Turtle Beach for your ears.
Lets face it, there are more than a few gaming headsets on the market, and the vast majority of them, I would imagine, do a reasonable job. It takes something really special to make a headset stand out from the crowd, and the gaming headset I am looking at in this review already have an advantage in that respect – they are from Turtle Beach…
With 35 years of creating magical audio solutions, and conjuring up visions of a beautiful, sunny beach, Turtle Beach are known for the quality and capabilities of their headsets. It will come as no surprise then, that the Ear Force Recon 320 gaming headset for PC is a seriously nice piece of kit.
Lets get down to business, the Recon 320 headset looks lovely. Out of the box, I was pleased to see that there were no wires attached. There are cables and a mic in the box that can be attached as the user sees fit, but more on that in a moment. The most shocking thing was how light the headset was. Seriously, I have been through a lot of gaming headsets, and the Recon 320 is easily the lightest I have ever experienced. We are talking about a full featured gaming headset here, not just some flimsy pair of earbuds. But they are so light and easy to wear for extended gaming sessions, something which I had never really considered before.
Adding to the comfort for those long sessions, the Recon 320 has a padded headband and nice cloth padded ear cups, which are breathable to prevent sweaty ear and are of a decent size, able to cover most types of lobe. The headband is also extendable, taking into account most sizes of head. Combining these features with the already mentioned light weight meant that the Recon 320 headset was easily one of the most comfortable I have ever used.
The cups swivel around 90 degrees, making storage easier whilst also adding to the comfort. One thing that I did notice, and was unsure as to the purpose, is that the headband seems to naturally sit forward on the head. Rather than being straight up, it leans forward slightly. At first, I thought this was a cunning ploy by Turtle Beach to ensure that others could easily see the branding on the headband, but it would actually be upside down. Then I wondered if I was wearing the headset the right way around, but I was. At the end of the day, I cannot work out why the headband leans forward the way it does, but it was comfortable and made no difference to my experience, so I am happy to remain not knowing.
As well as being supremely comfortable, the Recon 320 is a really nice looking headset, the kind you would not mind being seen out and about using. Out of the box, the main headset is black with vibrant red padding on the cups and headband. The speaker plates can be swapped out for added personality, should the user wish to purchase some more from Turtle Beach. The headset is sleek and minimal, ideal for using on the go.
Which is why it is handy that the headset comes with a mobile cable. The cable has an in-line mic, which is lovely and clear, and a multifunction button allowing the user to answer their phone calls with ease. Providing a deep stereo sound for your mobile gaming, the Recon 320 really is a viable option for mobile use.
However, it is when the headset is connected to a PC that things really shine. Drop the mobile cable and plug in the detachable mic and USB cable. On first use, the user will have to visit the website listed on the box to download the software, which is a bit of a hassle. Why a disk couldn’t be included, I don’t know. But setting up the software is relatively pain free. Once the software is installed and the headset connected, welcome to the world of Dolby 7.1 surround sound.
The quality of the sound is amazing, with a really deep bass, decent treble and an impressive midrange. While relatively few videogames make use of surround sound, taking advantage of the additional depth when it is offered really makes a difference to the game. The same can be said for watching movies with surround sound, the effect of hearing noises coming from different directions to the point of actually turning to face the noise really amplifies the experience. The Recon 320 perform brilliantly with the sound direction very distinct and easy to identify.
While it is difficult to find anything bad to say about the Recon 320 headset, especially considering the asking price of around £69.99. However, the light weight does suggest a certain amount of delicateness to the headset, something which I would be wary of. Although I have had no issues with my pair, I do find myself being more careful than usual with the Recon 320, and I don’t think they would stand up to too much heavy handedness. Also, I quite like the reassuring weight of a good headset, but that is purely a personal choice.
The Turtle Beach Ear Force Recon 320 7.1 surround sound headset is a low cost and highly capable solution for PC gamers wanting to take their audio experience to the next level. They are also good looking and light enough to provide a mobile solution to your audio needs, albeit only in stereo. The light weight and lack of sturdiness suggests that they may not last as long as some, more pricey headset options. But really, at this price for surround sound, can you go wrong?