The US company has upgraded the previous model, the Skullcandy Sesh Evo, and equipped the new Skullcandy Sesh ANC with noise cancelling and an adjustable transparency mode as well as a gaming mode and sound adjustment via an app. The extensive update has also improved the battery life of these wireless in-ears and the speech intelligibility during phone calls.
The sweat-, water- and dust-resistant finish of these earphones in accordance with IP55 has remained, making the Skullcandy Sesh ANC weatherproof and equipped for sports. Due to their design, the fit is not as stable as models with a bracket system (see Skullcandy Push Active) or so-called EarWings (see Skullcandy Indy ANC or Skullcandy Indy Fuel), but they offer sufficient support if no strong vibrations occur. At the same time, these in-ears sit tightly in the ear without pressing and significantly shield from the outside world. It is also possible to wear a cap, provided it is not too tight, as the housings protrude somewhat.
In terms of energy, the Skullcandy Sesh ANC offer a runtime of a good ten hours in basic mode at higher volume levels. When the noise cancelling function is active, approximately seven hours can be achieved per charge. In addition, the earphones can be fully charged four times in the charging case and once more with a remaining capacity of almost two hours until the battery reserve is exhausted. This results in a considerable total runtime of over 36 hours in ANC mode and more than 52 hours in standard mode. These in-ears can be fully charged again quite quickly after 50 minutes. A ten-minute quick charge also provides capacity for two and a half hours of listening time without noise cancellation or a good two hours with noise cancellation. The battery reserve of the case can be restored in 85 minutes. A short USB-C to USB-A charging cable is supplied for this purpose.
Pairing the Skullcandy Sesh ANC, which supports Bluetooth standard 5.2 and single-sided use in single mode, can be done by removing them from the case. This turns the system on and automatically puts it into pairing mode while placing them back in the charger turns the headphones off. In addition, these in-ears can be switched on and off manually via the buttons integrated into their surfaces, and this means that the charging case does not have to be carried around all the time. This saves the headphone’s batteries, particularly if they are not charged after every use.
Once a wireless connection is established, a single press controls playback and is used to answer and end calls. Double pressing, meanwhile, controls the volume, which can be quietened on the left and made louder on the right, while pressing three times activates the voice assistant. In addition, it is possible to select a title by briefly pressing and holding the left button to skip back and right to skip forward. A longer press switches between ANC, ambient and basic mode.
The Skullcandy Sesh ANC’s app (Android and iOS) offers a choice of three preconfigured EQ modes: “Music”, “Podcast”, and “Movie”. In addition, the custom setting offers the ability to make your own settings, for which the EQ section provides five bands. These are also saved, but it is not possible to create several different pre-sets. The app can be used to switch between noise reduction, which is automatically active when the unit is switched on, and transparency and basic modes. The intensity of the amplification of external noise is continuously adjustable and can be adapted to the environment. Furthermore, the gaming mode can be activated and deactivated, and a tracking function can be set up via the Tile app which can help you to find the earpieces. Firmware updates are also possible via the app. Headphone settings, such as the individual configuration of the remote buttons, are not provided and would be a desirable enhancement.
Since the Skullcandy Sesh ANC does not support higher-quality audio codecs, you have to make do with the Bluetooth standard SBC, so an offset between picture and sound can be perceived in standard mode during films and video games. However, the gaming mode provides a remedy, reducing the latency and significantly improving the synchronicity. In itself, this is a successful solution for mobile devices. On a computer or laptop, however, the handling is somewhat awkward, as the latency optimisation can only be switched on and off via the app and not via the remote buttons. If you want to watch a series on your laptop, you first have to pair the earphones with your smartphone or tablet to switch on the gaming mode via the app. Then a wireless connection with improved latency can be established with the laptop.
We also noticed that the stability and range of the Bluetooth connection deteriorated in gaming mode. The manufacturer’s recommendation not to use it in everyday life is therefore very sensible. While distances of up to nine metres can be bridged in basic mode, the range is reduced to four to five metres with latency reduction. There may also be an increase in the frequency of Bluetooth dropouts, which occurred even in standard mode and were a weak point that appears to need improvement.
Speech intelligibility when making calls
The use of a total of four microphones and the Smart Mic technology ensures exceptionally good intelligibility when making phone calls. And not just in a quiet environment, it also works in a busier setting, as suppression of background noise is amazingly effective when transmitting your own voice.
ANC and ambient mode
The Skullcandy Sesh ANC’s hybrid noise cancellation was also very effective in the low-frequency range, whereas high-frequency noise components were only slightly attenuated and largely passed through. Voices also remained perceptible but sounded noticeably thinner in the lower registers due to the extensive filtering, which reduces their prominence. In ANC mode, a slight background noise was present, but this did not affect the reproduction. The transparency mode, on the other hand, initially worked with little noise so that a background noise only set in at medium intensity, however, it then intensified up to the maximum setting. Otherwise, there was a distinct amplification of ambient noise, which counteracted the high isolation properties of these in-ears and increased the user’s safety during outdoor activities. Voices and announcements were also easily understood without having to take the earphones out of the ears.
In music mode, which serves as the default setting, the Skullcandy Sesh ANC sounded appealingly punchy and had a powerful bass response that reached far down. Despite the existence of fullness, the low bass didn’t get bogged down, which was a lot of fun for listening to modern music styles. The midrange was also energetic, warm and full, but didn’t sound too dense or muddy, but was clear so that voices were easy to understand and details emerged. At the same time, there was assertiveness for mobile use, which seemed coherent overall and worked across genres. The treble reproduction was also free of weaknesses and seemed neither timid nor strained; it did not drop and sounded balanced.
The podcast mode offered an optimisation option for spoken content, and this specifically placed voices in the foreground and lowered the lower frequency range. The sound setting for movies, on the other hand, had a rich, defined bass foundation, just like the music mode, but it increased the presence of the midrange to enhance the intelligibility of dialogue.
In addition to the good, punchy sound, the Skullcandy Sesh ANC stand out for their functionality thanks to a substantial update. The battery life of these wireless in-ears and the effective suppression of background noise during phone calls were remarkable. The ANC mode was able to filter low-frequency noise effectively and over a wide range, while the transparency mode could be continuously adjusted to the environment. However, the stability of the Bluetooth connection needed improvement, and this might spoil the listening pleasure and limit the range when in gaming mode. Apart from this, these weatherproof earphones receive our unqualified recommendation.
- Sweat-, water- and dust-resistant according to IP55
- Long battery runtime
- Fast charging function
- Speech intelligibility during phone calls
- Latency-reduced gaming mode
- Adjustable transparency mode
- App connection with sound adjustment
- Bluetooth dropouts
- Does not support high-quality audio codecs
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Weight without cable6 g each, case 54 g
What's in the box
- Eartips in 3 sizes (S/M/L)
- USB-C to USB-A charging cable
- Charging case
- BT codecs: SBC
- BT version: 5.2