Skullcandy SLYR Pro headset review: When did they get good?
In a weird twist, the Skullcandy SLYR Pro headset actually impressed us massively, completely undoing years of negative stereotypes surrounding the company.
Never in our lives did we think we’d be impressed with a pair of Skullcandy headphones. The once high school crown unraveled itself as yet another overpriced tinny set of headphones. As other options became the de facto standard, Skullcandy just sort of faded out from memory.
The last set we used was lambasted by colleagues and was quickly replaced in favor of something that produced a sound our ears deserved.
That’s several years ago now, with the Skullcandy brand still continuing on. While we’ve not used a set of their actual headphones in a long time, if the Slyr Pros are to go by, it seems something has changed over at Skullcandy.
- Connectivity: 3.5mm headphone jack, USB
- Driver diameter: 50mm
- Frequency response: 20Hz – 20 kHz
- Weight: 276g
- Wired: Anything with a headphone jack or USB port
- Features: Detachable microphone, mute, sidetone
- Price: £89/$100
- Where to buy: Skullcandy
What’s in the box: Skullcandy Slyr Pro, 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable, USB-A to USB-C
Outside of the overtly garish, Colin Baker-era Doctor Who-like color choices and patterns, it is an astoundingly good pair of headphones, with a detachable microphone to convert it to a full headset.
The microphone being detachable makes these a covert set of headphones to use out in public, or just for watching movies and playing games too. We did find the microphone to be a bit lacking in terms of flexibility. Once it’s plugged in, it sits straight forward, with no option to bend it to reach your mouth or to move out of the way.
It’s not so much an issue for us in particular, as we often use external microphones for online gaming and chats. The primary issue is that it’s just a straight line, constantly in the peripheral vision, much like Razer’s budget headset – the main difference is that we can toss this aside when not in use.
Outside of this, the headset itself is really comfortable. The option to go material over faux leather gave us some pause when we opened the box, but after wearing them for a few hours each day, we did find that they weren’t sweaty, or stuffy.
The Skullcandy Slyr Pros are not wireless, opting to use either a USB-C cable or a 3.5mm jack to connect to your chosen device. However, they do come with an estimated 20-hour onboard battery. This is bizarre to us, because you can’t use Bluetooth, or 2.4GHz with it. Instead, it appears to be for when connecting to the various consoles, so that you don’t have a USB wire dragging across the floor.
The question then, is why they didn’t opt to use any kind of wireless connection here? Why limit it to only the top-end, Plyr model – especially when there’s only a $40 difference between the two? You can get the JBL Quantum 610s, which doesn’t offer Bluetooth but does offer wireless options.
So yes, when the voice built-in does go ‘power off’ when connecting a pair of wired headphones, it does raise a few questions about shortcuts made.
Skullcandy does split the audio between two channels, with it appearing as such in menus – like the JBL Quantums – so you can get greater control over them. Skullcandy does insist on using its own software, which we found useful for mixing the two types of audio.
A neat feature is ‘sidetone’, which can be quickly turned off with a long press of the big button on the left headphone. It’s a good way to indicate what you sound like to everyone, while not being a hassle to turn off.
Outside of this, other than your usual volume control dials and mute functions baked into the headset, there’s nothing particular to flourish here. It’s a straight shooter.
This is where we were impressed. The massive sigh of relief when we discovered that it had depth and not that perpetual tinny quality to its audio, we were more than satisfied to use these for a review session of Uncharted 4, and more.
Skullcandy has created a decent pair of headphones, ones with enough bass, treble and it never felt gross to listen to when testing the highs and lows. Games came out feeling lively, with no particular issues arising on Windows or Steam Deck.
As for the microphone, yes it’s functional and no, it’s not going to be used in any productions. The crunchy sound it produces is on par with a lot of other microphones we’ve tested that come bundled or attached to headsets.
The main thing to point out about audio quality, was when using the 3.5mm on our MacBook Pro. For some reason, a small background fuzz could be heard but wasn’t present on USB-C. When using it on the Steam Deck, it wasn’t present, but this is possibly due to the amps being less powerful on the handheld. We didn’t hear it on Xbox either.
They won’t blow anyone away, but the quality didn’t disappoint. You can do a lot worse at this price point, and while better options might be on the table, we don’t think you’ll get a headset that just seemingly works with everything either.
Are the Skullcandy Slyr Pros good for gaming?
They’re just fine for gaming, with the Slyr Pros functioning across the wide spectrum of game consoles, and PC, just fine. As we said, they’re not going to blow anyone away, but when testing in things like Destiny 2 and Counter-Strike, we could at least keep track of where others were thanks to footsteps.
Should you buy it?
If you’re looking for an easy, plug-and-play headset with decent sound and not exceptionally expensive, the Skullcandy Slyr Pros aren’t going to disappoint anyone but the audiophiles. However, the price point seems to be the only thing stopping us from giving a full-on recommendation.
As mentioned previously, there are similar headsets on the market that provide a lot more in terms of functionality and also, wireless options. What a lot of options won’t provide is universal compatibility, but that’s only thanks to the fact the headset is forever wired.
They’re not spectacular, but they have changed our possibly archaic view of the company.