Turtle Beach has been on the gaming headset scene for as long as I can remember. My first gaming headset was a Turtle Beach one, and I’ve used more than my fair share in the years since. However, in recent years, as new challengers in the gaming headset space have emerged, my time with the brand has diminished. So when I got the chance to check out the company’s XO Three headset, I was more than a little curious.
The XO Three is the most recent entry in the XO line of headsets, aimed at a more budget-conscious consumer.
Right out the box, the first thing you’ll notice is the construction. The headset is an almost entirely plastic build, save for the faux leather-wrapped cushioned headband and breathable, mesh earcups.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. While plastic, it still feels nice and sturdy, and the plastic doesn’t feel cheap and actually has a very nice textured feel to it. The plastic construction also helps to make them lighter than you’d expect when you pick them up, and the soft mesh earpieces were comfortable for my long sessions of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. That said, the cups aren’t especially large, and I can definitely see them being a problem if you have larger ears.
It’s worth noting, however, that although the headset feels sturdy and well made, I was able to cause some damage with a minor drop of no more than a foot when the headset fell off of a headphone stand, which resulted in a rattling noise in one of the earpieces, as if a piece of plastic was knocking around inside. The sound persisted for about a week before just stopping altogether, so it’s not a deal breaker by any means, but still a strange occurrence, especially given the headset’s build quality.
Construction is great and all, but a headset isn’t worth much if the audio quality is garbage, and to be honest I was quite surprised by the audio quality of the XO Three. The unit outputs impressive, beefy bass tones, the mids and highs are much better than expected, and the speakers get fairly loud, which has been an issue with a lot of the low-mid range gaming headsets I’ve tried in recent years.
As for the chat functionality, the detachable microphone is more than serviceable for in-game chat on Xbox Live or Discord if you want to take the time to finagle the settings on your PC. Granted, it’s still a gaming headset, so you’re not gonna want to record audio or use it for podcasting, but if you want to chat with friends in-game or on something like Discord of Skype, the XO Three has you more than covered. The microphone is also incredibly flexible and tends to stay in place better than other microphones of similar design.
Overall, the Turtle Beach XO Three is a headset that I liked way more than I ever would have expected going in. It’s comfortable, sounds good, and feels fairly premium and durable, despite it’s $70 price tag. That being said, it’s positioned in an interesting spot in the current market, now that gaming audio juggernaut Astro has a similarly priced headset on the market with it’s new A10.
Ultimately, I’d say it comes down to preference. If you want a more durable headset with more spacious earcups, slightly better sound but a microphone that’s less than ideal, go with the Astro A10. If you care more about comfort, chat audio, weight and need a detachable microphone, the XO Three is your best bet. Either way you’ll be walking away with a killer headset for the price.