Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Review – A Short Lived Success
With the holiday season imminent, the sound of carol singers can really get in the way when you just want to frag some friends. Thankfully, Turtle Beach are here to help. Aimed squarely at consoles, the Stealth 700 sits snugly alongside the 600 series headset, presenting a premium upgrade in the Californian manufacturer’s latest lineup. With the Queen’s Christmas speech looming large on the horizon, I took a look at this wireless headset to find out if it’s worth taking up space under your tree this year.
- Compatible Platform: PlayStation 4 / PlayStation 4 Pro
- Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz
- Drivers: 50 mm neodymium magnets
- Impedance: 32 Ohms
- Wireless: Wireless 2.4Ghz & Bluetooth
- Weight: 698g
- Type: Flip Down Omnidirectional
- Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000Hz
Both the Turtle Beach 600 and 700 series headsets are the new additions to the Turtle Beach’s list of console peripherals, released in the final quarter of 2017. Despite looking almost identical to each other, the 700 series offers a distinctly premium upgrade on its brethren and includes a host of new upgrades that look to entice consumers. So with a difference in RRP, why shell out the extra for the 700 series?
At first glance, it’s easy to see what you are paying for with the Stealth 700 series headset. While the 600 series is a functional workhorse, the 700 series looks sleeker, comes with a far sturdier headband, and includes synthetic leather padding around the ear cups, as opposed to the mesh cups on the 600 model. Weighing in at around 698g, or around 1.6 pounds, the solid construction, and extra padding makes long sessions in front of the TV or PC genuinely comfortable. After slogging through an unsightly number of hours in Kojima’s latest Metal Gear and writing this review, I came away free from the crushing ache I normally associate with wireless headphones.
Another upgrade you’ll find stashed inside the Stealth 700 is Bluetooth connectivity. While I was initially only concerned with how these would perform while blasting away my friends, the Bluetooth connectivity quickly became a feature that I leaned on heavily. It allows the Stealth 700 to be used both as a stereo headset, to take phone calls while connected to a console, or configure the headset’s audio profile. Although I’m not really one to take a call while knee deep in a PUBG round, but I did find that the smartphone connectivity was essential.
Turtle Beach’s Audio Hub app, available for Android and iOS devices, allows players to control the Stealth 700 configuration on the fly. From changing mic sensitivity, chat boost, noise cancellation, audio presets, and surround sound settings, the Audio Hub app puts pretty much every element of the Stealth 700 configuration at your fingertips. I personally found this to be incredibly useful, but it does open the whole headset up to unnecessary technical complications. Pairing issues, crashing apps, dead phone batteries, and mandatory firmware upgrades can leave the Stealth 700 feeling like some very expensive Bluetooth headphones if they occur.
As a final bonus, Turtle Beach have included a 3.5mm jack port alongside the standard USB 2.0 connectivity, allowing PlayStation VR owners to use the PlayStation compatible Stealth 700 alongside their PSVR headset. This an inexpensive but thoughtful feature for anybody who might want to upgrade to a PSVR, and provides some level of future proofing for this investment.
While the aforementioned features are benefits of the 700 series, much of this headset’s specification mirrors the Stealth 600 device. Both headsets operate on a 2.4 GHz wireless range and include a USB adapter for the Platstation4 and PlayStation 4 Pro. Connecting and configuring this adapter is fairly easy. It took me less than five minutes to plug in and flick through the relevant PlayStation settings. Reception between the adapter and headset is crystal clear, to a point. Reception is fantastic when the Stealth headset is connected and within line of sight, but its ability to handle interference or increased range is a little problematic. This being true, the headset reconnects seamlessly and I doubt that many people will be playing Battlefield though two walls.
While connected, audio is delivered into your brain by a pair of 50mm drivers that process ranges around 20 – 20,000Hz. This is a fairly standard for a set of headphones in this category and, again, the quality of the audio is what would expect from a headset at this price point. Whatever the situation, the headset delivered a satisfying assault on my eardrums that immersed me in my adventures. Even with a default audio configuration the Stealth 700 handled the battlefield antics of Battlefield and Metal Gear without flinching. The swirling techno beats of titles like Wipeout Omega did, at times, feel a little lackluster using the default signature settings, however music was clear, player fire and chat was not an issue, and the DTS directional audio is seamless.
For players looking for a more customized experience, the premium enhancements available for the Stealth 700 really do begin to justify the expense of this device. The Audio Hub app allows for on the fly changes to the configuration that creates a discernible difference in the output. The DTS presets, game, movie, music, and stereo, alongside the four audio configuration changes mean that depending on the situation audio can be adjusted to meet a number of situations. While it would have been great to get more granular control of these settings using an equalizer, they still do make a massive difference and start to justify the lack of manual controls on the headset.
Not content with this plethora of audio tweaks, The Stealth 700 also incorporates three further audio features. Chat boost bumps up human voices above the rest of the game, although I found it unnecessary at most times, and Turtle Beach’s Superhuman Hearing makes player footsteps and gunfire easier to identify. This is probably the most extreme configuration change I’ve ever encountered on any headset I’ve tested. It does work, and while creeping down corridors in Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid I could hear enemies approaching a little sooner. Despite this, it is entirely disconcerting and the sort of thing that I found more distracting than enjoyable. Much like chat boost, it just felt unnecessary.
Of more functional use is the Active Noise Cancellation system bundled with the Stealth 700. Active Noise Cancellation works by monitoring the surrounding audio in the room and playing a continuous inverse signal back through the headset. Realistically, this works best in environments with a stream of particular sounds. People walking through the room intermittently chatting simply will not be blocked the same way the buzz of an air conditioning unit or the drone of a mower is. In fact, I found the Stealth 700 was surprisingly effective when it was out on public transport or in a coffee shop, picking up the ambient audio and nullifying them incredibly well.
If you also happen to find yourself around other people, the only person that the Stealth 700 should pick up is you. The Stealth 700’s omnidirectional flip down microphone does an adequate job of this, picking up the same 20 – 20,000Hz range as the speakers. The option to move the microphone boom out the way is a fairly standard quality of life feature, and the overall placement means chat doesn’t suffer any heavy breathing scenarios. Coupled with adjustable mic monitoring and the Active Noise Cancellation, the Stealth 700 makes it difficult to find another integrated mic that does the job much better. This might not match up to the quality of a stand-alone device, but it does the job and does it well enough.
If you are expecting to spend a long time chatting with your team mates, however, then do be aware that the battery life of the Stealth 700 is not its strongest facet. A lithium Ion battery powers the Stealth 700 and charge time will obviously vary depending on what you plug it into. Turtle Beach specify around 10 hours of usage on a single charge, but in the real world this falls nearer to 8 hours depending on use. With all the Stealth 700’s bells and whistles active, Active DTS surround sound, Bluetooth on, and everything turned up to 11, battery life does plunge somewhat. Coupled with this, the Stealth 600 series has a specified usage time of 15 hours per charge making the 700 series headset feel a little bit of a weaker proposition.
Fundamentally the 600 and 700 seem to be solid headsets and the 700 series is one of the best you will find on the market. It is well built, comfortable, delivers great sound, and comes brimming with extra features. It’s a headset that I would certainly use and if you are thinking of moving to a VR platform then definitely worth considering. Otherwise, the battery life is a real issue that might make the Stealth 600 worth a look.
- Very comfortable
- Great Sound
- Lots of connectivity
- Battery life
- Mandatory Firmware Upgrades
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.