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Turtle Beach Recon 50X Review - A headset for the budget conscious

Turtle beach Recon headset.jpg

The Turtle Beach Recon 50X is an entry-level headset from a company that offers buyers plenty of variety across a variety of price ranges. It’s also an Xbox version of the Recon 50P which is designed for PlayStation, but as with that headset, you can easily get away with using it on the competitive platform. So, the headset scores a point for being capable of working on more than one platform via its 3.5mm jack.

Judging a book by its cover

Compared to other recent Turtle Beach headsets I’ve reviewed, the Recon 50X feels a lot cheaper in terms of build quality. It just comes across a lot more likely to snap than the solid XO Four headset I reviewed last year and the padding on the headband is pretty feeble. However, the headset is light due to this structure and generally quite comfortable but it is really the thin padding that lets it down, as the headband felt a little like it was cutting down into my skull after extended use.

The over-ear cups are generally comfortable and are finished in synthetic leather over padding that didn’t have my ears sweating like they’ve been left in sauna overnight. The boom mic certainly looks the business, but while it is removable completely its design doesn’t at first ensure great confidence as it quite stiff and it took quite some time before I was willing to bend it without fear of snapping it.

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Sounds… promising

But sadly for the headset, it sits in that awkward position of having its price seemingly inflated by the weaker Rand, making it difficult to fairly assess its value for money without simply thinking it is overpriced.

That being said, you get what you pay for, and the headset is just not going to satisfy the audiophile in you. It’s a stereo headset which according to the official features list has “crisp highs and thundering lows”. I can’t say I agree with that. I’ve definitely used headsets that feature a lot more muddied sound than the Recon 50X, but when I think about the sound quality of the other Turtle Beach headsets I’ve tried over the last six months or so, I found these to be very disappointing. Yes, the sound is clear at low to mid volumes but the bass and the aforementioned clarity are a bit ugly at higher volumes.

However, the mic quality was pleasantly surprising in contrast. It seemed to avoid picking up ambient noise from around me and generally no-one complained about my current sinus and slight laboured breathing as the mic appeared to be able to differentiate between that and my slightly more defined actual use of the English language. Basically, if that wasn’t really clear, the mic’s quality was on par with some of the more expensive Turtle Beach headsets available… as long as you’ve ensured it is connected properly of course.

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More… and less

The headset features an in-line volume control that is simple and works but doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles that some other headsets from Turtle Beach do like Superhuman Hearing.

When considering this headset, you should also be aware that it uses a 3.5mm jack – perfect for the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, if the Xbox One is complete with one of the newer controllers. If you have one of those original controllers with the odd proprietary connection, you will need an Xbox One headset adapter, and it doesn’t come in the box. So you will need to add another R300 or so to your purchase price if you don’t already have one hidden somewhere.

The quandary

Over the last few months I’ve been sent a number of Turtle Beach headsets (distributed locally by Apex Interactive), and from my perspective there seems to be an obvious pattern emerging. This pattern is that the headsets seemingly designed for the PlayStation (the 500P and PX24) have generally been of a better quality over their Xbox One relations. However, another pattern that has emerged from the Turtle Beach range is that the headsets are no longer only designed for one platform and generally work when there’s a 3.5mm jack available, meaning you can safely choose a quality version rather than let your mind be swayed by the box colour that suggests you are buying the headset for your preferred platform.

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In Closing

If you’re simply concerned with getting a headset on a budget, then that pesky exchange rate isn’t going to help you here. The Recon 50X is marked at $40 on the Turtle Beach site, but by the time Takealot lists it, the price is R1,010, while Raru has it featured at both R949 and R641 (out of stock). I’m sure the last price is a really old listing, but at R641 I’d be telling you run out and buy it now, but the closer it edges to R1,000, the price just seems too high for the headset.

So after all that, where does the Recon 50X sit? It’s still designed as a headset for a gamer on a budget that’s looking for a brand with a proven name. However, my gut says go and buy the Turtle Beach PX24 headset rather – especially if you have a few extra Rands – and you will be a much happier Turtle Beach headset owner. If you really can’t stretch that far, then consider the Recon 50X but maybe shop around or wait until the exchange rate improves… some day.

The Specifications

  • Speakers: 40mm diameter speakers with neodymium magnets
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  • Speaker Impedance: 32Ω
  • Headband/Earpad Material: Synthetic Leather Headband and Earpads with Foam Cushioning
  • Microphone Design: Removable Omni-Directional Microphone
  • Earcup Design: Around-Ear (Closed)

You can read more about the headset on the Turtle Beach website.

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