Picking the right headset is no easy task, although it may seem quite simple. There’s a huge range of products on the market to pick from, so many that it can be quite daunting trying to find the one that will best suits your needs, or your bank balance. The latest from Turtle Beach, the Recon 50, is targeted at the budget-friendly end of the market and with an RRP of just £29.99, it’s certainly going to appeal to a large part of the market. Obviously, that low price does mean it’s not going to be as amazing as some of the more expensive products on the market, but I am eager to see just how much you can get for such a small price tag.
“Experience the sleek, lightweight design and crystal clear audio of the Ear Force Recon 50 gaming headset. With 40mm Neodymium speakers and in-line controls, the Recon 50 conveniently places Mic Mute and Master Volume at your fingertips, and you can use the high-sensitivity adjustable boom mic for in-game and online chat, and then remove it when listening to music and watching movies. The Ear Force Recon 50 connects to virtually any PC, Mac and mobile/tablet device, and is also compatible with the PlayStation 4 controller, the new Xbox One controller with the 3.5mm headset jack, and other Xbox One controllers via the EAR FORCE Headset Audio Controller (sold separately).”
With powerful drivers, a detachable microphone, multi-format support, a lightweight design, and even a basic in-line controller, the Recon 50 isn’t exactly shy on the features you’re actually going to need. Let’s jump right in and take a closer look at what this headset has to offer.
The packaging is typical Turtle Beach, bright colours and a stylish picture of the headset, with a few of the main specs detailed down the side.
Around the back, we have more information detailing the 40mm drivers, mobile support and detachable microphone.
In the box, you’ll find the headset (obviously), as well as a quick start guide, detachable boom microphone and a 3.5mm 4-pole to dual 3.5mm 3-pole adapter cable.
The Recon 50 comes hard-wired, making it plug and play ready with most devices, including mobile. Just remember that you’ll need the adapter cable (see above) to use the microphone and audio on PC.
What is a little worrying is that the cable is quite thin, especially the part that goes from each driver to the in-line controller. They’re no thicker than most in-ear headphone cables and while they’re going to do the job just fine, extra care should be taken as they could be a little more prone to breaking if you’re a bit rough with them. The in-line controller is a bit basic, but it does have a master volume control and a microphone mute switch, so it’s certainly a welcome addition to the setup.
At first glance, the headset looks to follow the design of most other Turtle Beach headsets. It still has that oval ear cup shape and mounting system, as well as a semi-open back design. However, a few things are slightly different, such as some cheaper materials being used, which is no doubt a requirement for the price to be brought down lower.
The headband is quite thin and while there is an extension slider on each side, the interior components are also plastic. They’ll do the job, but I’d be careful not to sit on your headset any time soon.
On the bottom edge of the headset, there’s a jack socket for the boom microphone. I do like that the microphone is detachable, as it means the headset can double up as headphones for mobile devices.
The ear cups fold inwards, which is great for when you’re wearing the headset around your neck between games.
There’s a good amount of padding on the ear cups, which does provide a snug fit while the leather coverings help block a lot of external noise. They’re a little uncomfortable at first, but as it often the case with this type of padding, it takes time to wear-in to the user. The 40mm drivers in this headset are quite surprising, they’re quite powerful at max volume, have a good amount of base and bright and clear treble. There could ideally be a little more punch to the mid-ranges, but for gaming, watching movies and listening to music, they sound on par or above most headsets in this price range.
The headband on the Recon 50 is quite thin, with a grippy rubber coating on the top and a little bit of Turtle Beach branding.
There’s minimal padding on the interior, with a rubber grip coating. This isn’t great for comfort, but the headset is lightweight, so you can get away with it. The main issue is that the red rubber coating grips your hair, sure it keeps the headset in place, but trying to adjust the headset during use can feel a little uncomfortable.
The microphone boom isn’t the most flexible, but you can bend it a bit to get a more ideal speaking position. Much like the drivers, I was pleasantly surprised by the microphone performance. It’s bright and clear with no distortion and at this price, that’s more than enough to make me happy.
The Turtle Beach Ear Force Recon 50 Gaming Headset can be found at most major retailers without too much trouble, or you can purchase the headset directed from Turtle Beach for a very reasonable £29.99.
I must admit that I wasn’t particularly fond of this headset when I first took it out of the box. It’s designed to be a cheaper and affordable headset and it’s exactly that. It’s not going to blow us away with precision engineering, or topple the high-end Turtle Beach hardware anytime soon, but that’s OK, it doesn’t have to. What this headset has to do is offer the best performance possible for the lowest amount of money possible and it does exactly that.
The build quality isn’t the best, but there are few (if any) headsets in the sub £30 ranges that have great build quality anyway, so it’s fair to say that the Recon 50 is about on par with the competition in this area. What I do like, however, is that the Recon 50 still features many of the style points of the more expensive Turtle Beach products, with a similar ear-cup design, detachable microphone, two-tone colouring and in-line controller.
The sound quality is fantastic, a clear indication of why Turtle Beach focused on the affordable design, as they didn’t sacrifice sound quality and that’s no bad thing. Sure, I can find a better build headset for the same money, but it likely won’t sound as good. If you want great build quality and great sound, you’re going to have to pay £50+ to get it.
If I could change two things about this headset, however, it would be slightly thicker/more durable cables from the drivers to the in-line controller and a little more padding on the headband as these additions shouldn’t add much to the overall cost of the headset.
- Great sound quality
- Good microphone performance
- Detachable microphone
- Works on multiple devices
- Lightweight design
- In-line controller
- Affordable price
- Thin cables
- Thin padding on headband
- Plastic extensions on headband
“The Turtle Beach Ear Force Recon 50 offers excellent value for money, it may not be the most durable headset in the world, but it has got great performance. If you’re on a tight budget and want to get stuck into some great gaming action, it’s certainly worth considering.”