You should consider buying the Turtle Beach Recon Controller if you primarily play games online with friends. When paired with a gaming headset, its options for audio and voice chat are second to none. Bolstered by solid build quality and bespoke Superhuman hearing setting, this gamepad is a top choice for online multiplayer gaming.
Superb audio and voice chat options
Great build quality
Busy audio button layout
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The Turtle Beach Recon Controller is primarily designed with online players in mind. Whether you’re looking for a wide range of equalizer settings to boost the audio performance of the best gaming headsets, or need loud-and-clear team communication in multiplayer environments like Fortnite or Final Fantasy 14 Online, the Turtle Beach Recon was made for players like you.
The gamepad isn’t our top pick for voice chat in our best Xbox controllers guide for nothing. You will need at least a mid-range headset to get the most out of the Turtle Beach Recon, but you’ll be well-served with a plethora of audio settings, including those aforementioned EQ profiles and Turtle Beach’s own Superhuman enhanced audio, which really hones in on voice chat clarity.
But it’s no gimmick, as the Turtle Beach Recon Controller is a competent gamepad in its own right. The play experience is bolstered by excellent build quality, and some particularly tactile face buttons, sticks and triggers. In its totality, you’re getting a product that’s remarkably affordable for its rich feature set and competent design.
Turtle Beach Recon Controller: price and availability
The Turtle Beach Recon Controller is available to buy now for $59.95 / £49.99 / AU$99.95, either from the manufacturer’s own website, as well as large online retailers including Amazon, Game and Best Buy. Do keep in mind that the controller is designed for Xbox Series X|S and PC, meaning PS5 players will need to look elsewhere as there’s unfortunately no Sony version of the gamepad.
Turtle Beach Recon Controller: design and features
The Turtle Beach Recon looks the part of the Xbox Wireless Controller with a strikingly similar form factor. But there’s some key differences that separate and in some ways elevate it above Microsoft’s pack-in gamepad.
While build quality isn’t quite as premium as Microsoft’s, it’s nevertheless a solidly built controller that doesn’t really have any outstanding weaknesses in terms of its design. Its textured grips, triggers, bumpers and back buttons all drive that home even further, creating a feel that’s both comfortable and resistant to slipping. In other words, perfect for a gamepad that prioritizes hassle-free online play.
There’s dedicated space at the top of the controller – just above the Xbox Home button – for all its audio profile features and settings. It’s a bit busy here, and first-time users may find the layout to be a touch overwhelming, but it doesn’t take too long to acclimatize to the setup.
Bookending either side of the Turtle Beach Recon Controller’s on-board audio controls are headset and voice chat volume controls. Between them, there’s a dedicated mic mute button, EQ selection and a toggle for Turtle Beach’s Superhuman audio setting. It’s a fairly basic setup once you’re used to it, and you’ll likely find it to be a highly convenient set of on-board functions, eliminating the need to open your console or PC’s volume control centers separately.
Turtle Beach Recon Controller: performance
The Turtle Beach Recon Controller impresses on the fundamentals. Its face buttons, triggers and sticks all feel nice to press and move about; a necessity for a multiplayer-focused gamepad, and thankfully the manufacturer has understood the assignment here. Overall feel reminds me of the 8BitDo Ultimate in that modules are tactile, and feature a short travel time which helps to reduce input delay. The addition of trigger locks would’ve been nice, but what’s here more than gets the job done for online play.
Where the Recon sets itself apart from other pads is, as mentioned, that on-board audio control. These all feel similarly responsive, with volume controls and the mic mute button doing exactly what they say on the tin. The EQ presets are all functional, too. There’s a default setting if you’re happy with a more generalized audio profile, however, there are also options for heavier bass, or a focus on distant sounds such as footsteps and vehicles. That’s especially handy for shooters like PUBG Battlegrounds and Warzone, wherein spatial awareness is often key to success.
The two big surprises for me, though, include the togglable Pro Aim setting. This will automatically tune your analog stick sensitivity to help improve accuracy in the best FPS games. It’s simple, but an effective way to manage finer aiming without needing to delve into your game’s sensitivity settings. Take PUBG Battlegrounds, where sniping from hundreds of meters away is a common method of scoring kills. I found that the togglable Pro Aim helped me to focus more effectively on distant targets.
Lastly, the Superhuman audio toggle on the Recon deserves special mention. In essence, this helps to add clarity to voice chat, and it works phenomenally well. During a Fortnite play session, toggling the setting on and off created a clear difference in clarity by sharpening the chat audio profile, and it helps to quieten background sounds. It’s a must-enable option if you’re playing a title that requires clear, careful communication between team members.
Should I buy the Turtle Beach Recon Controller?
Buy it if...
You primarily play online with friends
The Recon’s various audio settings can drastically improve the quality of communication between you and your team members.
You like having settings just a button push away
The Recon’s on-board audio controls are supremely convenient once you’ve gotten used to the layout.
Don't buy it if...
You’d prefer a wireless controller
There’s unfortunately no wireless support with the Recon, which is a shame if you’re not a fan of having cables lying around your play space.
How we reviewed the Turtle Beach Recon Controller
Given that the Turtle Beach Recon Controller is designed around online play and communication, we primarily tested the gamepad in a variety of multiplayer scenarios. We found it to be especially useful in games that required clear communication, such as Final Fantasy 14’s various raids and trials, as well as sessions of Fortnite to discuss our plans for each game, where we were headed and callouts for enemy players and loot.
Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.