A new generation of consoles brings an opportunity to take a fresh look at peripherals, and Turtle Beach is doing that with the second generation of its Stealth 600 and 700 headsets. The wireless devices are notable because they connect directly to recent Xbox consoles. They don’t need a USB adapter or a special plug connected to the controller.
Players just press the On button and the Stealth 600 and 700 just worked. With the upcoming Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, the Gen 2 headsets are expected to have the same compatibility, but delving deeper than that Turtle Beach took the best parts of the previous devices and improved on them.
The most obvious change is the streamlined look. Turtle Beach redesigned the microphone so that it folds into the headset, giving it a cleaner appearance. From a quick glance, the ear cups look like a symmetrical whole. It’s not something that one would wear out in public, but they do look slick on stream.
Although the microphone has style to it, this part of the headset also boasts plenty of functionality. Players can flip it up to mute, but in addition, the smallish mike boom has one point of articulation that moves the microphone closer to the mouth. It lets teammates hear the user more clearly in noisy environments. The device also has mic monitoring and independent chat volume that’s useful so that players don’t find themselves yelling at their teammates all the time and if they do, they can drop the loudness of the audio.
Meanwhile, the noise gate on the Stealth 700 can help eliminate distracting outside noises so a player’s voice is all that teammates hear. It works well enough that my teammates had no trouble communicating with me in online titles.
Going into build quality, the Stealth 600 and 700 are on opposite ends of the spectrum. The Stealth 600, which is priced at a budget-friendly $99.95, has a cheap-feeling all-plastic material. The earcups have a mesh fabric and padding that’s on the thin side. Meanwhile, the Stealth 700 is bigger but more comfortable with its metal headband and reshaped Aerofit cooling gel-infused memory foam ear cushions.
Despite having a similar design with ear cups that swivel flat on the shoulders, the better build quality of the Stealth 700 makes them a dream to wear. The cushioning is thick but light and it rests nicely pressed around the ears. It’s by far the most comfortable headset that Turtle Beach has made. The only way to improve it is to lighten the load — it comes in at about 380 grams — so that it feels just as good as the HyperX Cloud Flight S, which is close to 319 grams.
When comparing the Stealth 600 and 700 Gen 2, the added features of the latter make it a better value despite the higher price tag. Costing $149.95, the sound quality on the Stealth 700 is better. The audio on the bigger brother stands out more though both ear cups have been redesigned for a bigger soundstage. The 700’s bass is deeper and richer while the details in the mids and highs are crisper. Turtle Beach has always excelled capturing the finer audio elements and this holds true with its newest headset.
Meanwhile, I didn’t get the same type of booming sound from the Stealth 600. The audio was more stayed and thinner. I felt that I lost the distinct in a game’s sound effects. The growling in the background was noticeable but the 700 picked it up better. The gunshots on the 700 felt punchier but flatter on the 600. I suspect part of the reason is in the cushioning and material with the synthetic leather of the 700 creating a better seal around the ears.
When it comes to EQ options, both the Stealth 600 and 700 sport five presets. They include the default signature sound, bass boost, bass and treble boost and vocal boost. Turtle Beach is most famous for its Superhuman Hearing, which boosts the sounds of footsteps and reloading in competitive shooters such as “Call of Duty” or “Halo.” That feature is included in both headsets and can give players an edge as long they’re paying attention.
When it comes to surround sound, both headsets rely on the consoles audio chips and Windows Sonic to relay immersive virtual surround sound. In the upcoming generation of consoles, the hardware appears to handle most of the audio encoding and decoding and headsets don’t need special hardware for the different formats. Users just need to turn on Windows Sonic for Headphones.
It’s easy to access the presets by pressing a Mode button. Players will know what setting they have on by the beeps. On the Stealth 700, it’s easier because of the integration with the Turtle Beach Audio Hub app for iOS and Android devices. Again, this is another added value for the bigger brother.
With the Turtle Beach Audio Hub, players can instantly fine tune the headset. They can customize the level of the Superhuman Hearing or the loudness of the mic monitoring. They can even create a custom preset, turn off the noise gate or adjust the loudness of the voice prompts that tell users the battery level and other headset details.
Speaking of battery life, the Stealth 700 clocks in at 20 hours while the Stealth 600 has 15 hours. That should be enough for marathon sessions though battery life can be shorter for the Stealth 700 if you’re using its other features. Thankfully, both are fast-charging if one uses a USB-C cord and the right power adapter.
The other important feature for the Stealth 700 is the Bluetooth support. That means players can connect the device to a smartphone and have their own music playing in the background while gaming. They can even take calls through the set of cans.
This type of versatility and rich feature set has always been a hallmark of Turtle Beach. Ever since the Ear Force PX5, the company has jammed as many options as possible into their devices, but as the brand line has matured, the products have become more streamlined, so that the best features are easier to use and focused on improving the gaming experience.
The second generation Stealth 700 seems to be the pinnacle of Turtle Beach design while the Stealth 600 is a device zeroed in on delivering good sound and solid wireless package at a sub-$100 price. They’re both good additions if one plans on buying an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S. Users can even use it with the current Xbox consoles so they can break them in. If I had to choose one, the best bang for the buck is the Stealth 700, which performs well across the board.
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