Review: Skullcandy PLYR 1 is the solution to your wireless gaming headset problem
The Skullcandy/Astro marriage might be one made in heaven. Case in point, look at the Skullcandy PLYR 1 wireless headset -- the third in the company’s new line of gaming headsets. While Astro mainly focuses on a gaming headset solution above $200, Skullcandy is a nice alternative for gamers looking for a really nice headset below that price point. The PLYR 1 is the newest, top-of-the-line Skullcandy gaming product, completely designed by Astro.
Like all of the Astro products, the Skullcandy PLYR 1 is cross-platform. It will work with your Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC and Mac. I’ve been using a white version of the PLYR 1 -- which comes in both black and white -- since E3, and I’m quite impressed with not only the design, but the functionality and sound quality.
While I’ve used it predominantly for PC gaming, I've also dabbled with using it for the Xbox 360 and PS3. It’s a really easy set up if you want to use it and swap it between the three. It gets hooked up to all three with the wireless headset stand/receiver via USB and optical cable. It’s really simple.
With a gaming headset, you’re going to be primarily concerned with sound quality. While the sound wasn’t at the level of the Astro A40s and A50s I’ve used in the past, the Skullcandy PLYR 1 performed admirably. The PLYR 1 with the optical input boasts Dolby Digital 7.1 surround sound, using a driver in each ear. It was decent surround sound, but when a lot was happening, I had a hard time navigating through the sound to find a general sense of direction. That said, the headset can get handle bass really well, and there’s no metallic sound to the highs. And when I listened to music while playing a game, or was having a Skype conversation during a game, everything sounded great.
The design of the Skullcandy PLYR 1 keeps that trendy look that Skullcandy is known for. The PLYR 1 keeps things simple on the aesthetic front, but its simplicity has some nice little details. The etched pattern on the headset provides some visual flair, as does the general shape and angles of the headset.
What did take some getting used to, however, were the ear cushions. They were surprisingly small and snug. They never got uncomfortable; they were just smaller than other ear cushions I’ve used in the past. Now after using them for a month, I don’t even notice the difference. So if you have larger than average ears, these might take some getting used to. The PLYR 1 is also lightweight while surprisingly sturdy. I could play for hours and never experience an ounce of discomfort.
As far as functionality is concerned, the PLYR 1 has features that make sense. It’s designed to make things easy on the gamer, and it really does. The flip-up mic (which isn’t removable) is crystal clear and took no adjusting to get communication settings right. The best part of the mic is the mute feature; when you flip the mic up, you’ll stop transmitting sound and go mute. There’s a quick three-position EQ slider located on the right side of the headset. It allows for quick switching between the three EQ modes: Bass Mode for music and games with heavy beats and action movies, Supreme Mode for quality sound response across all types of media, and Precision Mode that highlights the mids and highs of games, which is really good for when playing first-person shooters.