I have to confess I’m not the kind of person who buys a ton of gaming peripherals. Yes, I’ll buy a couple of extra controllers, but that tends to be about it. In fact, I think I’ve bought the most peripherals for my Switch. As well as the usual controllers I also have a case for my Switch and a stand to put it in when playing multiplayer out & about. Well, I can now add a headset to my list of Switch peripherals. Turtle Beach got in touch with us and asked if we would be interested in reviewing some of their headsets. The first one I’m trying out is the Ear Force Recon 70 headset.
Not really having much experience with gaming headsets, I will be primarily testing against headphones. I have three sets of over-ear headphones to test them against. The first are the headphones I use in my recording studio, Sennheiser H250-II (rrp £150). The second set is a standard high-end set of headphones, Beats Solo2 (£100). The final set is in the same sort of price range as the Recon 70 headset, Sony MDR-ZX110AP (rrp £20). I will be testing them on two games. The first is Aaero from Mad Fellows. This rhythm action shooter has a great EDM soundtrack. The second game is Starlink: Battle for Atlas from Ubisoft.
I tried out two levels of this amazing game. The first was the first level of the game, which is set to Flux Pavillion’s track, “Bass Cannon.” The second was from the first DLC for the game (which is included as part of the complete edition on Switch), “Rage” by 1000DaysWasted. Both of these tracks fill the sonic spectrum with pumping bass, solid mids, and a nice selection of treble sounds. So, how did the Recon 70 handle all of this? Pretty well really. They don’t quite have the bass range of the Sennheiser or Beats sets, but I wouldn’t expect them to. Against the cheaper Sony set, though, they have the upper hand. The sound is clearly focused towards the mid-range. There is a level of detail, though, that the Sony headphones can’t match.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas
Starlink may seem a strange choice to test a headset, but it covers numerous bases. There are explosions, gunfire, engines, dialogue, and nature sounds. The recon handled the array of sounds on offer with dexterity. While the sound design helps out a bit, the headset still did a good job of handling multiple distinct sounds at once. Yes, the bass wasn’t as deep or powerful as the more expensive headphones, but it did perform better than the Sony set. The Recon 70 also did a better job of translating the top end/treble here than in Aaero. Whether that’s because it’s a little sparser or the frequencies are kinder to this headset, I’m unsure.
Comfort and design
Of course, you can have the greatest sounding headset in the world, but if it’s not comfortable, they’re useless. Now, I’m not a huge fan of over-the-ear-type headphones, but the Recon 70s were pretty good. After about an hour with the Beats headphones, I find them uncomfortable. I can cope with Sennheiser headphones for about 90 minutes before needing to take them off. With the Recon 70s, I wore them for about 100 minutes before the battery died on my Switch. I don’t think I would have wanted to wear them for too much longer, though. If I can stand them as long as the battery life on the Switch, I think that’s a good result.
The design of the headset is quite nice and chunky without being heavy. It feels built to last, somewhat surprisingly at the price point. My only real issue with the design is the microphone. Despite providing decent sound quality, the boom is a little short. It could have done with being closer to my mouth as the sound it transmits isn’t as direct and picks up a lot of ambient sounds.
Turtle Beach are the masters of gaming headsets and they don’t fail with this budget offering. The sound is very focused on the mids and doesn’t handle lower bass frequencies. Compare it to a similarly priced set of headphones, though, and it comes out on top. Add to that the fact it has a microphone for in-game chat, and it proves to be even better value for money. While I would want to spend more and get a higher-level headset, if you are looking for an entry-level headset, you can’t go wrong with Recon 70s.