Like the Ford Focus of the gaming headset world, the original Turtle Beach Recon 200 was built to be reliable, straightforward, and get you from A to B for an acceptable price. It also wasn’t very exciting, but not everyone is looking for a hit of endorphins when they pick a pair of headphones up. Two years on, Turtle Beach is having a tinker with the internals and giving them a fresh lick of paint, hoping you’ll be just as happy with something straightforward and reliable as you were before. Ultimately, there’s few reasons not to be.
From a structural point of view, the Recon Gen 2 hasn’t changed a great deal. This is a 3.5mm wired headset that gives it fairly universal application across the PlayStation and Xbox families, as well as your big ‘ole PC or trusty Switch. A mid-earpiece joint helps to ensure a comfortable fit, and combined with the metal sliders in the headband, there’s enough adjustable increments to fit the expanse of your head. The headband has a slim leatherette-covered cushion, which proves to be just enough to ensure a gentle touch on your crown. The earpieces meanwhile are incredibly plush, with soft fabric surfaces. Turtle Beach’s spectacle-friendly notch ensures that those of us who’ve ruined our eyesight staring at screens for years aren’t going to be further punished with added temple pain.
Our review unit appeared in an attractive deep blue, and some reflective detailing makes it look more expensive than it actually is – the majority of the build remains plastic. This styling certainly improves the look of the headset, and if you’re considering wearing it outside it’s possible that you won’t look too out of place doing so.
The plastic construction does ensure one key thing: the Recon 200 Gen 2 is light. Once you’ve factored in the low weight, and the additional comforts of the padding across the earpieces and headband, Turtle Beach has made certain that this is an easy headset to live with. I played for many hours, and barely even notice that I was wearing them; a gold star for gaming headsets.
It does have a rotating mic arm that you can’t remove, but once it’s tucked out of the way it aligns with the earpiece joint and isn’t too cumbersome or obvious. The arm is angled slightly towards your mouth when rotated down, but it’s fashioned from the same rigid plastic as the rest of the headset so there’s no way to angle it nearer or further away from you.
Turtle Beach seems to have done their homework though, and the mic on the Recon 200 Gen 2 picks your voice up nice and clearly, while missing out on those unwanted breathing sounds us humans have a tendency to make. All in all, it’s a perfectly acceptable offering that’ll give your teammates every opportunity to hear your death throes as you’ve been gunned down once again in Call of Duty.
As a more budget-focussed headset, there’s few bells and whistles. The one clear advantage the Recon 200 Gen 2 does have is with its amplification. It has an in-built battery, charged via USB-C, and there’s a selector switch that lets you opt between PlayStation and Xbox setups. Interestingly there’s a lot more gain on the PlayStation side of things, and it alters the audio profile enough that I began to think of it like an EQ setting when I was using it with my laptop. Thankfully, the amplification is entirely optional, and headset will still work with a dead battery.
That’s as much audio tweaking as you’re going to get with it, beyond volume which is controlled by a simplistic dial on the left earpiece. They are naturally a bass-heavy pair of headphones, and they really lend themselves well to action titles like Overwatch and Battlefield or to watching explosive movie blockbusters like the Fast & Furious series. I spent a great deal of time with the Halo Infinite beta, and subsequently restarted a Halo Reach replay, loving the powerful explosions and gunfire. That haunting Halo soundtrack similarly sounded fantastic.
There’s still plenty of top-end detail to be found, though it’s not as obvious or refined as you’ll find on more expensive headsets. That’s not all that surprising at its £49.99 RRP, but all things considered the Recon 200 Gen 2 has a warm and enjoyable audio response that’s amongst the best at this price point.
There are concessions. The volume dial and the chat volume dial are those cheap plastic wheels that older readers will remember fondly from their ancient Sony Walkman. Also, while the plastic build seems relatively strong, I don’t feel all that confident twisting and attempting to pull it apart like I could with some headsets. You have to lower your expectations though for the price, and I’m more than willing to accept a couple of minor foibles when the audio and the comfort levels are very good.