Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 420X+ review

9.2

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Hear everything. Defeat everyone.

After reviewing the excellent Elite Pro Tournament Pack, I had very much changed my opinion on Turtle Beach headsets so I was more than happy to jump in to review the Ear Force Stealth 420X+.

It’s hard not to judge headsets to what you consider to be the best, and there’s a huge difference between the 420X+ and the Elite Pro, which should be expected given the price difference. The build quality, while sturdy, just can’t hold a light to the Elite Pro. The plastic coating feels cheaper and lacks that premium finish that I have become accustomed to. The headset is super light though and I was hardly aware of it while gaming.

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I found the headband to be on the small side, perfect for younger gamers. Extending the band was simple enough, making it a good fit for me, but I don’t have the largest head in the world and the band was almost at full stretch. The plastic does seem quite durable so I’d imagine it has a little give if you have a wide head. Unfortunately the 420X+ does skimp on padding in the ear cups, opting for slim firm foam. The cups themselves were also a tad small for my liking and while far from uncomfortable, the 420X+ can’t compete with the Elite Pro, which hugs your ears with soft premium padding that is almost four times wider.

Connecting to a wireless transmitter plugged into a USB port on the Xbox One, the 420X+ is wireless; the only cable you will need is to charge the battery, which lasts for around 15 hours.

With four EQ settings – natural, bass boost, bass and treble boost, or vocal boost –each can be used with Turtle Beach’s trademark Superhuman hearing. The clarity and depth to the sound is wonderful and crisp, with the bass and treble boost mode making games of war sound particularly intense. With so much depth to the sound, I will admit to being quite surprised at just how good the audio is. Even at maximum output there was no distortion.

Considering this is a stereo headset, I found that I could easily pick out directional sound, especially with Superhuman hearing active, although it does make the audio a little too high, lacking bass and presence. The headset also suffered with a high-pitched buzz when the Superhuman setting was active, which was only noticeable when there was no other audio.

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There’s nothing worse than trying to remember which setting your headset is on, or whether the mic is muted. Turtle Beach has the perfect remedy. A headset that talks to you! A female American voice announces which EQ is active, when the mic is muted or if Superhuman hearing is engaged. She will even announce when the power is low. I’ll admit that it was a little peculiar at first, but after a while, I really liked the voice in my head.

Something else that took a tiny bit of adjustment was locating the dials and buttons to control the audio. A small button at the back of the right earcup cycles through the EQ settings and two small dials either side of it control game and chat audio. Superhuman hearing has its own special button on the side of the ear cup, which doubles as the power button. It’s all very neat, but from time to time I still fumble around trying to get to the right button or dial.

The 420X+ can also be used with other audio devices for listening to music – connecting via a 3.5mm cable, which is included in the box – although you still need to power the headset on to use it.

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The mic is another standout feature of the 420X+. A flexible boom allows you to easily adjust the mic into the best position, although it doesn’t sit very well when resting the headset around your neck – the mic is easily removed though – and can be muted at the press of a button, located on the front of the right earcup. Mic monitoring in Turtle Beach headsets is standard, but there is no control over its volume.

The clarity of the mic is superb. My voice came across crystal clear with no distortion and the volume was spot on, my friends (and colleagues of TiX) even felt that the clarity was better than the Elite Pro, which when compared directly, they reported that my voice had more treble and the balance sounded better.

While there aren’t many bells and whistles to the 420X+, it is a great no nonsense entry-level headset that delivers gorgeous stereo sound that will satisfy most of your gaming needs and at £129.99 the Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 420X+ sits neatly between the economical and premium market.

Thanks to Turtle Beach for supporting TiX

Good

  • Fantastic sound output
  • Superb clarity of mic
  • Lightweight

Bad

  • Finish feels cheap
  • Not the most comfortable fit

Summary

While there aren’t many bells and whistles to the 420X+, it is a great no nonsense entry-level headset that delivers gorgeous stereo sound that will satisfy most of your gaming needs and at £129.99 the Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 420X+ sits neatly between the economical and premium market.
I've been gaming for longer than I care to remember and spent four years writing for another XCN website leading a 10 strong team. Now I'm in charge of TiX alongside Dave Moran – I hope you enjoy what we do!