Turtle Beach has been making a lot of premium gaming headsets, all of them suitable for discerning voice chat players with a price to match. You got what you paid for with the Elite and Stealth models, but the Recon 70 Gaming Headset is aimed directly at giving the Nintendo Switch some budget audio prowess.
You can immediately tell that this is part of the Turtle Beach family, striking a clear resemblance to its bigger brothers. There are a few aesthetics that make the Recon 70 unique, first off, the general design is simplified to match its smaller size and is lightweight. You still get a semi-cushy headset with earcups and inner headband padded with lean synthetic leather, while the body is assembled in hard plastic with faux inlets, red color accents, and Turtle Beach logos slapped on each side. It’s able to take a beating inside a crowded backpack or children who play on the go as well.
Although the exterior isn’t made from exotic materials, the internal specs of the Recon 70 deceive its cheaper construction. Everything else is stripped away but there are 40mm drivers within the earcups, along with a single dial on the left side that controls separate volume output, and a non-detachable microphone that automatically mutes when flipped up and not in use. Connectivity is equally simple by making do with a 3.5mm audio jack, with the advantage being maximum compatibility for not just the Nintendo Switch, but anything from PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and mobile platforms.
If you need good sound but don’t have a ton of money or can’t justify spending a lot on any gaming headset, then the Recon 70 offers a nice medium between practically and affordability. I primarily stuck with the Switch for testing and had a few games on hand, with brief experimentation on other platforms. Nothing sounded out of place audio-wise during my time playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, although the level of detail came off a little flat as the battlefield quickly descended into chaos.
Everything was represented acoustically but lacked some richness, as object direction and barrage impacts are portrayed with broad bass effects. L/R line separation is noticeable and doesn’t seamlessly transition between your ears, but it is acceptable considering the available range that the Recon 70 is trying to pull off. Long-session comfort is adequate, but discomfort does set in after a couple hours because of thin foam padding and a tight inflexible plastic frame. Again, It’s perfectly fine when this headset is worn for short to medium periods of time or when traveling light.
However, Turtle Beach doesn’t deny that their target demographic is for online gamers and their propensity for battle royale titles. Yes, the Recon 70 is specifically geared towards (at least marketing-wise) to the addictive and “fun to play, impossible to master” third-person shooter phenomenon known as Fortnite. If you’re looking at the Recon 70 solely for this purpose you won’t be disappointed with the microphone quality, it’s linear and everything I said could be heard by the people I was playing with, although I was told to shut up a few times during some matchups so I was definitely coming in clear (nothing wrong with the microphone though!). It just works and does a great job if straightforward voice chat is a priority—for Fortnite.
This also brings up the argument of how fragmented a full online experience is for avid Switch owners, because Fortnite is the only game that has direct plug-and-play voice chat functionality without needing the Nintendo Switch Online app (Android/iOS). This is another can of worms from Nintendo that attempts to make gaming online quarantined for family-friendly usage, and hampers the practicality the Recon 70 provides right out of the box. Technically, you can connect the Recon 70 and make it work, but you’re going to need an additional splitter that separates mic/audio channels between your smartphone/tablet and undocked Switch. This method seems like more trouble than its worth for other titles (Splatoon 2) if you’re inclined to try it.
I honestly have little to criticize with the Recon 70 Gaming Headset and it’s budgeted purpose. Turtle Beach made these to be attainable and compliant for the Nintendo Switch, something that can be tossed around without a second though. They are good value as a second headset and work great with Fortnite, which is probably enough for people anyways. If you do like these but red isn’t your thing, Turtle Beach has an Xbox One version coming next month in green—just some helpful FYI.