Let’s face it… the headset included with the Xbox 360 leaves a lot to be desired, which is why third-party companies come along and release their own products that aim to blow it away. We are taking a look at one such headset today, in the form of the Turtle Beach X3, and answer the question of whether or not it’s worth its ~$90 price tag.
One of the chief issues with new headphones is the way they fit to a wearer’s head. In this case, the armbands extend a great deal to encompass anyone’s head, and don’t feel tight in the slightest. Unfortunately, that’s where most of the praise ends.
There is a small amount of noise when the headset is turned on, but it is barely audible when a game is playing, or someone is talking in-game. But, that’s only assuming you can get a signal. If the headset doesn’t have a line of sight with the receiver, all you will hear is noise, and that doesn’t help much when you’re depending on the sound to guide you. At best, reception seems to be a hit or miss, but the manual recommends to stay between 2′ and 20′ for the best results.
Wireless headphones traditionally don’t have the best audio quality, and I’ve yet to find one that does do fairly well, if not decent at all. With that said, if you’re looking for an audiophile experience or something that will rattle your skull with bass (even with the bass boast enabled), stick with a decent stereo or surround sound setup.
Thankfully, the microphone quality is world better than the standard headset, but given the quality over Xbox Live, you would be hard-pressed to notice. When it’s connected to the controller, the sound coming out of your voice is much clearer and easier to understand. Still, given the design and the obvious faults in audio quality, the headset is still tough to recommend.
On the whole, the X3 is a device that suffers from technical limitations, and tried to be something that isn’t suited for the console. If you want to game with headphones on to avoid disturbing others, there isn’t really another solution for the problem. Using standard headphones is cumbersome, and nothing would effectively allow you to chat while playing, unless another microphone or headset was connected, but not worn by the mouth.
If it weren’t for the spotty reception, I would say the product is worth trying, if it can be returned. Since success seems to be a hit of miss, I wouldn’t implore anyone to bother unless you have an absolute need for a product like this. Until then, there’s always the low-tech solution: close the door.
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