Gaming Headset Showdown: Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 VS Razer Kaira Pro

Photo taken by the author.

When I first reviewed the Kaira Pro last year, it was the best Xbox headset I had tested so far. It has Razer’s awesome new TriForce drivers, Bluetooth functionality, and full RGB support, which I believe is a first for an Xbox product. But Turtle Beach also refreshed their iconic Stealth series last fall, and as I found in my recent review, it’s a juggernaut. The Stealth 700 Gen 2 packs in numerous upgrades, including features that used to be reserved solely for the company’s premium Elite series of headsets.

Both of these headsets sell for a retail price of $150, but only one can be declared the winner after I nitpick them endlessly.

OVERVIEW

Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 (official site here)- I had high hopes for the Stealth 700 Gen 2, and the headset blew them all away. It features all of Turtle Beach’s flagship technologies, including their Nanoclear speaker drivers and ProSpecs glasses relief pad system, as well as the famous Superhuman Hearing mode. The Turtle Beach mobile app gives you extreme control over the headset, through different EQ modes and the ability to remap the secondary volume control wheel on the back of the left ear cup.

It’s a complete package, and its Bluetooth implementation is also great, with a seamless transition to your phone audio if a call comes in.

Razer Kaira Pro (official site here)- Rather than re-use an existing design for their new flagship Xbox headset, Razer went all-in on a new frame. The drivers were first developed for the excellent BlackShark V2, but the industrial design evokes classic headphones as much as it does Razer’s other gaming efforts. Only a bright strip of green color along the headband the RGB ear cup lighting let you know this is a Razer product through-and-through.

The feature-set is a fundamental match on paper for the Turtle Beach model, although the software controls for Razer’s Kaira come in the form of an Xbox/Windows 10 app instead of a mobile companion. And as you’ll see in the “Features” section below, the Bluetooth implementation isn’t quite as robust.

I love that Turtle Beach bravely exposes their NanoClear speaker driver. Photo taken by the author.

SOUND QUALITY

Both of these headsets sound great out of the box, and offer customizable EQ options that allow you to tweak the sound to your own personal tastes. Out of the box, without any changes, I prefer the sound of the Stealth 700 Gen 2. It’s more smooth and natural-sounding, with a better sense of depth and imaging and a more precise bass response.

Razer’s Kaira Pro is a touch more hyped- up in both the bass and the treble, offering a more aggressive overall tone. It’s also worth noting that since my original review, I’ve had a few issues with the “Default” EQ setting on the Kaira Pro where it’ll sound nasally and tinny in the upper registers instead of offering the powerful sound I enjoyed in my review. I can fix this problem by toggling through the EQ options to a customized flat profile, or by resetting my EQ profiles in the app, but it’s a strange bug that does the sound zero favors.

The accurate profile of the Stealth 700 is a better mix of fun and sonic performance, and the Superhuman Hearing mode is a huge bonus for footsteps-fiends. Turning this on pushes the stage out even wider, and tunes the sound to push forward positional cues and sacrifice everything else. It’s not an ideal mode for general listening, but it’s perfect for those solely looking for a competitive edge. I think the standard sound mode is pretty good for multiplayer gaming too.

WINNER: Stealth 700 Gen 2

The color scheme of the Kaira matches the Razer Sneki Snek plush toy, which my girlfriend insta-bought and kindly loaned me for this photo. Photo taken by the author.

COMFORT

Initially, the Kaira Pro seems more comfortable. It has ample headband and ear cup padding, and a nicely- balanced clamping force. It’s immediately soft and pleasant on my head, and remains so during hours of use.

The Stealth 700 Gen 2 has a strong, clampy fit for the first day or so of use…but once this lightens up and stretches to your individual head shape, it’s a superior comfort experience. The ear pads are massive and more plush than those on the Kaira Pro, and feature a layer of cooling gel that gives me a shock of comfort delight every time I put them on. And the glasses notches are perfectly positioned to help them bend right around my frames, but they also won’t get in the way if you don’t wear glasses.

Although a tighter initial fit might seem to offer no benefits, it actually also improves the isolation and sound consistency compared to the Razer model. It’s pretty easy to put on the Stealth 700 and have a good, if slightly close, fit, whereas the Razer model requires a little adjustment to ensure the proper seal.

Both of these are very comfortable over long sessions. If you absolutely must have the best comfort in the first fifteen minutes, you might prefer the feel of the Razer pair. But I really love the huge pads, cooling gel, and glasses relief system on the Stealth 700, and now that both are broken in to my head shape, it’s the more comfy option for me personally.

WINNER: Stealth 700 Gen 2

Photo taken by the author.

BUILD/DESIGN

Razer’s Kaira Pro mixes a classic headphone design with a lightweight, solid build, featuring ample metal reinforcement along the headband adjustments and rotation hinge area. The shock green headband is the only thing that truly screams gaming headset.

Turtle Beach’s design is more unconventional. The ear cups have an unusual teardrop-esque shape that helps them fit better over the years at the expense of a sleek profile. They’re a little more angular and obvious on the head, and the metal headband reinforcement doesn’t feel as strong as Razer’s, with the plastic parts standing out a bit more and adjustment sliders that don’t hold their position quite as tightly.

The Stealth 700 wins some points back with its cool-looking exposed drivers inside the ear cups, and its tremendously smooth rotation action for the ear cup hinges. I also like the way that its microphone fits sleekly into the left ear cup, completely disappearing when not in use. The large boom mic for the Kaira Pro is detachable, but it doesn’t have anywhere to go other than your desk or bag.

