Turtle Beach Recon 200 Gen 2 Gaming Headset Review
An affordable combo of power and comfort
The original Turtle Beach Recon 200 is one of the company’s most popular headsets, and it’s easy to figure out why. It has a sleek design, multiplatform compatibility, and a built-in headphone amplifier that overcomes the biggest problem with the PlayStation (and to a lesser extent, Xbox) controller audio output: lackluster volume in the name of battery preservation.
Of course, things can always be improved, and Turtle Beach has done exactly that with the Recon 200 Gen 2. This is an excellent example of a company listening to user feedback, as it incorporates the most-requested additional feature from users of the original version, as well as some other small tweaks that make this a great affordable package. If you’ve struggled with the volume output out of a game console, but don’t want to invest in a super-expensive headset amplifier setup, the Recon 200 Gen 2 is more than worth checking out.
Note: I was sent an early production version of this headset to review by Turtle Beach alongside marketing assets and technical information. I had full editorial control over this review, and they didn’t get to see it until I published it. I’m not paid or otherwise compensated by Turtle Beach if you decide to buy one. None of the links in my stories are affiliate links as I don’t believe in the practice. For more information about my reviews policy, please click here.
The Turtle Beach Recon 200 Gen 2 sells for the same affordable price of $59.95 (official site here) as the original model, and it’s available in either black or white. In the box, you’ll get the headset itself, some detailed documentation, and a short USB-C charging cable for the built-in amplifier.
Of course, the big new feature here is that you don’t have to have the amp turned on to use the headset, and it works as advertised. However, the headset does improve with the power turned on. The power switch has two modes designed around the relative volume outputs of the PS and Xbox controllers, essentially meaning that it’ll get louder set to the PlayStation setting since those controllers have less overall volume. The sleek microphone flips up to mute, and two volume dials on the left ear cup control the listening volume and the built-in mic monitoring.
While Turtle Beach didn’t include a PC splitter cable in the box, the headset will also work with PCs just fine, or with any device that has a 3.5mm headphone jack. I’ve spent over a week testing it across different games, music, and movies. Here’s what I found out!
The Recon 200 Gen 2 has a nice, pleasant, clean sound to it that’s right in line with the good audio quality Turtle Beach delivers across their current products. Out of the other models I’ve heard, it’s most similar in tonal characteristics to the Stealth 600 Gen 2, with accurate bass, smooth mids, and un-fatiguing highs that help emphasize positional cues for multiplayer games.
That’s all with the amp turned off in the new passive mode.
If you turn the amplifier on a tasteful bass boost kicks in, bringing a true resonance and beefiness to the low-end and better overall sound quality than you’re probably expecting for this affordable price.
The signature is not the most “accurate” in the world, but the gently emphasized lows and positional range are perfect for gaming, and I can’t possibly complain about the sound it produces for the price. This is far from the bloated bass nightmare of headset days gone by, instead producing clean enjoyable audio that will get the job done for most tastes.
I was worried that the bass boost would be overdone (since you can’t turn it off when the amp is engaged) but it is the perfect extra bit of punch that makes the headset sound its best. And having that amp built in means you don’t need any other equipment to get a fun gaming sound experience regardless of listening source. I had a better-than-expected time with the audio here, whether I was battling friends in an intense Quake match or listening to the new Andrew W.K. album.
The redesigned memory foam ear pads on this headset are wonderful, and among the best I’ve used in this price category. They’re clearly inspired by the excellent padding on the more expensive Recon 500, and that’s so great to see.
I never had an issue with heat build-up during long sessions thanks to the cloth ear covering, and the foam itself is dense and comfortable, which helps the headset make a good seal and block out a surprising amount of outside noise. And the pads even have Turtle Beach’s “ProSpecs” system included, which is an area of special foam that helps the pads mold better around glasses. It works as advertised here, protecting the seal around my corrective lenses and minimizing any sound leak.
Up top, the headband pad isn’t very thick, but it doesn’t need to be since the Recon 200 is rather light. I found it easy to position the headset comfortably on my head, and it has a balanced clamping force that’s not too tight. The arms have plenty of vertical adjustment, too. I have two extra clicks on my larger-than-average head.
The overall industrial design of the Recon 200 Gen 2 is similar to the first model, and the build is excellent for the price. Rather than go with a boring matte texture, the headset is accented with a carbon-fiber-style pattern that’s great to touch and gives the headset the feel of being more expensive than it is.
The ear cups can rotate flat to lie around your neck, and the rotation mechanisms have a good amount of stiffness to them. And the headband adjustments are metal reinforced, with a solid click action that holds its place well. I’ve had no creaks, squeaks, or other noticeable build issues in a week with the headset, and I’ll update this if I do have a challenge in the future.
If I had to complain about one thing, it’d be the permanently attached cable — but there are so many other features included here for the price it’s not a big deal.
Looking for as many features as possible for a low price? Then this will be your new favorite headset. The built-in amplifier works perfectly, and the rated 12-hour battery life seems accurate from my testing. I did most of my listening on a PC and out of an Xbox Series S controller, but the PlayStation mode does bring along the extra volume you’ll need with Sony’s controllers.
My favorite feature of the amp isn’t even the nice sound, or the tasteful bass boost (though they’re both good); it’s the real-time mic monitoring. When the amp is turned on, you can use the secondary volume dial to easily hear your mic input, which is awesome. The intense isolation of this headset means I’d be shouting too loudly at my friends without some kind of monitoring function, and the Recon 200 Gen 2’s is great.
The mic is permanently attached, but it’s a short arm that tucks away nicely next to the left ear cup when you’re not using it, so it doesn’t ruin the profile of the headset. It has a built-in flip-to-mute function, and the capsule is omnidirectional, which means it’s great at picking up your voice with a clean neutral sound but not the absolute best for background sound reduction.
The Recon 200 Gen 2 provides exceptional value for the money. You get a nice-sounding headset, a powerful built-in amp with an enjoyable bass boost, an accurate microphone, and impressively comfortable ear pads. And it’s still priced at the same $60 as the original version. You can now listen to it even if your battery dies — though the amplifier adds enough extra functionality that I’d recommend keeping it charged up.
I thoroughly recommend this headset as an affordable, great choice for gamers who want to maximize the features they’re getting for the cost. It’s also a worthy successor to the original model that improves on it in every way. I’m impressed that Turtle Beach resisted the urge to bump the price up on this headset to compensate for the added extras, something that’s becoming more common in the tech peripheral space. The fact that they didn’t do this speaks to their character and their commitment to their fans.