Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 wireless gaming headset review
Quick verdict: Decent audio quality and a reasonable price make the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 worth a look, but its limited inter-platform compatibility and budget build quality leave something to be desired.
- Cross-generational compatibility
- Decent audio quality
- Reasonably priced for a wireless console headset
- Feels like a budget headset
- Exhibits intermittent connectivity issues
- Limited compatibility beyond single platform ecosystem
With the launch of a new generation of video game consoles, cross-generational compatibility has become a popular talking point. Will all the accessories you've bought – or are looking to buy – for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One work on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S?
Turtle Beach has moved fast to assuage concerns by releasing the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 wireless gaming headset, boasting compatibility with both generations of console hardware. Like its predecessor, the original Turtle Beach Stealth 600, the headset comes in two variants: one that works with the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, and one that supports both the Xbox One and the Xbox Series X|S consoles.
I've spent a good chunk of time testing the Xbox version with the Xbox One X, while fellow Finder colleague Chris Stead has given it a go with the Xbox Series X. Read on for our thoughts.
- Redesigned ear cups offer a snug fit that doesn't slip
- Plastic construction makes it feel like a budget headset
- Redesigned flip-to-mute mic is a nice improvement
The Stealth 600 Gen 2 doesn't stray too far from the design of its predecessor. Available in black or white colour options, it looks much like your typical gaming headset. Turtle Beach has avoided the industrial-looking metal mesh and "aerodynamic" fins that you get from some headset manufacturers, which I appreciate – ostentatious peripherals have never been my style.
Most Turtle Beach products tend to fall in the budget and mid-range price points, and it's immediately clear that the Stealth 600 Gen 2 continues this trend. The exterior of the headset is completely plastic, and it's not of a particularly high quality. There are a lot of sharp edges, especially when you extend the adjustable headband, and it wouldn't be hard to cut yourself if you're not careful. To be blunt, the headset feels a little cheap. It's not flimsy, per se, but it isn't particularly resilient either.
Turtle Beach has redesigned the ear cups on the Stealth 600 Gen 2, promising a more comfortable fit over extended gaming sessions thanks to their asymmetric shape and the breathable fabric of their ear cushions. While the headset is quite snug, I found its clamping pressure to be higher than I'd like. Even after adjusting the headband as wide as it would go, I couldn't forget it was there the same way I can with, say, the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro. It was never outright uncomfortable, but folks with larger heads might want to try before they buy.
On a more positive note, the Stealth 600 Gen 2 caters to folks who wear glasses by featuring two different types of foam in its ear cushions. The parts of the cushion that rest against glasses' arms are softer than the rest, reducing the amount of pressure and ideally making for a more natural fit. Both ear cups are able to rotate 90 degrees inward as well, resting comfortably around your neck when not in use.
Like most wireless headsets, the Stealth 600 Gen 2 houses an array of playback controls on the underside of its left ear cup. Along with a power button, sync button and USB-C port for charging, it includes not one but two volume dials: one for regular game audio and the other specifically for chat audio. There's also a mode button that lets you cycle through four preset audio profiles on the fly.
The other notable design change from the original Stealth 600 is the flip-up microphone. While it's still non-detachable, Turtle Beach has more seamlessly integrated it into the headset. When folded up, it sits within a groove in the left ear cup, out of sight and far less likely to snag on clothing or other objects than the exposed mic on its predecessor.
- Decent audio quality
- Windows Sonic delivers a solid virtual surround sound experience
- Wireless connectivity issues are an infrequent but disappointing disruption
While the build quality of the Stealth 600 Gen 2 won't blow you away, its audio chops are more impressive. The 50mm drivers produce strong sound with sharp highs and powerful lows. Vocals come in clear and crisp, and the audio retains clarity as different channels and frequencies compete with each other.
In Gears 5, the Talon autopistol rattles fiercely as explosions resound with a satisfying crunch. Auto rifle rounds punch the air in Destiny 2, climaxing with the tinkle of fallen loot hitting the ground. Doom Eternal rips and tears with the bassy thump thump thump of its Heavy Cannon. Everything sounds appropriately big and beefy, delivering a solid audio experience across multiple games.
Like a lot of wireless headsets, volume output is decent but not skull-pounding. Folks who enjoy blasting the volume for maximum impact may be left wanting. On the plus side, the headset exhibits no peaking with the audio maxed out.
