One of the most recognisable names in the gaming headset arena, Turtle Beach sent me out a demo package, containing XO Three headset, officially licenced for the Xbox One.
Described as “a great addition to the mid-range line of products”, these range from £35 to £50 depending on where you look.
Are they worth the price? Do they fit into the mid-range?
Straight off the bat the XO Three headset looks like a gaming headset. If you were to ask someone to pick out what they imagined a gaming headset to look like, these would be picked out of the lineup.
That isn’t a bad thing, they’re clearly designed for a purpose, and that message is really strong. The black and green giving it that extra “Xbox” touch with a solid premium build.
These are chunky, but chunky is beautiful.
This headset is designed for gaming, so it’s designed to provide a decent stereo headset experience, right? Right. In fact, they’re designed to provide a surround sound experience.
As described in the press release information, this headset is mid-range, and much like other mid-range headsets I’ve reviewed, it lacks the depth and the heavier, bassier tones that you would expect to hear in any interactive entertainment.
However, for the little that it lacks, it gives so much more. I played Fortnite: Battle Royale, Destiny 2 and all of just Cause 3 in this headset, and let me tell you, those games come to life in these! The audio is absolutely critical in Fortnite: Battle Royale, if you can’t hear what’s going on, you’re screwed. In these, I was more immersed than I have ever been before.
The explosions, the distance, the whizzing-by bullets, everything was clear and bright, and it sounded wonderful.
The noise coming in from outside of the headset was minimal, which was a real treat. I had nothing external impacting my experience at all. My goodness did that leave me to sometimes jump out of my skin when being pounced on by the dog unexpectedly.
It’s one thing to be able to hear everything well, but in games that require co-operation, people also need to be able to hear you.
The detachable microphone had me a little nervous that I was going to get a repeat of the shocking Steelseries microphone I previously reviewed. Thankfully I was proven wrong, and not just by a little, but by a lot.
The mic itself is a standalone stalk that can be plugged in as-and-when required (great idea!), but it’s a pretty robust stalk that is both flexible and sturdy. It’s obviously been well considered, and I had no issues with it at all. It was easy to install and remove, and flexible enough to adjust accordingly.
My favourite part of trying this headset out was when I was asked to stop breathing so heavily down the mic. It sounds weird, but when I’d been plagued with a terrible mic before, this was doing it’s job and then some. I had it moved away to a reasonable distance, and then everything was fine.
No complaints that I couldn’t be heard, no “what?!” or “is he still here?”. It was excellent.
The XO Three is a super-solid headset, really well put together. There’s nothing about it you could call flimsy or redundant. It’s clearly been built to last, and to a pretty high standard which it makes using it that bit better. Not having to worry about it snapping or bending at the slightest touch. Great stuff.
The earpieces themselves are fabric covered which is a shame, as I like the leather cushioning as a preference, but the cups and the sponginess were really comfy, with plenty of space for my ears (pretty important, right?!).
With a solid headband, I expected a little discomfort, but thanks to the cushioning and the leather finish, it was never an issue.
As mentioned previously, the microphone is stellar and really well built. Detachable, robust and flexible. Really well suited to the task at hand.
I’d say the longest period of wearing them was perhaps 4 hours, and there was no discomfort during this time. Sure, they’re a little bulky, but they’re solid without being too heavy.
Wearing them mostly 1-2 hours at a time, they were barely noticeable and I didn’t experience any aches on my ears, or anything of the sort.
Possibly a little heavier that I expected, but that comes with them being so solid, and that little extra bit of weight never caused any kind of negative impact on my head, ears or neck.
The XO Three is pretty damn comfy!
This is a really easy one for me, no caveats, no nonsense. I’d recommend the XO Three headset to anyone with an Xbox One. It’s comfy, it sounds great, the mic is great, it looks really nice and it’s just a solid build.
If it took it up a notch and added that bass and treble, I’d be able to rate it as exceptional, but it’s just missing out on that little extra (hey it’s mid-range, so it’s not going to be perfect, right?!).
However it’s definitely at the high-end of our “recommended” award, to the point where I’m thinking about adding a “Highly Recommended” that sits in the grey area between “Exceptional” and “Recommended”. Nothing is so black and white, and this headset is so good it’s making me question how Ninja Refinery rate items. If that’s not a good enough recommendation, I don’t know what is!
Interested? Check Turtle Beach out on their website, and see what they have to offer (keep an eye out in the usual online stores for decent pricing!).