Review: Turtle Beach Recon 150

Last month at E3, Turtle Beach announced several new headsets coming out this year. We had previously discussed the new Stealth models coming out in September, which are some higher end, digital surround sound wireless models. The Stealth headsets seem like they would be quite impressive, but the truth is not everyone cares about having 7.1 surround sound, blue tooth connectivity and different audio presets. Some of us just want a basic headset that is nicer than the headset that comes packaged with the console. Turtle Beach has something along those lines, which are the Recon 150 designed specifically for the PlayStation 4 and the XO Three designed with the Xbox One in mind. With the exception of the colors on the earcuffs, green for the XO Three and blue for the Recon 150, the two units are identical. These headsets are similar in style to the design of Turtle Beach’s XO Four Stealth.

It should be noted that while each headset has a particular console it is specifically designated for, both can be used on controllers for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro, Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X, PC/Mac, and Mobile/Tablet, provided they have a 3.5mm jack input. Some Xbox One controllers may require the Audio Headset Adapter, and computers with separate pink and green mic and headphone inputs require a splitter to use both functions, though the Recon 150 works great as a standalone pair of headphones if you just plug it into the green jack and don’t care about using the mic. To get into the specs of these headsets, the headset is made of sturdy plastic with the headband wrapped in plush-leather and the ear cushions are wrapped in a breathable fabric. The ear cuffs contain 50mm over-ear speakers which seems to be the standard for quality audio these days. The mic is located on the left ear cuff, and while it is not retractable or detachable it bends quite well so it can be positioned to best capture your voice for online play or put out of the way when it’s not in use. The cord features easy access to the master volume control and mic mute, and seems compatible with just about any 3.5mm jack, though like in the green and pink PC inputs example the mic capabilities may not be accessible in all instances.

Where the headsets differ, the XO Three is an officially licensed gaming headset for the Xbox One and it is surround sound ready with Windows Sonic for Headphones which is only available on Xbox One and compatible Windows 10 PCs through an update from Microsoft. However, since the Xbox One is doing the heavy lifting for Windows Sonic, and Atmos should you buy the decoding app, both the Recon and XO Three can utilize Windows Sonic on the Xbox One and Windows 10 devices. Both headsets are scheduled to launch in July to participating retailers in the U.S., with the Recon 150 only being available at Best Buy in the U.S. These headsets will also be available at participating retailers in the UK, Australia, and select territories across Europe.

So now that we’ve got all the factual information out of the way, how does the Recon 150 perform? It is completely passive, so as long as the controller has life the headphones will function, and not having to pause music on the computer to recharge the Recon is nice. It just plugs right into the controller, and using the settings menu on the PlayStation 4 it can be used for just chat audio or all game audio. While playing online there were no communication errors, so the balance between chat and game audio is fine and the mic had no issues picking up my speech.

The sound quality when it comes to game audio or listening to music on the computer is actually quite good. The volume control dial is the only thing on the headset that has any impact on what you’re hearing. There is no switch for bass boost or digital surround sound on the Recon, so it won’t drastically alter the listening experience but everything I played through it sounded great. They are a nice pair of plug and play headphones, and if that’s what you’re after you can do much worse than this. Without paying for the active sound enhancing bells and whistles that are found in some higher end models, these are as good as one can expect within the mid tier bracket. The music sounds rich and full, but the difference in sound quality between stock television or computer speakers and these headphones is rather mild compared to the jump in some higher end options.

Closing Comments:

The Recon 150, and subsequently the XO Three, is a high quality basic headset. The set up for the Recon requires the user to open the packaging and plug the headset into a PlayStation 4 controller, and mess with the audio settings in the console menu. These units are going to be priced at $69.95, which puts them in the mid range level of gaming headsets. The lower price point on the Recon compared to the higher end Stealth models comes from stripping away a lot of extra features found on those sets, the quality of the unit itself is still the same high quality people expect from Turtle Beach. It really comes down to where a headset fits into budgeting and what features are important to the individual. Someone looking for features galore and the best sound quality possible should explore the higher end options, but someone who just wants a good headset that’s an improvement over what comes with the consoles the Recon is an excellent choice, and it has the added bonus of being compatible with a lot of different hardware. When choosing between these models, the choice really comes to do whether a person’s color preference favors blue or green.