Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 450 Review

Manufacturer: Turtle Beach
UK price (as reviewed):
£95.00 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $129.95 (ex Tax)

Having spent so long dominating the console headset market, Turtle Beach is starting to turn more of its focus to the PC market. Today, we're looking at the latest result of that focus, the Ear Force Stealth 450, which is the company's first wireless headset designed specifically for PC gamers. With a price tag just shy of £100, it already has our attention, as wireless gaming headsets can retail far in excess of this, and given that it also features a detachable microphone, Dolby DTS Headphone:X virtual 7.1 surround, onboard audio presets and microphone monitoring, it certainly looks like fairly good value for money.

Included with the headset is all you need to cut the cords from your gaming audio, namely a wireless USB transmitter and a micro-USB charging cable which plugs into the bottom of the right earcup. A full charge takes around three hours, after which battery life is rated at 15 hours – this is enough for a full day's gaming and impressive given that the Stealth 450 is also rather lightweight.

Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 450 Review Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 450 Review
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You also get a 3.5mm audio cable as the Stealth 450 is mobile compatible. Sadly, this hasn't been that well thought out as there's no in-line control included at all. Still, if you like to listen to music on the go it's a feature worth noting. However, you still have to turn the headset on to use it in this mode and thus eat into the battery life.

As to the headset itself, the build quality makes it sturdy enough for day to day use, but it's not outstanding and doesn't have a particularly premium look or feel about it. The important thing, however, is that nothing feels too wobbly or weak, and the locking mechanism on the height extension deserves praise as it's very robust.

Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 450 Review Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 450 Review
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Putting the Stealth 450 on for the first time, you immediately notice the high clamping force. This isn't especially comfortable, but thankfully the earcup padding is fairly soft to help balance this and the cups themselves are easy to adjust to the shape of your head. As such, while you will still feel the pressure of the headset you do get accustomed to it rather quickly – just don't expect Qpad QH-90 levels of comfort. Also note that the breathable foam earcups allow sound to pass through easily, so attenuation of external noise is fairly low and, likewise, sound won't be too hard for people nearby to hear when you're listening at medium to loud volume.

Setting up could hardly be easier – connect the USB dongle, wait briefly while the drivers install, then turn on the headset by holding down the logo on the left earcup and the two will pair almost immediately. The USB transmitter has a white light that breathes when the headset isn't connected or is switched off, and stays solid to indicate a successful connection. Likewise, the earcups logos flash white when they're unable to pair, and stay lit once the link is established. Turtle Beach says the headset is able to channel hop to avoid interference from other wireless signals in the vicinity. The range also proved to be very good, with sound clearly transmitted through a wall or even a floor (though not multiple).
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