Skullcandy’s past stabs at gaming headsets weren’t exactly memorable, and that’s putting it diplomatically. Then the company acquired Astro Gaming and the game — pardon the pun — suddenly changed. Based on the performance of the affordable SLYR gaming headset, which received a positive review on this site just recently, the fruits of the alliance seem to be bearing fruit. Despite being a budget headset, the wired SLYR still served up excellent sound and features for the price. Now we’re taking a look at the SLYR’s wireless cousin, the Skullcandy PLYR 2.
Right off the bat, it’s obvious that both headsets share the same DNA. The designs have some obvious similarities, including the same plastic material overall as well as the same fabric-covered padding used on the upper headband and inner cups. The overall feel and lightness is also the same, with the PLYR 2 sporting a nice, snug fit as well. Still, there are some notable differences between both when it comes to their design. Unlike the SLYR, which uses a more angular, modern look, the PLYR 2 uses a more traditional rounded design. The same thing can also be said about the mics, with the PLYR 2 using a longer more traditionally shaped microphone while the SLYR employs a more rectangular one. The PLYR 2 also uses a more solid-colored trim (yellow in the case of the unit I reviewed) compared to the transparent plastic highlights of the SLYR.
Overall, I actually like the SLYR’s design more though aesthetics are certainly a matter of personal choice. What’s more important is audio quality and the PLYR 2 does a solid job in this respect. Like the SLYR, the PLYR 2 delivers a clean sound with a healthy amount of bass that isn’t overpowering, even when using the “Bass Mode” setting on the EQ. It likely won’t be enough for bass heads though regular folk tend to prefer this kind of clean bass profile more. Speaking of EQ, the PLYR 2 also comes with two more additional presets called “Supreme Mode” and “Precision Mode.” This allows players to use a different audio setting depending on the game genre. Shooters such as Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, for example, sound better when using Supreme Mode because you can hear and distinguish the various sounds better as opposed to Bass Mode, which tends to muffle some of the audio detail in such games. Precision Mode, meanwhile, seems to emphasize the highs the most.
The biggest differentiating factor between the PLYR 2 and the SLYR, however, is wireless capability and the PLYR 2 also does a good job in this regard. Pairing is pretty easy and requires just a few button presses. Like the Turtle Beach XP400, the absence of wires gives you a lot more freedom of movement compared to the SLYR or the Astro A30 with MixAmp. Unlike the latter two, however, you can’t swap in regular headsets when using the PLYR 2. Still, its wireless capability is quite good. Range is also pretty far and battery life is excellent. It can’t take phone calls like the XP400 but it also costs $90 less with its $130 price tag, which is a pretty fair tradeoff. One result of the lower cost, however, is the absence of an optical out for folks who prefer a digital connection. Instead, the PLYR 2 uses an analog cable, which still gets the job done but requires an adapter if you want to connect via HDMI.
Overall, the PLYR 2 doesn’t have all the features of competitors such as the XP400 or even the headphone swapping capability afforded by the wired SLYR or the A30’s MixAmp. What it does offer, however, is a solid wireless gaming headset experience at an affordable price, making this a good choice for budget-conscious gamers who want a less tangled audio experience.
Final rating: 4 stars out of 5