I’m no audiophile, but it’s hard to deny the impact that a good headset can have on your gaming experience. This is especially true if you’re living with someone who might not appreciate your never-ending late-night sessions in Overwatch or Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds or whatever. Yeah, that’s totally not me or anything *ahem*
For the sake of your relationship – or your frag count – you’re probably going to need a gaming headset sooner or later, but that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank to get a good one. Case in point: Turtle Beach’s brand-new offerings of Recon 150 and XO Three wired gaming headsets.
The Recon 150 (model TBS-3320-01) and XO Three (model TBS-2024-01) are essentially two sides of the same coin: the Recon 150 allegedly has the necessary bits and bobs to work with the Sony’s PlayStation 4, the XO Three with the Microsoft’s Xbox One, each with a color scheme to suitably match their respective console. They’re both light, wired headsets that feel decent enough to keep on your noggin for awhile with a bendy microphone you can move out of the way where necessary.
You can also plug both into a PC if you so choose, where they continue to work just fine, and I found that they also tend to play nice with the other’s console so the decision might come down to color preference more than anything – the Xbox One can be weird about this, though, so get an XO Three if you really need something for that system so you can be 100% sure that it’ll work. Also, the Windows Sonic spatial sound option for Xbox One and Windows 10 is technically only workable with the Xbox-specific XO Three, so that’s probably the direction you want to go with if you’re playing on PC as well.
One plus is that these plug directly into a system’s 3.5mm jack, so there’s no futzing about with drivers on PC and you can expect either set to just work once they’re plugged in; that also means you can plug them into a whole bunch of different devices, like tablets and smartphones, and expect them to work. You can remove the mic as well, which, along with their less-than-ostentatious style, helps make these sets a slightly more palatable option when it comes to a something you can wear when you go out.
Sound quality on both is solid as you’d expect from a Turtle Beach product, though only as solid as you’d expect from a $70 Turtle Beach product. In other words, it’s certainly better than most sets from other manufacturers you’ll get for this price, but there are better Turtle Beach products available if you’ve got a little more coin to drop. I was particularly impressed with the bass response on each set’s 50mm speakers; this is a big deal with the XO Three in particular, since a lot of Xbox One games are all about your high-powered explosions, and games like Sunset Overdrive and Halo 5 were happy with the amount of boom here.
You’ve got an inline volume and mic control set on the cable to mute your mic when you’re yelling at your Mom and turn the game down when she’s grounding you, so that’s handy. You’re not going to be blown away by how much better your games and music sound on one of these, but that’s not why you’re buying a $70 headset, either. You’re buying something to use online or when you need to keep it down, and in this case you’re not losing out on too much audio quality when you do so. Don’t expect any fancy RGB lighting or sound enhancement options here, either; these are workhorse headsets designed to do what headsets should do and not much more.
What’s less great? Well, the microphones aren’t stupendous, though they’re clear enough to make yourself heard when you’re playing games online. They’re not something I’d rely on for podcast recording – I’ve got a Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum for that – but that also costs nearly three times as much as the sets we’re talking about here, and if all you want to do is yell at your team for not capturing the damn point then the mics here will work just fine. I’m also not the biggest fan of wired headsets in this day and age, but given that these are intended to be plugged directly into a controller rather than strung across the room, it’s not as big an issue as it could be; I’m also sure that some folks don’t like dealing with charging wireless headsets, which naturally isn’t a problem here.
That $70 price tag is no joke; Turtle Beach is known for quality, and if you can’t drop a couple Benjamins on a headset then you’re in safe hands with either the Recon 150 and XO Three wired gaming headsets for your sound-starved PS4 or Xbox One consoles. Just don’t expect anything super fancy – these are entry-level sets, after all – but they do their job well in true Turtle Beach fashion. If you’re looking to take your first step up from the basic Microsoft and Sony headsets, then one of these babies just might do the job.