Yes, you read that right. This Turtle Beach review is for a controller and not a headset. The Turtle Beach Recon Controller is Turtle Beach’s very first gaming controller. It is designed to deliver Turtle Beach sound and features to the wired headset of your choice. This controller gives you the level of control over gaming audio features that you would expect from any mid to high tier headset of today. If you were familiar with Turtle Beach headsets, then you would expect to see Turtle Beach’s Superhuman Hearing function here. You will see it here. However, it does not hold back in the gaming controller realm either, sporting some pro controller features of its own.
So, let’s jump right into the $59.95 Turtle Beach Recon Controller, a wired gaming controller for the Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Windows 10.
Build, Features and Comfort
The Turtle Beach Recon Controller comes in both black and white models, connecting to your system with a removable ten-foot USB-C to USB-A cable.
The Turtle Beach Recon Controller sports all of the standard Xbox One or Series X|S controller buttons while staying close to those button placements. The analog stick, D-pad, and XYAB buttons maintain a traditional Xbox One button arrangement, as does the bumpers and triggers. Here, the triggers are textured, allowing your fingers to maintain their grip on them. You have ergonomic cooling grips around each of the handles as well as the “share button”, a somewhat recent Xbox controller staple. The controller also houses dual rumble motors in both the handles and the triggers for some potent feedback. Lastly, you have a 3.5mm jack at the bottom for connecting the wired headset of your choice.
However, many aspects specific to the Turtle Beach Recon Controller make it unique. As it is a controller designed to enhance your wired headset’s overall audio experience, you have a collection of controls for just that near the top of the pad. You have controls for master volume, chat vs game balancing, EQ toggling, Mic Monitoring, controller profile toggling and mic muting. Two of the more unique functions here are the Pro-Aim Focus Mode and Turtle Beach’s staple Superhuman Hearing function.
By default, the Pro-Aim function is mapped to the right rear quick action button, one of two buttons found on the back on the controller. The left back button can be mapped to any of the other main controller buttons. These mappings and more can be saved within up to four individual controller profiles.
Looking at the controller at face value, I really like what Turtle Beach has done here at the base level. Before even diving into headset features, the controller is easy to handle and comfortable to grasp. The controller’s close-to-home shape and button arrangement make it easy to dive into and develop muscle memory for. The ergonomic grips as well as the textured bumpers and triggers allowed the controller to remain stable in my hands, even during frantic gameplay. Lastly, the dual motors installed in the Turtle Beach Recon Controller are strong, offering a considerable level of vibration. If you like haptic feedback in your controllers, the Turtle Beach Recon Controller will not disappoint you on that front.
Going deeper into the Turtle Beach Recon Controller’s feature controls, I was particularly impressed with how Turtle Beach employed this layout. Pressing the Mode button toggles between settings for Mic Monitoring (aka Sidetone), EQ, controller profiles, and Pro-Aim sensitivity. Once the icon for the mode you want to tweak is illuminated, you press Select to toggle through the various levels of that mode. It is a very practical feature control setup that was easy to pick up without even checking the manual. The Superhuman Hearing and Mic Mute buttons were a bit more direct and straightforward. However, it was handy to have the LED’s shine for these features, whenever they were on. Being able to tell whether or not you are muted in less than a second has plenty of value in itself.
The overall design and comfort of the Turtle Beach Recon Controller is probably the best I have experienced for a wired controller in its price range. Despite the amount functionality you get from this controller, it still finds a way to keep it simple. Best of all, the controller simply feels great when handled, with or without the vibrations engaged. Last but not least, the D-Pad on this controller was very easy to manage, thanks to its protruding plus sign design. Given my love for fighting games, the D-Pad on any controller I use is of particular importance to me. This is something I will dive in more under More Features and Performance.
More Features and Performance
Now to dive deeper into the features that the Turtle Beach Recon Controller grants your connected wired headset. Let us start from leftmost icon and move to the right. Just to note, all of my trial gameplay with the Turtle Beach Recon Controller was done while connected to the Logitech G Pro X wired gaming headset.
Mic Monitoring is a function that I personally must have with any gaming headset I use. I naturally talk loudly in the heat of battle, and I practically shout when I cannot hear myself speaking. As such, having four levels of control over this function straight from the controller was quite the luxury. As with all of the mode functions, the dots in the center help denote what level of the function you have it set to. Knowing full well how loud I am, I cranked Mic Monitoring up to level four, enjoying comfortable and effortless communication with my teammates.
