Product Review: Skullcandy SLYR for Xbox One
Skullcandy’s SLYR for Xbox One looks a lot more like the original Xbox.
Back in 2012, we had the opportunity to try out Skullcandy’s PLYR 2 Wireless Headset, which was compatible with both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. This time we’re getting a look at the Xbox One exclusive version of the Skullcandy SLYR. Priced at an eminently reasonable US$99, it’s time to test the green-and-black cans to see how they hold up in conjunction with the XB1.
Billed as a wired headset, the SLYR actually connects wirelessly to the Xbox One. The wire only runs from the bottom of your controller to the headset itself. That wire comes connected with a built-in version of Microsoft’s Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter, allowing you to plug the unit directly into your controller without buying the additional accessory (it sells for US$30). Once you’ve done that sound will start coming through the SLYR. It’s that easy.
A small pamphlet is included with setup instructions, though if you can’t figure out how to operate this piece of tech it might be time to adopt another hobby.
Let’s start with the adapter piece, which contains the volume controls. It’s very simplistic, as you just hold down either “game” or “voice” and then increase/decrease the volume for in-game sounds or the chat function. A Skullcandy logo in the middle lights up to let you know the power is on, but you can also press it to mute your headset, turning the logo red. No issues here.
The SLYR for Xbox One actually more closely follows the colour scheme of the original Xbox, featuring the bright green on both the ear cups and deployable microphone (it tucks nearly out of sight when not in use). It’s not our favourite colour, and we would’ve preferred the same black on the outside throughout the design, but it’s not worth getting hung up on, either. Also, the headset, while plastic, still feels durable and doesn’t exude a cheap vibe.
Although the ear buds have something of an angular shape, they actually fit quite nicely over the ears. The use of plastic keeps the unit light, and while there isn’t a ton of padding, it’s placed smartly in key spots — on top of the head, on the ears — to make for a comfy fit. We unleashed these for some lengthy gaming sessions, and they never got noticeably uncomfortable.
We definitely put the SLYRs through their paces, testing out a wide range of games — Battlefield 4, Hardline, Advanced Warfare, Game of Thrones, Resident Evil, D4, Valiant Hearts, etc. — to see how they handled different styles. The answer: quite well.
They were most impressive with the bass-heavy shooters as gunfire was distinct and powerful. Firing a single round from a sniper rifle when everything else is nearly silent sounds great, and when things get hectic you’ll hear fire resonating from different parts of the battlefield as bullets whiz by and explosives detonate in the distance.
On some of the quieter, more dialogue intensive games like Game of Thrones or Valiant Hearts, the headset pumps out crisp, clean sound that lets you digest the subtleties of the actors’ performances. And in atmospheric titles, the distant screams and purposefully chilling ambient sounds really immerse you in the feeling of dread.
We did run into some moments of distortion and static, however. Some can potentially be chalked up to the game’s themselves — TellTale’s engine is notoriously choppy — while others almost certainly relate to the headset. What seemed to trigger the majority of them was heavy impact moments in which the controller did some of its heaviest vibrating.
Given that the SLYR is plugged into the controller, perhaps the vibration affects the connection? We can’t say for sure, but it created an unfortunate asterisk in an otherwise sterling performance.
Lastly, the in-game chat works very well. There’s little to no echo, and you won’t hear any residual noise from the game you’re playing, either. If you like talking with friends and/or teammates while playing and have been put off by the included mic on other headsets, the SLYR could be your new BFF.
Outside of some occasional distortion, Skullcandy’s SLYR for Xbox One held up exceedingly well in all the key areas, especially given the relatively low price. They’re a good value and a very smart buy.