The Skullcandy Hesh 3 are the latest model, so do they measure up to the standards that we expect?
It looks like the Hesh 3 were sent to the Ninja school of design, especially the black set we were sent. I do really approve of the new squared-off look to these headphones. Last year’s model was quite… bulbous. This year it appears that the Hesh have grown up a little.
However, there is very little to tell you that these are Skullcandy cans. Regarding the logo, you really have to catch it in the right light, but it is there.
The headphones are constructed with soft-touch plastic. This gives them an enticingly tactile edge. Furthermore, the finish resists fingerprints, unlike the chrome badging of the previous incarnation.
Comfort is brought to you by deeply cushioned faux-leather ear pads. There is also ample padding on the headband too.
All of the headphone’s controls are located on the right earcup. There are only three buttons to control volume, playback and power. Double tapping the middle button will active your voice assistant, like Siri or Google Assistant.
The right earcup also houses the 3.5mm jack for listening in wired mode if the battery runs out. Speaking of batteries, charging is done via a microUSB connector and the headphones support rapid charging.
This means you can get 4 hours of playback with just 10 minutes of charge.
Finally, to round-up the headphone’s design features, they are able to fold flat or up for easy transport. They don’t come bundled with a carrying case but the review pair we’ve been living with look none the worse for wear.
Skullcandy states that the Hesh 3 packs an integrated analog (sic) amplifier that pushes a pair of high-quality 40mm audio drivers.
I have to admit, there’s a lot of good things to be said for their sound quality.
The Hesh 3 are very comfortable to wear. The memory foam earpads are deep and supple. There is also a decent amount of clamping force, which I like.
Sometimes head-hugging headphones can be painful for those, like me, who have to wear glasses. I did not find such a problem with these Skullcandy cans at all.
Additionally, the pads do an excellent job at blocking out ambient noise without the need for active noise cancellation. Thanks to their good seal, the headphones block out an impressive amount of noise and offers a nice side order of bass.
The multi-fold hinges not only enable easy stowage but also allow the headphones to sit perfectly on the ears.
In terms of sound, Skullcandy’s love of the low-end is still alive and well in the Hesh 3.
Bass is punchy with impact but, especially with rock or orchestral pieces, has a tendency to bleed into the mids. This can muddy the waters a bit and also send vocals behind the action. Personally, I would of preferred the bass to extend further in the the sub band and stop meddling with the low mids.
Electronica, dance, and rap music is handled better than Handel, though.
The mids are nicely sorted. The low-mids dish out enough warmth to round out soulful basslines and vocals. The high-mids have presence but a nudge on the EQ could have given vocals and guitars more of an edge.
The high frequencies are exciting without being too bright. Crisp and clear cymbals, and enough sibilance to give vocals character. The treble also goes some way of balancing out that bass favouritsm.
All that said, if you are looking for a delicate touch and a masterclass in placement and timbre, then there other avenues and price points to explore.
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 can go for an impressive 22 hours on a charge. Moreover, they are also equipped with rapid charging.
This means that from a mere 10 minutes charge you are repaid with 4 hours of playback. Now, that’s an exchange rate I can get behind.
I really like the Hesh 3’s minimalist design, rapid charging and comfort. They are lightweight and fold up to a really compact size when not being used.
Those deep ear pads provide good isolation as well as accommodating spectacle wearers with that snug fit.
Sound quality is good for the price but the bass does takes over a bit. The Hesh 3 are more your fun-loving party goers than for pure quality sound. But for the daily commute they are more than good enough.