A wireless headset that is comfortable, easy to connect and actually has great battery life.
I have been testing the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 with an Xbox Series X for a few weeks now, and simply can’t go back to the last-gen wired relic I had become accustom to. Yes, that’s right. While I have been wirelessly connected to my phone for half-a-dozen years, as of January 2021, I was still plugging in a 3.5mm jack to chat to my buddies on Xbox Live or PSN.
I embraced wireless technology in the early days of the Xbox One and PS4 with several allegedly stellar wireless headsets. They all quickly fell to the wayside due to clunky connection processes and a tendency to run out of power whenever I needed them. So I reverted to the reliability of wired headsets for the remainder of the generation.
To be honest, when the Stealth 700 Gen 2 arrived for review, I thought it would be a bangin’ headset, but that I would retain my old school wired habits this generation. What a difference a few weeks make; not only has it become my primary headset, it’s persuaded me to stick with a proper wireless headset for the long haul. I’m all in.
With a simple connection to the console — using the same Xbox pairing process as a controller so it seamlessly connects or disconnects as needed — and a battery that just keeps on going, with USB-C charging, it is far more accessible than headsets this time last-generation. There’s also a Bluetooth pairing option, should you wish to use it with another device.
The Stealth 700 Gen 2 looks, feels and responds like a premium headset; while offering high quality sound for the savvy gamer who wants something that sounds great, without getting into the nitty gritty audiophiles obsess over. It sounds amazing to my layman ears, with strong and clear sound.
As a spectacled man, the fit is the best of any headset I’ve owned — where most headsets quickly become irritating for glasses wearers, the oval earcups of the Stealth 700 Gen 2 feel designed for those of us who need assistance to achieve visual clarity. It’s a fairly snug fit, but it doesn’t feel tight or too small, so there’s no inadvertent shifting as you move around, and I suspect that’s what keeps it from disturbing anything else affixed to your head.
That makes it nice and comfortable to wear for a lengthy online multiplayer sesh; so much so I have even started retracting the microphone, which automatically mutes, to use it as my primary audio source in single-player games. For you lucky sods blessed with perfect eyesight, there are probably even more comfortable options, but I’m yet to find anything that fits my head relatively well and doesn’t disturb my glasses.
Amongst its peers at AUD $249 (or $150 USD), the Stealth 700 Gen 2 is a headline act that sounds fantastic in full force with virtual surround sound. On the outside of the left earcup, the Stealth Gen 2 features physical dials to adjust the volume or game-to-chat ratio — which is ideal, because Xbox has annoying buried the soft-controls for these features recently. There is also a power and Bluetooth toggle, as well as a mode button. This can be reprogrammed, but by default switches to what someone in the marketing department proudly christened “superhuman hearing”.
This superhero extra attempts to give you a chance to mimic the uncanny ability of Lara Croft and Agent 47 to sense their enemies. Primarily intended for shooters, I found it isolated gunfire and footsteps in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War, making those far louder and muffling other sounds. It’s a nifty superpower, but even without the boost, I find it’s easier to pinpoint the direction of sounds with quality headphones. As the Stealth 700 sound so good in normal mode, I prefer to listen as the developers intended. I can achieve similar with my surround sound setup, but much to the displeasure of my significant other and neighbours three doors down. Like most auto enhancements, the superhuman mode certainly makes things sound different, and much louder across the board for some reason, but it doesn’t actually make it sound better. Best trialled and quickly forgotten.
While there are far higher quality headsets on the market, they attract a price that puts them out of reach for many, and frankly don’t provide bang for buck. For many of us, at a certain point the smaller increments in quality or features vs increase in dollars isn’t worth it. At the other end of the spectrum, sub AUD $200 wireless headsets tend to be fairly rubbish. I don’t see the point in spending so much on a powerful new console, and probably a fancy 4K TV, then slashing the budget for sound — especially for regulars in party chat. The Stealth 700 Gen 2 sits within the goldilocks middle ground, and is as good as anything else in this price range.
Bluetooth is a bonus for one size fits all operators, and the Stealth 700 Gen 2 is surprisingly adept for Spotify playback. Music sounds good, with more bass than most gaming sets offer, and will certainly do the job if you can’t muster the cash for something dedicated to your Xbox Series X/S or PS5, and need to share it amongst a phone or PC. Personally, I’m leaving the Stealth 700 (wirelessly) chained to my Xbox Series X, where it belongs.
The mic easily slides in and out of position on the lefthand side, and provides a decent quality for multiplayer chat. It’s a little shorter than some microphones, which allows it to covertly tuck away flush inside the earcup, rather than the body of the headset. The hard plastic can lock into one of two positions when engaged. That only gives you an option A or B as to how far it’s positioned from your dulcet tones. It lacks the fluidity of shapable microphones that are commonplace on many headsets, but I haven’t had any complaints.
Overall, the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 is a great headset in the price range most Xbox Series X or PS5 early adopters are looking. It solves the two biggest gripes I had with last-gen wireless audio — it pairs seamlessly with the Xbox pairing protocol like a controller, and the charge seems to actually last for the touted 20(ish) hours, so it isn’t flat every time I go to use it. Couple that with great sound and the ideal design for the bespectacled amongst us, and the Stealth 700 Gen 2 is the gaming headset that has finally convinced me to cut the wire for good.