Skullcandy Hesh ANC review: affordable noise-cancelling headphones

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC are over-ear headphones with really effective noise-cancelling

Skullcandy Hesh ANC review
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

While the Skullcandy Hesh ANC are far from perfect, for a pair of affordable headphones, they have really effective noise cancelling which almost completely cuts out distracting noise. The sound quality is flawed but it'll be fine for casual listening, and there's plenty of battery life too.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Impressive noise-cancelling

  • +

    Comfortable fit

  • +

    Tile technology built-in

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    The sound is very bass-heavy

  • -

    Completely plastic design

  • -

    No app or manual EQ settings

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This Skullcandy Hesh ANC review is aimed at those who don’t want to spend hundreds on a pair of the best noise-cancelling headphones - these are cheap and surprisingly good. 

While they won’t compare to some of the very best wireless headphones you can buy when it comes to sound quality or even the effectiveness of the ANC, these will be good enough for day-to-day listening and dulling distracting sounds on your commute or in the office.

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC are some of the best cheap headphones you can buy with noise-cancelling but that's not all they have to offer. Read on to find out more. 

Skullcandy Hesh ANC review: price and availability 

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC are available to buy now from Amazon, they’ll set you back $99.99 in the US, £89.99 in the UK and AU$200 in Australia. Take a look at the widgets on this page for more prices from across the web. 

Skullcandy Hesh ANC review: design and fit 

Skullcandy Hesh ANC review

(Image credit: Future)

Unlike a lot of other Skullcandy headphones, the Skullcandy Hesh ANC look somewhat stripped back. They’re simple plastic over-ear headphones and you can buy them in three smart colours: white, black and grey. 

The pair I have been testing out is the white version with sand coloured ear cushions. In the box, the headphones come with a protective puch, a USB-C cable and a 3.5mm audio cable. You can find your perfect fit using the adjustable headband. 

With plenty of memory foam cushioning on the earpads and on the underside of the headband, the Skullcandy Hesh ANC headphones are very comfortable, and at 228g they feel very lightweight as well.  They don’t give your ears as much space as more pricey headphones yet still are big enough to sit around them as opposed to on them. You will be able to wear them for a long time before you start to feel uncomfortable. 

Taking the Skullcandy Hesh ANC out and about with you is made easier by two factors: the foldable, collapsible design and the included fabric bag. You can fold them up to be much smaller and the bag should protect them from scrapes. 

Skullcandy Hesh ANC review

(Image credit: Future)

You can easily control the music using the controls on the right earcup although their flat rubber design is not always completely responsive. Despite that, they do feel very intuitive to use and they’re well spaced out so you won’t accidentally press the wrong one. Each button has a different shape on it as well which makes them even easier to feel for. You can adjust the volume, pause or play the music, skip through tracks and call your voice assistant all without needing to pick up your phone.

To switch ANC on or off you press the top circle button once, or to put them in Ambient mode you press it twice. A female voice will let you know which mode you have just switched to.

You get about 22 hours of battery life with the Skullcandy Hesh ANC, that's not the best you can get but it will be plenty for most people who plan to use them every now and then throughout the week. 

If you forget to charge them then you also get about 3 hours of music from a quick 10-minute charge. If you don’t even have time for that then you’ll be rescued by the included audio cable which will keep the music playing through a wired connection.

Skullcandy Hesh ANC review: performance and features 

Skullcandy Hesh ANC review

(Image credit: Future)

The Skullcandy Hesh ANC headphones have sound that focuses heavily on the low-end, so if you’re someone who likes their music to have thumping bass then these certainly do that. 

The 40mm drivers deliver bright and energetic audio for the most part. At times  vocals did get drowned out though, and you couldn’t always hear every instrument coming through, like in Pencil Full of Lead by Paolo Nutini, which was a little muddied in places. 

The audio wasn’t particularly realistic either especially in those more bassy songs like Could This Be by Noisia - I would even go as far as to say it was quite distorted. 

At the end of the day, you do get what you pay for and while the sound quality will be fine for some, if you do want better then you’ll have to pay more. 

The active noise-cancelling was surprisingly good, it blocked out most noise whether that was my own keyboard taps, chatter or traffic. I played some aeroplane noise through a clip on YouTube as well and these headphones managed to cut it out almost completely. I was impressed! 

There’s also an Ambient sound mode that lets in some noise so you can hear what is going on around you. I did find that it wasn’t that different to have the noise-cancelling switched off entirely but still it’s a nice feature to have included, especially in an office environment. 

One feature that will be really useful to a lot of people is that the Skullcandy Hesh ANC have Tile technology built-in which means if you can’t find them, you can use the Tile app to ring them, you’ll then hear them play the Tile tune so you can locate them.

 Skullcandy Hesh ANC review: verdict 

Skullcandy Hesh ANC review

(Image credit: Skullcandy)

If you’re looking for active noise cancelling on a budget then the Skullcandy Hesh ANC fit the bill. They’re affordable, they look smart and the noise cancelling does a fantastic job at cutting out the noise around you. 

Other useful features include the foldable design, protective case and 22 hours of battery life.

While the sound quality does leave a lot to be desired, it will be fine for those who only plan to use these for more casual listening. The Skullcandy Hesh ANC would make a great gift! 

Skullcandy Hesh ANC review: also consider 

If you’re seriously considering the Skullcandy Hesh ANC, then you should consider the JBL Tune 660NC as well because they’re the best cheap headphones for noise-cancelling. The price tag is similar to the Skullcandy Hesh ANC but the sound quality is ever so slightly better - it’ll really come down to style preference and the feature set as to which you should go for. 

If it’s the sound quality you really care about then you should take a look at the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus which are true wireless earbuds but have a similar price tag. While they don’t have noise-cancelling, they are the best budget headphones you can buy because the sound quality is incredible. 

Yasmine Crossland
Freelance Tech Expert

Yasmine is the former Reviews Writer for T3, so she's been knee-deep in the latest tech products for reviewing and curating into the best buying guides since she started in 2019. She keeps a finger on the pulse when it comes to the most exciting and innovative tech and is happy to tell you exactly what she thinks about it too. In her free time, you'll catch her travelling the globe – the perks of being a freelance tech expert – tending to her plants when at home and, but of course, planning her next big trip.