Of all the earphones, headsets, and headphones that I’ve used and reviewed before, the Turtle Beach Recon 500 probably has the nicest overall sound quality for its sub $80/£50 price bracket.
Worthy of a spot on both our list of the best Xbox headsets and the best PlayStation headsets, the Turtle Beach 500 ticks all the right boxes: it looks good, it’s comfortable, and it offers good sound and mic quality. Admittedly, it could do with some extra sound customization features, but if you’re not too worried about features like that and don’t desperately want a wireless option (and I don’t) then you’ll be very happy with it. It’s a worthy companion to the best gaming console (whatever you may believe might be).
- Decent price
- Good sound and mic quality
- Comfortable to wear
- Little-to-no customization
- Odd mic design
Turtle Beach Recon 500 specs:
The Turtle Beach Recon 500 is a well-designed gaming headset. First of all, there’s the aesthetics. I have the camo version, which offers a pleasant, light color scheme that’s stylish without being ostentatious. It comes in black too, which might suit purists better.
The build quality is mostly plastic but with a metal-reinforced headband. This helps stop it from feeling too heavy or cumbersome while you’re wearing it but also keeps it sturdy. Meanwhile, its earcups use memory foam to make them suitably soft and squishy. Though it’s one of the cheaper headsets on the market, it doesn’t feel like a cheap bit of gear.
In terms of overall comfort, it’s probably the most comfortable headset I’ve ever worn. As a large-headed person, I’m used to them being a little too tight, or making my ears feel uncomfortable and hot as time goes by. No matter how long I used it (for a maximum period of time of about two hours) it never started to feel like it was pressing down.
The Turtle Beach Recon 500 offers fantastic sound quality. Before reviewing, I used it extensively across my PC, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One (both for games and for television), but I know that you can just as easily use it on PS4 and PS5, plus any mobile device with an audio jack.
When I used it on Nintendo Switch, I was blown away. Never before had the games sounded better than when I had this on. As I played The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, the immersive world of Hyrule was brought to life. I was better able to appreciate the squawking of the beds, the chirping of the bugs, and the sound of the grass blowing in the wind. It’ll definitely be my go-to whenever I want a cozy handheld session on the console.
It was also fantastic when I played on the Xbox, but the sound mixing was different from how I’m used to it. For example, the ambient sound effects in Sea of Thieves were much quieter than they were when I just played through the TV. Meanwhile, the soundtrack was probably a bit louder, comparatively. It takes little time to get used to and it still sounded decent, but for me, the difference is worth noting.
Interestingly, whenever I used the headset to watch TV shows on Netflix or Disney Plus through my Xbox, the mixing seemed to be exactly the same as I’d get from the speakers.
I don’t have much to say about my experience of using it on PC – it was a simple case of plugging it in and using it. It sounded well-balanced, and I’ll definitely be using it for music during writing sessions, gaming, and more in the future.
The main crack in its armor is the fact that it doesn’t offer any options for sound customization (besides the obvious volume control). This could have fixed any issues with Xbox game sound mixing, but to be honest, I’d probably have left it even if I could adjust it because it wasn’t that important to me. And for its low price tag, this lack of customization isn’t too shocking.
The Turtle Beach Recon 500’s Pro-Level TruSpeak Microphone is detachable, so you can stick it in when you need to, and yank it out when you’re done. This is a nice contrast to other gaming headsets which have a boom mic attached at all times (which, as well as being annoying, isn’t a great look if you want to use it in public).
As for sound quality, it worked like a charm. I’m basing this on secondhand information, but I’ve been told that my voice carries through clearly when I speak to people, and I have no reason to doubt that. On the flip side of that, it was never difficult to hear other people talking to me through it.
There’s a handy mic mute button on the outside of the left earcup which gives a handy way for you to mute on the fly. Much better than needing to turn the mic upward or anything like that, as you might need to with other models.
There is one small area that I’d criticize this headset though. The detachable boom mic is really long. It’s not uncomfortable, but it points down into the middle of my neck and is nowhere near my mouth, and it can’t be adjusted. I feel like it’s going to be pretty low for most people, based on how long it is. Maybe this is an intentional design choice, so it’s not too close to the user’s mouth, but, gosh, I think it could have been done a lot better.
This headset works pretty easily with just about anything. As mentioned above, I’ve used it on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. With each of these, it was a simple case of plugging it into each device’s audio jack (in the case of the Xbox, the controller’s audio jack), and then the sound came through like a charm.
This headset is also compatible with PS4 and PS5, and just like the Xbox, it’s just a case of sticking them into the controller’s audio jack. Admittedly, I have not tested this myself, but based on my experiences with other platforms, I have no reason to doubt that it will be a very smooth and easy process.
It is also technically possible to use these on mobile devices, which I wouldn’t mind testing out, since I enjoy a bit of mobile gaming from time to time. Unfortunately for me, since it requires an audio jack, this was not possible, and I suspect that most people might not be able to use it with their phones, considering the fact that many most recent models depend on Bluetooth if you want to use headsets, earphones, or headphones.
I love the Turtle Beach Recon 500 and think that it would suit most gamers wanting to spend less than $80 on a wired headset. The audio is well-balanced whether you want to be able to clearly communicate with teammates when playing online, watch streaming platforms without disturbing others during early or late hours of the day, more deeply immerse yourself in the worlds of your favorite games, or just relax with some music or an audiobook.
While sound mixing options might have been nice, it’s not really something you’d expect from a headset in this price range. Considering that it looks good, is comfortable to wear, and offers great mic and sound quality, I am very happy with it.
Should you buy
- Yes: If you want an inexpensive wired headset
- No: If you want a premium headset with sound customization features (or a wireless model)
If the Turtle Beach Recon 500 isn’t for you, try one of the more premium headsets below:
For more ways to enhance your set-up, read our list of the best Xbox accessories for a few recommendations.
Turtle Beach Recon 500 review
A stylish and comfortable headset that has a decent mic and impressive sound quality, though it lacks the sound customization features you’ll find with premium models.