Turtle Beach Recon controller review: even more control

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    Turtle Beach is primarily known for making gaming headsets, but it recently launched its first controller called Recon for the Xbox Series X / S, Xbox One and PC. It’s a $ 59.99 wired model available in black or white that doesn’t feel that different from Microsoft’s wireless controller. How little it changes in terms of design is ultimately successful and I will get into all of that soon. But I will first focus on Recon’s killer function: customization.

    When you connect headphones to its 3.5mm headphone jack, the buttons at the top of the Recon can be used to make a variety of changes to your game and chat sound as well as your microphone. You can choose from four equalizer presets, ranging from focusing more on bass to a treble-dominated sound. Microphone monitoring can be adjusted, and you can choose to let more of your voice through in your headphones if you want, if they have a built-in microphone, or you can turn off the microphone completely.

    Recon also lets you adjust gameplay and chat volume independently with two rockers, one on each side. (Note: the chat mix feature only works on Xbox consoles, not PCs.) Turtle Beach even added a “Superhuman Hearing” button — a signature feature from its headset range that emphasizes easy-to-miss sounds. such as footprints, door openers, and other key sounds that can help you sense ahead of the competition.

    In essence, Recon brings must-have headset features to a controller, which lowers the entry barrier for how many gaming accessories you need. It’s great and all, but you need patience and practice to conquer the inelegant button layout that enables these features and the others mentioned below. Everything works as intended, but you must keep the operating instructions within reach.

    Turtle Beach Recon controller
    These two rear buttons can be attached to any input outside of analog stick movement.

    In addition to customizing the sound, the aforementioned buttons also allow you to make several adjustments to how the controller, well, controls. With Recon, you can map any function from the controller (except analog stick movement) to one of two macro buttons located behind the controller grip. The last feature is called Pro-Aim, which lets you switch between four levels of slower sensitivity for the right hand. When you activate the setting and switch between the options to find your preferred sensitivity level, holding down the rear right macro button slows the movement speed of the stick accordingly, potentially making it easier to align your shots. It works great even though it is only programmed to work on the right rear button, so it overwrites a custom function if you have assigned one to the same button.

    Back buttons aside, Recon feels like the Microsoft Xbox controller that debuted with Xbox Series X / S consoles. This wired version has rubber coated handles and I really like that the shoulder buttons are completely covered by small swollen dots that make them less slippery. (Microsoft’s controller also has these, but they cover a smaller surface area on the buttons.) Turtle Beach includes a long 10-foot braided cable, so it should work with most entertainment center events.

    Turtle Beach Recon controller
    It’s a small touch, but I like that Turtle Beach completely covered the shoulder buttons in swollen bumps for extra grip.

    Compared again to Microsoft’s latest controller, the Recon controller’s face buttons and triggers require a similar amount of power to press. Recon’s sticks require a little more force to click into. There’s also an eight-way d-pad that will feel like a big improvement if you still use the older Xbox wireless controller that was made during the Xbox One days. Otherwise, you will not notice the big difference if you have used Microsoft’s new controller.

    One last note: this controller supports the rumble on Xbox consoles, but PC support for rumble is very spotty. Recon worked fine on my PC with Death Stranding and Streets of Rage 4, but other titles I tried did not give rumble feedback.

    If you already have a wireless controller and a wireless headset that you like, the Recon controller is not really for you. It is more intended for people who already own a set of headphones that they like and want to expand its capabilities without spending more than they need. Despite Turtle Beach’s less than perfect workmanship with how to access its many customization features, I’m still happy that these features are available in a $ 59.99 controller.

    Photograph by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge

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