The Turtle Beach Stealth 500 wireless gaming headset makes for one of the best affordable options on the market

With such a wide range of gaming headsets available these days, each with its own unique features and fits, it can be hard to make the right choice. For those who wish to get the best bang for their buck, the choice becomes a little easier. The Turtle Beach Stealth 500 wireless gaming headset swoops in at A$139, providing a comfortable fit and decent sound quality. If that wasn’t enough, you’ll also get access to the Swarm II app for added customisation via presets, helping it stack up to its higher competitors in some of the more important and popular aspects.

It’s also worth noting here that we’re reviewing the Stealth 500X, which is made predominately for Xbox consoles. PlayStation and PC-specific versions are also available.


In terms of design, the Stealth 500 packs in a fair bit for its price tag. Its plastic casing is to be expected, but the memory foam earcups and floating elastic headband make this incredibly comfortable to wear, even after longer sessions. The earcups themselves are also a little larger than normal. While it might be worth keeping in mind, they actually fit my later ears perfectly and helped with overall noise isolation quite well. The only downside here is that they can trap a little heat with this snug fit.

Around the left-hand side, you’ll find everything crammed in with a fair few buttons and dials, which can admittedly be a little confusing at first. You’ll find a dedicated power button and USB-C charging port, along with a Mode button, which allows you to instantly swap between one of four Turtle Beach EQ presets, a Bluetooth button for pairing and a Quick Switch button which allows you to switch between 2.4 GHz and Bluetooth connections as you need them.

You’ll also find your microphone on this earcup, which can be pulled down to use and lifted out of sight when not in use, which also automatically mutes it. I find it a little strange that muting the microphone makes the included 2.4 GHz dongle flash red, which keeps tricking me into thinking something is wrong with the headset. But at this point, I digress.

Finally, the headset also includes two scroll wheels, one of which controls the overall volume level, and one which controls the balance between game and chat audio. It’s a nice addition, but I simply found myself getting confused between not only the two wheels but also the location of each button. The power button might be a circular shape compared to the other squared buttons, but it doesn’t make it much easier.

Overall, while the button layout feels a little cramped, the Stealth 500 is super comfortable and ultra light weight, making it an easy recommendation for longer gaming sessions.

Sound & Functionality

Generally, the Stealth 500 sounds quite good. The standard ‘Signature Sound’ preset does make things feel a little tinny as it tries its best to balance the lows and highs, but it’s certainly clean and serviceable at this price. The 40mm drivers are what we’ve come to expect out of most headsets, even at this price, but I recommend heading over to the Swarm II app on Windows or via your preferred app store, to mess around with one of the four presets to find out what works best for you.

I went straight to the ‘Bass and Treble Boost’ preset, which I found pumped out way more bass, without really sacrificing the highs at all. There is a fair increase in bass levels, so I can understand the choice to make the ‘Signature Sound’ preset the standard, but I was genuinely surprised to see just how much this elevated both gaming and everyday listening in all the right ways. I will say though, that when things get chaotic, the highs can catch a little distortion, but these moments were few and far between for me personally.

Like other Turtle Beach headsets, the Stealth 500 also includes ‘Superhuman Hearing’ which works to boost specific audio cues like footsteps and gunfire, or really any critical sounds depending on the game of choice. I tested this out with Halo Infinite and found that it did indeed boost the sound of nearby gunfire and footsteps. But I also found that it intentionally compromises the overall soundstage to make this work, making anything else sound rather muddy, flat or even muted. While this is most certainly aimed at multiplayer experiences where other cues like music or dialogue might not matter as much, it’s certainly not for everything.

The microphone quality is also decent, and the flip-to-mute functionality is easy to get the hang of. The Omni-Directional microphone picks up audio from various angles and while it might seem strange to add such a feature when you’re only chatting into it from one direction, it does help with general clarity and sharpness. It won’t block out any background noise very well though, so it’s worth assessing your gaming situation when in use, or even heading to the Swarm II app to reduce its sensitivity.

In terms of battery life, the Stealth 500 is also super impressive. Up to 40 hours of battery life is a real surprise in a headset of this price range, complete with USB-C fast charging. While I can imagine certain bass-heavy presets might drain this a little more than usual, I’ve been using this for a couple of weeks now and was only at 60% before charging it for this review. I’ve spent a few hours with each preset and haven’t felt that one drains the headset more significantly than the other.


The Turtle Beach Swarm II app allows users to further customise their sound and microphone settings. Settings are also adjusted on the fly while connected to the app, and the app itself is admittedly minimal but incredibly easy to navigate with tabs located at the bottom of the screen. You can choose from four default EQ presets and turn on and adjust the level of Superhuman Hearing to your liking.

You can also adjust the microphone sensitivity and even fine-tune the LED brightness of the 2.4 GHz transmitter, which if you’re like me, you will utilise to lower that pulsing red light when the microphone is on mute.

While there’s not really much else to mess around with, I can appreciate the inclusion of such software, even if it’s a little annoying that Turtle Beach uses multiple apps depending on the headset you’re using.

Verdict & Value

Overall, the Turtle Beach Stealth 500 wireless gaming headset provides some incredible value for money. Its comfortable fit and solid sound design are only bolstered by the impressive battery life and Swarm II app customisation. While the slightly larger and bulkier fit is suited to larger ears like mine, its ultra-lightweight design makes it incredibly approachable for longer gaming sessions.

I do wish the onboard controls were a little less cramped, but it’s really hard to argue with the amount Turtle Beach has managed to provide for A$139.


Highlights: Comfortable and lightweight; Decent sound quality; Great battery life; Swarm II app customisation
Lowlights: Cramped onboard controls; Runs a little larger for smaller heads and ears
Manufacturer: Turtle Beach
Price: A$139
Available: Now

Review based on unit supplied by Turtle Beach and is now available via their official website.

Matthew Arcari

Matthew Arcari is the games and technology editor at The AU Review. You can find him on Twitter at @sirchunkee, or at the Dagobah System, chilling with Luke and Yoda.