Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra review: The third-party pro controller to beat

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra sets a new standard for third-party, pro controllers on Xbox

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra on its charging dock
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra is one of, if not the best third-party, pro controller I’ve used yet as well as the only one that can connect to the Xbox Series X/S wirelessly. It may be an expensive controller but it’s made using high-quality parts like Hall Effect sensors and microswitch buttons. Plus, Turtle Beach throws in a case and charging dock, so you don’t need to purchase any accessories separately.


  • +

    Built-in display is actually useful

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    On the fly remapping and adjustments

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    Carrying case and charging dock included

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    Hall Effect thumbsticks and microswitch buttons


  • -

    Feels a bit too light in hand

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The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra is the first third-party, pro controller to go toe to toe with Microsoft’s Elite Series 2 and, in fact, it even manages to surpass it in some ways. From its anti drift thumbsticks with Hall Effect sensors to the microswitch buttons found throughout the controller, Turtle Beach designed the Stealth Ultra with longevity in mind. The entire controller can even be customized on the fly using its 1.5-inch Connected Command Display, plus it’s the first pro controller to work wirelessly on the Xbox Series X/S, albeit using the included 2.4 GHz USB dongle.

As we’ve seen with other pro controllers though, the Stealth Ultra doesn’t come cheap, with a price tag of $200. However, Turtle Beach softens the blow by bundling the controller with a hard-shell travel case and a charging dock that works when the Stealth Ultra is tucked inside. While other pro controllers boast some of these features, this one provides the complete package and then some thanks to its unique colored display. There’s also RGB lighting on the sides as well as a companion app that can show social media notifications on the built-in display.

Going up against Microsoft’s less expensive Xbox Elite Series 2 Core controller has proved difficult for other third-party pro controllers in the past. The main thing that held others back though was the fact that they didn’t work wirelessly. Turtle Beach has taken care of that but are there enough extra features to justify the Stealth Ultra’s higher price?

Our Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra review will help you decide if it’s worth the price if you’re playing on the Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S, and whether or not it’s one of the best PC game controllers you can get today.

Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra review: Price and availability

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra with all of its included accessories

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The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra is available online at Amazon, Best Buy and other retailers, though you can also buy it directly from the company. Besides the controller itself, you also get a black and purple hard-shell carrying case, a low-profile magnetic charging dock, four swappable thumbstick caps, a 2.4 GHz USB dongle and a 10 foot USB-C cable.

Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra review: Design and feel

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra in its hard-shell carrying case

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Just like with Sony’s DualSense controller, the Stealth Ultra has a two-tone design. The controller’s handles and upper half are black while the lower half is a dark gray gunmetal. There are rubber grips on the outward-facing sides of the handles along with a white RGB strip next to them.

The Stealth Ultra sports a similar design to other Xbox controllers, featuring staggered thumbsticks and a home button with the Xbox logo in the middle. However, above the home button, there’s a 1.5-inch color display that rests between the controller’s View and Menu buttons. The D-Pad and the base of the controller’s thumbsticks look metallic (though they’re plastic) and the face buttons — slightly smaller than those on a standard Xbox controller — have a clear casing on top. Finally, there’s a screenshot button (which the Elite Series 2 lacks) along with a button to control the connected display underneath the home button.

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra's bumpers and triggers

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At the top of the Stealth Ultra, there’s a recessed USB-C port alongside a pair of bumpers and triggers. They have that same metallic look to them but Turtle Beach has added some etching to make them easier to grip. There are also two-stop trigger locks on either side.

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra's back buttons

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When you flip the controller over, there are four remappable back buttons that have this same etching and metallic color. In between are three magnetic contacts that allow the Stealth Ultra to charge when placed on its dock. 

The combination of these different elements make the Stealth Ultra feel great in the hand. The rubber grips prevent the controller slipping out of your hands, while the etching on the triggers and back buttons give your fingers somewhere to rest. 

An overhead view of the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra's buttons and thumbsticks

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If you like clicky buttons that have a more tactile feel over membrane ones, then you’re in luck. The Stealth Ultra’s face buttons (ABXY) all feature microswitches, as does its D-pad, bumpers and back buttons. These buttons are rated for 5 million clicks and have a shorter travel distance to make them easier to actuate. They're not overly loud either.

As premium as the Stealth Ultra looks and feels, it’s lighter in hand than other pro controllers at just 246 grams. For instance, the Elite Series 2 Core weighs 345 grams and the DualSense Edge weighs 325 grams. There also aren’t any optional weights that can be added to the controller either. Then again, if your hands get fatigued holding a heavier controller for long stretches at a time, the Stealth Ultra will feel like a welcome relief.

Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra review: Features

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra charging on its dock

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Stealth Ultra comes packed with features to help it both stand out from the crowd and justify its higher price. While Turtle Beach used high-quality components throughout the controller, the Connected Command Display at the top of the device ties them all together into a neat little bow.

By pressing the plus button underneath the screenshot button, you can switch from using the controller to configuring its various functions. You’re greeted with a dashboard that provides you with a quick overview of the Stealth Ultra. The icon at the top lets you go into all of the other various submenus while the one below it is used to access the controller’s social feed.

