Turtle Beach Recon Controller review: Take Xbox headsets to the next level [Video]

There’s no denying the importance of audio for gaming. Cues for enemy positions are critical to staying on top of the competition. Turtle Beach’s Recon controller combines quick action buttons with deep audio customization to bring EQ control and SuperHuman Hearing to any wired headset. And it’s only $60. Be sure to hit the video below to see all of the details. 

Coming in both black and white colorways, the Turtle Beach Recon controller is here augment the standard Xbox controller and bring multiple EQ modes to any headset plugged into the 3.5mm headset port. At its core, the Recon is a wired controller with a USB-C cable that also works on a PC. Looking at it almost feels like a flight controller with all of the additional buttons over the stock Xbox Series X controller. 

Design Overview

Most notably, there is a dashboard of buttons and lights near the top of the Turtle Beach Recon controller. From left to right, we have volume controls, a SuperHuman hearing button, mode, select, mic mute, and chat volume. Above the buttons are four different indicators of what mode is currently activated. Pressing the mode button will cycle through all of the modes. From left to right, they are mic monitoring, EQ, button mapping profile, and pro-aim focus mode. When any of those modes are active, pressing the select button will cycle through the different levels of that mode. On EQ, for example, pressing the select button will cycle through the different EQ modes. The current level of the selected mode is signified by the four lights in the middle. 

Grips

The grips provide a bit of texture, but it’s nothing too aggressive. Turtle Beach calls these their ergonomic cooling grips with “micro-cooling channels.” While I didn’t notice them keeping my hands particularly dry, they feel great while playing. 

The controller feels like it has just a little more width than the standard Xbox Series X controller, which seems to fit my hand better.

Turtle Beach Recon Controller: Video

Triggers

Triggers on the Turtle Beach Recon controller are a little different than the stock Series X. There is a pretty intense texture on both the bumpers and triggers. The bumpers are a little softer and not as clicky as a stock controller. Trigger pull seems to be about the same distance. 

Turtle Beach also mentions rumble motors in the triggers that enhance immersion, but I didn’t notice much of an added effect when playing Overwatch or Call of Duty: Warzone. 

Quick-action buttons

While not as robust as the Xbox Elite controller or even the Fusion Pro, the Turtle Beach Recon has two quick-action buttons under the controller. These can be mapped from the controller itself. Just select the profile you want to map, hold the select button for two seconds, push the quick action button you want to map, then the button you want to map to it, then hold select for two more seconds. 

If you’re used to an elite controller, these might not feel adequate, but if you’ve never had mappable buttons on the back of a controller, I really enjoy them. It took me a while to get used to the Xbox Elite controller when I first got it, but it’s hard to go back to a normal controller now. Likewise, the quick-action buttons are in the perfect location for my hand and add an easy way to 

Touch and feel – sticks, d-pad, and face buttons

Apart from the additional buttons and features, the rest of the controller performs similarly to a stock controller. Thumbsticks are snappy with a very familiar resistance. The face buttons also have a similar sound and feel. The d-pad isn’t nearly as clicky as a stock Series X controller. 

EQ Modes

Turtle beach has built four different EQ modes into the recon controller. Signature sound sounds great by itself and is my favorite way to play non-competitive games. Bass boost adds more low-end for a bigger sound. The bass and treble boost mode provide a fun scooped sound signature, while the vocal boost is great for picking out voice comms. 

SuperHuman Hearing

If you want to get the best out of the controller for competitive gaming, though, SuperHuman Hearing mode is the way to go. Like I’ve said with other headsets that feature SuperHuman hearing, this mode tweaks frequencies to make crucial audio cues easier to pick out. While playing Warzone, it compresses audio to make footsteps and other in-game audio more audible. While it’s not necessary for casual gaming like Forza or Microsoft Flight sim, I think it’s a huge help when playing competitive shooters. 

Pro-Aim Focus

Another feature of the controller that I don’t use often is the Pro-Aim focus mode. When enabled, you can hold the right quick-action button to drop the sensitivity of the right stick. This might be useful for some people, but not really for me. Mainly because I play southpaw, and it only affects the right stick. So for me, this just makes me walk slower. Pressing the right quick action button will also activate any buttons that are mapped to it. 

9to5Toys’ take

Thanks to the near-stock feel and added features, the Turtle Beach Recon is an excellent controller. Compared to a stock controller, the only real downside I can see is that it is wired. But if you’re a more competitive player who doesn’t mind the cable and wants the ability to tweak audio, then this is the controller for you. With this controller, you can use more budget headsets and take them to the next level for competitive gaming. And at just $60, it seems like a heck of a deal. 

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