Platform: PlayStation 3, usable with Xbox 360
Reviewed by: Bracken Lee-Rudolph
Games Tested: Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Mass Effect 3, FIFA Street
RRP: R1999 at Kalahari
Turtle Beach is a company that has been around since 1985, and has always been a sound-related company, marketing and selling sound cards, headphones and other sound device related parts for PC, console and mobile devices. In more recent times, Turtle Beach have moved towards producing gaming headsets for the current generation of gaming (PS3, 360, PC, Wii) and so far have been at the forefront of development in terms of sound quality and product features. The Turtle Beach PX5 headphones are a part of the critically acclaimed Ear Force line of gaming headsets and are intended as the front-runners of PlayStation 3 sound technology, with programmable sound pre-sets, high quality audio into the microphone and out of the earphones and Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound.
What’s In The Box:
· PX5 Headset
· PX5 Wireless RF Transmitter
· USB Power Cable
· Digital Optical Cable
· USB Programming Cable
· Xbox Live Talkback Cable
· 2 x AA batteries
· Turtle Beach Sticker
The box comes packed full of essentials to get your PX5′s functionality working and fully customised on whichever platform you choose. The Wireless RF transmitter is easy to connect to the PlayStation 3, simply requiring you to plug the USB and Optical Digital cables into the system and the transmitter to get it operational. The headset is just as simple as once you have inserted the batteries, as you just have to switch it on to connect the sound functionality. The actual headset, however, is anything but simple. While not overly complicated, the sheer number of buttons is initially quite daunting. The headset can connect to 3 sources at once, one being the RF Transmitter and the other 2 being Bluetooth pairings, one of which is required to be your PlayStation 3 if you intend to use the chat functions, the other one being another device of your choosing, be it a mobile phone, music player or other Bluetooth enabled device. Sound can be programmed to one of 18 custom pre-sets which can be used as default or downloaded and saved onto your headset via a PC and the official Turtle Beach website.
Connectivity between the transmitter and headset is near flawless, with no noticeable sound delay and the Bluetooth connectivity follows the same mould, with very little voice chat or music playback lag present. The sound quality on the headphones is superb, sounds are reproduced in incredible quality, including the voices of your allies and enemies in online play. The Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound works exactly as advertised, sounds as subtle as footsteps or an enemy taking cover are easily audible and give the user a notable boost in-game. At louder volumes, there is very little distortion, sound still plays clearly and crisply through the 50mm speakers, whichever preset your headset is programmed to. The headset is also pre-programmed with an “Ear Guard” script, meaning that potentially ear damaging sounds like large explosions are dampened in order to reduce potential damage to a gamer’s ears.
One of my favourite features was the ability to adjust the weighting of the respective volumes; For example, setting the volume of Bluetooth higher so that your friendlies can be heard while retaining the same volume of gameplay, or vice versa. This, in addition to the downloadable headset presets, adds a great amount of user compatibility as it allows the user to tailor their sound spectrum to suit their needs. The only problem I noticed with the sound is a faint static buzz when the Bluetooth was activated but inactive, which encouraged me to turn it on and off constantly – an action which will become frustrating to someone constantly switching games.
The headset uses two AA batteries for power and advertises approximately 15 hours battery time. With the batteries provided, I managed a total of about 12, both Bluetooth and RF transmitter active, and I was quite pleased with the performance. I do, however, feel that the battery pack system is not a viable one. 12 hours for me is less than a lazy weekend of gaming, meaning that I had to constantly fish out batteries – something that could get unpleasantly expensive over time. When you’re paying over R2000 for a headset, the last thing you want to have to do is spend money on it to keep it operational every weekend, and I would recommend investing in a high capacity rechargeable set of batteries, preferably a 4-pack so that you can constantly switch between charging and playing. Thankfully, the headset does have a 5-minute auto-off timer, meaning if you leave your headset on and go away, it will power off to conserve battery power. It is worth noting that for the first few uses, the battery slot in the right cup gets very hot, which may seem a cause of alarm at first, but after a few uses retains its normal temperature.
So far as comfort goes, the Turtle Beach PX5s are exceptionally comfortable, with the actual headband and speaker cups being padded and aerated for ventilation, allowing air to flow through so that your ears do not become uncomfortably warm or sweat. Like most headphones, the headband is adjustable in length, allowing further tailoring to your specifications. The microphone boom is both detachable and flexible, meaning you can bend, twist and reposition your microphone into the perfect position for your conversation needs. The voice prompts on the actual headset keep you informed of what your headset is doing and notifies you for almost everything, from preset changes, to microphone activation or deactivation and power status. My only complaint is that the ear cups are not especially large, and may cause certain users to feel cramped within the headset.
Turtle Beach have really built a special headset in the PX5 model. The combination of the RF Transmitter and Bluetooth combination works perfectly for this headset, sound has almost no delay when receiving from the RF Transmitter and has very little delay both when sending and receiving Bluetooth communication. The versatility of the headset adds to its value, as it can be used with mobile devices, including mobile phones and iPods. There is very little sound distortion, even at higher volumes with the audio safeguards in place. Both the programmable presets and surround sound work only to add to the impressive sound performance of the PX5s and perform their job as described. The battery life can be slightly disruptive to gameplay, but for a wireless headset with such a wide variety of features this is to be expected, although I would recommend investing in a rechargeable battery pack if you intend to use these for a long time. The headset is adjustable to your needs both physically and technologically; A flexible and detachable microphone boom, adjustable headband and programmable default settings on the headset, all while retaining comfort and usability make this an ideal headset for marathon gaming. All-in-all, the Turtle Beach PX5 Headset is a clear front-runner in PlayStation 3 compatible headsets available in South Africa, and if you’re looking for a headset to serve you for many long hours of gaming paradise, is certainly worth taking into consideration.
Sound Quality: 9.5/10
Build Quality: 9/10
Battery Life: 7.5/10