The four EQ settings available through the Turtle Beach Recon Controller were Turtle Beach’s Signature Sound as the default, Bass Boost, Bass & Treble Boost, and Vocal Boost. When I was not playing a first-person shooter, I found Signature Sound to be the right balance for most of the games I played. When it came to music listening via the Youtube app on Xbox One, I leaned on Bass & Treble Boost to give me that nice deepening of the bass while enhancing the instrumentals and percussion. For the most part, I stuck with Signature Sound for non-shooter gaming, and Bass & Treble Boost for the bulk of my media consumption.
The controller icon signifies the controller profile you are currently using. Here is where you can toggle between controller profiles on the fly. Both buttons on the back of the controller are mappable, which you can save your settings in up to four different controller profiles.
The fourth mode, Pro-Aim Focus Mode, allows you to determine the reduction in right thumb stick sensitivity whenever you hold down the mapped Pro-Aim button. You can suppress your thumb stick’s sensitivity in up to four levels of severity, with level four being the tightest of the settings. With Pro-Aim engaged, you can quickly lower your sensitivity whenever the need strikes. This is perfect for gamers that use a high sensitivity setting but want it nice and low when attempting those long distance snipes.
As for the two buttons on the sides of the Mode and Select buttons, the rightmost button is a self-explanatory mic mute toggle. Not to simply brush this feature off, I really liked the bright red LED indicator that clearly shines red when I am muted. This is perfect for wired headsets that either do not clearly indicate the status of their mic or lack onboard mic muting functionality all together.
The button on the left is the real deal here. It is the toggle button for Turtle Beach’s Superhuman Hearing feature. When toggled on, your headset’s output will highlight the bulk of important high range sounds. Gunshots, footsteps, and gun reloads are brought to the forefront of what you hear, while the audio still gives you a respectable sampling of the other sound ranges. If you noticed that I went out of my way to say that Signature Sound was the EQ I leaned on for non-shooter gaming, this is why. I simply did not play any shooter without Superhuman Hearing on. Picking up enemies in both Apex Legends and Destiny 2 pvp was simply a breeze.
Going into gameplay, the Turtle Beach Recon Controller handles refreshingly well in shooters. Analog sticks movements are accurate and responsive, allowing for precise shots and clean disposal of enemies. Combined with Superhuman Hearing, the controller carried me well through Apex Legends matches. It even got me to the Lighthouse in Destiny 2 this past weekend. This is all without having to employ Pro-Aim functionality. After all, the console aim assist in those games more than allow for accurate sniping. Not to mention, the grips on the thumb sticks alone already allow for some pretty solid aim.
Ok, sure one of these screenshots is of a loss. However, I refuse to ignore the work I put in that one!
Here, it was just the Turtle Beach Recon Controller and solo-queueing Trials of Osiris for the win.
As solid as the Turtle Beach Recon Controller handles shooters, the D-pad on this controller is no slouch either. As I highly anticipate the release of King of Fighters XV for the Xbox Series X on February 14, 2022, I revisited King of Fighters XIII for the Xbox One via backwards compatibility. All of my combos, supers, and special moves executed without a hitch, while using this D-Pad. It handles smoothly and, more importantly, accurately throughout quarter circle, half circle and dragon punch inputs.
Taking all of this into account, it is clear that the Turtle Beach Recon Controller was truly made with care. Turtle Beach even made controller upkeep easy. Through the free Turtle Beach Recon Controller app on the Xbox One and later consoles, you can easily update your controller’s firmware at a moment’s notice. Just launch the app, connect the controller and fire away.
The Turtle Beach Recon Controller is truly the best wired controller for $60 that I got my hands on. Tactile grips, textured triggers, and an overall solid build powers you through games with comfort. Being a Turtle Beach controller, you can enhance any connected wired headset with the sort of features you would expect from Turtle Beach gaming audio. Not only are you able to manage all audio features straight from the controller, but the controller makes it easy to track with an assortment of intuitive icons and LEDs.
Even if you prefer to use wireless audio, but are still interested in a wired controller, this controller at this price point is hard to look past. If this intrigues you, you can check out the Turtle Beach Recon Controller for yourself by clicking here.
†As usual, there are no affiliate links contained within this post. We were provided a Turtle Beach Recon Controller and some product stock images for review purposes and were not compensated for this review.