It's been a while, but with the Skullcandy PLYR, the audio company is back in the gaming headset space. And just like back when Skullcandy was known as a major player in the best gaming headset field, the Skullcandy PLYR is garish, bold, and visually polarizing.
But is it worthy of an addition to our best wireless gaming headset list? At $129.99/£129.99, we can't consider it a cheap gaming headset or affordable audio solution, but its multi-platform use, Bluetooth connectivity, and incredibly comfortable cups do offer some value for money at that price tag, and may well earn it a spot in the former list. The Skullcandy PLYR is one of three headsets just released by the audio giant - the other two are the $100 wired SLYR Pro and the budget-friendly $60 wired SLYR. But what makes the Skullcandy PLYR stand out amongst the three, and in the sea of countless gaming peripherals? And what might make the Skullcandy PLYR the headset for you? Let's get into it.
Design & Features
When it comes to aesthetics: there's no other way to put this: the Skullcandy PLYR is ugly. If you are worried about looking cool on a Zoom call or taking a chic selfie, this is not the headset for you. The base of the headband is covered in a garish, pixelated design that features at least a dozen different colors, with fuchsia-colored exposed wires connecting the headset and a quite cheap-looking translucent matte grey on the outside of the earcups and headband. The design is called Black DigiHype, and there's no way to choose other colorways for the PLYR - although there are multiple color options for the SLYR and SLYR Pro.
The left earcup can pause, mute, and skip music by pressing on the matte grey plastic casing, while the back of the earcup has an on/off connectivity switch, a volume dial, and ports for the USB-C charger and AUX cable. The detachable mic is also on the left ear cup. The headband has an adjustable mesh strap, and the ear cups are lined with cushy black memory foam.
Design: Over-ear, closed back
Type: Bluetooth 5.2 wireless connectivity / USB Type-C charging
Microphone: Removable boom
Compatibility: PC, Mac, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch
Frequency response: 20Hz - 20KHz
Tested on PC and PS5
The Skullcandy PLYR headset connects wireless via Bluetooth on PC and mobile devices and can be plugged into controllers to be used with other platforms You can also buy a low latency transmitter for $24.99 that will let you use the Skullcandy PLYR wirelessly via a 2.4GHz connection but when buying a wireless gaming headset or PS5 wireless headset for $120, you'd really hope to have the dongle included. The headset boasts 50mm drivers and a 20Hz - 20KHz frequency.
The Skullcandy HQ desktop and mobile app will let you customize the headset from equalizer to game/chat audio balance. It will also conduct an in-depth hearing test that takes your results and customizes a unique sound profile for you. But perhaps the coolest feature, which could easily be missed by owners, is the built-in Tile integration. If you have a Tile profile, you can easily add the Skullcandy PLYR to it and find it if you happen to misplace it.
Straight out of the gate (and hours into wearing it), it's obvious that the Skullcandy PLYR is incredibly comfortable. As a glasses-wearer with a rather low threshold for discomfort, this a fantastic headset for my lengthy Overwatch 2 sessions. In terms of sound quality, the Skullcandy PLYR lets me adjust my settings via the Skull-HQ app for different game modes, and it really helps. In FPS titles I can hear footsteps with fantastic clarity, but the music and dialogue in an RPG like Cyberpunk 2077 sound equally fantastic when I turn on the RPG EQ preset. The Skullcandy PLYR's sound is both crisp and deep, with no need to boost the volume to hear tiny details as every level seems equally represented.
The microphone and built-in AI help make my voice crystal clear, as reported by my Apex Legends and Overwatch teammates. They heard every word - even when I was yelling, which I do often in both games. Picking up a phone call mid-match is a nifty little trick, and my sister heard my frustration at losing a match quite clearly.
As far as listening to music or watching movies goes, there's a bit of a lack of heft with the Skullcandy PLYR straight out of the box. I went in and made some adjustments, but if you're an audiophile you may not be a fan of Skullcandy's Supreme Sound audio tuning - which can't be turned off. You may notice super-sharp S's and T's with the way the Skullcandy PLYR is set up, which could bother some.
But it's the Enhanced Sound Perception (E.S.P. lol) that's truly impressive. Available only with the Skullcandy PLYR and Skullcandy SLYR Pro headsets, the feature allows you to take a hearing test and then adjust your headset settings based on what you can hear. It's a pretty impressive feature, and one that can hopefully prevent users from cranking their headsets far too loud - as a tinnitus sufferer, this is hugely valuable.
The Skullcandy PLYR's purported battery life seems about right - I only charged it once since having it.
Overall - should you buy the Skullcandy PLYR?
This is a tough one. I personally find the headset's look hideous and a bit too, erm, juvenile for my 32 years. This could be more up your design alley, however, or you could consider this as a great gift option for a younger gamer. The price point may be a little steep, but if you consider its comfort, wearability, and multi-platform use options, you can certainly get a lot of mileage out of the Skullcandy PLYR.
If you are looking to shell out a little extra cash for a super smooth sound with a super comfy fit for all your gaming needs, this is definitely one to consider. It sounds really good and with all the extra bells and whistles available in the SKull-HQ app, you really can make the most of this - especially for gaming.
How we tested the Skullcandy PLYR
The Skullcandy PLYR became my default headset for the better part of a week. I wore it for GamesRadar meetings, Overwatch 2 play sessions, Destiny 2 Festival of the Lost fun, and some Cyberpunk 2077 shenanigans. I wore it while walking into the kitchen to grab more coffee (and it stayed connected) and even wore it while it was charging via the USB-C cable.