- Easy-to-use physical buttons
- Light and comfortable for long wear
- Built-in compatibility with Tile
- Mediocre build quality
- No case
- Sound quality is good but not great
The Skullcandy Transparency Hesh Evo headphone offers merely good audio quality, but is comfortable for long listening sessions and has a distinctive look.
Price When Reviewed
Best Prices Today: Skullcandy Transparency Hesh Evo Wireless Headphones
There’s no doubt that massive growth in the consumer electronics market comes at a cost to the planet. Is there a way to enjoy all the benefits of modern audio while also offsetting the damage?
Skullcandy wants to counteract some of those environmental costs in its new Transparency series, which includes the limited edition Skullcandy Transparency Jib True 2 Wireless Earbuds ($49.99) and the Transparency Hesh Evo Wireless Headphone.
We’ve reviewed the Transparency Hesh Evo headphone here, and it’s a pair of cans that will definitely get a reaction when you wear them outside your house.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best headphones.
How do you go green with a headphone?
Partnering with TerraPass and EcoChain, a pair of companies that aim to help businesses make their products and manufacturing chains more eco-friendly, Skullcandy promises that the Transparency Hesh Evo has a net-zero carbon footprint. Each headphone contains a carbon emissions equivalent of 12.14 kg, which is then neutralized via carbon offset credits.
Granted, not all environmentally minded folks think offset credits are a good approach to climate issues, but the practice is widely accepted in the earth-friendly business community.
Skullcandy also says that a portion of its Transparency Hesh Evo proceeds will go to Protect Our Winters, a nonprofit devoted to fighting climate change.
The packaging is 100-percent recyclable and, best of all, Skullcandy promises to give you 30 percent off your next purchase if you send in your old Skullcandy gear for recycling.
What’s different about the Transparency Hesh Evo Series headphone?
After reviewing dozens of dull black headphones over the years that were basically indistinguishable at a distance, I like the fact that Skullcandy is making a statement with an over-ear headphone.
This limited-edition Hesh Evo headphone comes in a striking semi-transparent powder blue, while the fabric that lines the earcups is a slightly clashing shade of lime green, which is the same color used for the rubber control strip on the right earcup.
Meanwhile, the earcups themselves are nearly transparent in direct light, allowing you to see the grid pattern on the inside.
Which version of Bluetooth does the Transparency Hesh Evo Series support?
The Transparency Hesh Evo are garden-variety wireless headphones that support the 5.0 Bluetooth standard. They don’t have active noise cancellation (a non-Transparency version of the Hesh Evo that does have ANC goes for $134.99), and they only support the default SBC Bluetooth codec, so no AAC or aptX playback.
If you want to use the Transparency Hesh Evo as wired headphone, there’s a matching blue 3.5mm-to-3.5mm cable.
While the Hesh Evo’s wireless features are relatively basic, Skullcandy has built in one amazing feature that’s not yet common with other headphones: Tile compatibility, handy for tracking down the headset if it ever goes missing.
What’s the battery life for the Transparency Hesh Evo?
The Transparency Hesh Evo Series boasts 36 hours of playback on a full charge, and you can get 3 hours of playtime off a 10-minute charge if the battery ever dies on you. Not having built-in ANC certainly extends the battery life.
The controls are awesome and are easily identifiable by touch. There’s a circle that initiates Bluetooth pairing, while a “+” button raises the volume with a short press or skips to the next track with a long press. The “–” button lowers the volume or goes back to the previous track with a long press. Between those two controls is a raised round bump that initiates playback or pauses your tunes with a tap, while a long-press powers the headphones on or off.
You also get a built-in microphone, so that raised bump becomes a way to answer or hang up a call when your phone rings. A double-press of that bump brings up your phone’s voice assistant.
There are far too many expensive headphones that sound great and come with lousy touch controls. Anyone who’s building high-end audio gear should get their hands on this Skullcandy headphone for a lesson in how to design touch controls that are easy and fun to use.
How do the Skullcandy Transparency Hesh Evo heaphones sound?
I spent a couple of days with these headphones listening to an Apple Music radio station, with the ‘60s group The Left Banke as its anchor artist. The most notable thing about the Transparency Hesh Evo cans was how comfortable they were during long listening sessions and how little ear fatigue I experienced at medium volume.
If you’re listening to less-than-lossless quality music, streaming radio apps, or podcasts, this headphone sounds very good. Compared to the slightly pricier Soundcore Space Q45 headphone, however, the Hesh Evo’s limitations become more apparent. While the Transparency Hesh Evo is a nice headset for wireless listening, the Q45 ($150) is a pair of cans that compare favorably to headphones at twice their price.
Are the Skullcandy Transparency Hesh Evo headphones worth the cash?
Skullcandy is not in the high-end audio business, but the company makes reliable earbuds and headphones that have a following for good reasons. The Transparency Hesh Evo have a definite and defiant design, they’re comfortable to wear for a long stretch, and they have excellent battery life.
Granted, the Transparency Hesh Evo sound good, not great. That said, you can use them as wired headphones in a pinch, and Skullcandy is making legitimate efforts to reduce its manufacturing impact on the planet. If that’s important to you, the Transparency Hesh Evo headphone wouldn’t be a bad choice.