Turtle Beach is well known for producing gaming headphones, but the company just introduced its first controller, the Recon, for use with the Xbox Series X / S, Xbox One, and PC. Turtle Beach is based in San Diego, California. It’s a $59.99 wired controller that comes in either black or white and doesn’t feel all that different from Microsoft’s wireless controller in terms of functionality. In the end, what little it does alter in terms of design is a success, and I’ll go into more detail about that soon. But I’d like to start with Recon’s most compelling feature: its ability to be customized.
Using the 3.5mm headphone port on the Recon’s top panel of buttons you may make a variety of adjustments to your game and chat audio, as well as your microphone when you connect headphones to the device. There are four equalization settings to select from, ranging from a sound that emphasizes the bass to one that is dominated by the treble. Mic monitoring may be changed, and you can choose to have more of your speech come through in your headphones if they have a built-in microphone, or you can completely turn off the microphone.
Really Good Stuff
- It adds headset functionality to any wired headphones that include a microphone.
- High-quality construction
Stuff That Isn’t Good
- There is a significant learning curve associated with the customizing options.
- The controller isn’t the most visually appealing.
The Recon also has two volume control knobs, one on each side, that allow you to separately change the game audio and the conversation level. Please note that the chat mix feature is only available on Xbox platforms and not on PCs. Turtle Beach also included a “Superhuman Hearing” button, which is a trademark feature from their headset range that highlights difficult-to-hear noises such as footsteps, doors opening, and other important sounds that may help you get a jump on the competition by alerting you to their presence.
It essentially converts controller functions that were previously only available on gaming headsets, reducing the barrier to entry for how many gaming peripherals you need. Although these capabilities are fantastic, patience and experience will be required to master the clunky button arrangement that allows them, as well as the other features discussed further down this page. It seems that everything is functioning as planned, but you will need to have the instruction booklet close by.
In addition to analog stick movement, these two rear buttons may be assigned to any other input.
In addition to allowing you to change the music, the aforementioned buttons also allow you to make a number of modifications to the way the controller operates itself. In addition to analog stick movement, the Recon allows you to map any function from the controller to one of two macro buttons situated below the controller grips. The final feature is called Pro-Aim, and it allows you to choose between four different degrees of slowed-down sensitivity for the right-hand stick while playing online. As soon as you activate the setting and cycle through the choices to find your desired degree of sensitivity, pressing and holding the rear right macro button will decrease the stick’s movement speed correspondingly, making it perhaps simpler to line up your shots compared to using the default setting. However, since it is designed to operate exclusively on the right rear button, it will override any custom functions that you may have given to the same button before.
With the exception of the rear buttons, the Recon feels very similar to the Microsoft Xbox controller that launched with the Xbox Series X and S consoles. It features rubber-coated grips, and I particularly enjoy the fact that its shoulder buttons are entirely covered in little raised dots, which makes them less slippery to the touch. (These are also present on the Microsoft controller, but they cover a lesser surface area on the buttons.) Turtle Beach provides a braided cable that is 10 feet in length, so it should be compatible with the majority of entertainment center configurations.
Once again, when compared to Microsoft’s newest controller, the Recon controller’s face buttons and triggers need a comparable level of effort to be pressed into action. The sticks on the Recon need a little more effort to be inserted. Also included is an eight-way D-pad, which will be a significant upgrade if you’re still using the older Xbox wireless controller from the days of the Xbox One. If you don’t utilize Microsoft’s new controller, you won’t notice much of a change in your gaming experience.
One last point to mention: this controller is compatible with rumble on Xbox platforms, however PC compatibility for rumble is very limited. When I played Death Stranding and Streets of Rage 4, the Recon provided excellent rumble feedback, but when I attempted other games, the Recon failed to provide the same results.
This controller isn’t for you if you already own a wireless controller as well as a wireless headset that you like. More specifically, it is intended for individuals who currently possess a pair of headphones that they like and who want to expand their capabilities without spending more money than they have to. While Turtle Beach’s implementation of its numerous customization options is less-than-perfect in terms of how to get them, I’m still grateful that those features are available in a $59.99 controller.