Turtle Beach Recon 70 Review: A Fitting Compromise
It is fair to say that when it comes to hardware, brand recognition matters. My desk might be littered with perfectly adequate earphones from dedicated enthusiast manufacturer’s but when the Turtle Beach Recon 70 series arrived on my desk, the expectation was almost as immediate as my questions. So why, with an absolute plethora of devices in the Turtle Beach menagerie, was it necessary to release yet another headset?
Representing an entry point into the Californian manufacturer line-up, the Recon series is designed to be more than just functional. Selling at $34.99/£29.99 the Recon 70 headset is substantially more affordable than the Pro and Elite hardware available from Turtle Beach, such as the Stealth 700 or Elite Pro 2+, and squeezes in between devices like the Recon 50 and Recon 200 series. At this price tag, the Recon 70 range includes versions for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch, all appropriately color coded. From the box that Turtle Beach provided for testing, it is quite clear that the particular iteration I got my hands on was the Xbox One version of this entry-level headset.
Getting the Recon 70 out of the box, it is quite clear that Turtle Beach is not about to make the Recon 70 particularly difficult to unwrap. Tear the top off the recon 70 packaging and it easily slides out or the minimalist cardboard container. Beyond the green and black headset, new owners of the Recon 70 will find the instruction manual, warranty card, and Turtle Beach sticker included in the box. The cardboard contents aside, Turtle Beach packaging speaks volumes about the Recon 70 series. This is a device that is built to be value for money.
The Recon 70 includes some specifications that make it a viable choice against other headsets that are otherwise more expensive:
- Current Price: $34.99
- Audio Connection: 3.5mm
- Speaker Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Speaker Size: 40mm with Neodymium Magnets
- Onboard Controls: Master Volume Wheel, Mic Mute
- Microphone: Fixed Omni-Directional Flip-to-Mute Microphone
- Headband Material: Synthetic Leather with Foam Cushioning
- Ear Cushion: Over-Ear, Synthetic Leather with Foam Cushioning
Just like the more expensive Recon 200 series the Recon 70 connects via a3.5mm universal jack and house a set of 40mm drivers. The drivers are fully configured to work with Windows Sonic for Headphones, giving gamers a surround sound experience out of the box, when using a compatible Xbox One controller or Windows 10 PC. Despite the emphasis on value, the sound from these speakers is well above average for an inexpensive device. The Recon 70 series is not the most powerful pair of headphones I’ve encountered but I am much more accustomed to rocking a set of 50mm drivers. The Recon 70, however, still provides a thoroughly enjoyable experience. When gaming, they provide decent fidelity with a slightly bass heavy sound. Shots ring true, explosions were full, and team chatter comes through without any issue. This tuning means that the Recon 70 is a dedicated weapon. It does not give a stellar performance outside of video games and is not always sensitive enough to pick out the footsteps of your nearest rivals as they rustle around the grasslands. If you need that level of accuracy then the Elite Pro Series is a better bet.
While the Recon 70 might not be able to tune into the footsteps of a stealthy opponent, like the Astros, they are nowhere as complex to set up. The simplicity of the Recon 70 design is to its merit. Anybody who wants a set of headphones that simply plug in and play will find the Recon 70 headset fantastic. Even turning on Windows Sonic takes a few clicks. The universal 3.5mm audio jack is an excellent choice and maintains a solid connection when gaming. It also makes the device compatible with a variety of other gaming controllers or Nintendo’s Switch. This flexibility allows anybody on a budget to save a few dollars based on the Recon 70’s sheer flexibility.
Unfortunately, saving a few dollars does mean more than a few compromises. The instant reaction to the Recon 70’s appearance was one of trepidation. The Recon 70 immediately feels flimsy in hand. The plastic headband and shell are both suspiciously light and seem to have a great deal of horizontal flex. The Speaker shells, again, reflect the price of this headset, headband padding feels thinner than more premium models, and the extruding wires at the top of the branded headband seem to be a prime target for breakages. To top off the initial trepidation, the Xbox One Recon 70 headset comes in a green and black color scheme that would have impressed more had Turtle Beach opted for something just a little darker. While they may not be as bright as the Snakebyte Head:Set PC Pro that we reviewed recently, the Switch and PlayStation 4 iterations feel like a better pick.
The microphone on the Recon 70 also feels sub-par. While I appreciated the flip down orientation, it does a just good enough job while capturing audio. The 3.5mm connection ensures that incoming audio never dropped but overall recordings lack the warmth or range of tone that a dedicated mic would produce. Finally, Turtle Beach seem almost determined to undermine the leatherette padding on the Recon 70 speakers. A lack of cushioning up top and a pair of speakers that ended up awkwardly close to my ears make for an uncomfortable sitting after a few hours.
In essence, the Turtle Beach 70 is a set of compromises. It is a significant step up from the Recon 50X. The enhanced audio features, upgraded padding, and closed back design justify the Recon 70’s release. If you are looking for quality audio without dropping too much gold, get the Recon 70. From Apex Legends to Halo, the competition cannot touch the Recon 70’s mix of flexibility and features. If you are settling in for a long session in the Dark Zone then you would be better investing some more money for at a little more comfort. If the Turtle Beach Recon 70 fits the bill for you, it is out now and available via the official Turtle Beach website.
- Flexible design
- Quality audio experience
- Relatively inexpensive
- Not a great mic
- Uncomfortable on long sessions
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.