It wasn’t that long ago that active noise cancellation was only available in the cream of the crop of headphones — and you paid through the nose for it. Now nearly all headphone manufacturers have an ANC offering in their lineup.
Skullcandy have just introduced their added ANC to their already successful Hesh headphones introducing the Hesh ANC. The Hesh ANC sits in the lower end of the price range for ANC headphones at $250 but they pack a lot of bang for the buck.
Design, Comfort and Fit
The Hesh ANC headphones are lightweight and sit comfortably on/over the ear depending on the size of your ears — the padding on the cups are relatively squared off compared to the Bose NC 700 but are still comfortable on the ears. The cushioning on the cups is thick and ensures that not too much pressure is placed on the ears.
The band over the head is partially padded and does not dig into the skull although it may if you wear them for a long time. The cushioning for the skull is only about 10cm long and in the middle of the band — but that is where you need it. The band extends as you would expect to fit all sized heads, with the ear cups twistable to fit the shape of your noggin too.
Storage is relatively easy with a tough nylon bag included in the box. The headphones fold in at the cup to minimise the volume they take up when packed away which is handy when travelling.
The right earcup has all the buttons and ports on it. The earcup includes the power button, the volume and play control buttons and an ANC on/off button — or ANC / ambient mode button as Skullcandy likes to call it. The headphones are charged through a USB-C port in the right earcup which sits right next to the 3.5mm headphone jack for use when the headphones are out of power. The Hesh ANC do not include touch sensitive earcups, most likely to save on costs and keep the headphones in a much more affordable price range — I’m okay with that.
In saying that though the buttons aren’t the easiest to access considering they are close together and my dexterity cannot determine one button shape to another. If you remember the order they are in — and you will after using them for a bit — it is a lot easier.
The Hesh ANC also has a Tile tracker inside allowing you to locate them using the Tile app once you have paired them with your Tile app.
The sound that the Skullcandy Hesh ANC produces is impressive. The bass is a tad muffled but I kept switching between these Hesh ANC I spent a good 30 minutes trying to determine which one was better. In the end I decided on the $500+ Bose but the fact that it took me that long show how good the Hesh ANC are.
The mids are crisp and accurate and the highs decent too. The bass is strong but lacks some of the crisp punch you get with the Bose. Overall the sound is great though and checked all the boxes on all the different types of music I listened to.
The ANC is good enough to block out the background noise but given I have not tested it in-flight it is difficult to determine its true accuracy. Around the house the noise cancellation was able to block out all noises including some random chick flick my wife was watching on TV. The ANC was comparable to that of the Bose NC 700.
There is no app for these headphones, nor is there a way to adjust the equaliser for the sound of these headphones. This is a bit of a miss and you would hope that one of their top-of-the-range headphones would warrant an app or something to control its functionality.
Expect 22 hours of battery life with the Skullcandy Hesh ANC, although I was able to easily get that and more: this is with active noise cancelling on too. I had the volume only around 60 percent and of course expect this battery life to drop the more you run it at higher volumes.
The Hesh ANC also support quick charge such that 10 minutes of charging will provide 3 hours of playback — impressive.
Should you buy it?
The Skullcandy Hesh ANC produce some great sound with active noise cancelling impressively at the same time. They are comfortable to wear and although the head band padding is limited it doesn’t affect it in everyday wearing — it may do so when wearing for extended periods of time.
The sound they produce is not on par with high-end headphones such as the Bose NC 700 but you pay around half the price for them. At just $249.95 they pack a lot of punch for the price. If you are an audiophile you will prefer the more expensive headphones but for the average user the Skullcandy Hesh ANC will produce a sound that will impress.
If you want to get an affordable set of noise cancelling headphones then you should check out the Skullcandy Hesh ANC headphones. They can be purchased from selected retailers including JB Hi-Fi for $249.95.