The Skullcandy SLYR is an exceptional gaming headset at a fair price.
Skullcandy has been creating audio gear for a long time now- nearly a decade, as a matter of fact. In 2012 they acquired high-end audio headset manufacturer Astro Gaming. They’ve decided to keep the Astro name exclusive to their $200+ headset family, and are now re-entering the gaming headset market with the Skullcandy brand. Their new line-up consists of the PLYR1 and PLYR2 wireless headsets, as well as the SLYR wired headset. Available in three color variants (black, blue and white), the Skullcandy SLYR takes cues from the Astro line of headsets in style and design. But does it hold up quality-wise?
I reviewed the black version with yellow accents; it’s a very sharp looking headset without being overly flashy. The SLYR headset feels sturdy and well-made, and adjusts well to any head size. It never felt too tight, and even after extended gaming sessions, the foam pads didn’t feel uncomfortable.
The sound is fantastic for a headset in the sub-$200 price range. Games feel immersive, with gunshots and explosions feeling appropriately bombastic, while subtleties such as footsteps and whispers are easily audible. Chat sounds crystal clear coming through the SLYR, and I was told that my voice was coming through quite clear as well. It should be noted that you need to really make sure that all jacks are plugged in firmly, as at first the headset would cut in and out, or I would only get sound from one side. The bass and midrange sound great with music as well (side note: the mixer can be detached so that the headset can be plugged straight into an iPod or stereo). Even with the volume pushed past a reasonable volume, there is not much noticeable bleed.
The left side of the SLYR is where the audio jack and microphone are located. When gaming, the GMX In-Line Mixer is attached, and it has a good amount of features. There’s mute, an equalizer with three settings, and volume adjustment for both voice and audio. The equalizer’s settings are Bass, Precision, and the default, flat Supreme mode. Bass makes everything feel bigger but adds a bit of muddiness and unintelligibility to vocals, while Precision brings the treble and subtleties to the forefront, but the high end will likely grate after long sessions. The Supreme mode fared best in my tests.
As I mentioned earlier, the SLYR’s mic picks up vocals clearly, and conveniently flips up and into a hidden compartment on the left side. In my tests, the mic did a great job of only picking up my voice, and rarely did extraneous room sounds come through to my teammates. It would have been a nice feature if the mic automatically muted when flipping up and into its hiding spot, but I’m just nitpicking here.
One of the SLYR’s strongest features is its compatibility with practically everything. This headset works on PlayStation 3 (which I tested on), PC and Xbox 360. Removing the mixer reveals a 3.5mm headphone jack that can plug into all mobile devices like iPods, iPads, PlayStation Vita, etc. The cable is really long when connected to the mixer, but at least it allows the user to freely move around the room without the worry of jerking the console out of the entertainment center.
Overall, the Skullcandy SLYR is an exceptional headset for its price ($80). The breadth of features, fantastic sound, clear microphone and solid design combine to form a headset that I would have no problem recommending to others. The SLYR’s fair price tag also makes it a great holiday gift for gamer friends and relatives.