We scrutinized the Skullcandy Hesh 3 headphones to bring you “breaking” news. People with big head might wanna look away.
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 is a pair of wireless headphones designed to be a daily driver with portability and battery span as its star features. It is an upgrade from the popular Skullcandy Hesh 2 Wireless headphones. This attractive, strikingly bright-red headphones unit lies in the sub $100 price range. But does it sound as striking as it looks?… Let’s find out.
- »Good price to performance ratio
- »Good treble details
- »Unintrusive bass response
- »Good noise isolation
- »Poor build quality in the headband
- »Gets a little warm from extended use
- »Clamp force is a tad on the high side
- »Not much leeway for the swivel mechanism movement
Inside the box you get
- A 3.5 mm cable
- A Micro USB to USB charging cable
- The headphones itself
The packaging is simple but very well thought out. It uses a magnetic lock which opens to reveal the headphones along with the accessories housed in a box in the center. Nothing fancy here, but it does provide you with all you need to kickstart your Skullcandy adventure. Note that the package doesn’t include a carrying pouch or case of any sort.
Build and Design
The over-ear headphones are mainly plastic with a metal headband. Build quality is subpar (more about that later). The ear cups, however, boast a modern matte finish that both looks and feels good, and not being a fingerprint magnet is a big plus. The young, cool vibe the device exudes is designed to go with the casual look.
The button (volume control and power on/play/pause) is sheathed in soft rubber. Plus and minus volume keys stand out in low relief that your fingertips can feel with ease, and when pressed, they have a lovely little click.
The mechanism swivels around the X-axis only, which has its limitations. However, putting it on is no effort at all. The headphones collapse compactly for convenient storage when not in use.
The soft, well-padded pad that sits between the top of your head and the headband somehow feels bigger than its actual below-average size.
The fit is good and firm, but the inability to rotate the headband may cause slight discomfort.
Coming back, as promised, to the build quality on the Hesh 3: For me, it was somewhat underwhelming. The plastic on the headband height adjustment literally gave way and chipped off when I was putting the headphones on. I had only stretched the headphones to slightly above ¾ head-width before this happened – and no, I am no Megamind. It’s really not acceptable that the product had failed like this in normal use.
Battery life is impressive. So far it’s delivered over 20 hours of playback and is still going strong. It certainly meets the 22 hours claimed by Skullcandy on their official website. The test was conducted with 50-60% volume on the Hesh 3.
Throughout the battery test, I detected very minimal heat. When plugged into a 2A charger, it takes about 2.5 hours to go from 0 to 100. The Hesh 3 also sports a Rapid Charge function which provides 4 hours of play time after a 10-minute charge.
I felt Skullcandy could have done a better job with the headband. It could have been longer and more flexible. The current design grips far too tightly and may cause discomfort to the ears, especially during longer listening sessions.
On the other hand, the tightness gives a great seal, so the isolation is top notch. Ear pads are soft and good quality, although heat does build inside up when worn for long periods.
Attention fellow spectacle wearers! Despite the ear pads clamping your glasses to your temples, there’s no pain or discomfort at all.
The Hesh 3 was tested with my iPhone 7+ via the wireless connection. The Hesh 3 carries a V-shaped sound signature with a slightly more forward midbass, leaning towards treble and technical issues due to its treble performance, which I’ll go into below.
Soundstage is average with decent width, depth, and headroom, which converts to a slightly above-average separation between instruments and vocals. I was impressed with the Hesh 3; it performs pretty well for a closed back can.
If you love well-controlled bass without having an audiophile level of pickiness, these are for you. The sub-bass may not be quite as full-bodied as the Sony MDR-1000x, but at a quarter of the price, it definitely boasts a better price to performance ratio. It may not have that distinctive “woofer” sound, but the leaner body gives better separation between bass and mids, including vocals that don’t sound at all muddy.
Even though more oomph could have been added to the bass, I’d say the Skullcandy is enjoyable. It provides a very fun sound that caters to non-audiophiles, also known as consumers on-the-go. Please note that these are not meant for bass addicts.
Zooming into the midrange, the mids are slightly more recessed than the lower mids and upper mids. It has a tinge of warmth but it leans more towards the brighter end (detailed sound).
Female vocals shine slightly brighter than male vocals as it brings out the details in them more clearly. Guitar strings response pretty well, and this would be able to handle fast-paced songs; aka pop, EDM, etc.
Treble performance is the most impressive. Compared to the Sennheiser 4.40 BT, these sport better treble extension, and energy levels. However, prolonged listening (above 3 hours) may be fatiguing to some.
Pairing the Skullcandy Hesh 3
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 pairs well with neutral or dark sounding sources to give the headphones a little more bass if that’s your thing.
Presumably because of the price these headphones are going for, there is no NFC function to allow one-tap-pairing with your NFC enabled smartphone or player. Thus, you would have to do it the old-fashion way by turning on the Bluetooth on your device and pairing the Hesh 3 manually. Please note that your device should automatically connect to the headphones for the subsequent connections if Bluetooth is activated on both the source device and headphones.
- Driver: 1 x 40mm dynamic
- Impedance: 32 ohms
- Battery Life: 22 hours
- Rapid Charge supported
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 is, no doubt, a great pair of headphones in terms of price to performance ratio. However, there are critical issues that need to be sorted out, such as the poor build quality and lack of flexibility of the headband.
Vocals (especially female) are very sweet sounding to the ears as the treble causes it to sound airy and detailed. However, more bass could have been “injected” into the headphones to make the sound signature more energetic.
Despite being a V-shaped sounding headphone, it is not really your typical V-shape where full-bodied bass hits hard where you can feel your heart thumping to the beat. It really takes on a more relaxed type of bass while giving enough quantity. Hence, it is more suited for pop and vocal/acoustic but not for EDM as it does not get your feet tapping. Portability is definitely a factor when considering these as part of your everyday carry for your daily commute to school, to work, or to shut out your naggy spouse…
That’s about it for now… thanks for reading, stay safe and keep listening!
Review by: “Gloryrain” from The Little Audiophile