Long-time headset maker, Turtle Beach, recently launched a revision to their Stealth lineup, including both the 600 and 700 variants. I was lucky enough to be provided a pair of the Stealth 700s made specifically for the Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S by Turtle Beach for this review, so let’s see how they stack up.
Retailing at $149.95, the Stealth 700 Gen 2 feels like a premium headset with a sturdy build featuring a metal-reinforced headband wrapped in padded faux-leather, and Turtle Beach’s Aerofit™ cooling gel-infused ear cushions. This headset feels comfortable to wear, though I have concerns about the faux-leather material on the inside of the headband. As someone with oily skin, I fear that after extended periods of wear, the material will start to wear thin, exposing the padding underneath. I would have preferred something closer to the same sports fabric band used in their Elite Atlas model which retails for the same MSRP. The cheaper headband seems like a misstep in an otherwise solid build quality.
The ear cushions on the other hand, feel amazing, and the gel infused memory foam is noticeable and helps keep the headset feeling cool after extended wear. The cups are large, but not overly so and don’t put any pressure on my ears directly and are overall very comfortable. The upgrade from the original Stealth 700s leather wrapped padding is also much appreciated. The rest of the headset is housed in a solid plastic and overall, the headset feels very sturdy to hold.
Since this is a gaming headset, it of course comes with a built-in mic, and true to the Stealth branding, the mic is a foldaway mic, and tucks neatly to the left side of the headset which acts as a auto-mute feature as well. In fact, the mics sits so flush to the ear cup that I found myself often mistaking the side of the earpiece for the mic during testing. Once fully extended, the mic sits at approximately cheek level, and can swivel in a few degrees, but never gets down towards the jaw line or near the opening of the mouth. It’s a very short mic, but given the nature of its design, this makes sense and should be expected.
Using a refined acoustic housing, Turtle Beach stuffed the Stealth 700 Gen 2s with 50mm Nanoclear™ speaker to produce rich, powerful 3D audio in a simulated 7.1 surround sound environment. Testing with 7.1 audio sources proves that Turtle Beach is still one of the best when it comes to reproducing sounds from every direction with just a single speaker in each ear. Games like Diablo 3, Paladins, Halo, and Gears of War all sound incredible with near perfect recreation. I never noticed highs or lows to be too powerful and was able to detect small footsteps and background chatter just as easily as I could hear the sounds of Master Chief sniping an Elite or my Barbarian stomping the guts out of a hell demon.
Sound quality of the mic is on par with other headsets. Listening back to recordings I hear no noticeable distortion or plosives from P’s or B’s. When used as a Bluetooth headset for conference calling I received feedback that the mic sounded clear and crisp, which is about as much as can be asked for from a headset. It won’t replace any standalone desktop mics, but it isn’t intended to do so, so I’m pleased with the performance of the Gen 2s.
The Stealth 700 Gen 2 headset aims to be truly wireless and dongle free, and it absolutely succeeds. While not the first headset in its class to make this claim, the Gen 2 work exactly as advertised. Once I made sure they were charge, I turned on my Xbox One S and pressed the “sync” button on both my console and the headset; after a few moments of searching, the headset connected and I was good to go. No USB dongle to mess with, no cable to connect to my controller. This is the Xbox connectivity I’ve been waiting for from a headset and I’m happy to finally have one of my own. It’s also worth mentioning that every time the headset is powered on, it will tell you what the current battery health is at, which is a feature I hope all headset designers steal from. Knowing ahead of time if my planned 5-hour gaming session is going to get interrupted by a dead headset is worth the price of admission. Speaking of battery life, Turtle Beach claims that the battery will last up to 20 hours. I didn’t use a timer during my various testing scenarios but after a week of use, I have not yet had to charge the headset. Your mileage may vary on this one.
In addition to acting as an Xbox headset, the Stealth 700s also have built-in Bluetooth connectivity that can be used simultaneously; so, if you’re in the middle of a crazy round of Fortnite, or crashing into every tree you find in Forza, you can still hear and answer your phone with the push of a button. No more angry wives yelling at you for missing phone calls! On one occasion, which I was not able to replicate, the Bluetooth function started acting a little strange. While testing with a podcast and walking around my apartment complex, the headset went on an endless loop of telling me that Bluetooth was connected. I had to turn off Bluetooth from my phone, turn it back on, and reconnect to make it stop. It didn’t happen again, but it’s definitely something I’ve never experienced before and hope to not have happen again.
To configure the Stealth 700s, Turtle Beach recommends you download the mobile app on either Apple or Android, which gives you even more control over the functionality. The headset comes with a 2nd volume adjustment which can be set to either control in-game chat separately from in-game audio, it can be set to adjust Bluetooth volume separately from overall console volume, and more. You can also set the equalizer of the headset without needed to connect it to your PC, which is a great addition to anyone looking to fine tune their audio experience beyond what Turtle Beach has preset.
Having not experienced the initial Stealth 700 generation I can’t compare the Gen 2 its predecessor. I can, however, tell you how these cans stack up against other similarly priced headsets. Within Turtle Beach’s lineup, these are a great alternative to the Elite Atlas Aero headset that Turtle Beach released earlier this year. The Elite Atlas has a more comfortable headband, longer battery life, and better sound profile, but it’s also geared for PC gamers and connects with a USB dongle. That headset is designed to be fine-tuned with a dedicated PC application and does so wonderfully. Where the Stealth 700 Gen shines is in its simplicity. Connecting wirelessly to the Xbox without any USB dongle to worry about is enough to grab my attention, and the included Bluetooth connectivity sets this headset apart from others in the same price range. Aside from the misstep with the headband, and my weird “Bluetooth connected” spam, I am quite pleased with Turtle Beach and would recommend these for any Xbox gamer who is in the market for a new headset to go along with their new Xbox Series S/X, which Turtle Beach promises will be fully compatible.