection
No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

You can't use these headphones with a wired connection. They come with a USB-A to USB-C cable to charge their case.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
No
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

The Skullcandy Sesh ANC earbuds only have mic and audio compatibility with PCs via Bluetooth.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
No
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
No
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
No
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No
0.4
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Charging Case
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
USB-C

The case comes with four additional charges, which is one more than the Skullcandy Sesh Evo True Wireless. Unlike the Sesh Evo, this case doesn't support wireless charging.