Most helpful critical review
30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Good sound, new features, some annoyances
on May 13, 2013
These were intended to be an upgrade for me, from the XP300 to this, the XP51. While I believe Turtle Beach has managed to improve their offering with this model, I think there are a few things they missed. There are also some things that really annoy me.
I'm using these with an Xbox 360. Hooking these up to my 360 was easy. It supports optical-in, and obtains its power from a free 360 USB port, so the whole setup requires only two cables. The package includes additional cables and connectors so that you can use the headphones with other setups (PS3, PCs, portable players, etc.). The most important cable is the charging cable, which is long enough to use while connected, several feet from the console. For the Xbox 360, there is also the voice-chat adapter which connects to the headset adapter of the controller, and allows for a true wireless solution for 360 voice-chat.
First thing I don't like about these - charging them leaves the unit on all the time. They don't turn off when charging is complete. If you turn them off, and then plug them in to charge, the unit powers-on and stays on to charge. When they are powered-on for charging, they also activate the transmitter base, which means it is also on the entire time. I don't understand why this is necessary; it should be possible to charge the headset without it having to be on. I can only imagine it actually takes longer to charge them because they are simultaneously charging and draining because they are on. This is a big turn-off for me.
The second thing I don't like about these are the voice-samples that announce various modes. These are unnecessary sometimes, annoying at other times, and helpful at other times. For example, when you turn them on, a female voice announces "Powering on", which would be fine, except it is followed by a very obnoxious "BING!", much like the chime you would hear on an airplane. When you turn them off, the female voice says "Goodbye", but why it doesn't say "Powering off" confuses me -- the prompts are inconsistent. The most annoying voice announcement is the "Battery low" warning, in which the female voice says exactly that...approximately every 8 seconds. This is annoying because, unlike a traditional "beep" that has signified a low battery on previous models, hearing "battery low" spoken every 8 seconds will send you running to find the charging cable, because it really disrupts your enjoyment of a game...or music...or movie...or whatever it is you are doing with them.
The voice prompts are useful in announcing the various modes. There are several modes for "game", "movie", and "music", and hearing the mode announced in English with a number, instead of counting the number of beeps is welcomed. It actually makes it easy to confirm what mode you are using.
Compared to the XP300s, these are much lighter. I'm not sure how Turtle Beach managed to make them lighter, but they feel much lighter on my head, and are therefore much more comfortable to wear for a long duration. The drivers are the same size and they have similar features - it's probably just technology improving and overall weight has been reduced. I can wear them for many, many hours at a time with no discomfort.
From a sound-quality perspective, these are very similar to the XP300s. In other words, sound quality has not improved. I don't believe they have enough "punch" in the bass, but midrange, voices, and highs are well-defined. I basically turn them on, and leave them on the basic "game mode" setting. I've found that many of the other modes and presets modify the sound in ways that I don't like. For example, the bass becomes non-existent or very thin, or voices become over-pronounced. I also don't use the "synthesized" surround-sound because I believe it makes the sound "too thin" and tends to add an artificial echo that I just don't think is natural. These "do the job". Fortunately, there's no distortion, no interference, and the wireless signal is always good, even in my very WiFi-busy home. These don't let me walk more than 30 feet from my console, and trip to the kitchen to grab something results in the audio cutting-out completely. This has not changed over the XP300s I was already using.
These headphones also support Bluetooth wireless, which means you can sync the headphones to your phone, simultaneously while using them with wireless audio. This allows you to take voice calls on your phone while playing a game, a useful feature. What I really like, though, is that these allow you to sync Bluetooth audio from your phone, which allows you to listen to music from your phone, as an example. This is actually helpful, because the sound quality is quite decent for this purpose. Depending on your phone, you'll also get alerts through the headset, which means you can hear your email, text, and other alert sounds in the headset while you are playing a game, so you'll never miss another alert from your phone. The Bluetooth audio and the chat audio have separate volume controls, so you can adjust the Bluetooth/chat audio separately from the game volume.
In general, I like these. Moving from the XP300 to these was pretty seamless. However, the "voice" prompts get particularly annoying, and the inability to charge them without being able to power them down is a problem. I do feel these offer all the "bells and whistles" I've wanted in wireless headphones for quite some time, I just wish more time had been spent perfecting them.