The PS4’s relationships with headsets thus far has been rather unfriendly, forcing you to be tethered to the DualShock 4 at all times – something that is almost unforgivable given that wireless-everything is practically the norm nowadays. However, Turtle Beach aims to change all that with the Ear Force Stealth 500p and Stealth 400 and have launched what are truly wireless headsets for the PlayStation 4.
Set up is a breeze, as it requires no more effort than plugging the included USB dongle to an unused USB port, then connect the supplied optical cable from the dongle to the back of the PS4. Works the same with the PS3, too.
For this review, we’re going to lead with the Ear Force Stealth 500P, as the two units are nearly identical aside from the fact that the 500P features 7.1 DTS Surround while the Stealth 400 only outputs audio in stereo; and on the 500P, you’re getting synthetic leather ear cups while the 400 features mesh material. Both feature 50mm drivers that sound amazing – clear, crisp, full of bass, and passed a number of sound standard tests we put it through. Each feature a solid balance of highs, and lows. Both would be great choices for any PS4 setup, however, the 400 can’t match the 500p’s value and feature-set, especially noticeable in the middle of an intense multiplayer battle where knowing your enemy’s direction can make or break your kill-to-death ratio. The Stealth 400 is $99.95, so for $30 more we highly recommend going with the 500P for 7.1 DTS Surround sound at $129.95.
The Stealth 500P is comfortable, albeit a little tight on my larger than average head, and the synthetic leather ear cups did leave my ears sweaty for longer gaming sessions. Neither the tight(er) fit nor the slight discomfort were a deal-breaker considering the sound quality for the price. Speaking of extended gaming sessions, both have battery life upwards of 15+ hours, with our first test lasting a grand total of 15 hours and 23 minutes. Official PlayStation headsets can’t match that and are arguably a lot less comfortable. These new Turtle Beach headsets may not be as pretty as Sony’s offering, but they feel sturdier and less prone to breaking. Granted, they’re not built like a tank the same way more premium headsets can feel, but the audio quality is top notch and the price won’t break the bank, leaving more money in your wallet for what really counts: games.
These new Turtle Beach headsets have controls on the side of the earpiece providing easy access to separate game and chat volume, and along with EQ presets, you have control over the entire experience. A 3.5mm headphone jacks lets you connect the headset to your phone to answer calls without taking you out of the game, or allows the headset to work with a PlayStation Vita. Included Mic Monitoring is a bit wonky – it’s supposed to let you hear your own voice in the headset but often this wouldn’t work. After some tinkering with the location of the boom mic, it was a lot more consistent, but still didn’t totally work as advertised.
Clearly, though, the overall package offered in this mid-range headset is worthy of the $129.95 – $99.95 asking price given the quality across the board, and easily competes with Sony’s “official” offering, and bests Turtle Beach’s own PX4.