Among the many tech trends that emerged in 2020, the rise of over the ear headphones is one of the most definitive. Whether it was WFH or Netflix binge-watching, a good pair of cans became one of the bare essentials for the 2020 tech kit. While much of the recent headlines might have been hogged by Apple’s AirPods Max, not everyone is in the mood to splurge this year. It’s why we’ve seen a wave of capable over the ear headphones debut at different price points. The latest to join this party is Skullcandy’s Hesh ANC.

The Hesh line is one of Skullcandy’s most popular sub-brand of cans. This new version adds ANC or active noise cancellation to appeal to work from home warriors who need to mute everything from wailing infants to blaring TV sounds as they log into Microsoft Teams meetings. Skullcandy’s sporty origins are now part of headphone folklore, this was a brand that originated in the ski slopes of the US. You’ll see some of those sporty influences in the design that includes a convenient cloth pouch and a couple of stylish accents on the headphones itself. The Hesh ANC comes with a convenient foldable design that slips into this pouch; it may not be as secure as a hard case but it slips into those backpacks more effortlessly. Handy, when you do start to travel on a more regular basis.

The pairing was a breeze; I set this up with an iPhone without a fuss. I wasn’t able to get the Skullcandy App (on iOS) to work with these headphones though. The app does not offer support for the Hesh ANC just yet. The buttons are conveniently placed and easy to find. There’s a volume rocker, a power button and another button that enables or disables ANC. The design feels premium; these headphones can rub shoulders with pricier rivals on build quality alone. The cushioned headband makes it comfortable for long periods of time, the padding on the ear cups feels good; we only wish the ear cups were a tad larger.

The sound quality was impressive. Skullcandy usually does bass well and these headphones deliver a decent thump especially when the ANC is off. I tested this with a diverse playlist that included rock, lounge and a podcast, it did a pretty good job for its price tag. The sound isolation is quite good and the noise cancellation is quite effective. These are among the better noise-cancelling headphones at this price point. Call quality is decent; it worked better on online meetings and calls than standard voice calls. We can’t crib about the battery life; Skullcandy promises 22 hours with ANC on and 30 hours without ANC. That’s quite acceptable and based on our tests over two days, Skullcandy’s claims seem to be quite accurate. We like the rapid charge option that delivers three hours of listening time with a 10-minute charge.

Skullcandy adds some useful touches to the Hesh ANC, including support for the Tile App that makes it easy to track down your headphones. We’ve tried this earlier with the Indy Fuel buds and they’re probably more useful for earbuds that are more prone to slipping under your cushions. Skullcandy’s Hesh ANC is a solid package at its sticker price with a dependable battery, good sound and its ergonomics. The ANC sweetens the deal.

Skullcandy Hesh ANC comes in Black and Mod White colour options and costs Rs 10,999