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra's 1.5-inch color LCD screen

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Turtle Beach offers a companion app for mobile, PC and Xbox where you can configure and swap between profiles as well as install new firmware updates. However, one of my favorite things about the Stealth Ultra is that you don’t have to use the app if you don’t want to. Instead, everything from remapping the back buttons to changing the controller’s lighting, vibration, dead zones and more can be done on the fly using its built-in screen. 

If you own one of the company’s headsets, you can connect it directly to the controller’s 3.5mm audio jack and adjust audio levels and EQ. However, you can also activate Turtle Beach’s Superhuman hearing that allows you to hear in-game sounds you might otherwise miss like the sound of an enemy’s footsteps as they approach you from behind. I didn’t get to test this out as I don’t own a compatible Turtle Beach headset but it’s a nice feature for those who are already entrenched in the company’s ecosystem.

If you don’t want to pull out your phone while gaming, the Stealth Ultra can display social notifications right on its Command Display from various platforms including Discord, Twitch, and the Xbox app. To set this up though, you need to download Turtle Beach’s Control Center 2 app on your smartphone and pair the controller. Although this feature might not be that useful for quick, impromptu gaming, I could see it coming in handy during longer play sessions.

Stealth Ultra review: Performance and in use

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra connected to the Xbox Series X

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The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra is an easy controller to start using with the Xbox Series X/S as you simply need to plug in the included USB dongle and then select “Wireless Xbox/PC” on its Command Display. Another nice touch with this controller is that its charging has a USB port to hold the dongle. My Xbox Series S immediately recognized the controller and I was able to start using it in less than a minute. Also, when paired, it can wake your Xbox from sleep.

To put the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra through its paces, I played a wide variety of games on the Xbox Series S. I completed Guardians of the Galaxy but also clocked plenty of hours playing Rocket League and the skateboarding game Session. As my testing sessions coincided with my Persona 3 Reload review, I played through 20 hours of the game using the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra. I also played a few of the best Steam games with the controller including Red Dead Redemption 2 and Control using a wired connection, the 2.4 GHz dongle and over Bluetooth. Everything worked as expected and Steam recognized the controller by name instead of thinking it was a generic Xbox controller.

Playing Xbox with the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra

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Its Hall Effect thumbsticks never developed drift or malfunctioned and its microswitch face buttons were both very responsive and easy to actuate. While the placement of its rear buttons might be a dealbreaker for some, I found them easy to use and never accidentally pressed them. Coming from the Xbox Elite Series 2 Core controller, I found the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra’s screenshot button to be a welcome addition, especially as I needed to take loads of screen captures while working on my Persona 3 Reload review.

As for battery life, the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra definitely lasted for its advertised 30 hours and I liked that I could recharge the controller using either the included charging dock or via a USB-C cable. Turning off its RGB lights helped its battery last longer but, even with lighting effects enabled, the battery still lasted impressively and had some charge left when I started my next play session.

Gamepad Tester results for the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra

(Image credit: Hardware Tester)

Like with every controller review, I finished testing by plugging the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra into my PC and opening up Hardware Tester’s Gamepad Tester. All the buttons were recognized right away and the controller’s thumbsticks had an average error rate of just over one percent — this is low, but still higher than the GameSir T4 Kaleid which also comes equipped with Hall Effect sensors. Overall though, I consider anything under 10 percent to be fine when using Gamepad Tester.

After extensive use and testing, the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra remains in pristine condition with neither the thumbsticks, buttons, side grips nor Command Display showing any signs of wear and tear. Obviously, more testing is needed for a long-term appraisal, but I’m quite impressed with how this controller has held up so far and how there weren’t any issues or manufacturing defects to begin with.

Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra review: Verdict

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra is a pro controller that you will likely be able to reliably use for years to come. Although I’ve only been using the Stealth Ultra as my main controller for almost two months, I really feel it will stand the test of time thanks to its anti-drift thumbsticks, microswitch buttons and the included hard-shell case for safer charging and storage.

At $200, the Turtle Beach Steal Ultra is on the expensive side, but it’s still cheaper than the Scuf Instinct Pro or the Razer Wolverine V2 Pro. If you’re looking to save a bit but still want some pro-level features, then it might be worth considering either the 8BitDo Ultimate Bluetooth Controller if you game on PC or the Xbox Elite Series 2 Core if you prefer to play on Microsoft’s consoles. However, while 8BitDo’s controller does have Hall Effect thumbsticks, it lacks microswitch buttons and the Xbox Elite Series 2 Core has neither. 

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra is currently in a league of its own among other pro controllers as it’s the only one that can connect to the Xbox Series X/S wirelessly, albeit with a dongle like the 8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox. While the Command Display in its center may seem like a gimmick, you can use it to fully customize the controller’s functionality, RGB lighting and fine tune the audio coming from your headset, unlike with the OLED screen on the Asus ROG Rakiri Pro. 

Based on my experience using the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra on both Xbox and PC, I wouldn’t be surprised if its release has pushed forward Microsoft’s plans for the inevitable Elite Series 3 controller. This controller may be expensive but you get what you pay for and then some. The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra has earned its place among the best Xbox controllers as well as the best PC controllers and it will be interesting to see other controller manufacturers try to top it.

Anthony Spadafora
Senior Editor Security and Networking

Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.