Gadget review: Turtle Beach Stealth 420X
THE torrent of triple A games coming out for the Xbox One in the year ahead will finally put paid to the drip feed of top quality titles that early adopters of the console have been forced to contend with. But while there is a bounty of software on the horizon, there remains a curious lack of choice in the headset market for people looking for a dedicated audio gaming option.
The one notable exception has been Turtle Beach, the veteran manufacturers who can call on more than three decades of experience in the field. Along with Astro Gaming and SteelSeries, the firm is one of the most dependable sources of high quality, feature-packed headphones, but unlike its rivals who focus on audiophiles who happen to play games, it has a keen eye for a the mass market audience.
The Stealth 420X continues the bold, robust design of Turtle Beach headsets
The Stealth 420X, the company’s eighth Xbox One headset, continues this tradition. The design is robust and bold, featuring the now familiar black chassis and green trim. The plastic mould to the outer phones may not win awards for finesse but it is solid yet light. More importantly, the cups themselves feel more snug than previous Turtle Beach designs, with the perforated synthetic leather material easy on the ear for extended gaming sessions.
Soundwise, it is hard to pinpoint many differences between these and the Stealth 500X set released by Turtle Beach last year. This is no bad thing. Both headsets feature 50mm drivers with neodymium magnets capable of producing punchy and full sound frequencies that maintain their definition even at maximum volume. A multiplayer round of Battlefield Hardline showed off the Stealth 420X’s capabilities, with gunfire and explosions coming through clearly and precisely with plenty of low end. Granted, splashing out another £100 will get you a headset with a more nuanced audio performance, but the 420X does a very good job for the price.
An impressive audio performance is hampered by the lack of surround sound
With four audio presets, the range of options to switch between during a lull in a game and an action-packed sequence is diverse and well judged, although the bass is so good on the standard setting that it does not really need to be boosted. Unlike the 500X, however, the new model does not have 7.1 surround sound. The simulated alternative is still passable, but those who take their online gaming seriously may well balk at the exclusion of this feature.
The trade off, however, is an easier setup method and improved in-game chat. Whereas previous models have required finickity transmitters to go on top of the console or under the television, the 420X simplifies things by including all the required technology in a USB stick which slots into one of the Xbox One’s ports. With an impressive 30 foot range and excellent mic monitoring, it also allows you hear - and to be heard - with clarity and crispness without becoming tangled up in wires.
This is another excellent offering from Turtle Beach
With an impressive 15 hours of battery life, the headset also recharges rapidly via a micro USB cable, meaning that even if you spent the best part of a weekend in front of the Xbox One, it will have enough juice to keep going. All around, this is another excellent offering from Turtle Beach, although it is best to weigh up what features you are looking for before deciding whether to buy it or fork out another £50 for the Stealth 500X.