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Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 420X Review

The Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 420X delivers rich wireless sound on Xbox One, though its ear cups aren't the coziest.

Our Verdict

The Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 420X delivers rich wireless sound on Xbox One, though its ear cups aren't the coziest.

For

  • Rich, bass-heavy sound
  • Long battery life
  • Lightweight
  • Useful sound presets

Against

  • Somewhat stiff ear cups
  • Mobile cable still requires battery power for calls and music

The Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 420X ($149) is a gaming headset built to offer players maximum freedom, delivering fully wireless game and chat audio that allow you to play completely untethered from your controller. Its lightweight design works great wirelessly and offers rich audio that can be tweaked via four useful presets. Despite being a little stiff and snug, the Stealth 420X is one of the best wireless Xbox One headsets in its price range.

Design and Setup

True to its namesake, the Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 420X has a pretty inconspicuous design. This all-black headset sports green highlights around its slick, oval ear cups, which are held together by a round, plastic band with a rubbery Turtle Beach logo at the top.

The Stealth's swiveling ear cups can be laid flat for easy storage, and its superflexible microphone can be removed if you'd rather use just the headphones. The right ear cup packs a Mute button on the front, with dials for game and chat volume, a preset switch and a micro-USB charging port located on the back. Overall, I found the Stealth's controls easy to reach, though it took a while to distinguish the game volume and chat volume switches.

Setting up the Stealth is a cinch — you simply plug the included wireless transmitter into your Xbox One's USB port, hold the pairing button and then hold down the headset's power button.

Comfort

The Stealth's perforated, faux-leather ear cushions and headband felt a little too stiff for my liking, and the headset itself felt slightly too snug. However, I got more comfortable with the headset over time, mostly thanks to how pleasantly lightweight it is.

Weighing just 8.6 ounces, the Stealth never weighed my head down whenever I ran to the kitchen to grab a snack. Competing Xbox One headsets, such as the Polk Striker Zx ($149) and Plantronics Rig Flex LX ($129), have softer ear cups but are heavier, at 11.2 ounces and 9.6 ounces, respectively. They're also not wireless.

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Gaming Performance

The Stealth 420X delivers where it counts, offering booming bass and plenty of detail for both immersive and competitive gaming.

Turtle Beach's headset was an excellent companion for Halo 5, as I was able to easily pinpoint every bullet, grenade and footstep headed my way. Explosions sounded appropriately booming, and everything from rattling gunfire to in-game chatter came through crisply.

I was able to easily pinpoint every bullet, grenade and footstep headed my way.

The Stealth's deep bass really shined when I played Mortal Kombat X, especially with the headset's optional bass boost on. From the horns of the haunting soundtrack to the thud of every punch and kick, every detail sounded rich — including the brutal, head-ripping noises of my character's fatality.

I switched to the decidedly more lighthearted Sunset Overdrive to see how the Stealth handled open-world adventure games, and was satisfied with the amount of atmosphere the headset captured. I could tell where each of the game's energy-drink-fueled zombies were coming from, and everything from its punk-rock soundtrack to the sounds of exploding teddy bears were filled with a good level of detail.

The Stealth offers four sound presets: Natural Sound, Bass Boost, Bass & Treble Boost, and Voice Boost. I liked the overall balance that Natural Sound provided, but was even more impressed by the level of low-end impact that Bass Boost added to each game. Bass & Treble Boost seems ideal for those who want maximum intensity, while Voice Boost did a good job of highlighting background chatter.

Music Performance

The Stealth packs an attachable mobile cable for listening to music and making calls on the go, but there's a slightly frustrating catch: Despite my use of an analog connection, the mobile cable still requires the headset to be charged up and powered on.

Turtle Beach claims you'll get 15 hours of battery life from the Stealth, and the headset delivers.

Fortunately, you'll get impressive audio quality and some extra functionality in return. The headset handled Yellowcard's violin-laced rock tracks with ease, allowing me to clearly distinguish each instrument while feeling the full impact of the bass and drums.

The mobile cable sports an inline remote with a microphone and a single button, which worked reliably for pausing and skipping tracks as well as answering and ending calls. When chatting with a co-worker over the inline microphone, I was told that my voice was a bit muffled but still clear enough for a conversation.

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Battery Life and Microphone

Turtle Beach claims you'll get 15 hours of battery life from the Stealth, and the headset delivers. Since my first full charge, I've been playing for well over that amount of time, and have yet to get a low battery warning. By comparison, the much more expensive Astro A50 ($299) lasted me about 8 and a half hours of combined use. 

According to my friends, the Stealth allowed my voice to come through clearly on Xbox Live. I'm a fan of how flexible the mic is, and its ability to let you hear your own voice while chatting is useful. It's also worth noting that the Stealth offers fully wireless chat, unlike other wireless headsets such as the Astro A50, which requires you to plug into your controller to talk to friends.

Bottom Line

The Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 420X offers supremely satisfying sound, complete with rich bass and a handful of useful options for customizing its sound. Its lightweight design is suited to long gaming binges, as is its dependable 15-hour battery.

However, the Stealth's ear cups are a little stiff, and I still prefer the Plantronics Rig Flex LX ($129) and Polk Striker Pro Zx ($149) in terms of pure comfort. Still, those headsets aren't fully wireless, making the Stealth one of the best options for Xbox One gamers who want to play completely untethered.