Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 3 Review – Third Time’s The Charm

Fresh new looks with the same great sound.

I do love a good sequel, and with the Stealth 600 Gen 3, Turtle Beach has proved that smart refinements that don’t break the mould can make for a great follow-up. Taking the popular Stealth 600 and giving it a more refined look, added connectivity, a bump in audio quality and a hugely-improved battery life, it’s managed to make a headset that’s easy to recommend for newcomers and genuinely a worthy upgrade for existing owners.

Keeping with the growing trend of manufacturers of once-gaudy gaming products giving their new lines a bit more decorum, this new iteration takes the overall silhouette of the Stealth 600 Gen 2/Gen 2 MAX and trims it down to be a sleek little number. It’s a bit more angular, flatter and with fewer embellishments and it really works, I think. If not for the size, it’s something I’d almost be okay with wearing on a morning commute, in a pinch.

The array of controls on the left cup is a bit busy if I’m honest, I would’ve preferred some of the functions moved to the right side to make it easier to remember where things were without taking it on and off, but the quantity of physical buttons and controls is appreciated. One thing I do love is the ability to change what the second wheel and the “mode” button do, with things like mic monitoring volume, bass/treble levels and noise gate volume for the former, and a choice of game preset cycling or noise gating on/off with the latter. 

In terms of comfort, this headset isn’t coming anywhere close to Turtle Beach’s other recent drop, the Atlas Air, which is easily the most comfortable I’ve used in recent memory, but it’s not bad. With a pretty rigid build, it’s not going to suit folks sensitive to a bit of pressure, and the “Athletic Weave” fabric on the cups isn’t as soft as it looks, but it’s friendly to anyone who wears glasses and it didn’t tend to bother me even with a few hours of gaming at a time.

Of course, comfort is one thing but equally or probably more important for a headset is how it sounds. The Stealth 600 Gen 3 is more than capable in that regard, though at $179 RRP it’s definitively a low-to-mid-range bit of gear and not out to compete with the best of the best.

I’ve got a fairly standard set of games I like to fire up when I’m testing out a new headset, with a range that goes from the thumping electronic beats and sci-fi sword schwings of Ghostrunner to the cinematic splendour of God of War Ragnarok and of course whatever sweaty online shooter is serving at the time. I’ve also been lucky enough to spend a bit of time with Devolver Digital and Free Lives’ first-person booter, Anger Foot, recently and using the Stealth 600 Gen 3s on PC to play that has been a (literal) blast.

Even just on the default equaliser settings, right out of the box, most of my PS5 and PC games have sounded very solid for a sub-$200 headset. There’s definitely a noticeable deficit in punch in a lot of titles with some muddy mids, but I’m surprised at how little harshness there is even at high volumes and with a heavy mix. The headset is surprisingly capable when it comes to music and movies as well, even if voices sound a bit overly thick and warm in the latter. Overall, it’s a solid little performer that responds well to various surround/3D audio solutions and doesn’t exhibit a ton of clipping or distortion when pushed to its limit.

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The microphone, which is built-in and flips down from the Stealth 600 Gen 3’s left ear cup, is also a decent little performer that sounds plenty clear with a nice amount of noise rejection. Like Turtle Beach’s other headset mics, it’s not going to win any awards or replace the ease and quality of a dedicated mic if you’re a PC player, but for those quick matches with mates on console it’s going to ensure you’re heard loud and clear without picking up your cats in the background, crying for attention as you load in your 100th round of MultiVersus for the day.

For PC, PlayStation and Switch, the Stealth 600 Gen 3 connects via a pretty standard USB-A dongle for a low-latency 2.4GHz connection, or alternatively you’ve got the option of Bluetooth for mobile devices. I do wish that there was a USB-C dongle or adapter in the box to make it easier to use with a handheld Switch or PS5 “slim”, and simultaneous wireless connectivity would’ve been nice to have, but given the price point and that having Bluetooth at all is an upgrade over the old Stealth 600 headsets it’s hard to be too disappointed.

It’s on PC that you’ll get the best overall software experience with the Stealth 600 Gen 3 thanks to Turtle Beach’s “Swarm II” app, which is its proprietary software for controlling and customising its headsets and other gear on Windows. It’s here you’re able to turn on things like “Superhuman Hearing” which is designed to make footsteps, gunshots and other things easier to hear. Naturally you’ve also got equalisers to adjust the sound to your tastes, the ability to save profiles to the headset, the option to determine when the headset powers off, the brightness of the wireless adapter’s LED, the volume of the internal prompts and more. Despite all the benefits, Swarm II is quite lean overall compared to a lot of the bloated peripheral manufacturer apps on Windows, and I appreciate that you’re able to update the headset wirelessly in seconds whenever it needs it.

There’s an equivalent Swarm II mobile app for both Android and iOS devices as well, which has quite a few of the same settings and features available on PC and is similarly lean and reliable. 

It also offers another handy way to determine how much battery the headset has left, though that should rarely be a concern given that the most impressive feature of the Stealth 600 Gen 3 by far is its beefy battery life, which Turtle Beach rates at up to 80 hours. That’s almost double the Stealth 600 Gen 2 MAX and nearly four times the Stealth 600 Gen 2, so it’s a huge upgrade and puts it among the best in its price range. In my testing, using it on and off for a good couple of weeks, I’ve barely put a dent in the battery, to the point where I reckon I’m set to get more than 80 hours if it’s actually draining at the rate that the app says it is.

Conclusion
At under $200 the Stealth 600 Gen 3 is a decent performer that makes some smart improvements over its predecessors and looks a lot more respectable to boot. I might not have the comfort for marathon gaming sessions but the battery will outlast you by a mile.
Positives
Looks much nicer than previous gens
Sounds great for the price point
Added connectivity options
Massive battery life
Negatives
Cup fabric isn't as soft as it looks
Button layout is a bit busy