Stereo headsets used with the Xbox One gain access to Windows Sonic, Microsoft's custom surround sound implementation. This pairs quite well with the Stealth 600 Gen 2, producing an effective illusion of positional audio that both heightens spatial awareness and adds to the sense that you're occupying a physical space.
While not as accurate as technologies like THX Spatial Audio, the Windows Sonic implementation here makes it easy to pinpoint and track audio cues in 3D space. In Destiny 2, for instance, I was able to locate a hidden loot chest within seconds of hearing its attraction tone. Similarly, the sounds of approaching enemies in Gears 5 accurately communicated their location, preventing them from getting the drop on me.
Unfortunately, the performance conversation isn't all positive. I experienced intermittent connectivity issues while testing the Stealth 600 Gen 2, with hiccups in the wireless connection manifesting as pops and hitches in the audio. Though infrequent, these hiccups occurred often enough to disrupt my immersion in games like Destiny 2 and Gears 5. Sometimes I could play for a full hour with no interruptions; other times I'd get popping every few minutes. This occurred even though I was sitting less than a metre from my Xbox, with direct line of sight between the console and the headset.
Interestingly, my colleague Chris Stead did not experience these issues when testing the headset on his Xbox Series X. Whether this is due to my living-room set-up (which hasn't caused issues with other wireless headsets before) or my Xbox One X, it is nevertheless worth keeping in mind if you're considering the Stealth 600 Gen 2.
Battery life on the Stealth 600 Gen 2 is decent at 15 hours, though it's worth noting that many competing headsets offer 20 hours or more these days. Charging is via USB-C so it's relatively fast. The cable included with the headset is only 70cm long, so you'll likely need a separate cable if you want to minimise downtime by charging up while you play.
- Built-in audio presets offer more customisation than many console headsets
- Independent chat volume control is handy
- Compatibility is very limited outside of the same console ecosystem
Console headsets typically trade a wealth of features for plug-and-play simplicity. While this holds true for the Stealth 600 Gen 2, it manages to offer more versatility than many of its competitors.
To start with, pairing the Stealth 600 Gen 2 is a breeze. You hit the sync button on your Xbox, then hit the sync button on the headset and seconds later you're connected. No cables or messy pairing codes required.
Since consoles don't support dedicated audio apps like on PC, Turtle Beach has baked in four audio presets you can switch between with a press of the Mode button on the underside of the left ear cup. The four presets are "Signature Sound", "Bass Boost", "Bass + Treble Boost" and "Vocal Boost". Three of those should be fairly self-explanatory, while Signature Sound offers what I found to be the best balance of highs, mids and lows.
Like a lot of Turtle Beach headsets, the Stealth 600 Gen 2 supports a "Superhuman Hearing" mode activated by tapping the power button. This mode amplifies quieter sounds like distant footsteps and subtle weapon noises so that they don't get lost in the audio mix. For competitive players, this could provide a slight edge by improving spatial awareness, but it comes at a steep cost to audio quality. When active, everything sounds tinny and lacks bass. For regular play, the trade-off isn't really worth it.
There's no mute button for the microphone on the Stealth 600 Gen 2; instead, you simply flip the mic up to silence it. It supports mic monitoring, too, with your own voice piped back through the headset so you can hear how loud you are in the overall mix. And speaking of the audio mix, you can adjust the volume of chat audio separate from the game audio thanks to the two dedicated volume dials on the left ear cup.
Though cross-generation compatibility is one of the Stealth 600 Gen 2's big selling points, its compatibility beyond that is somewhat lacking. The Xbox version of the headset can work on PC, but only if you purchase a separate Xbox wireless adapter or happen to own one of the very few PCs that offers built-in Xbox Wireless connectivity. The PS4 version, meanwhile, is only compatible outside of the PlayStation ecosystem with Nintendo Switch, and even then only when the system is docked.
Should you buy the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2?
- Buy it if you're after a reasonably priced wireless headset you can use on current- and next-generation consoles within the same platform ecosystem
- Don't buy it if you want a high-end audio experience for the next generation
While it's prominently marketed as a next-generation headset, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 doesn't offer a whole lot to differentiate itself from the many console headsets already on the market.
Both Xbox and PlayStation have already confirmed that the majority of existing headsets for Xbox One and PS4 will work on the Xbox Series X|S and PS5, so the Stealth 600 Gen 2 doesn't have much of an advantage there. Its audio quality is decent but nothing spectacular, while its plastic construction feels like a budget product.
It is slightly cheaper than other wireless console headsets, though, so if you're gaming on a budget, there's reason to consider the Stealth 600 Gen 2.