Another year, another chance to showcase to the world what you can do. For Turtle Beach, their wireless offerings, sans their PX4, have proven to be effective audio systems, like their licensed Ghosts Phantom headset. However, always improving, Turtle Beach decided to introduce a new type of audio in DTS X: 7.1; an archetype of the newly issued DTS Neo X technology and pin hopes that this new tech. can win over buyers. So far, the 500p seems to be doing that, but as one final push, Turtle Beach threw every type of bell and whistle in the Elite 800; Turtle Beach’s new creme de la creme offering. However, at $300, is this really Turtle Beach’s latest offering? In addition, how does it stack up to the A50 from Astro or H Wireless from SteelSeries? Read on, fellow gamers to unlock the answer.
Turtle Beach made sure this headset is its prized jewel. Magnetic charging stand, durable TOSlink cable, premium appearance and usage of premium memory foam are all present here. That being said, all contents are expected of such a high offering, and it is comforting to see that Turtle Beach nailed the hammer on the head. Of course, its colored look was specifically designed for the PS4, but in practice, these can be used with mobile and other devices without making you look weird. In addition, the headset feels well built, even with plastic usage. However, comparing this to the A50 isn’t a contest. Astro Gaming continues to offer some of the best packaging around, and even though packing isn’t that important anymore, it is nice to see when a company takes pride in their products. That is nor a dock on the 800, but it shows just how different these companies are. For the H wireless comparison, same story. The H is packing some serious flare with its arrangement, and while the color palette on the two is very similar, SteelSeries decided to increase value with magnetic boxes housing each of the components; different from Turtle Beach’s use of thin cardboard one. All in all, it seems that the Elite 800 gets the basics down, but doesn’t stand up quite like it’s rivals.
Now, I always criticized Turtle Beach for not taking any thought into build. However, this was never a problem with their wireless models (sans the Tango in my experiences), and I am happy to report that the Elite 800 continues this tradition in the wireless models. Light tosses on the coffee table and flooring were no match for the Elite 800. Odd considering their is more plastic than other materials, but I’d imagine this plastic is much sturdier this time around. Even so, Astro’s A50 wins out yet again. Metal and plastic infused components will ensure a longevity that will not be less than a year. However, for the H Wireless comparison, both seemed to be equal. Both offer sturdy builds and never caused problems for me in testing, but that is to be expected for something that costs as much as Nintendo’s own Wii U. Again, Turtle Beach swings….. and misses. It tied with the H, but could not strike out the A50. Well, going for 0-1-1, Turtle Beach hasn’t impressed so far, but can it get any worse?
Turtle Beach has had a great history of a semi cloud feeling towards your noggin. From their X12, to their XP500, they have always found a way to hit the mark with the right amount of clamping force and excellent choice of materials in neoprene. However, the 800 ditches this material for protein leather; solid breathing room with great comfort thanks in part to the deep ear pads and generous amount of memory foam. Sadly, that is the good news. Clamping force on these are just not that good, and very disappointing as well. Prepare to feel the pinch, as these headphones are going to let you know that they are there. Well, that being said, I am not going to even compare this to either the H Wireless or the A50. If you haven’t already guessed it, those two beat this one soundly, especially in different ways; the A50 giving clamping force a punch to the face as a non-issue, and the H Wireless beating Turtle Beach at its own game with more deeper ear cups and more generous padding. Turtle Beach’s Elite 800 is not living up to its name…. so far. Things are about to take a turn for the better…. Albeit – slightly.