Turtle Beach’s branding is also more subtle. If I were still sitting in coffee shops using headphones, the Stealth 700 Gen 2 would be less likely to draw looks and questions from the other patrons. Years ago, I was once seriously asked if I was a DJ while wearing an original Razer Kraken. I doubt that would happen with the Stealth 700 Gen 2.

I like the build and feel of the Kaira Pro slightly more, but I think Turtle Beach’s unconventional design shape is more interesting in a world filled with samey-looking gaming headsets.

WINNER: Stealth 700 Gen 2

Photo taken by the author.

MICROPHONE

Both of these headsets use the extra bandwidth of the Xbox Wireless connection to have excellent mic audio. They’re among the most balanced, clean, crisp-sounding gaming headset mics on the market.

The Kaira Pro’s mic sounds just a bit better since you can position it closer to your mouth. It also has better noise cancellation. But the Stealth 700 Gen 2 is a close second. You can find mic samples in my original reviews (Kaira, Stealth).

The Kaira Pro also offers a secondary mic for its Bluetooth connection. It’s a bog-standard basic Bluetooth microphone, but that’s still a nice touch that means you won’t have to plug in the boom mic if you get a phone call during a single player game.

WINNER: Razer Kaira Pro

Photo taken by the author.

FEATURES

Both headsets offer a secondary Bluetooth connection, but Turtle Beach’s implementation is so much better. Both headsets will turn on your Xbox once paired, and the Kaira Pro will also automatically turn off alongside your system…even if you’re still actively listening over Bluetooth. The Turtle Beach headset doesn’t auto power-down alongside the system, meaning you can keep happily listening to a podcast or music on your phone.

If you’re thinking it sounds annoying to have to remember to turn off the Stealth later after you’re done, it also has an auto power-down function that will kick in after no audio is played for several minutes.

In addition to not cutting off your Bluetooth session mid-listen, the transition between phone and console audio is smoother on the Turtle Beach pair, with a nice gentle fade-down of your game audio that automatically happens when Bluetooth sound needs priority. The mic will also auto-switch over to your call, which is awesome.

Razer’s Bluetooth implementation sounds fine, but it’s slightly clunky, and really seems like a feature added late in development rather than something meticulously designed into the product from the start.

That same complaint could be extended against the Kaira Pro Xbox app. While it’s cool that it offers a wide variety of controls, the app is basic, and on the PC version my mouse won’t always fully control the settings, requiring me to plug in an Xbox pad. The mic monitoring functionality comes through a “listen” button on the mic EQ page, and seems like a tacked-on feature.

Turtle Beach’s mobile phone app has the benefit of a longer development cycle, and its controls are more robust and responsive than Razer’s. You do need a phone/mobile device to fully control the Stealth 700, so keep that in mind if you don’t have easy access to those types of devices. Its mic monitoring is built-in, and is one of the functions you can assign to the secondary volume wheel on the headset itself.

Photo taken by the author.

As far as compatibility goes, both of these headsets will connect to any Xbox One or Xbox Series system, as well as a Windows 10 PC with an Xbox Wireless adapter. If you’re a PlayStation gamer, or looking for something that doesn’t need an additional dongle purchase on PC, Turtle Beach also sells a PlayStation version of the Stealth 700 Gen 2.

I asked Razer during an informational meeting if they had any plans for a PlayStation version of the Kaira Pro, and they pointed me towards their much older Thresher models. I’m still hopeful that the Kaira will get a non-Xbox version in the future, as I think it’s a solid design…but in the meantime I guess the Thresher, BlackShark V2, and Nari can fulfill that role.

Both headsets are prone to connection interference if there’s a lot of 2.4ghz noise in your apartment or neighborhood, thanks to Xbox Wireless’s Wi-Fi Direct backbone. My building is a nightmare minefield of wi-fi interference, and while both headsets have glitched out a handful of times over weeks of use, it’s not a huge issue with either one. The Stealth 700 re-acquires the signal more gracefully when this happens, with a small pop and distortion in the audio as opposed to a second or two of complete dropout on the Kaira Pro. Make sure to not put your router right next to your Xbox.

Battery-wise, the Stealth 700 has a slight advantage thanks to its lack of RGB. If you absolutely need the lighting feature or the better background cancellation of the boom mic, the Kaira Pro might be a better choice for you. But the superior Bluetooth implementation, the flexibility of the app options, and the availability of a PS4 version all make the Stealth 700 a better choice for me.

WINNER: Stealth 700 Gen 2

I liked the Stealth 700 enough that I decided to also spring for the PlayStation version. I’m hopeful that Razer will expand the Kaira lineup in the future in spite of revealing no current plans. Photo taken by the author.

FINAL WINNER: Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2

At the end of last year, I declared the Razer Kaira Pro the best new Xbox headset, because it was the superior model out of the new release headsets I had been fortunate enough to try.

If I’d had the chance to test the Stealth 700 Gen 2, it would have won instead and the Kaira Pro would have been the runner-up.

They’re both excellent choices, but I have a slightly better time wearing, listening to, and generally using the Stealth 700 Gen 2. It has more control flexibility, a smoother sound profile, better ear pads, and it doesn’t shut off my podcast if I turn off my Xbox.

Later this month, both of these have to face a new challenger in Microsoft’s new official Xbox Wireless Headset. That one is coming in at $99 and has a comparable feature-set on paper, but I sincerely doubt it’ll be able to match the comfort of Turtle Beach’s excellent cooling gel ear pads, and it also has a reduced battery life compared to both of these models.

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Alex Rowe

Alex Rowe

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