If you have begun the process of looking for a gaming headset, chances are you’ve stumbled across more than one Turtle Beach headset (for good reason). Turtle Beach makes a range of solid accessories that start in the budget realm and reach all the way up to some of the higher quality headsets. Owning and incorporating a headset into your gaming lifestyle can really improve the quality of your gaming experience. Turtle Beach understands this, and even their most basic headsets are designed with that in mind. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been able to use the Turtle Beach Recon Camo headset (part of their Ear Force line) to play games like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Destiny 2, and even listen to some music and podcasts. For the most part, I have been very impressed.
Starting with initial impressions, the Recon sports an Army forest camo atheistic and, while I’m personally not huge on that look, the chances are that since you’re reading this review they’d more than likely match your personal taste (given that you’re a fan of camo accessories). If your gaming library is filled with war shooters, these will easily complement those games! The look consists of a matte Army green and forest camo themed padding, which is much more vibrant than it looks on the box. The headset is easy to set up on nearly every device that has a 3.5mm audio jack. It plugs directly into your Xbox One controller, the DualShock 4, and even the Nintendo Switch. If you like to stick with PC games, the Recon Camo works incredibly well in that application. There is no need to do any sort of calibration, or install drivers, on these devices. It really is as simple as plug in and play. The only issue I encountered when testing this headset on my devices was with plugging it into my personal cell phone (running on an Android OS). Through tweaking settings, looking for devices, and browsing internet forums, I have still been unable to find the issue causing it not to work. Unfortunately the quick start instructions that are provided with the headset does not cover how to set up the Recon on an Android-specific device, and the troubleshooting forums on their website did not specify a fix (as of the time of writing). Interestingly, when I later tried it on an iPhone (which had the appropriate 3.5mm jack), it worked like a charm. Other than this issue, I have found setup for the Turtle Beach Recon Camo headset to be incredibly easy – welcoming beginner and veteran gamers alike to give it a shot.
Let’s touch on audio quality. To quickly clarify, the Recon Camo headset sells for $50 – $70, on average, so you are not going to have a lot of the features seen with headsets from the higher tiers. Namely, there is no noise cancellation, no surround sound emulation, and no way to tweak any of the audio settings besides the volume (which can be easily done using a dongle midway down the cord). You won’t typically find any of these features in headsets within this price range. What the Turtle Beach Recon Camo headset has is very rich audio, and in this regard it stands above nearly every other $50 gaming headsets. The Recon Camo boasts 50mm speakers (as opposed to typical 40mm) which gives a larger area of sound output, and thus leads to more robust audio. Compared to the 40mm sized speakers, the 50mm in the Recon Camo sounds more crisp in nearly every instance and hits the lower tones with a fullness that is hard to achieve with a smaller sized speaker. Playing through Wolfenstein II, this fantastic audio quality had a lot of influence on my ability to get sucked into the world and the gameplay. Gunfire sounded powerful and full of impact, and having the audio transmitted right beside my ear instead of from my television furthered the fantasy of me, the player, being the one holding the gun and pulling the trigger. In all honesty, the Recon Camo completely met my expectations in terms of audio quality.
To quickly touch on the microphone, it is your standard issue gaming mic. It receives audio input in an easy-to-understand way but isn’t the highest quality for those on the receiving end. This is another very typical quality of headsets sold in this price range, and is not a large enough issue to be a deal-breaker, in my opinion. When I was playing a game whose audio is coming from TV speakers, the microphone typically picked up and projected that audio. To remedy this, I had to play the game audio through the headset speakers, which made understanding my teammates difficult at times. One feature that is very handy which the Recon’s mcrophone that the stem of it can be shaped however you would like. If you prefer to have the microphone right in front of your mouth, further away from face, or anywhere in between, you can do so quickly and in an effortless fashion. The stem will stiffly hold that shape after you set it up as well.
There is one area where I have some larger criticisms for the Turtle Beach Recon Camo headset: the overall comfort of it. Upon initially putting the headset on, it feels fine. Yet as it starts to set in, it becomes uncomfortable in a few areas. The topmost part of the headset, while being padded, is unfortunately a point of pressure. Making some adjustments to the headset might help a little for some users, but for me it did not help much. Wearing the Turtle Beach Recon Camo for more than about an hour starts to become uncomfortable in this upper section. Being a gamer who is prone to headaches due to external pressure, this causes a serious problem while in the midst of a long gaming session (which, lately, has been every one of my gaming sessions). Even if you do not get headaches in this way, you will notice a lack of comfort after an extended period of use. On the upside, I have never had any comfort issues in regards to the ear pads. They stay plush after hours of use, and breath easily to help avoid sweating and head buildup.
The Turtle Beach Recon Camo headset is an easy recommend. While I’m not super impressed with long-term comfort, I am really taken back by how great the audio quality is and how handy it is to have a easy to position microphone. If you find yourself in possession of holiday gift money, or are looking for a present to pick out for someone, make sure and check out the Recon Camo headset.