he Skullcandy brand, historically, is one associated with attractive, lifestyle-centric headphones that deliver serviceable, if unspectacular, audio. The company aims to change that perception with the $79.95 Skullcandy Slyr, an affordably-priced PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 gaming headset that looks to make a splash in the sub-$100 space. Featuring a slick, youthful design, surprisingly good audio, and multiple connectivity options, Slyer is a gaming headset that will change your perception of Skullcandy cans.
It’s amazing how feature-packed and luxurious gaming headsets have become.
Not to date myself, but in the early morning years of my youth, a gaming headset was something that only PC gamers used, and unless they were “ballin,” it wasn’t much more than a cheap pair of headphones with a microphone attached. Time and technology, however, have dramatically changed the gaming headset landscape. Not only have features and designs improved, but prices have soared to almost ludicrous heights.
I learned a valuable lesson when Hurricane Sandy descended upon New York City — one can never have enough power on hand. Although I was fortunate enough to see my dwelling suffer little damage, I went powerless for several days. Contact with the outside world, and entertainment diversions, were filtered through my smartphone and PlayStation Vita, which meant that I had to meter my usage lest I burn through the juice. The $79.95 FatCat PowerBar 4200 travel charger would’ve been incredibly useful in that situation.
Apple revolutionized the delivery of mobile games with its App Store, and changed the tablet game with the iPad, but it isn’t the only company making big moves in those spaces. Samsung, manufacturer of fine laptops, televisions, audio players, and other devices, once again looks to take a bite out of Cupertino’s market share, this time with the 10.1-inch, Android-powered Galaxy Note. I’ll leave it up to others to gush over specs and perform the traditional performance testing; I’m tackling the Galaxy Note 10.1 from the perspective of an avid gamer.
The Logitech G35 is a PC-compatible headset that promises 7.1-channel surround sound. However, the surround sound offered here is so subtle it’s hardly noticeable in anything but games with the option for 7.1-channel speakers. And even then your mileage may vary. That alone may not warrant the $79.99 (Amazon.com) price. But it does offer decent sound and smart design choices like a convenient microphone and built-in headset controls
One of the challenges that comes with dipping a toe into the PC gaming pool is finding a suitable control setup–especially if you’re making the jump from the PS3, Xbox 360, or home video game consoles. You can certainly attempt to game with a mouse/keyboard combo, but if that isn’t your thing, the $9.95 MiniStick may be just what the doctor ordered. Depending on the the type of games that you like to play, that is.
The Turtle Beach brand is synonymous with quality, pristine aesthetics, and elite sound quality–excellent traits that are also found in the $269.95 XP 500. This high-end, gamer-centric headset also represents a technological sea-change: The XP 500 is the first set of Xbox 360 cans that boast complete wireless connectivity. Factor in 50mm diameter speakers and thumping Dolby 5.1/7.1 channel Surround Sound, and you have headset that’s easily one of the best on the market.
Roccat’s Kave 5.1 Surround Sound Headset are powerful gaming headphones designed to deliver high-quality surround sound audio to the PC gaming market. In this respect the Roccat Kave delivers, as it offers satisfying, true 5.1 surround sound. Touting two 40mm speakers in each circumaural ear cup, the Kave delivers loud, crisp audio, and the 30mm vibration driver does a nice job of handling bass. Throw in a desktop remote with sliders to adjust the sound levels and audio profiles (game or movie), and you have solid PC gaming headset.
The Astro A50 is gaming headset excellence. It costs a pretty penny–you can purchase two rival cans for the same price–but it’s well worth the heavy coin due to the outstanding audio quality, excellent (albeit bulky) build, and gamer-centric touches. If you’re serious about your audio, consider the Astro A50 a must-buy.
I’ve seen some interesting gear since taking over the hardware duties at 2D-X. Some have been excellent (Street Fighter X Tekken Fightstick Pro), some have been god awful (HKS controller). The $19.99 XJacker PS3 kit and the $29.99 Soniq Rush 2.0 (a headset adapter and amplifier, respectively) falls somewhere between. The the pair, in unison, lets gamers turn any headset into a PS3 headset with ear-wrecking volume, but clunky setup issues somewhat mar the experience.