Turtle Beach XO Three Review: Great for Gamers on a Budget

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Even as gaming headsets become more feature-rich, there's something to be said for an affordable set of cans that does exactly what you need. Just look at the Turtle Beach XO Three, which delivers crisp audio and a clear microphone within a lightweight and attractive design. While the XO Three has some serious competition in the sub-$80 arena, it's an excellent choice for folks seeking a dependable console headset for a good price.

Design and Comfort

The XO Three is unmistakably a Turtle Beach headset, retaining the company's penchant for simplicity over eye-popping style.

That said, the XO Three is impressively slick for an entry-level model, with sleekly curved ear cups, a leatherette headband and some nice bits of green fabric on the outer ears. The XO Three's PS4 counterpart, the Recon 150, sports the same design with blue highlights. The headset's ear cups can be folded flat for easy travel, and I've yet to notice any significant wear and tear after taking it on countless daily commutes.

During my weeks of working and gaming while wearing the XO Three, I rarely got the urge to take off the headset. The XO Three is wonderfully lightweight, and its soft fabric ear cups feel snug and secure without being too tight. I'm also a fan of the padded leatherette headband, which you can adjust about an inch up or down.

Gaming Performance

Packing bigger speakers than its predecessor, the XO Three consistently delivered crisp and loud game audio.

When I played Injustice 2, every bone-crunching combo sounded satisfying, as did the deep rumble of the game's explosions and projectiles. Once I switched gears to Forza Horizon 3, I could clearly hear the pop of my car's engine, as well as the subtle change in tire sounds when I went from driving on roads to cruising on the beach.

The XO Three proved to be a valuable companion in Overwatch, a game in which hearing your enemy coming is half the battle. Turtle Beach's headset made it easy to pinpoint the footsteps of both opponents and teammates, allowing me to get a jump on my adversaries and avoid their dangerous ultimate attacks.

Microphone and Extras

The XO Three keeps it simple when it comes to features, with a removable microphone and a handy inline remote on the cable that lets you mute your mic and adjust the volume.

The headset's microphone provided clear chat audio in my testing. When rewatching a Twitch stream I hosted while wearing the XO Three, I had no issues hearing myself lament my losses over the loud brawling of Injustice 2.

Bottom Line

The $70 Turtle Beach XO Three offers everything a casual console gamer needs at a very good price. The headset's comfy cans deliver rich audio for both competitive and immersive games, while its lightweight, travel-friendly construction makes the headset ideal for hours-long marathon sessions. The XO Three's subtle, simple design makes a nice complement to the Xbox One, just as the identical Recon 150 does for the PS4.

Astro's A10 is a solid alternative that costs $10 less than the XO Three, but it isn't nearly as comfortable. You should, however, consider splurging for the $80 SteelSeries Arctis 3, which is even cozier, plays nice with both PCs and consoles, and sports a much more attractive design that you'll have no problem wearing in public. Still, if you settle in the middle on the XO Three, you won't be disappointed.

Credit: Turtle Beach

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.