- + Variety of presets
- + Comfy, secure fitting
- + Magnetic charging
- - Pricey
- - Lacks a more premium touch
Over the past few weeks I’ve been subjecting my ears to Turtle Beach’s Elite 800s, for use with PS4, PS3 and Vita, as well as anything with a Bluetooth connection. Complete with a variety of cutting-edge features, including magnetic charging and noise cancellation, the 800s promise to provide luxury for any set of ears.
Question is, does it meet its £240 expectations?
Built entirely out of plastic, this headset weighs in at 372 grams and feels comfortable sitting on your noggin. Compared to my Astro a50s which weigh 10 grams less, I actually preferred the extra weight, as it helped the Elites to rest securely and not wriggle off my head. Each ear cup, as well as the headband, come complete with memory foam padding, ensuring that they stay comfortable during long periods of use.
I spent many sessions in excess of 8 hours without taking them off, and hardly felt the need to take a rest. Though, as is to be expected with any type of on-ear headphones, some people may experience aches or pains after abnormally long usage.
Located on the side of each ear cup are a number of controls that are easy to hand. Featured on a glossy plastic, I personally would’ve preferred the same matte plastic seen on the bands. Call me a neat freak, but getting greasy finger prints on my luxury headphones isn’t ideal. Once you decide to take them off, hang them around your neck and push the ear cups toward your chest; the memory foam pads will keep you comfy.
For the price, I personally would’ve welcomed more premium materials introduced into its build. Unlike other sets that might incorporate metal, the plastic on the Elites can sometimes make it feel like a toy. Of course, they’re quite the opposite, particularly with the hefty price tag. Through the implementation of some light weight metals on the bands, even if just for a slightly better feel on the hands, it would make one hell of a difference. Besides that, I’m more than happy with their sleek, minimalistic design.
My biggest highlight has been the ability to charge them magnetically, instead of plugging in a cable every eight or so hours. I’m sick of plugging cables in each and every time I want to get more juice. The 800s present no fuss, simply just place them down on their stand and they’ll charge instantly. Want to jump into a quick match? Just pick pick them up again, turn them on and you’re set. Its ease of use is a time saver, and will let you relax when you pick them up, not make you worry as to whether you plugged them in the night before.
With such an extensive feature set, the Elite 800s won’t be perfect straight out of the box. In order to receive the best quality audio for your use, you’ll have to take a good look at the presets to make sure you’re getting the best results from its 7.1 surround sound.
Presenting a variety of different sound styles, there’re multiple ways to ensure the best audio is being given. With different presets for movies, music and games, there’s also the option to choose a stereo-based setting. Whichever medium you’re using them for, each of the output options can be customised beyond one single ‘movie’ or ‘music’ mode.
Below are the main modes and each of their unique enhancements:
Signature Sound, Shooter, Racing, Sports, Superhuman Hearing, Footstep Focus
Signature Sound, Action, Horror, Drama
Signature Sound, Stadium, Acoustic, Dance
Stereo Mode (Surround Sound Off)
Natural Sound, Bass Booster, Bass & Treble Booster, Bass Booster No.2
As you can already tell, a lot of different options are available for a whole host of enhancements. I found Signature Sound in any of the modes to provide the most satisfying results. This mode keeps whatever you’re listening to in an unaltered state, allowing you to experience anything just as the creators intended.
I don’t care much for the other options within music, movie and stereo, but the Superhuman Hearing or Footstep Focus were certainly beneficial during a few online sessions of Call of Duty or Battlefield. Altering the soundscape in drastic ways, they really do make a huge difference.
Many people have complained about a hiss during its use, but I haven’t experienced anything of the sort. As with pretty much ANY headset, sure, there’s a sense that the device is turned on when you’re not playing anything through them, but a noticeable hiss is an overstatement. Once audio starts playing, everything is crystal clear and the surround sound is superb. The added benefit of active noise cancellation is brilliant, and helped reduce any higher frequencies in the immediate area. It isn’t designed to take out any normal noise, such as traffic or people talking, but it helps to create a cleaner palette for your ears, as it were.
With no mic protruding out of the headset, instead they’re hidden inside the cups. It was a bit strange at first, but I got used to the lack of a traditional mic sticking out the side. Just like the sound presets, the mic’s sensitivity also has a range of modes.
If you’re in a quiet room, loud room, outside etc. the frequency at which your voice is heard will differ depending on which one you choose. My friends sometimes had a little trouble hearing me, but in my ‘Loud Room’ setting, it seemed to work fine. On occasion I did find it hard to strike a balance between a friends voice and the game volume. I sometimes had to turn the game volume down dramatically, just to hear my friend clearly. I’d find it more reassuring to have a mic in direct contact with my mouth, instead of relying on the pickup of hidden receivers.
If you’re looking for a wireless gaming headset, the Elite 800s offer cutting-edge technology, in an easy to use, yet extensively detailed package. Although I’d prefer some more premium material in its design, alongside a traditional mic, it’s a great set for any audiophile looking for luxury.