Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Headset Impresses For A Nice Price
The first time you’re freed of the confines of wired headphones, things are permanently changed. There’s no cord getting caught under your arm or getting tangled when you pull out your phones. It seems like a small thing, but it’s like the sun peeking through after a week of rain – it just feels good.
Generally, the barrier to joining wireless nirvana is price. For the past few years products have sat in the hundreds of dollars range, limiting the accessibility of such technology.
Turtle Beach has been in the game a long time, and this year they’re pushing wireless prices down into the truly mainstream: 99 bucks. The question is, do price conscious design choices compromise the experience?
From a connection standpoint, that’s a big ol’ nope. The Stealth 600 (X1 version) doesn’t need a dongle, and hooking up the phones is identical to linking a controller. Yep, turn them on, and they just work. It’s miraculous in action, and the range is adequate too needing several walls and over 20 feet in a densely populated wifi area to affect the connection. Battery life holds up to Turtle Beach’s 15-hour estimate in my experience too.
The Stealth 600 features all-plastic construction, which is light and flexible but also feels flimsy. I didn’t have any real durability issues during my testing (the past 3 weeks or so), but the joints are quite loose and the plastic quickly reaches “I’m gonna break this” territory when manipulating the earpieces. Fortunately, it felt like the plastic was within its tolerance when stretching to accommodate the width of my head (i.e. normal use). Equally accommodating is a frame that accounts for glasses wearers – a nice touch.
Speaking of adjustments, there’s only one. The earphones can go up and down, and that’s it. This wasn’t a problem for me, but finding long-term comfort was a bit of a concern. The foam in the headband looks nice and squishy, but is actually really low density and gave me a pressure point after about 30 minutes. A very similar foam covers the over-ear cups, but the pressure on the sides of my head was less problematic than on the top thanks to roomy cups that didn’t pinch my ears at all.
The humidity in my ear region wasn’t as low as I’d expect given the cloth cups though, and don’t expect these headphones to give much in the way of isolation. The cups are also a little too shallow and the actual speakers sit uncomfortably close to the surface of my ears. I’m not sure how to explain it, but it felt like the proximity of the speakers to my ears affected the soundstage depending on how I had them adjusted. It’s not something I’ve experienced elsewhere, and I’ve strapped a heck of a lot of headphones to my dome over the years.
By and large, the sound quality itself is really solid if not spectacular. I tested a wide range of sources, as although these are clearly gaming focused, there are a lot of things you might listen to through your console. The deep smoothness of BJ Blazkowicz’s voice in Wolfenstein II was rich and full, while gunshots were sharp without being shrill. Explosions are punchy and rumbling and should be sufficient even for the Beats crowd. Positional audio was decent as well, and I was able to locate threats about as well as can be expected. The Superhuman hearing setting makes things louder but didn’t feel like a tactical advantage at all.
Movies and music were equally pleasing, sounded well rounded in most situations. There are a few audio presets to choose from, but no true equalizer functionality. No big deal though, as the standard settings suited all the sources I’ve been listening to pretty well. For the vast majority of people, these headphones are going to sound great, especially for under a Benjamin.
“For the vast majority of people, these headphones are going to sound great, especially for under a Benjamin”
Mic performance is fine – no headset I’ve used can stand up to even low-end USB mics – but more importantly your own voice is piped through the headphones. It’s weird if you’ve never experienced it before, but the knowledge that you’re speaking at a sane volume is revelatory. Also, flipping the mic up mutes it. A really nice creature comfort.
In all, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 is an extremely competent headset that checks a lot of boxes. Great sound is, of course, the most important, but coming in at under 100 bucks with bulletproof wireless performance is a borderline magical. Sure the comfort and quality didn’t blow me away, the price and performance of these headphones make them well worth checking out if you’re in the market.
*** Headset provided by Turtle Beach for review purposes ***
- Quality sound
- Easy breezy wireless
- All day battery life
- Flimsy plastics
- Questionable comfort