Type: Over-ear wireless headset
Specs: Click here for full specs
Price as reviewed: £70
A wireless, multi-platform gaming headset from Turtle Beach, the kings of online deathmatch smack-talk enablers, that doesn’t break the bank? That’s just what’s on offer from the impressive Turtle Beach Ear Force PX3 headset. Read on for our full review!
Turtle Beach is a brand that’s increasingly becoming synonymous with high-quality gaming headsets, seen by many as the go-to brand if you’re after a comfortable headset with detailed sound for in-game chat. Rivalled only by Astro Gaming headsets, they’ve also got a bit of a reputation for being pretty expensive. You get what you pay for, but upwards of £150 to better hear 16 year olds slag you off during a Modern Warfare match is a premium many still don’t feel comfortable paying.
Enter then the Turtle Beach Ear Force PX3 headset. Aimed at the budget-conscious gamer, they offer many of the best top-tier features of their more expensive stablemates at a far more attractive price.
Hovering around the £70 mark these days, the Turtle Beach Ear Force PX3 headset offers top notch value. For starters, it’s fully compatible with Xbox 360, PS3 and PC gaming set ups, meaning you can use this headset to chat in games no matter what console or platform you’re using. Then there’s the fact that they’re wireless, with a built-in rechargeable battery that’s good for a solid 10 hours worth of play. You’ll struggle to find a similar feature set at anywhere near this price range.
Concessions of course have been made; in terms of looks, the mix of chunky black plastics on the PX3 over-ear headset can be described as functional at best, especially when compared to some of the luscious offerings higher up the Turtle Beach range or from rivals Astro Gaming. But they are supremely comfortable and fairly lightweight, with plenty of padding around the ears and an adjustable, equally-padded leather headband that offers a firm grip around your head without squeezing your brains out. You can wear these happily for hours without even realising they’re on your head.The microphone too isn’t the prettiest by a long shot, with it’s ribbed plastic covering, but again it gets the job done nicely. Sitting on the end of a lengthy arm, it can be rotated and bent in any direction you chose, meaning you can easily find an optimal placement for it when in-game. It’s very clear when in use too, offering a detailed sound over the din of potential in-game chaos.
Along the side of the headset you’ll find a volume dial for controlling the overall sound volume, as well as buttons for managing the output level of the microphone, a power button, the wireless pairing button and a button that cycles through the headset’s built-in sound profiles, which we’ll get onto in a little while.
Setting up the PX3 is fairly simple, no matter which gaming device you’re using it with. However, the mess of cables the headset ships with would have you thinking otherwise, and maybe even raise an eyebrow to that whole wireless branding. It’s not helped along by the lack of any instructional documentation in the box at all, but common sense makes it all relatively easy to figure out.
Along with the headset, you get a small box that acts as a wireless transmitter that plugs into your console or PC via a standard USB connection. Into this box also goes a microUSB charging cable which connects up to the headset, drawing juice from the console or PC until charged, or alternatively you can leave it plugged in for wired play free from the fear of running out of power. That charging cable is obscenely long too, meaning you can easily have it trail across the floor from a console to a living room couch, though it may get a bit messy and tangled around the more confined space of a computer desk.
Also in the box are cables to be used with the PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles, including RCA cables with piggyback connectors. You’ll need an A/V breakout adapter though if you plan on connecting with a HDMI connection. There’s also a lead for hooking up the Xbox 360 controller to the gaming headset, an unavoidable convention of Microsoft’s console. Once you’ve hooked up to your gaming platform of choice, it’s simply a matter of sliding a switch across the transmitter to the corresponding games machine, hitting the pair button on the side of the headset and firing up your game.
There’s also an auxiliary port on the transmitter, letting you hook up an MP3 player if you’d rather listen to your own tunes rather than in-game sounds. With a 75-foot wireless range (barring of course too many doors or walls blocking the signal) you could use the headset to listen to music or chat online from any point around a modestly sized house.
Despite dropping premium 7.1 surround features in favour of stereo sound (a natural cost-cutting decision), the PX3 headset sounds superb. Bass is solid, trebles high without screeching into your ears, and the overall tone warm and listenable, making them just as well suited to music listening as gameplay sounds. The volume can go incredibly high too, but thanks to a circumaural design, very little sound seeps out, meaning those sitting near by need not be annoyed by your in-game gunfire or spell casting.
A ton of pre-programmed preset sound configurations are also built into the PX3 headset, and can be scrolled through by hitting a button on the side of the headset, and can be identified by a string of low and high notes that play as you press the button. Here the headset comes into its own and even offers a genuine competitive edge over your online gaming competitors; as well as standard mic-boosting or bass boosting settings, there are also ones that highlight incoming enemy footsteps or the sound of local reloads. They’re great for upping your game in shooters, but there are also lovely presets for adding extra dynamism to speech-heavy adventure titles or driving games. Head over to the Turtle Beach website and there’s a vibrant community making extra presets that you can download and add to the headset, and also the tools to make your own.
The Turtle Beach Ear Force PX3 headset offers fantastic value for money. Working across all major gaming platforms, it’ll be at the heart of your gaming experience for months to come. It may not look all that exciting, but its wireless features paired with superb sound and mic clarity, as well as those nifty presets, make it easily recommended, especially at its low price point.