If there’s one area you can invest in to quickly revitalize your gaming setup, it’s sound. Playing with a solid headset can make a world of difference in both your enjoyment of your favourite games, and your performance in competitive play.
Turtle Beach offers multiplatform players a great entry-level headset with the Recon 500. With dual drivers for improved bass, it features the best sound I’ve personally encountered from a headset around the $100 price range, handily beating my old SteelSeries Siberia and Sony PS4 Gold Headset. Music and podcasts sound terrific, and the smaller details of game audio begin to pop out, while outside interruptions are cut sufficiently.
The Recon 500 promises comfort with memory foam ear cushions, which are also supposed to provide relief for those who wear eyeglasses. I’ve never really been bothered by wearing my glasses with a headset, but I found this model worked very well in this regard. The earcups sit directly on the arms of my glasses without pressing into the side of my head. It’s an underestimated feature that I didn’t expect to make a difference, but something I’ll now be looking at more closely.
“The Recon 500 sits comfortably, even during prolonged use…”
Ear comfort aside, the headband may raise a sticking point for customers with larger skulls. As someone who struggles to find hats in his size, this is something I’m accustomed to settling on. The Recon 500 sits comfortably, even during prolonged use, but it does come at a cost. At max extension I need to slide the headband forward in order to have the cups over my ears perfectly.
This works fine until I tilt my head forward, which can send the headset sliding readily. Of course, this won’t be an issue for most users, but those on the larger end of the hat size scale should take note. For me, comfort came at the cost of security.
Otherwise, I found the Recon 500 to be an efficiently-designed piece of hardware overall. The left side sports the mic socket and the only on-board controls—a mute button where the headband meets the cup, and a volume dial at the bottom. Aside from accidentally brushing the volume with my thumb while adjusting the headset, these controls are placed in functional locations and easy to find in the middle of a heated match.
“The design is sleek and basic, well-suited for those video calls without looking ostentatious.”
The TruSpeak microphone is detachable, slotting into the left side with a 3.5 mm connection. It captures clear sound while reducing undesired noise, perfect for eSports communication or even your next Zoom call. What’s more, the design is sleek and basic, well-suited for those video calls without looking ostentatious.
Being a multiplatform device with a 3.5 mm connection, it’s easy to take the Recon 500 with you as you move devices. I found the cord a little short for use on PC with my own desktop configuration, leaving me on a somewhat limited leash to my tower, but you wouldn’t want anything longer when using it with your PS4 controller or Switch.
Plug-and-play connectivity with most devices and a rich auditory experience make this a terrific bang for your buck. Possible fitting issues aside, the Recon 500 set a high bar for gaming headsets at this budget point. You can certainly find better audio and more bells and whistles on more expensive options, but Turtle Beach offers a no-frills compromise to those more expensive models.