Turtle Beach Recon 200 Review: Solid as a rock

Recon 200

For a hundred dollar gaming headset, the Turtle Beach Ear Force Recon 200 represents pretty solid value for money. I’ve had an up-and-down experience with Turtle Beach’s headsets over the years but with the Recon 200, it looks like it may have turned over a new leaf.

Strong hold

The moment you put the Recon 200 on you’ll notice the way it clamps down over your ears. These cans have the kind of vice-like grip one might associate with a pair of noise-canceling headphones. They are, obviously, not noise-canceling cans.

What the Recon 200 does have are some very nice faux-leather cups that soften its firm hold on your skull. Their strong grip also creates a bit of a seal around the ear that prevents any substantial audio bleed. They do run a little hot during longer play sessions, but that’s always the trade-off with cups of this kind. The rule of thumb here is that cloth cups are cooler and (I personally think) more comfortable, but they are permeable which promotes audio bleed. Leather/faux-leather cups have a luxe look and feel, but are less permeable which creates a little seal around your ear.

Noisy boy

Speaking of sound, the Recon 200’s aren’t too shabby. Considering their price range, I was fairly impressed with their performance. The soundscape was deeper than expected, and the surround worked well without being full positional audio. The bass was big but didn’t overwhelm all other sound. The higher range audio was crisp but not overly so. If I have a complaint its that these headphones are capable of getting very loud. My recommendation is to leave them on 3/4 volume or lower as any higher might hurt your hearing over longer play sessions.

The reason the Recon 200 runs loud is that it features powered amplification right in the headset. An internal battery powers the amp, which in turn generates truly stratospheric volume. You’ll need to charge it with the included micro-USB cable if you want to take advantage of this feature.

Outer shell

The shell of the headphones is hard plastic. I found it to be quite durable, and it should survive all but the most mean spirited of drops to the floor. The headband contains a metal band that creates some flex in the overall structure. The benefit of relying on a plastic shell is that it allows for a more lightweight assembly. The lighter I can get my gaming headsets the better, which, for me, is a big tick in this headset’s favour. The trouble with a plastic build is that it can make your headset feel cheap. The Recon 200 can’t quite escape that, but the luxe ear cups do go a long way to ameliorating that feeling.

One of the big box features on the Recon 200 is that it is platform agnostic. This is actually extremely cool. The device will work with your PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch or PC via an attached 3.5mm audio cable. All you have to do is move an in-line switch to select your platform and the headset will automatically connect.

Final thoughts

The Turtle Beach Ear Force Recon 200 makes a very strong argument for itself in the Under $100 category. Solid build quality, solid sound and decent features at a reasonable price. It won’t blow your mind, but it also doesn’t get much easier to recommend than that. Just make sure you’re responsible with that volume slider.

Highlights: Solid sound; Solid build quality; Solid features
Lowlights: Volume levels are a bit concerning, especially for kids
Manufacturer: Turtle Beach
Price: $99 AUD
Available: Now
Website: au.turtlebeach.com

Review conducted on a retail pair of Recon 200’s provided by the manufacturer.

David Smith

David Smith is the former games and technology editor at The AU Review. He has previously written for PC World Australia. You can find him on Twitter at @RhunWords.