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SkullCandy Inc., the company behind the popular brand of headsets, has recently expanded its range of lifestyle audio devices with a series of wireless offerings. I have been checking out the Hesh 2™ Wireless product. This is an on-ear style of headphones available in a choice of camouflage with red embellishment, grey with hot lime embellishment or, as in the case of my review sample, black with silver embellishment.
Included in the box with the SkullCandy Hest 2 Wireless headphone is a short, standard-to-micro USB lead for charging purposes and a much longer audio lead with a built-in clicker control pad. You also get a soft, draw-string bag for transporting the device and leads plus various items of documentation using a font size that had me reaching for my magnifying glass.
Concealed within a solid rubber casing, the headphone’s head band can be expanded by 3cm at each end. The well-padded ear pieces, with synthetic leather covering, are hinged to give a degree of in / out movement for a more comfortable fit. The support arm for each ear piece us decorated with a skull logo.
The right ear piece features raised volume increase and decrease buttons plus a multi-function button (MFB) that is flush to the surface and a built-in microphone. Depending upon the current mode and length of pressure applied, the MFB will react in different ways. Easily noticed on the left ear piece is the 3/5mm jack socket for inserting the supplied audio lead.
Not so easily located is the micro USB port required for charging the headphones internal battery. This port is concealed until you use the in / out movement adjustment. Even when you have revealed this port, it is not the easiest job, due to the close confines, to insert the lead into the port. Why SkullCandy’s team of designers opted for this extremely awkward positioning is a mystery. There are several more convenient locations that could have been used for this feature.
Holding down the MFB for five seconds will cause the LED light surrounding this button to flash blue and a trill sound to be heard. This will indicate that Bluetooth pairing mode is activated. Pairing with various devices, either of the iOS or Android family, is quick and trouble-free.
With music being provided from a smartphone via Bluetooth, the “+” and “-“ controls on the right ear piece can be used to adjust volume level with a quick press. A longer press is meant to allow you to cycle backwards and forwards through tracks. While this worked when moving forward to the next track, going backwards only took me to the start of the current track.
Any incoming call to the smartphone will interrupt the music being played. You can accept the call with a quick press of the MFB. A longer press will reject the call and restart the music stream.
When the headphone’s wireless capability is not available, for example with devices which do not support Bluetooth or reduced battery power, you can connect the Hest 2 headphones using the audio lead. By inserting this lead the headphone’s volume controls and microphone will be deactivated. Instead you will need to use the clicker control on the lead to carry out certain tasks. Depending upon the number of clicks issued, you can stop and start the music stream and cycle backwards and forwards through tracks. A separate list of instructions for the lead’s control is supplied. You can also use this lead to connect to various iPod devices and MP3 players but only the Apple products will be able to respond to the click controls.
Performance-wise, the SkullCandy Hesh 2 Wireless, the inability to move back to the previous track apart, was fine. It delivered reasonable audio quality especially regarding its price point of £79.99. It was not as comfortable as some other headphones I have used, admittedly costing more, for lengthy listening sessions. However this is a product worth considering.
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