Charging stand? Check. Numerous Preset options? Check. Bluetooth compatibility? Check. Dual wireless signals for better connection? Check Did I miss anything? Yes. The Elite 800, as stated in the intro, uses a new type of sound called DTS X: 7.1. To not overwhelm anyone, think about it like this. Previous headsets allows you to hear in 5 or 7 different directions. Now, you can hear above the front and hear to the sides in a more wider, broader perspective. This enables a more 3D field of hearing. How it performs will be discussed later. For those yummy comparisons, it seems Astro’s mighty wire free warrior has finally met its match, although I still give it the wireless frequency nod for using Kleernet; essentially turbo charged wireless connectivty for those of you who do not understand. The H Wireless has dual Lithium ion batteries, so expect continued play, even though SteelSeries can thank Triton Technogies for that. Minus that though, neither have a clear cut advantage in terms of features to match what the 800 has, and it is something few other companies can compete directly against. That being said, a win finally goes into the Elite 800 stat column, bringing it to 1-1-1. Can it win a second straight? Well…
… Using DTS X: 7.1 for the first time was a treat. Bass was deep, with excellent decay, definition and clarity, while taking a hit on the separation side. Mids did not disappoint either, as hearing commentators on various sports programs or the exquisite dialogue between Ellie and Joel felt vibrant, but again, controlled so that the voicing isn’t too bright. However, the definition of clarity is a bit off for the 800. Yes, Ellie’s voice did sound natural, but it was a bit too amped in the pitching of her voice. Even so, this still was great for the 800. Highs?…. Well.. Excellent in some aspects but off on others. Even with DTS X: 7.1 used, for me, it depends on which game you are playing. For the Last of Us, gunshots had great depth, cluuarity and definition, but other games like Dynasty Warriors Xtreme Legends falls a bit short. Sword clashes sounded a bit tinny and abrasive for me, and the serperation of sounds heard in the treble region felt like Turtle Beach wanted to artificially enhance the definition of treble, but at the cost of losing some fidelity in the process. It isnt something that is new, because every company has to compromise, but it seems that with issues with the definition and lack of seperation, it seems that the 800 is dependant on the game you are playing rather than the whole sound experience, and that just doesn’t cut it within the price range, and yes, I am aware of the presets available. Sure, they are nice to use, but they only mitigate certain issues and create others. For example, Treble Boost provides more power towards the mids and highs, but bass definition and clarity suffer. Essentially, the presets are preferences, but it can be interpreted in the form of “Pick your Poison,” as there are trade offs to consider, and will only work in a specified area. As in the case for mobile usage, it does well. Taking calls provided little to no issues. Comparisons cannot be made for its competition, so it wins by default. However, for a gaming headset to be great, it should not excel in certain areas, but all of them, much like a game should play to its strengths and add additions for the player. To compare though, I would say that the A50 and Elite 800 are deadlocked. Voicing is the key here, and even though it is nice not to have a mic. next to your cheek, the A50 provided superior clarity, seperation, and defintion, whereas the 800 has the tonal balance down pact. This doesn’t go for the same on the audio side of things however. Tonal balance, definition, and separation are given to the A50, but clarity, impact and sound stage to to the 800, but not by much for either. Tonal balance and sound stage wise against the H Wireless? H Wireless takes it, along with clarity, but defintion and separation go to Turtle Beach. So at the end of the comparisons, it gets a win by default, but again ties with the other two, even though it had a superior sound scape at that. Ultimately, its final records are 2-1-2.
All that said, what are my final thoughts on the Elite 800? Well, Turtle Beach almost had a winner, but a clamping force that is just too obnoxious to ignore, and some oddities within its performance keel it out of of the race. If anything, I think Turtle Beach may have relied a but too much on its DTS X: 7.1 tech. to overcome many of these shortcomings. Even so, the Elite 800 is still a good buy if you are willing to tough it out against some headpains. Otherwise, look for other wireless options, like Astro’s A50 or SteelSeries H. That being said, what are we giving the Elite 800 headset? A well earned 9 out of 10.
What are your thoughts in Turtle Beach products? What are your thoughts on gaming headsets as a whole? What is your favorite one? Sound off in the comments below. As always, on behalf of the entire BATGR Staff, thank you for reading! Until next time, this is Devon Day; Checking Out.
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About the Author:
A man growing up between the gaming boundaries on the 5th generation Nintendo 64, but admiring the 3rd gen. Nintendo Entertainment System and 4th generation Sega Genesis for their contributions, Devon Day always has something on his mind regarding video games and the accessories they contain. His first was a microphone for the Nintendo 64 for the “Hey You, Pikachu!” video game, but expanded towards the next line up of gaming peripherals including the Astro A40, MadCatz MLG Pro Circiut Controller, MadCatz STRIKE 7, and many other gaming gadgets. Now loving gaming tech more than ever, he sees this generation crucial to bring the full circle of social connectivity that the 7th. generation of video game consoles started.