Turtle Beach Stealth 300 Review: Hot Wired
Ben Sheene / Jul 12th, 2018 No Comments
Turtle Beach‘s Stealth headset line has been at the top of the pack when it comes to wireless sound quality. Last year’s Stealth 600 delivered booming bass and clear chat with a $100 price tag that was hard to resist. In a rather strategic move, the manufacturer is giving players the option to save a bit a money by adding a wire. The Stealth 300 is touted as the wired twin to the Stealth 600, sacrificing no quality of sound at the cost of requiring players to be tethered. And just like last year, this headset isn’t one to be ignored.
The Stealth 300 connects to a PC or PlayStation 4 or Xbox One controller through its respective headphone jack. After configuring the device’s settings, players will be ready to hear games in all their glory, or go on a really high-quality Skype call. For PS4 owners, the wired set-up alleviates a potential problem with the Stealth 600’s USB dongle. Sony’s console has a limited number of UBS ports and for those with an external hard drive or a charging cable, having to use an extra port for a wireless headset can be somewhat of a pain.
So, what does being wired actually do for players over a wireless option? As much as I love walking into another room of my apartment and still being able to hear my game or chat party, the connection is not always reliable. A lot of this just has to do with positioning of the device and the headset, because my Bluetooth device I use to listen to music at work can become distorted between rooms that are feet away at times and other times be clear as day. A player who carries around their controller with the Stealth 300 is going to have a somewhat better connection as long as the controller can still reliably get a signal from the console which, again, is not always reliable in the first place.
Being wired does come at a sacrifice with sheer portability. Those who want to make a quick trip to grab a drink or a snack and still hear chat or when the battle bus in Fortnite is about to drop will need to bring their controller along for the ride. Because I’m not that great at Fortnite, I’ll often die in a squad match and have a few minutes’ wait before the next match. Often I will do some dishes or small chores to pass the time and having to lay a controller on the countertop and trying not to get it wet isn’t the easiest thing in the world. This is definitely not the most ideal of situations but it really is the only major knock on the Stealth 300. If you plan on facing similar scenarios constantly and being frustrated, the Stealth 600 will be worth the extra investment.
Battery life is where this headset truly shines. Turtle Beach has more than doubled the 15-hour battery life of the Stealth 600 to give the Stealth 300 an estimated 40-hour charge. While I never timed every second the headset was on, it was obvious that after several days of long sessions, it’s a fair estimate that no one is going to argue with. Once I got the notification that my battery was low, I was actually quite shocked. Because the sound coming out of the headset relies on the controller, it’s more important to keep the controller charged because once it dies, you lose sound until the controller is back on.
Personally, the big bonus to a wired headset is that it can feel more reliable. With a wireless controller, a wireless phone, and a wireless headset, there are a lot of signals bouncing around the general vicinity of a player. I’ve often found that on my PS4, the signal to the headset will die and I have to unplug the dongle or turn it on or off to get sound back. This spotty connection is a frequent enough occurrence that many players may welcome a quality wired option. Plus, don’t all the pro gamers use wired headsets in competition?
Sporting 50mm speakers, the Stealth 300 has the kick anyone looking for quality sound needs. In the transition from the Stealth 600, it feels like no sacrifices were made to get the sound up to par. Every explosion is loud and powerful rather than distorted, footsteps in a house can be heard in every direction from every creak made on a wooden beam.
To put this in context, the Stealth 300 is $80 while the Stealth 600 is $100. After going back and forth between the two headsets, I truly could not notice any tangible difference between the two. Games sounded the same, chat sounded the same, and I felt no difference in the quality of my voice coming into the microphone. Outside of the wire (which cannot be removed), the only change is the lack of voice notifications when interacting with the headset. The Stealth 600 would have a male voice notify players when the battery was being charged, when the battery was low, and what equalizer settings were used.
All of these have been replaced with electronic beeps on the Stealth 600. The four options of signature sound, bass boost, bass and treble boost, and treble boost are indicated by the number of tones heard when pushing the mode button. It takes some time to become adjusted to what sound means what but most players are likely sticking to one or two modes in the first place. When the battery dies it only emits a few beeps, which can be a bit confusing at first, especially if it’s a sound you haven’t heard coming out of the headset yet.
The flip-up microphone returns, which most probably don’t realize they need in their life until it’s actually right next to their head. Dedicated mute buttons are great but the physical feeling of actually “shutting up” yourself means players know they won’t be heard until the mic is flipped back down. Any quirks with the size of the volume and mic monitoring dials are still here. They are still small and still take getting used to but allow the Stealth 300 to remain sleek.
One area where the Stealth 300 gains a slight advantage is in its comfort. The wired headset feels slightly lighter than its wireless brother, meaning it fits on the head for longer intervals without being uncomfortable. The ProSpecs glasses-friendly design is also present in the ear cups, meaning this is going to be one of the most comfortable headsets to wear deep into a long night of gaming.
Sacrifices are often made by manufacturers in the quest to save money. Players who heavily weigh every dollar need justification to drop some serious cash on a product that they will use every day for a long time. Most may see the Stealth 300 lined up next to Stealth 600, see the cheaper price tag, and assume it is an inferior product. This can’t be further from the truth.
Turtle Beach gave nothing up when delivering a wired headset with the same power as a wireless one at a better price. The only thing players will be missing out on are small features which don’t detract from an already optimal, budget-friendly experience. As Turtle Beach continues to advance its line of products, one can’t help but be impressed by the range of quality that is present in each release. But with the Stealth 300, it shows that sound is always king and always at a high bar.
This review is based on a review unit of the Stealth 300 provided by Turtle Beach.
tags: hardware , ps4 , review , Stealth 300 , turtle beach , Turtle Beach Stealth 300 , Turtle Beach Stealth 300 review