For all the headset manufacturers in the world, there is one that is synonymous with the gaming world – Turtle Beach. With a range of products that has grown over the years, if you’re one that likes to sit down with a controller in hand, and headset on head, a Turtle Beach product will nearly always be of interest. But it’s a range that has continued to evolve, with iconic names and models continually updated to ensure that Turtle Beach are able to deliver the very finest audio experience the way of gamers. That is where the all-new Turtle Beach Recon 500 wired gaming headset comes in.
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I know what you’re thinking – wired headsets. Urgh. But honestly, whilst the cut of the controller cable has been a near essential move by the gaming industry, that which connects a headset to that same world is not really a big deal. In fact, wired headsets have a range of positive outcomes over their wireless cousins, with lower price points nearly always the overriding factor. There is also ease of use to throw into that fire, and whilst wireless options require a battery charge in order for usage to be had, the wired headset runs a super simple plug and play method. It’s this which has ensured that in recent times I’ve nearly always gone into battle with a wired controller on my head.
The Turtle Beach Recon 500 is the latest of those and throughout use over the course of a few weeks, it’s provided a heightened sense of gaming reality, with comfort and a superb audioscape helping push it along.
We’ll get to that eventually but straight out of the box the Recon 500 comes with a weird aesthetic mix which covers premium, and not-so premium, angles. Getting the elephant out of the room and the headband that the 500 has been created with does the headset absolutely no favours. A chunky, plasticky grooved affair that has a full Turtle Beach logo adorning it, it’s nearly cheap enough to warrant putting the Recon 500 back in the box and forgetting it ever existed. It’s certainly not in and amongst Turtle Beach’s finest efforts and really does look, if not feel, a bit ‘My First Headset’.
Discarding the Recon 500 for that though would be a shame, for the rest of the headset is pretty damn neat. With a steel reinforced band running through that headband, and some decent padding underneath, once you’ve got the visual look out of your head, this feels absolutely fine.
It’s helped with a good amount of adjustability too. That headband works the usual slip and slide motion that many headsets utilise, so getting a fit that is perfect for you is a cinch. The cups that sit on the end of this band are well-designed as well. With a large, yet slight oval design to them, there is enough in- and out-flex to let them caress your ears without hassle. The fact that they also swivel totally for when you wish to sit the Recon 500 around your neck is a nice touch. It’s certainly appreciated for times when you take a break – even if you do still find yourself attached to a controller in the process.
The cloth material that is on the outer surface of these feels lovely too. A memory foamed cushion and the integration of Turtle Beach’s Glasses Friendly design will mean that no matter whether you are a spectacle wearer or not, you will find these fit, and feel, nice.
It’s inside the cups where the real magic happens though. The vast majority of gaming headsets that come to market will feature either 50mm or 40mm drivers, yet the Recon 500 comes complete with some beefy 60mm drivers. Classed as ‘Eclipse Dual Drivers’ Turtle Beach promise that this will ensure that each and every gamer is able to distinguish between both high and low frequencies, which in turn allow for full immersion in the soundscape that is being provided. They’ve also been injected with a wood pulp composite that drops the richest most natural sound the way of the wearer. Now, I’ve long been one that cares little for full marketing and PR speak, and honestly I couldn’t really care if wood pulp has been injected or not – as long as they sound good, that’s all that matters.
Thankfully, the Turtle Beach Recon 500 headset sounds superb, with some of the very best sound that has ever been delivered from one of the lower/mid-range Turtle Beach headsets. It provides extremely loud (possibly too loud) audio that happily covers all ranges and rarely, if ever, distorts or breaks up. In fact, no matter what game you are playing, the Recon 500s are more than suited to the job – whether you are looking to head to the battlefield and take down some foes, wish to jump behind the wheel of the fastest racers, or need a headset to allow for the full range of motion that the likes of FUSER, AVICII Invector or the more recent Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield pound out, you’ll not be left wanting.
Turtle Beach have ensured that the Recon 500’s are capable of exactly what you need across a range of gaming spaces. And that’s a bit of luck too as individual customisation and personalisation is extremely limited. You see, the Recon 500 is extremely bereft of knobs and dials, with just a solitary volume dial turning up, or down, the sound as you see fit. Perhaps a little more in the form of some kind of chat balance would have been appreciated, but the omission of that is no big sweat.
There is obviously a mic mute switch present too and this is well-situated on the external left ear cup; it’s easy to press and works as intended. You’ll want to use it too as with any gaming headset a decent mic is also present. Honestly, this is one of the weirdest mic booms I’ve used in gaming, with a tubed solid rubbery/plastic outer coating ensuring it stands out from other options. Fully detachable for when you need to game alone, should you be looking to bring the squad together, giving out commands and full comms, then the mic is absolutely fine. If you’ve used Turtle Beach products in years gone by, you – and your party – will discover that this is suitably as good.
A permanently attached braided cable that ends in a 3.5mm jack will mean that you can use the Recon 500 across all manner of platforms, with Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, PC and mobile devices all catered for. It’s also a more than acceptable option for those just looking to deliver music to their ears away from the gaming scene.
Aside from the cheap-looking headband, the Turtle Beach Recon 500 headset does exactly what you need of a gaming headset. With a nice price tag in tow, if you’re happy to run a wired route, or are looking for something that can be utilised across formats and platforms, it’s certainly worth considering.
Massive thanks go out to Turtle Beach for sending over their Recon 500 headset for full unboxing and review. If you wish to pick one up for yourself, head on over to Turtle Beach direct where you’ll be able to hear the revolution, finding it sitting at £69.99.
Turtle Beach Recon 500 Gaming Headset for Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, PC | UNBOXING | REVIEW: