Gaming headsets can cost a pretty penny sometimes, but if you just need something that simply works with any console or PC, and has decent sound, then the $40 Turtle Beach Recon 70 is perfect for you. However, that affordable price comes with some caveats, including occasionally muddy bass and sharp highs packed into a frail design. But overall, the Turtle Beach Recon 70 is solid budget gaming headset.
It’s hard for the Recon 70’s plastic shell not to look cheap due to its black and red finish. There wasn’t a lot of give when I wiggled the cups and the band, but when I put just the slightest pressure past its bend point, it seemed like it would easily snap.
The matte-black ear cups are home to a groove carved down the middle, which is where the band connects to the ear cups and a Turtle Beach logo. Just above the cup is the red connecting band; that’s held together by a bigger, black band that features a Turtle Beach logo, as well as three stylistic, glossy indents on each side.
The interior of the cups are red and feature black Turtle Beach logos. The Recon 70 that I tested is the Nintendo Switch version. However, the Recon 70 comes in several different colors, which are labeled by console, including Xbox One (green and black or green and white) and PlayStation 4 (blue and black, blue and white or red and black).
There are a limited number of controls on the Recon 70 – actually, there’s only one, on the left cup: the volume rocker. However, the left cup also features a short, fixed flip-to-mute microphone, as well as the 4-foot, 3.5mm audio cable.
The Recon 70’s synthetic-leather ear cups are relatively comfortable and fit nicely over my ears, but I wish the foam cushion underneath was a little softer. Under the band is another cushion that wasn’t too stiff, but left a lot to be desired. And while the band is easy enough to adjust, there aren’t any notches to indicate where it is leveled. However, you could do worse for $40, and after several hours, I kind of forgot that I was wearing the headset.
At 9.5 ounces, the Recon 70 feels incredibly light, and it didn’t move at all when I shifted my head from left to right.
My biggest gripe with this headset is how the microphone moves: It vibrates the whole headset when I flip it into one of its predetermined positions, which gave me a headache after a while.
The Recon 70 provided decent gaming sound for every title I threw at it.
I queued up a match of Fortnite and noticed that the pickaxe attacks were a little sharp and didn’t offer enough bass for a solid hit. Switching between weapons was annoying, as the little click from the assault rifle or shotgun produced a high-pitched sound. However, the Recon 70 did a good job of detailing where gunshots were coming from, and I could even hear an enemy’s footsteps as they were running around a structure to eventually murder me. The shotgun and assault-rifle shots weren’t exactly full – the sounds were comparable to background gunfire in a war film – but were ultimately fine.
I played the remastered version of one my childhood favorite games, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, and it sounded pretty decent. The upbeat soundtrack lacked some depth, but it still popped. However, the higher note trumpets were a little too sharp. Nevertheless, the sound effects of the items, and even the execution of a drift boost, had enough oomph to rope me into the experience. Aku Aku’s voice also sounded pleasantly deep.
I handed the Recon 70 over to one of my coworkers as I John Wick-ed myself through My Friend Pedro, and as his ears were serenaded with the game’s hypnotic electronic music, he found, as I did, that the bass was muddy. The gunshots, however, were tight, and the bullets ricocheting off of the frying pan still sounded as comical as they were meant to be.
The Recon 70’s overall music performance is mediocre, but for a headset this cheap, it’s OK. At the very least, the volume can get incredibly loud.
I listened to “Letdown” by nothing,nowhere. and the opening acoustic guitar sounded vibrant. The vocals were clear as well, but sounded somewhat shrill on the higher notes. When the percussion was introduced, I noticed that the beats didn’t have enough bass to distinguish themselves in the moment. When the chorus hit, there was a slight distortion, which made the rest of the song kind of sound like noise.
While listening to Unlike Pluto’s “Look At Me,” I noticed that the heavy bass in the intro lacked depth, and even the lighter drumbeats didn’t make much of an impact. The vocals were clear, but they weren’t bright enough to stand out. However, when all the instruments played together, it wasn’t difficult to tell them apart.
I gave a listen to Nothing More’s “Jenny,” and while the opening guitar is supposed to creep in on you, it sounded muted on the headset and didn’t deliver its usual chilling effect. However, the vocals sounded solid, and the higher notes weren’t as distorted as the other songs I listened to. Despite that, the instruments were a little muddy, and it was particularly difficult to identify the cymbal.
The microphone actually sounds pretty decent when talking at a casual level. However, if you’re like me, screaming enemy locations at your teammate, the audio peaks and becomes distorted for all listening parties. Not to mention that the microphone also picks up voices in the background, as it caught one of my coworker's voice who was just 5 feet away from me.
For $40, the Turtle Beach Recon 70 is a solid choice if you’re aiming to save money. The headset offers relatively comfortable ear cups, decent sound for gaming, and it functions with any system. However, you have to put up with mediocre bass and highs, as well as a cheap overall design.
If you’re willing to spend an extra $10, you can get the PDP LVL50 Wired Stereo Headset, which features a more discreet and durable design. The LVL50's microphone is also longer, and has a softer flip-switch than the Recon 70.
But overall, you’ll have a hard time finding a decent gaming headset as cheap as the Recon 70.