WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: This compact headset offers plenty of durability and a welcome wireless experience on Xbox, with a price that’s easier to handle than most, which makes it a great Xbox One headset in our book.
Price: Check Price
Sound: Fully wireless stereo with superhuman hearing
Weight: 1.1 pounds
Battery Life: 15 hours
Compatibility: Xbox One, Mobile
Mic: Plugin flexible boom mic with mic monitoring
If there’s one thing that Turtle Beach excels at, it’s making extra-durable, solid headsets that can withstand boisterous playing better than almost anything else on the market. The Stealth 420X Plus is an excellent example, a compact headset that’s ready to put up with a lot, and doesn’t have any extra hanging or dangling pieces that could all too easily cause accidents in the future.
The earcups are slightly smaller than you might expect, and contribute to the overall lightweight, nimble feeling of these headsets. The earcup material is made of thick foam and pleather material dotted with holes, all the better to allow more airflow and less sweat build up. It’s not amazingly comfortably, but it gets the job done, again with a focus on durability. The earcups both swivel (we’re not exactly a fan of such easy swiveling, but it doesn’t get in the way too often) and ratchet down for basic adjustments.
The mic is a separate, flexible boom microphone that plugs oddly into the bottom of the lefthand earcup. It’s a weird setup, but the mic is flexible enough to make it work, and there is one advantage to the plug-in method: It makes the mic easy to detach and store elsewhere for safekeeping, especially when someone else is using the headset.
On headset controls include two rollers for mix and headset volume, a mute button, and a button to switch between different presets. All these buttons are small and unobtrusive, but you need to learn them for quick in-game changes, a process that can be quite challenging when fumbling for the right volume roller (both are located beside each other on the same side) or trying to find the tiny mute button. It’s not very fun to learn these controls.
Another disappointing design decision was the use of USB ports. Turtle Beach really wants the Stealth 420X Plus to be fully wireless. It’s a noble goal, but unlike the Astro A50, the 420X Plus divides up wireless transmission and charging. You need one USB port for charging, and one to plug in the dongle for wireless transmission. That means at any given time you need at least one and often two USB ports cleared, which only gives you one USB port left on the Xbox One to use for other accessories like TV tuners, external hard drives, and so on. That’s asking a bit much of the invested Xbox player.
The 420X Plus is another headset that makes an extra effort to go wireless for Xbox One, which does earn it some points. But “going wireless” doesn’t automatically mean great sound quality, so let’s talk about just how well the headset performed.
This line of TB headsets doesn’t offer true surround sound: What it does offer is the “superhuman hearing” option which enhances audio clarity. It’s no surround sound, but it does help you notice details in the audio that you might have otherwise missed, which is certainly a plus.
While the audio may be limited when it comes to surround sound, it’s still impressively environmental, despite its relatively compact size. Bass quality feels a little random, but higher notes were reliably clear. Sometimes a few echoes crept in, perhaps because of the lack of surround sound and over-emphasis on environmental details, or perhaps because of some slight wireless interference around the dongle.
The boom mix is less impressive. It provides the necessary pick-up quality, but is a little too sensitive and tends to catch the breathing, shifting, and any other sounds you don’t want relayed over mic. The mute option, a tiny button located on the front of the right earcup, isn’t very easy to use either, so push to talk options are readily available.
Overall, the 420X is a durably, slightly smaller headset that’s ideal for those who want a much better pair of headphones to improving their gaming, but don’t like the extra-high prices of many elite models. It tries to be both wireless and affordable, and largely succeeds at the balancing act – as long as you are willing to pay the price of no surround sound and a somewhat awkward mic.
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