Turtle Beach Stealth 600 review: Wireless for less
Don't let this Stealth headset slip under your radar.
- Balanced audio across lows, mids and highs
- Decent directional audio
- Affordable wireless
- Fabric cups
- Awkward headband positioning
- Fixed mic
Turtle Beach cans have long been considered the go-to option for everyday gaming headsets. The Turtle Beach Stealth range doesn't disappoint but in terms of comfort and flexibility, its Stealth 600 option doesn't meet the competition.
After the luxurious privilege of having my head tenderly caressed by the HyperX Cloud Alpha (and later the Cloud Flight), the Stealth 600 felt a little stuffy and harsh. While its cups fit a little closer to the ear, they're nowhere near breathable as the Cloud Flight and while some might favour the mesh fabric cups, I found them a little irritating after a long session. The headband is also positioned a little awkwardly towards the back of your crown, so it feels like it could slip off if it weren't for the cups' tight grip on your cranium.
With that said, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 sounds fantastic. It's sold in two forms for competing consoles: A headset with green highlights for Xbox One and one with blue for PlayStation 4. For this review, we tested the PlayStation 4 but the only difference is the PlayStation 4 requires the USB dongle whereas the Xbox One version doesn't (the flip-side of this is that an Xbox One Wireless Adapter is required to use the Xbox One version on PC). I found that the PlayStation 4 version offered significantly better sound on console than the HyperX Cloud Alpha, which is a huge argument for the Stealth 600 at its price range.
The Stealth 600 gives you the option of stereo and virtual and even touts a "Superhuman hearing" button that supposedly boosts softer sounds like footsteps and bushes rustling that are more important in competitive games. I flicked the Superhuman hearing on in PUBG for giggles and noticed a slight uptick in lower sounds, but it didn't have enough of an impact to keep me coming back. Which is fine. With Superhuman Hearing switched off (and in stereo or surround) the Stealth 600's sound is clear and consistent.
The rattle of gunfire in PUBG was crystal clear, while the glass-shattering sound effects of Superhot sounded crisper than ever. It also plays music just fine, better than my old set of Beats sitting at my desk (which I scored as a freebie with my phone plan, so don't judge) but for the most part, I would switch back to my punchy Razer Hammerhead USB-C earbuds when I was switching over to Spotify for the sheer convenience.
Like its pricier option, the Stealth 700, the 600 boasts rigid black cups with blue or green accents (depending on your choice of console). The straight extendable arms look a little dorky in my opinion (compared to something that slides up into the headband) and the headband sits strangely to the back of your crown. With that said, you will be stretched to find a better wireless option at this price point. I've never felt more confident popping off to the kitchen in between rounds of Overwatch before donning the Stealth 600.
The Stealth 600 also has some of the most conveniently placed controls right there on the cup: You've got two wheels for audio and mic volume, and three large textured silicon buttons for power, Bluetooth and Superhuman Hearing.
I'm not a big fan of the fabric cups, but that's almost a personal preference. If you're like me, you're going to sweat it up either which way, I just feel better knowing I can wipe down leather after a few tense rounds.
The Stealth 600 offers the best audio I've personally tested below the $200 mark, bar the slightly more expensive HyperX Cloud Revolver. The stereo and virtual surround options both sing, but I preferred surround over stereo for games where directional audio mattered most. The Superhuman hearing perk definitely give something of an edge to lower sounds, but it's not significant enough to force you to remember to switch it on.
I tested the Stealth 600 in Overwatch, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Fortnite and Destiny 2. The Stealth 600's virtual surround sound is absolutely your friend in Fortnite and Battlegrounds. I was pretty blown away that I could more or less pinpoint a creeping enemy's position on such an affordable headset.
As I mentioned, some may opt to use the Superhuman Hearing feature in games like this where boosted lows matter, but I preferred to keep the lows balanced tidily with the mids and highs using the 600's standard surround option. Especially in games like Overwatch with loud, fun soundstages, character quips and the wide variety of gunshots, rocket barrages and high-pitched energy beams.
The Stealth 600's mic is serviceable at best. I do like that it feeds the audio from the mic back to the user and I had no complaints from my teammates in Destiny 2. However, its design leaves a lot to be desired. It's a rigid boom mic that folds down adjacent to the player's jaw and makes the headset a little more bulky than necessary when folded up.
While I didn't have much of an issue during my testing, more flexible mics like the Cloud Alpha's allow you to push the grill a little closer to your mouth if you're in a slightly noisier area. You also don't have the peace of mind that you can pop it off and replace it should anything go wrong.
Because the Stealth 600 does away with almost lighting (with the exception of a green LED power indicator under the right cup), you will get a surprisingly good run from its battery. Turtle Beach touts a 15 hour battery life. I tested over the space of an entire week, gaming, listening to music occasionally, and I never had to charge it once. Only now that I've whipped it back out again for this review did it finally run dry.
The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 may not be the most comfortable headset. Its fabric cups begin to irritate fast, and the oddly positioned headband is uncomfortable and its plastic frame is very noisy when bumped. With that said, Turtle Beach currently offers what I think is the best wireless headset experience at its particular price point (roughly $169).
It has a solid battery life of 15 hours and a well-rounded audio experience. There are some take-em-or-leave-em features like Superhuman Hearing that hardcore competitive players might appreciate but when it comes down to it, these are just a damn fine pair of affordable wireless headphones.