Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 300 Headset Review: Good On Sound, Imperfect With Design Choices
UPDATE: Turtle Beach was kind enough to send another review unit after making note of the charging [...]
UPDATE: Turtle Beach was kind enough to send another review unit after making note of the charging issue with the original unit. Happy to say that this set held a little bit longer of a charge, which means it's more ideal for streamers than expected. The review has been slightly adjusted as a result!
ORIGINAL STORY: Over the past few years, Turtle Beach has made quite a variety of great headsets, offering something for those looking for next-level audio as well as more affordable peripherals that are perfect for gamers on a budget. Their latest offering, the Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 300, fits into the latter category, selling for around $79.99 and offering a pretty good level of performance. That said, there are a couple of design issues that keep it from being amongst the company's top of the line offerings.
First, let's talk comfort level. Turtle Beach hasn't changed its design of headsets much over the years, nor does it need to. You've got comfortable ear cups that are attached to a chassis (with a cushion to make it easily sit atop your head) with different colors, depending on which one you buy. (For the review, we went with the green and black Xbox One version -- the PS4 blue and black is a little sleeker, but they're both equal in performance.)
The headset is good to wear for long periods of time, and easy to use thanks to built-in dials on each of the ear cups, including a power button and volume settings for both chat and in-game sound. They take some getting used to, but overall they're decently built and give you access to everything. I do wish there was a way for the microphone to fold up instead of just moving out of the way, but at least it conveniently folds into the build of the headset instead of sticking out like a sore thumb. Could be worse.
Quality Sound, But Is That Enough?
Just one note, though -- the headband can be adjusted if you've got a larger skull or just require a fit around, say, your glasses. They can take a little practice to adjust. It's something that Turtle Beach should keep in mind for future designs.
As far as audio performance goes, the Stealth 300 works suitably well. It doesn't exactly have a large level of bass (which is bad news for you music lovers looking to pound it to another level), but the sound quality as a whole is very good between music, older games and newer offerings. I tested it out across Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 + 2, as well as some older games and even a little Fortnite. Overall, I was pleased with the quality, even without that level of bass.
There are four different sound modes that you can choose from and while they're not Dolby Surround 7.1 style, they offer some decent options. This includes one where the treble is turned up (doesn't make up for the bass, but not bad) as well as a general balanced mode, which is probably the best place to leave it. As a whole, it works for music and gaming alike, and just fiddling around with the others should be best left to those that really have time to play around with such options. It's just easier to use.prevnext
Power Issues Keep the Stealth 300 From Being Ideal
And what's weird about the Turtle Beach Stealth 300 is that it uses a 3.5mm jack for general plug-in, but still requires charging in order to work. Most headsets we use don't require this and work like a charm, operating off the controller. Not this time. The headset we reviewed actually ran out of power twice, forcing us to recharge it before we could use it again. Not the end of the world by any means, but sometimes convenience can go a long way -- especially if you're in the middle of marathon sessions and want to keep in touch with your audience on Twitch or something. This is probably another thing that Turtle Beach should look into when it comes to future headsets.
So here's my overall thoughts. While the Stealth 300 is a pretty good headset with just the right amount of quality in its sound, it doesn't quite match up with Turtle Beach's previous models. The power issue is likely to be a big one with gamers, particularly those on the streaming side of things; and the lack of bass may turn off a few folks as well.
If you're used to the Turtle Beach brand and don't mind some little nuances, you'll get your $80's worth here. But if you're looking for an all around headset that won't give you any hassles in the long run, you may want to do a little shopping around.
WWG's Score: 3.5/5
Disclaimer: A review unit was provided by the publisher.prev