As far as gaming headsets go, for some people the conversation still starts and ends with Turtle Beach. Thanks to their products covering the whole spectrum of budgets, Turtle Beach have managed to make themselves utterly synonymous with headsets for gaming, and that’s inspite of all the other entrants in this essential peripheral category. Their latest release, the Stealth 300, is a mid-range amplified headset, and thanks to its 3.5mm connection it’s compatible with pretty much anything that makes a sound and isn’t a post-headphone jack smartphone. The good news is, they sound pretty good too.
The Stealth 300 is more or less entirely matte black plastic on the outside, while the internal earpiece covers and soft foam cushioning on the headband are blue if you buy the PlayStation flavoured version, and green if you’re in the Microsoft camp. While all that plastic doesn’t give the headset a particularly premium feel – especially up against CloudX or Steelseries similarly priced offerings – it does ensure that it’s nice and light. Thanks to that lightness, the well padded headband and exceedingly soft memory foam ear cushions, this is a headset that you can comfortably wear for many hours.
One of the best advances Turtle Beach have started cramming into their headsets is their ProSpecs tech, which they’ve cribbed from the top-of-the-line Elite Pro. It’s a small design tweak to ear cushions so they have more give in them where your glasses’ arms normally sit, relieving the pressure for spectacle wearers everywhere. It’s a great addition, and anyone who wears glasses will quickly notice the benefit when they’re not suffering from a dreadful pain around their ears.
Thankfully the Stealth 300’s construction isn’t solely made of plastic, and both the headband and earpiece joints have been reinforced with metal to ensure that they feel strong and robust enough to put up with plenty of knocking around. There’s none of the plastic creak that headsets can suffer from either, at least not after a week of playing with them, and you can feel confident that whether they’re on your head or resting on your shoulders there’s not going to be any extra noises to distract you. Mind you, the rubberised cable feels pretty bog-standard and could be a future weak spot, while it’s also potentially a little short for PC gamers, if you were interested in using it there.
For those times that you want to chat to/berate your fellow players, the Stealth 300 comes packing a chunky microphone arm that rotates into place. When it’s not in use it’s pretty discreet, though you can’t angle it any closer to your face, which may mean it doesn’t pick up quieter conversation quite as well as some other sets do. It will get the job done, but it’s far from the best example we’ve seen.
As an amplified headset – one which, it’s worth noting, won’t work at all if you run out of juice – there are a bunch of other controls housed on the left earpiece which give you access to the set’s functions. Besides the power button there’s also an EQ mode selector with a series of beeps letting you know what number profile you’re currently using. They’re both inset into the earpiece housing, and I couldn’t always accurately find them when I was wearing the headset, though it’s not something you’re likely to be messing with too often while you’re playing.
The other two controls are a dial for the master volume and another for mic monitoring, which allows you to adjust how much of your own voice you can hear through the headset. It’s a nice addition, and a useful one considering the closed back nature of the set makes hearing the outside world and your own voice pretty tough. Once you’ve worked out which dial is which they’re easy enough to mess with on the fly, though it would have been better to spread these controls across the two earpieces, just to make the differences a little more apparent.
Considering the price bracket, the Stealth 300 offers a particularly well-balanced sound profile out of the box, and with four different EQ modes to choose from – which include enhanced bass and treble options – there’s something here to suit most users. I found the fourth option, which boosts both the treble and the bass to be the best overall, as it made for a great balance between catching an opponent’s footsteps behind you and feeling the weight of a rocket launcher blast near you. Obviously I wasn’t quick enough with the footsteps.
They’re not going to replace a serious audiophiles headphones of course, but then that’s not the market they’re aiming for, and while there are more detailed sets out there which cost plenty more than the Stealth 300, their 50mm drivers are more than capable of pumping out some seriously loud sounds in an enjoyable way. It’s a shame that there’s any limitations on how long you can enjoy that thanks to it being a powered headset, but with an estimated 40 hour runtime and a rechargeable battery onboard it shouldn’t take too much thought to keep it topped up.
There are a few key rivals at this price point, including the HyperX Cloud, and Steelseries’ Arctis 3, both of which have better microphones, but neither of which have mic monitoring or amplified sound with different on-board EQs. There’s also the Razer Kraken Pro V2, which shares a lot of similarities with the Stealth 300 in terms of sound profile, but the Turtle Beach set knocks it for six when it comes down to comfort, particularly if you’re wearing specs, and are miles louder. It’s worth considering the Logitech G433 which has been out long enough to regularly find it at a similar price. It has the edge for sound quality, and can offer 7.1 surround on PC, but they still lose out to the Stealth 300 in terms of comfort.
The Turtle Beach Stealth 300 is a great-sounding mid-range stereo headset that you can wear for hours at a time. Besides its versatility it’s going to be a particularly good fit if you happen to wear glasses, and I love that it caters to gamers who’ve previously had to suffer the pressure and pain brought on by ill-fitting headsets of the past.