Jumping into a new generation of consoles can be filled with challenges. Not only do you need to buy new hardware, you’ll likely want some new games. Traditionally, you’ve also had to buy brand new accessories as well. This has changed with the Xbox Series X|S, with all past Xbox One accessories (other than Kinect) coming forwards and being fully compatible with the now current generation hardware. As part of this, we were able to go ears on with the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 for Xbox wireless headset. A headset that is unfortunately currently beset with issues that reduce its viability as your main headset.
Generally, I prefer to start my reviews with something positive, but the early issues I faced with the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 on my Xbox Series X were so prevalent that they have to be discussed first. Currently, when using the headset, crackling, popping and stuttering in the audio happen near constantly. I found this to be most apparent when reopening a game from a menu, after any OS element popped up (such as an achievement). For a couple of seconds after any of these occurring the audio would constantly stop and start. These issues continued even after updating the firmware on my headset. Cutscenes are where it’s at its worst, with audio continuing to crackle indefinitely until you hit a button on the controller. I found that I had to constantly move the analog sticks while watching cutscenes or else the audio would fall apart. Jumping online, I found some quick temporary fixes (such as clearing the alternate MAC address on my console or doing a hard reset), but these were only ever temporary. After three weeks with the headset, a permanent fix was simply unattainable, which was also made apparent by the number of people online I found facing the same issue, all specifically when using the headset on an Xbox Series X|S console. This presented regardless of where I was in relation to my Series X, with my console being moved between rooms and positions over my time with it, with the console being less than 40cm away from myself at one point. They also occurred regardless of the audio type used, with the issue apparent with Stereo, Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos.
This issue made much of my time with the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen2 an act of frustration. This was doubly disappointing because the audio quality from the headset was pretty darn good when it worked. This was especially apparent when playing Tetris Effect: Connected, where the heady bass and electronic highs combined with the headset’s dolby atmos and windows sonic surround sound support to create an immersive and bone-tingling soundscape. You won’t get the clear soundscape you would with higher end headsets and headphones, but for their price the Stealth 600 Gen 2’s do a pretty admirable job. Combine that with clear chat audio via the swing-down microphone and this is a headset that is a good allrounder on the audio front.
One of my biggest stumbling points with headsets and headphones is their fit. Too often I find that headsets are rigid and inflexible, leading to an uncomfortably tight fit. This is the case here, with the plastic used for the headband of the Stealth 600 Gen 2 being so rigid that I was unable to find a truly comfortable fit after plenty of adjusting. On the flipside, the earcups, which are designed to allow you to wear glasses while using them, absolutely worked as promised with my glasses, which is rare with most headsets and headphones.
At an RRP of $169.95, the Stealth 600 Gen 2 headset finds itself in a middle ground of affordability. It’s not a low-end headset, but it’s not a high-end one either. Disappointingly, despite this, its construction and materials feel like those of a low-end headset. Almost entirely constructed from plastic, there’s nary a structural element of the headset that feels or looks premium. There’s little give in the materials, which makes me worry about longevity, while the hinge on the ear cups produces a small squeak that gets a bit annoying. It’s a little disappointing, especially when compared to other headsets in a similar price range.
Where the Stealth 600 Gen 2 sets itself apart from some of the competition is how simple it is to set up and work. Turn the power on, wirelessly pair them with your Xbox Series X and they’re good to go. It takes seconds and there’s no fiddling with usb dongles. This does also mean that this is a specialised headset, as it’s tuned specifically for Xbox wireless connections, meaning the only other device it supports is a Windows 10 PC and then only if your specific build supports Xbox Wireless (or you have the Xbox Wireless Adaptor). Battery life weighs in at around the 15 hour mark, which isn’t particularly impressive compared to the competition, but does the job.
Overall, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 for Xbox is a headset that I simply can’t recommend for the Xbox Series X, given its issues with audio connectivity and stuttering. If these issues are rectified in the future, then you’ll find a headset that has some pretty darn good audio quality for its price, albeit with the trade-off of construction that feels less than premium.
- Pretty darn good audio quality - Virtual surround sounds work well
- Consistent audio hitches and stuttering - All plastic construction feels cheap - Headband is extremely rigid, leading to an uncomfortable fit