When most people look for a gaming headset, they often really just want something cheap, simple, and ready to use. Extra frills like surround, multi-colored LEDs, and different connection options are all well and good, but they’re still just that: frills. The Turtle Beach Recon 70 sticks to just the basics—headphones and a microphone, and that’s it.
However, lots of great gaming headsets offer just the basics—how does this one stack up?
Editor’s note: this article was updated on August 20, 2020, to address the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless as an alternative to the Turtle Beach Recon 70.
Who is the Turtle Beach Recon 70 for?
- Gamers looking for something reliable that works on every platform.
- Parents looking for something cheap to make the bleeps, bloops, and gunfire filling their house go away.
What is the Turtle Beach Recon 70 like?
There’s not a lot to the Turtle Beach Recon 70—from its build to its features, this is a pared-back device. However, if that’s what you’re looking for, there’s a lot to like about this headset. This is a stereo gaming headset compatible with your PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch.
It’s made of hard plastic with a nice matte textured exterior, with leatherette pads on the ear cups and headband. Despite the lack of any metal whatsoever, this still feels like a pretty sturdy headset. It doesn’t creak, the headband clamps down with an adequate amount of force to feel secure, and the overall design is very comfortable. At the point where the headphones connect to the headband, there’s a swivelling hinge that lets the Turtle Beach Recon 70 lay flat, and hinges connected to the outside of the headphones allow for a decent amount of tilt to accommodate different head shapes.
The simplicity of the Turtle Beach Recon 70’s design helps a lot—there are very few flourishes or added angular elements to otherwise complicate things and add potential points of failure. The ear cups are a little on the small side, and the leatherette is rather stiff, which means people with glasses will probably have some trouble getting a decent seal (or comfortably wearing the headset at all). However, as someone without glasses, I never had any issue wearing this for long stretches.
Actually using the headset is just as straightforward as you’d expect. It connects using a 3.5mm headphone jack, so setting it up is just a matter of plugging it in. There’s a volume dial and an attached microphone on the left which mutes when you flip it up. Pretty basic stuff, sure, but that also means it doesn’t take much getting used to.
Gaming with the Turtle Beach Recon 70
The Turtle Beach Recon 70 sticks to the basics when it comes to its gaming offerings. On most platforms this is a stereo gaming headset—just a pair of headphones with a microphone. Playing games like Dauntless, Risk of Rain 2, or League of Legends on PC worked great, and anything that doesn’t rely on directional audio will work just as well.
If you’re playing on Xbox One or a compatible Windows PC, the headset supports Windows Sonic spatial audio, so there’s even a surround sound option if you really want it. Windows Sonic works well enough, but it definitely offers a lighter touch than other standards (especially compared to the many other options that pop up with other PC headsets).
If you don’t have a platform that supports it, don’t fret. Even in shooters and battle royale games like Fortnite, surround sound offers pretty fringe benefits—it’s not a big enough deal of a feature to dictate whether you’re good or bad at a game.
How does the Turtle Beach Recon 70 sound
The Turtle Beach Recon 70 offers pretty accurate sound for a gaming headset, with the notable exception of its bass and sub-bass output and a slight dip in output in the 3-4KHz range. Often gaming headsets run into the opposite issue where bass is boosted into the high heavens, so seeing this de-emphasis was pretty surprising.
In music, frequency response like this means really punchy bass lines will sound quite a bet less prominent than they should. In “the ground below” by Run the Jewels, the underlying bassy beat that punctuates the chorus and the beginning of the song is a great example of this. Rather than driving the momentum of the song like it should, it fades into just another background sound.
In game, output like this is a little less of an issue, if only because the layering and mixing of sounds in a given moment of gameplay is generally less complex than in music. Even if the rumble of an explosion is far quieter than it should be, it’s still going to be one of the loudests things in that moment—you’ll never have any trouble hearing them.
The Turtle Beach Recon 70 offers pretty average isolation for a gaming headset, which is to say: not great. The ear pads are rather thin, and won’t do much to block out more than the occasional noises of the home. Of course, being a gaming headset, the Recon 70 isn’t necessarily meant to do much more than that—these aren’t going to be your next pair of commuting headphones (at least they shouldn’t be).
How is the microphone?
Despite the uneven audio output, the Turtle Beach Recon 70 offers a more accurate microphone than most of the gaming headsets we’ve seen. For real, I’ve used headsets that cost 10 times what this one does and gotten less accurate mic audio.
If there’s one thing to complain about, it’s volume—this is a very quiet microphone. If whatever chat service you use doesn’t have automatic gain adjustment, you’re definitely going to need to adjust some things. Once that’s sorted, expect a pretty great sounding mic. Listen for yourself:
Should you buy the Turtle Beach Recon 70?
If you’re a console gamer looking for something cheap, the Turtle Beach Recon 70 is a solid option.
There really aren’t many considerations to make here. The Turtle Beach Recon 70 sounds decent, offers solid chat audio, feels good to wear over long periods, and it works everywhere. If you’re in the market for a simple plug-and-play option, you could do a whole lot worse (and spend a whole lot more money). That said, there are still plenty of great options if this doesn’t quite match your needs.
The HyperX Cloud Alpha has far more accurate audio output, a more comfortable (and durable) build, and better isolation—though it is more than twice the price. The Razer Kraken X also offers eyewear channels, so it’s probably a better option for bespectacled gamers who don’t want to break the bank.
Of course, if you don’t mind spending a bit more, you can also get wireless gaming headsets, many of which will offer more features too. The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is a popular headset amongst gamers who wish to free themselves from the hassle of cables. It includes a USB-C dongle for wireless connectivity to your PlayStation 4, PC, or Nintendo Switch. Price wise, the Arctis 1 Wireless costs more than the Turtle Beach Recon 70, priced at just under $100. If going wireless is on your bucket list, the Arctis 1 Wireless is definitely worth considering.
Regardless, if getting something cheap that works well is the only thing you care about, this is a great option. Just remember to pick up a 3.5mm splitter if your PC doesn’t support a single jack for a mic and headphones.