As the name suggests, the Stealth 350VR headset from Turtle Beach is specifically designed for use with virtual reality headsets such as the PlayStation VR (which I tested), HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. What makes this headset special for VR, you might be inclined to ask? The answer is not especially obvious at first glance. However, the subtle modifications make all the difference.
The Devil is in the detail
The Stealth 350VR has a slightly wider design compared to traditionally shaped headsets. This allows space for the gaming headset to be placed over a VR headset. Another key difference is the simple but effective addition of an all-important gap between the cushioning situated at the top of the headset. This enables any associated VR headset cables to pass through, giving you as comfortable a fit as possible given the fact that you have a piece of rather cumbersome first generation VR technology strapped to your face. It’s these simple but effective ergonomic changes which makes using the Stealth 350VR reasonably comfortable, even after two or three hours of use.
The comfortable fit is of course helped by the simple lightweight design thanks to a construction made of plastic, but this does make the headset feel a little on the flimsy side – I wouldn’t fancy its chances if it had the unfortunate luck to be trodden on. Continuing with the simplistic theme, the Stealth 350VR has a rather business-like appearance with no flashy elements whatsoever. This is exacerbated with its equally sensible matte black finish – a looker this is not.
The Stealth 350VR is wired so you’ll benefit from the experience of 3D audio that VR headsets offer. They come with an integrated battery-powered amplifier along with a volume control and variable bass boost. Both are adjustable via two wheels situated on the left speaker which are easily accessible when in use. There’s also a handy detachable microphone, so it’s a simple case of yanking the microphone out if you do not require its use (also it’s worth noting there is a mic mute switch on the left speaker).
The microphone comes complete with mic monitoring (which enables you to hear your own voice to make you feel especially important) and noise cancelation features, which provides a decent clarity of voice. The product will supposedly last an eyebrow-raising 30 hours between charges which typically takes around three hours or so. Although I didn’t get around to testing the battery life accurately, I believe it’s fair to assume that if they didn’t quite manage 30 hours, they certainly lasted the majority of that figure.
Testing it with a PlayStation VR initially felt a little awkward and cumbersome. It took some adjusting of the PlayStation VR headset and the Stealth 350VR to find a comfortable equilibrium. I found I had to raise the position of the rear band of the PlayStation VR headset so that the headphone speakers could fit snugly over my ears. This felt counter-intuitive as the PlayStation VR headset never felt like it was in the optimal position, so I wouldn’t recommend playing games like Headmaster with the Stealth 350VR as the headset would probably come completely off your head as you do your best to head the ball in to the top corner of the goal with gusto. Admittedly, though, this may vary between user depending on head shape and their optimal position of the PlayStation VR.
Ace of bass
If there’s one particular feature that the Stealth 350VR does very well, it’s the powerful bass that emits from the 50mm Neodymium speakers. Turn the bass boost to its maximum and you’ll be met with some very powerful lows which add crunch and power to sound effects which help to raise the gaming experience and overall immersion.
At the opposite side of the spectrum, the high-end comes through well, as does the mid-range, although admittedly it’s not as impressive as the low end. For the price I found the overall audio quality to be surprisingly high. You do have to remember, though, that this is a mid-tier priced headset, so don’t expect it to hold a candle to the more expensive offerings.
You really owe it to yourself to purchase a decent set of wired headphones/earphones, or ideally a headset when experiencing virtual reality as often the standard bundled in earphones are simply not up to the task. The Stealth 350VR headset is a decent offering at £54.99 (Amazon UK price at time of writing) considering the very good audio quality and impressively beefy bass, and not forgetting the many features which are easily adjustable even when you are fully immersed in the virtual reality medium.
However, as you may need to raise the rear band of the PlayStation VR headset, it’s possible that Sony’s piece of tech could fall off your head after some rigorous use, taking the Stealth 350VR headphones with it. Couple this with the Stealth 350VR’s fragile design which feels rather cheap and potentially vulnerable to breaking, not to mention the no-frills design, and you have a decent product which could be perfected with one or two adjustments.
- Lightweight design
- Long life battery
- Decent bass
- Feels flimsy
- Dull appearance
You really owe it to yourself to purchase a decent set of wired headphones or earphones when experiencing virtual reality. The Stealth 350VR headset is a decent offering at £54.99 (Amazon UK price at time of writing) considering the very good audio quality and impressively beefy bass, and not forgetting the many features which are easily adjustable even when you are fully immersed in the virtual reality medium. Sadly. the Stealth 350VR’s fragile design feels rather cheap and potentially vulnerable to breaking, and the no-frills design wont be for everyone.