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Turtle Beach Recon Controller review: The most robust voice chat experience on Xbox Series X

Turtle Beach Recon Controller review: The most robust voice chat experience on Xbox Series X

The Turtle Beach Recon Controller was designed primarily with online gamers in mind. Whether you’re looking for a wide range of equalizer settings to enhance the audio performance of the best gaming headset or you need loud and clear team communication in multiplayer environments like Fortnite OR final fantasy 14 online, Turtle Beach Recon was created for gamers like you.

The gamepad isn’t our top pick for voice chat in our best Xbox controllers guide for nothing. You’ll need at least a mid-range headset to get the most out of Turtle Beach Recon, but you’ll be well served with a plethora of audio settings, including the aforementioned EQ profiles and Turtle Beach’s Superhuman-enhanced audio, which really improves clarity of voice chat.

But that’s no gimmick, as the Turtle Beach Recon Controller is a competent gamepad in its own right. The gaming experience is enhanced by an excellent build quality and some particularly tactile buttons, sticks and triggers. In all, you get a remarkably affordable product for its rich feature set and proficient design.

Turtle Beach Recon Controller: price and availability

The Turtle Beach Recon Controller is available to buy now for $59.95 / £49.99 / AU$99.95, both from the manufacturer’s website, as well as major online retailers including Amazon, Game and Best Buy. Keep in mind that the controller is designed for Xbox Series X|S and PC, which means PS5 players will have to look elsewhere as there is unfortunately no Sony version of the gamepad.

Turtle Beach Recon Controller: design and features

Turtle Beach Recon Controller

(Image credit: Future)

The Turtle Beach Recon looks the part of the Xbox Wireless Controller in a strikingly similar form factor. But there are a few key differences that separate it and somewhat elevate it above Microsoft’s pack-in gamepad.

While the build quality isn’t as high as Microsoft’s, it’s still a solid controller that doesn’t have any obvious weaknesses in terms of design. Its textured grips, triggers, bumpers and back buttons push further towards the target, creating a comfortable, slip-resistant feel. In other words, perfect for a gamepad that prioritizes smooth online play.

There’s a dedicated space at the top of the controller, just above the Xbox Home button, for all features and audio profile settings. It’s a bit crowded here and novice users might find the layout a bit overwhelming, but it doesn’t take too long to acclimate to the setup.

On either side of the Turtle Beach Recon Controller’s built-in audio controls are headset volume and voice chat controls. Between them, there’s a dedicated button for microphone mute, EQ selection, and a switch for Turtle Beach’s Superhuman audio setting. It’s a fairly straightforward setup once you get used to it, and you’ll likely find a very convenient set of built-in features, eliminating the need to open your console or PC volume control centers separately.

Turtle Beach Recon Controller: Performance

Turtle Beach Recon Controller

(Image credit: Future)

The Turtle Beach Recon Controller impresses on fundamentals. The face buttons, triggers, and thumbsticks are all a pleasure to press and move; a necessity for a multiplayer-focused gamepad, and thankfully the manufacturer has got the job done here. The overall feel reminds me of the 8BitDo Ultimate in that the modules are tactile and feature a short travel time which helps reduce input lag. Adding the trigger lock would have been nice, but there’s more here than just getting the job done for online play.

Where the Recon sets itself apart from other pads is, as mentioned, the built-in audio control. They all feel equally responsive, with the volume controls and mic mute button doing exactly what they say on the tin. Even the equalizer presets are all functional. There’s a default setting if you’re happy with a more generalized sound profile, however, there are also options for heavier bass or a focus on distant sounds like footsteps and vehicles. This is especially useful for shooters like PUBG Battlegrounds AND War zone, where spatial awareness is often the key to success.

The two big surprises for me, though, include the switchable Pro Aim setting. This will automatically optimize the analog stick sensitivity to improve accuracy in the best FPS games. It’s a simple yet effective way to manage more precise aiming without having to delve into the game’s sensitivity settings. Take PUBG Battlegrounds, where sniping from hundreds of yards away is a common method of getting kills. I found that the switchable Pro Aim helped me focus more effectively on distant targets.

Finally, the Superhuman audio activation on Recon deserves a special mention. Essentially, this helps add clarity to voice chat and works extraordinarily well. During a Fortnite game session, toggling the setting on and off created a clear difference in clarity sharpening the chat audio profile and helps mute background sounds. It’s a must-have option if you’re playing a title that requires clear and thoughtful communication between team members.

Should I buy the Turtle Beach Recon controller?

Turtle Beach Recon Controller

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if…

Don’t buy it if…

How we reviewed the Turtle Beach Recon Controller

Since the Turtle Beach Recon Controller is designed for online gaming and communication, we primarily tested the gamepad in a variety of multiplayer scenarios. We found this particularly useful in games that required clear communication, such as Final Fantasy 14 various raids and processes, as well as sessions of Fortnite to discuss our plans for each game, where we were headed and callouts for enemy players and loot.

Interested in more of the best Xbox controllers? Consider checking out our expert-tested reviews for Victrix Gambit AND Power A Fusion Pro 3 gamepads.


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