Turtle Beach Ear Force Recon 200
Gaming Headset (Wired)
As one of the most well-known and trusted brands when it comes to game audio that sits on top of your head – aka the gaming headset – Turtle Beach has a wide range of options to suit just about any platform, budget, or intended environment. Enter the Turtle Beach Recon 200, a versatile headset from Turtle Beach with a price that sits somewhere within the budget range, but also one that features an interesting feature – audio amplification. Which means that even though it’s a wired headset, it still needs to be charged after every 12 or so hours of game time.
So then why go would Turtle Beach go the amplified route when so many other wired headset makers choose not to? Well, technically, the trade-off is worth it. Especially for a device like the Recon 200 which is – again – versatile and compatible with PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Amplification means being able to discretely power the audio, often resulting in a cleaner and louder overall sound that doesn’t drastically change depending on the platform. In fact, one of the main marketing slogans for the Recon 200 is “louder is better”. A statement that basically means that no matter the device or platform the Recon 200 is connected to the result is clear and booming sound. With bass to spare.
- Type: Closed
- Driver: 40mm with Neodymium Magnets
- Frequency response: 20 to 20,000 Hz
- Microphone: Fixed Omni-Directional Flip-to-Mute Microphone
For some having a wired headset that needs charging might sound like it defeats the purpose, but the amplified sound allows the underlying hardware and design of the Recon 200 to shine. Plus, it lets stuff like ‘bass boost’ mean exactly that – with the Recon 200 delivering powerful bass response out of the box.
“A versatile headset from Turtle Beach with a price that sits somewhere within the budget range, but also one that features an interesting feature – audio amplification."
In terms of pure audio, the 40mm drivers and frequency response is great for this sort of price-point. Paired with the amplification what becomes immediate is the Turtle Beach Recon 200’s balancing for gaming – specifically action titles. Where bass and high-frequency accuracy and stereo depth comes through no matter if the Recon 200 is connected to a PC, tablet, or console. No doubt the bass response is impressive, more importantly though it’s impressive in a way that doesn’t affect clarity. Especially when it comes to in-game chatter with other players and being able to take note of directional sound effects. By favouring the lower and higher end frequencies and locking out any adjustment outside of separate volume controls for audio and chat, any sort of adjustment is mostly relegated to software or hardware that supports it.
Design and Comfort
In terms of look, the Recon 200 follows the recent trend from Turtle Beach where outside of branding you get a subtler design that feels at home across the many devices it supports. With a lightweight and sturdy build the Recon 200s are certainly comfortable and can be used for extended periods of time, but the faux leather of the cups and their overall smaller size might not be suited for those that prefer total ear coverage. Thankfully the memory foam cushions make up for the smaller size. Although mostly plastic, with a metallic band to reinforce the headrest, the Recon 200 has a great feel that extends to both the small-form-factor microphone and the in-line controls. The only real downside is that cable length is more suited to connecting directly to an Xbox One controller or a Nintendo Switch sitting in your lap, more so than a PC sitting on a desk or something a metre or so away.
In terms of audio performance, the 40mm drivers of the Recon 200 present a bass-rich sound, something that Turtle Beach has been leaning towards for many years. But with the company partnering with several esports teams and competitive streamers it doesn’t drown everything else out. In fact, the microphone response, monitoring and balance of the in-game audio with chat is something that is handled well here – making the Recon 200 a great choice for gaming. Where the sound doesn’t, well, sound right is when paired with music or other media – and it’s here where the non-adjustable bass boost becomes overly prominent, often drowning out other frequencies.
“The microphone response, monitoring and balance of the in-game audio with chat is something that is handled well here."
This is not to say that the sound lacks clarity, because after some equaliser magic we were able to get the Recon 200s sounding decent. It simply points to the fact that the Recon 200s have been balanced specifically for gaming, and on that front sound best with action titles like Apex Legends and Fortnite and more cinematic offerings like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. On that front, it’s easy to recommend the Recon 200s for couch-gaming and even taking on-the-go – alongside a Nintendo Switch.
Note: A version of this review first appeared in late 2018