Who Are The Skullcandy Hesh ANC Headphones For?

  • The Skullcandy Hesh ANC headphones have some pretty powerful active noise cancellation performance
  • The Hesh ANC headphones offer impressive audio quality that is definitely heavy on the bass
  • The Hesh ANC has impressive battery life, even with the ANC feature on
The Skullcandy Hesh ANC headset offers powerful active noise cancellation features in a flimsy-feeling body

Working from the office or home each has its own set of complications. While the office requires commuting, it's much easier to get distracted while working from home. One of the struggles that is shared between the office and home is noise, which is distracting no matter where a person is. That's where the Skullcandy Hesh ANC headphones can help, as along with standard audio playback the Hesh ANC headset has some powerful active noise cancelling technology.

Noise Cancellation That Works

Since it is one of the few unique features of the Skullcandy Hesh ANC headphones, to the point where it's right there in the name, let's first talk about the Hesh's active noise cancelling properties. Those who have read my previous reviews know that I am almost always disappointed by the ANC features found on wireless earbuds, but the Hesh is a full over-ear headset. This means that the Hesh can provide the power, microphone quality and space required to actually cancel noise.

There are three ANC modes in the Hesh ANC. The first is the standard active noise cancelling mode. This mode is on by default whenever powering on the Hesh ANC, and it does a pretty solid job of cancelling most noise. Even with nothing playing through the headset, simply putting it on greatly reduces the level of ambient noise I can hear from my air conditioner and those around me. It has virtually eliminated the typing sounds from my keyboard as well. Overall, the noise cancelling tech here is impressive, and would be great in a loud environment like on an airplane or busy office.

All of the controls are on the Hesh's right earcup

The second mode is an ambient audio mode. This is pretty much the opposite of the noise cancelling mode, as it actually sends external audio through to the headset along with whatever other audio is currently being played. This is helpful for having quick conversations without pausing or taking the Hesh ANC off, or if someone is exercising and wants to be more aware of their surroundings. External audio does sound a little tinny and flat in this mode, but is still serviceable enough to comprehend what is going on.

The third mode is to simply have nothing active, with both of these other modes turned off. This mode makes the Hesh ANC headset more or less a standard headset like anything else.

Switching between all three of these modes is easy enough thanks to one of the four buttons on the back of the headset. Since the ANC mode is active every time the headset is turned on, pressing the ANC button once will turn it off. Pressing the button again turns ANC back on. To get to the ambient audio mode, the button needs to be quickly pressed twice. Personally, I would have preferred that the single press switches between the ANC and ambient modes, while the double press turns everything off, but that's just me.

Audio Brings The Bass

The audio quality on the Skullcandy Hesh ANC headphones is overall pretty solid. However, unlike other recent reviews like the Campfire Audio Holocene earbuds, the Hesh ANC headphones do not try to create a neutral, balanced sound. This headset is for those who want a more pronounced bass in their audio.

The earcups are a little on the small side with the Hesh ANC, but they covered my ears perfectly fine

That's not to say audio with the Hesh ANC is just an overwhelming amount of bass. There is still a decent mix with the headset. Overall, it seems to trend towards the loud end of the spectrum, but smaller details in music can be picked up here without issue. It's just that the bass has been boosted beyond its normal levels, resulting in a particularly booming sound stage. This makes the Hesh ANC great for things like metal and rap music that tend to have more heavy bass, and not as great for things like podcasts or pop music.

There is a microphone built into the Hesh ANC separate from the microphones used with the active noise cancelling features. This microphone can be used for video and phone calls. I was told that I generally sound very clear when talking on the phone. That said, I was regularly cut off if I happened to start speaking quietly. The microphone really only picked up my audio when talking at a volume a little louder than I normally speak at, but when it did pick up the audio, it sounded pretty good.

The Hesh ANC uses USB-C for charging and can plug in a 3.5mm cable

One inclusion on the Hesh ANC that I really love is the 3.5mm jack built into the right earcup. This allows the Hesh ANC to be used in a wired configuration instead of using Bluetooth, thus making it compatible with a much wider range of products. This includes video game consoles, the TVs built into airplanes and more. I love when a product has a feature to make it more useful, which is exactly what Skullcandy did here.

Lots Of Plastic

What is probably my biggest complaint is that the Skullcandy Hesh ANC headset feels pretty cheap. While the top headband does have some metal reinforcements, the rest of the headset is covered in plastic. That's not always a negative thing, as Skullcandy's Crusher Evo headset actually feels great. However, that is not the case with the Hesh ANC.

There's just something about how the Hesh ANC feels that I don't care for

With the Hesh ANC, everything feels more hollow and lightweight, and not in a good way. It feels like I could snap just about any part off from the Hesh with minimal effort, and I am far from a strong person. Even sliding the earcups away from the headband to better fit my head feels a little rough.

Surprisingly, given how lightweight the Hesh ANC is, the headset's battery life really impresses. Skullcandy says the Hesh ANC can run for 30 hours with ANC turned off and a massive 22 hours with ANC turned on. That's some really solid battery life. The headphones also have a quick charging feature, which gives the Hesh ANC about three hours of battery life with 10 minutes of charging time. A full charge takes around two hours.

I also like how mobile the Hesh ANC is. The earcups can rotate a full 180 degrees, allowing the Hesh ANC to be able to lie flat with the earcups facing up or down. Additionally, the earcups can be folded in to make the Hesh ANC much more compact. This, along with the included travel bag, help make the Hesh ANC easy to throw into a bag and get going.

The Hesh ANC can become very compact, which is nice

Like many other Skullcandy products, the Hesh ANC also has built-in Tile support. This requires using the Tile app on a mobile phone, but once linked, provides all the location tracking benefits one would expect from Tile to help find a lost pair of headphones.

Final Thoughts

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC headset is, overall, a pretty solid noise cancelling headset. The ANC features work really well here, and the lengthy battery life helps ensure peace and quiet whenever it is needed. The audio quality, while very much bass-forward, is also pretty enjoyable for music, movies and TV shows.

However, for a headset that is north of $100, the Hesh ANC feels a little on the flimsy side. Considering Skullcandy's Crusher Evo headset is slightly less expensive and feels more premium, it's a bit of a disappointment that the Hesh ANC doesn't quite stack up.