Skullcandy PLYR review – Goes boldly where no premium gaming headset has gone before

The Skullcandy PLYR works just about everywhere

Skullcandy PLYR review
(Image credit: Matt Kolat/T3)
T3 Verdict

The Skullcandy PLYR sounds great for music and movies as well as games, and it has a plethora of wired and wireless connection options to choose from – just make sure that you're comfortable with the design of these headphones before considering buying them.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Funky design aesthetic

  • +

    Excellent audio quality

  • +

    Reasonable price point

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Transmitter sold separately

  • -

    Software is Windows-only

  • -

    Design won't be for everyone

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In this Skullcandy PLYR review, we'll delve into everything you need to know about this headset, from battery life and connection compatibility to sound quality and comfort levels. This multipoint gaming headset works with just about every device out there, including PCs, PS5, Xbox, and even the Switch.

The Skullcandy PLYR headset certainly wants to be one of the best gaming headsets on the market at the moment – and it's also got a strong case for being one of the most eye-catching as well, what with its colourful design and translucent headband. Thanks to its PC compatibility, it's also a strong contender for the best PC gaming headset title.

By the time you've finished reading, you should know whether the Skullcandy PLYR is for you or not. If you need more help kitting out your gaming setup, we've got lots more advice, including pointers for the best gaming chair and the best gaming keyboard.

Skullcandy PLYR review: price & availability

The Skullcandy PLYR gaming headset is out now and available to buy directly from Skullcandy US, Skullcandy UK and Skullcandy AU for a recommended retail; price of $130/£130/AU$250. At the time of writing, the headset is available for $130/£110/AU$175, while the wireless transmitter is another £25/$25. In the UK, you can pick the Skullcandy PLYR from retailers, including Amazon and Currys. 

Skullcandy PLYR review

(Image credit: Matt Kolat/T3)

Skullcandy PLYR review: design and setup

Skullcandy has gone big and bold with the design of the PLYR, with bright pink and blue accents and a translucent headband. It won't suit everyone, but it is at least something different, so credit to Skullcandy for that. 

This bold pink and blue colour scheme extends to the 3.5mm audio cable and USB-C-to-USB-A cable that you get in the box – but note that the wireless USB-A dongle, which provides low-latency wireless connectivity for PC or PlayStation, is sold separately (you can still use Bluetooth or a wired connection on these platforms without the transmitter).

This headset will connect to just about anything: with Bluetooth, USB, 3.5mm cable options, plus the optional USB dongle, you can hook the Skullcandy PLYR up to whatever device you wish. Whether you're gaming on the go with the Nintendo Switch or you're sitting down in front of your high-end PC gaming rig, you're covered (and Bluetooth dual connect is supported as well, so you can maintain active connections to two devices at once).

Skullcandy PLYR review

(Image credit: Matt Kolat/T3)

There are some controls on the cans themselves, allowing you to adjust the volume and pause playback, and everything is very straightforward to access. There is both an internal mic and a separate boom mic that you can hook up if you want – it depends on the look you want to go for and the audio quality you require (if you're just chatting on Zoom, you're probably fine just sticking with the built-in microphone, for example).

The headphones feel sturdy and well-made, and they manage to be lightweight (at 315g) without coming across as cheap. We can also tell you that setup is straightforward, so it's unlikely that you'll need to refer to the bundled quick-start guide. There is some desktop customisation software you can get via the Skullcandy website, but it only works with Windows PCs, while the accompanying Android and iOS apps are a little more limited.

Skullcandy PLYR review: features & performance

The Skullcandy PLYR sounds great, thanks to the 50mm dynamic drivers built into the earcups. We tested the headset with games and watching movies – the device passed with flying colours every time. The audio it produces is rich and nuanced, with no signs of distortion at the higher volume levels and plenty of detail and crispness when the sounds get quieter.

Audio performance is solid across the whole spectrum, with an impressive level of kick to the bass and plenty of clarity at the other end of the scale. It's comfortable to wear, too (although this will largely depend on how loudly you've got your media cranked up), as the cushioned memory foam pads on the cans are definitely easy on the ears, while there's no hint of irritation from the headband (the mesh material you can attach to it helps here).

Skullcandy PLYR review

(Image credit: Matt Kolat/T3)

Download and install the software for Windows, and you can play around with equaliser (EQ) settings, save presets, change the volume balance between games and chat, and enable the Enhanced Sound Perception (ESP) feature: this tunes the audio to your ears specifically, based on a series of simple tests. There's also Tile integration here, which means you can get the headphones to make a sound when you've lost them somewhere in the house and get an alert if you've left them behind.

Skullcandy says the PLYR headset can go for 24 hours between charges if you're using it wirelessly – we weren't able to scientifically test this, but it got pretty close to that duration during the course of this review (it does, of course, depend on factors such as volume and which features you have enabled). 

Skullcandy PLYR review

(Image credit: Matt Kolat/T3)

Skullcandy PLYR review: verdict

The Skullcandy PLYR headset has to be commended for the sheer number of devices to which it can connect: anything that has a 3.5mm audio port or Bluetooth, basically, which leaves your options wide open. Setup is simple and straightforward no matter what hardware combination you're working with, and we didn't notice any issues with dropping connections or similar problems.

As for the design, that's likely to be more divisive than the sound output – subtle and understated these headphones are not. We quite like the bright and funky look but at the same time we can acknowledge that it's not going to be for everyone. There are a few more minor problems with the Skullcandy PLYR, including that the PC/PlayStation wireless transmitter is an optional extra.

Overall, there's no doubt that the Skullcandy PLYR offers great quality audio at a respectable price. Throughout our time with this headset we enjoyed the quality of sound being pumped through them, and we didn't have any complaints about the quality of the mics either.

Skullcandy PLYR review: Also consider

If you want something that doesn't look quite as extravagant as the Skullcandy PLYR, but that keeps the premium audio quality, check out the Razer Barracuda Pro. However, you should also note that there's no wired option with these headphones, and they're going to set you back substantially more in terms of cost – so you need to work out what you need from your purchase and how much you're prepared to pay.

One of the best gaming headsets that we've come across recently is the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 Max. Like the Skullcandy PLYR, it works across a whole host of different devices and platforms, and the audio quality you get from it is excellent. They're more expensive than the Skullcandy, so depending on the features and style that you're after, they may be a better bet.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.