We’re the first to admit we’re pretty spoilt when it comes to high-end audio products at Stuff Towers. We’re fortunate enough to get to test the very best in audio gear, which means mid-range (and mid-priced) headphones often leave us, well, whelmed at best. But, with the Hesh 2 Wireless cans from Skullcandy, we’ve found a reasonably priced pair of Bluetooth headphones we actually want. Hurrah!
The jewel in the crown of Skullcandy’s headphone lineup, the Hesh 2 Wireless headphones offer comfort, uncharacteristically understated styling and — the most important thing where headphones are concerned — solid, well-balanced audio reproduction.
A microUSB port on the top of the left-hand ear cup is used to charge the cans and the box includes the requisite USB charging cable. There’s also a standard audio cable with a 3.5mm connector on each end and a built-in remote that lets you make or receive calls, adjust volume and skip tracks. The cable can be used if you run out of juice for Bluetooth, and can easily be replaced if it wears out, which gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from us.Like most Skullcandy products, the Hesh 2 Wireless headphones are available in a range of hues, from the understated matt black pair we reviewed to grey ones with luminescent details and even an (always inexplicable) camouflage pair. In single tones the Hesh 2 Wireless exude a classiness we’re not accustomed to from Skullcandy, and the simple lines of the headband add to this. In short, these cans look as good in the office as the do on the street, which gets another pair of enthusiastic thumbs up from team Stuff.
In addition to the 3.5m jack on the bottom of the left ear cup, the right one includes the power button (surrounded by an illuminated ring which pulses blue when connected or pinkish purple when in pairing mode), physical volume controls (that worked perfectly with an Android smartphone, an iPhone and a Macbook) and a mic for taking or placing calls or chastising digital assistants like Apple’s Siri.Skullcandy claims the Hesh 2 Wireless will last 15 hours on a charge, which is long enough for the average working day or most long-haul flights. Taking the odd call and blasting them at nearly full volume we got a touch over 12 hours to a charge, which is still impressive. Also, because of the included cable, even when they ran out of battery power we were able to keep using them, something that’s not always the case with Bluetooth cans.
On the sound front, the Hesh 2 Wireless are by far and way the best-sounding cans we’ve ever reviewed from the Skullcandy stable — bass is rich but not overstated, mids and highs are crisp and clear without sounding clipped and though there’s less colour in the sub-bass range than we’ve heard from other cans, all of them have cost many times what the Skullcandys do.As with all Bluetooth audio devices, if you want to use the Hesh 2 Wireless for consuming video you’re going to need to plug them in, because Bluetooth introduces just long enough a delay to be infuriating. Skullcandy includes a fabric carry bag in the box that makes it easy enough to ensure you’ve always got the requisite cables to hand.
There’s no active noise cancellation on offer, but the comfy leather padding on each ear cup does a pretty decent job of keeping ambient noise out and your tunes in, and this omission keeps battery life over the 10 hour mark, which seems a reasonable trade off.
Call quality is pretty average, but given how seldom we actually used them to field calls, this wasn’t a big deal — callers could hear us well enough and we could hear them, but it sounded like we were chatting using a cellphone from last decade.
But it’s the price that really makes the Hesh 2 Wireless headphones easy to recommend. At R1,599 the headphones offer really respectable audio quality and a great feature set for far less than many rivals’ offerings. Good work, Skullcandy, good work.