The Skullcandy Hesh 3 is priced at around Rs 10,000 in India.
The headset uses Bluetooth for wireless connectivity.
You also get long battery life and rapid charging with a wall adapter.
As a number of smartphone manufacturers have started doing away with the legacy 3.5mm audio socket, users are opting for Bluetooth enabled wireless headphones. I, for one, prefer Bluetooth headphones as I don’t have to worry about the tangling wires. You can easily get one for as low as Rs 2,500. However, when buying the one that costs near or above Rs 10,000, the audio quality becomes even more important.
Today, I have the Skullcandy Hesh 3 Bluetooth headphones that are priced at Rs 10,000. These are over-the-ear headphones that promise to deliver good audio, and battery life with continuous music playback of over 20 hours. What’s more, there is also rapid charging, where even 10 minutes of charging can offer up to four hours music playback. All said and done, the Hesh 3 sounds good on paper, but does it make for a good option in real life? I review to find out.
Skullcandy Hesh 3 – Design
Given the price tag, the Hesh 3 doesn’t look premium at all. In fact, I was surprised to see there is no visible branding or logo to even give an idea that it’s a Skullcandy product. But you will find a very light watermark of the logo on the left and right headrest, just above the ear cups. The large ear cups and the cushioning near the headband makes it comfortable to wear for long hours. For the first two days, it felt uncomfortable even after wearing the headphones for about 10 minutes, but after using it for three to four days, I did not feel the discomfort anymore.
At the bottom of the left ear cup you have three buttons with a rubberized finish. The centre button is to turn the headphone on or off, and it is also used to put the headphones in pairing mode. The other two are the volume up and down buttons, that also skips tracks when you press and hold them for two seconds. Below the buttons, you have a microUSB port for charging and a 3.5mm audio socket for connecting the male-to-male audio cable for wired audio listening when the battery is dead.
Skullcandy Hesh 3 – Performance
To test the Hesh 3, I used my MacBook and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 as audio sources. For testing, focus tracks include – High by Sir Sly, 24K Magic by Bruno Mars, I Know You by Skylar Grey and Rose of Jericho by BT. I also used it for watching TV shows on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.
Starting with High by Sir Sly – it is a peppy number from the Alternative genre, with a mix of vocals, bass and energetic music. The vocals are clear and the mid-range sounds good, but highs are a bit sharp. The listening experience deteriorates a bit more as the bass kicks in. With volume at medium, the audio is bearable, but when you increase the volume to 80 percent or more, you can easily hear the distortion. In fact, the bass feels bloated.
Moving on to the Pop genre, I didn’t find much to nitpick when listening to 24K Magic by Bruno Mars. It has a good mix of vocals and bass that is not too punchy. Even at full volume, the mid-range sounds good. I didn’t hear much of distortion, except for the highs being slightly sharp.
Next up, I listened to another pop song – I Know You by Skylar Grey, from the 50 Shades of Grey original soundtrack. Now, it is a slow song with vocals in high pitch, along with piano and music playing in the background. There are times where the bass too kicks in, but the whole focus is on the vocals. I felt it to be a bit sharp, with some distortion in bass, which somewhat ruined the listening experience a bit.
Lastly, I also listened to ‘Rose of Jericho’ by BT, and it is completely electronica-dance genre. There are no lyrics (or vocals) to follow, just music. Again, while the mid-range was good, the bass sounded slightly bloated, and the sharpness in highs was audible too.
One good part of these headphones is the wide soundstaging, and the ear cups snugly fit to offer good noise isolation. While travelling in the train, I was easily able to watch a few episodes of TV shows I follow. I was easily able to hear the dialogues clearly, and could barely hear the outside ambient noise – this was something I liked.
Moving on to the battery life, the Hesh 3 doesn’t disappoint at all. My usual usage included listening to music for about four hours a day, and the battery lasted for a little over four days. I also took the Hesh 3 on a trip, and it was a perfect travel companion, with battery life lasting a little over 18 hours during to and fro travel. I even tried rapid charging, using the smartphone’s fast charger. On 15 minutes of charging, I got music playback time close to three hours. Do note that the rapid charging doesn’t work well with USB charging using a laptop.
One of the highlights of the Hesh 3 is its battery life and it does not disappoint in this department. The noise isolation is also pretty good, but it something that you could also get on other over the ear headphones.
However, when it comes to audio quality, I find the Hesh 3 hard to strongly recommend over the competition. Not that it is bad, but competitor Bluetooth headphones deliver slightly better audio performance. If you want good battery life, while compromising on a bit of audio quality, the Hesh 3 could be an option to consider. Otherwise, you can choose from Sennheiser HD 4.40 or Sony MDR-XB950B1 to name a few.