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Turtle Beach Recon Chat Headset Review: Talk is Cheap

/ May 11th, 2017 No Comments

Turtle Beach Recon Chat Review

When the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 launched, it was okay to be a silent participant in multiplayer matches. That quickly changed. Now, it is almost necessary to find a way to speak to other gamers, whether you’re playing or streaming.

Turtle Beach has consistently released exceptional headsets into the gaming landscape for both premium and affordable prices. Its newest product, the Recon Chat headset, targets a chatty, entry-level gamer looking to share their voice with this new content-friendly generation.

Function Over Form

The Recon Chat is marketed as a chat headset that players can place on their head, hook into their preferred device, and start talking. After opening the box containing the unit, there are two bags inside containing what eventually creates the Recon Chat.

To “assemble” the headset, simply take the plastic headband and insert it into the side of the earcup until it locks in place. The initial look of the Recon Chat likely won’t wow a person used to seeing the lights of an Afterglow headset or the sleekness of Turtle Beach’s own Elite Pro line, but context is what becomes important here.

In a world where you can spend hundreds of dollars on Beats headphones simply because of the celebrity attached to them or $200 on an amp that will further diversify the way you play and hear a game, there’s often a large gulf between price and quality. Players can head to Amazon right now and buy a gaming headset for under $50 from a brand that no one has ever heard of. It might be great, it might be crap.

Turtle Beach Recon Chat

Though not extremely visually striking, the Recon Chat has a sturdy build quality.

At $20, the Recon Chat isn’t hiding its true colors. This is a piece of gear made by one of the brands gamers have grown to trust over years of Call of Duty and Counterstrike. In building the Recon Chat, Turtle Beach shaved off the excess. The plastic band looks like one that would connect a second earbud but instead is made of a more flexible plastic. I made no attempts at testing the limits of how far it could bend (would anyone really do that?) and instead just stretched it around the bulk of my head.

Having the slight weight of the earcup distributed to a single side of your head can feel a little off at first but the headband has a nice grip to it. For smaller-headed players it can encompass a larger circumference. For me, the band’s foamed end stops about an inch above my ear.

On the earcup side, two half moons of foam on the top and bottom of the cup provide ample softness for the extreme lightness of the entire headset. One of my current favorite features of any headset is Turtle Beach’s glasses-friendly design that was introduced with the Elite Pro. Referred to as “SpecsFit” in the Recon Chat, there is a generous gap along the diameter of the cup allowing for the rims of glasses so they won’t be slowly mashed into your skull.

Because I game with glasses, I generally just raise my rims above headset cups when I wear them because, even after an hour, it starts feeling uncomfortable. Turtle Beach has found a good way to eliminate that problem, especially over extended use.

Players are able to switch the earcup to whichever ear is more comfortable. The attached mic allows for this flexibility as it can be pivoted in several directions. For my head, the mic rested a few centimeters away from my face and around my bottom lip. A quarter of an inch more and it could have been face to face with my mouth and captured my voice just a bit more.

Turtle Beach Recon Chat

In-line audio controls make it easy to operate volume and mute functions.

The 3.5mm jack connection wire houses an in-line control to increase chat volume and mute the mic. There aren’t any bells and whistles here and I don’t think Turtle Beach made an attempt to create a device that was too flashy. More importantly, the build comes together in a comfortable way that feels sturdy enough to rip off your head and toss to the floor if your dog catches on fire or the refrigerator runs away.

Pump Up the Volume

Before focusing on the sound coming into and out of the Recon Chat, it’s worth understanding the other sounds you will hear while wearing it. After strapping the headset to your skull, it may feel off that there is so much open space between your ear and the earcup.

Get those thoughts out of your head right now. With the Recon Chat you shouldn’t be looking for memory foam cups that will cradle your ear and block out the noise that flaming dog is making. Instead, you’re likely shopping for a product that is going to help you talk to and hear the people you are chatting with. After all, it’s a chat headset.

Turtle Beach Recon Chat

While non-chat audio isn’t the focus, the 40mm speaker is quite powerful.

The open design of earcup allows sound from a TV or computer to come into both sides of the head. Players may not be able to hear slight footsteps in a shooter but that’s not the Recon Chat’s fault. I was worried that the noise from my TV or my fan would be picked up by the high-sensitivity mic but it does an admirable job of blocking interference out.

Keeping the price in mind, I feel as if anyone who tests the limits of what the 40mm speaker inside the earcup can do will be pleasantly surprised. I’ve tried music, podcasts, and pure game audio from the Recon Chat and hear high quality sound every time. Podcasters’ voices come in clear and anything with a bit of bass has just enough heaviness to it. Playing things at max volume hasn’t made the headset crackle or pique yet for me, making it deceptively sturdy.

Chatty Cathy

Making a case for the Recon Chat isn’t hard. While it isn’t free, the price tag and name recognition are easy sells. Professionals are obviously willing to drop a significant amount of cash on equipment for gaming and creating content, but the versatility of the Recon Chat also sets it apart. Don’t let the bright green or blue colors fool you, this headset can be used on any console, PC, or device with a 3.5mm headset. If you’re hoping for Nintendo red, however, it might be awhile.

Turtle Beach Recon Chat

No matter which color you buy, the Recon Chat works for multiple devices.

Turtle Beach openly tells those looking at the online listing for the Recon Chat that this is a great option if you’re looking to replace the headset that came with your console. For a couple years, one of my gaming buddies has used that included PS4 headset and stands by its quality, even when playing sound-intensive Search and Destroy on Call of Duty. The Recon Chat would be a great substitute for my friend. It would be a great choice for anyone who is just now getting into online gaming or itching to make commentary for videos they have saved to their console’s hard drive. This is affordable quality at its best.

This review is based on a review unit of the Recon Chat provided by Turtle Beach.

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Ben Sheene

Ben Sheene

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Ben is from Kentucky where he originally began playing games (an activity he still continues to this day). With a love for writing he graduated from Centre College with a BA in English. He recently moved to California to pursue whatever future endeavors were there. A passion for music, gaming, blogging, and existing keeps him up at night and crafts him into the person he is today.
Ben Sheene

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Gaming Illustrated RATING



Though it feels a bit awkward at first the simple design rests gently on your head and is great for glasses-wearers.


The plastic headband that wraps around players' heads won't win any awards but the unit feels sturdy and built for yanking off your head and putting it anywhere.


Surprisingly strong bass is coupled with a crisp sole earcup while the mic delivers clear voice.


At $20, the Recon Chat is a great entry level device that serves its purpose and delivers Turtle Beach quality.

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