This review may be updated in the future to account for any changes in accessibility of the unit or its firmware.
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After reviewing the Stealth 500X headset, I was interested to see how it compared to its higher priced competitor from the same company.
With voice prompts and a magnetic charging stand, I was very curious, but knew I'd have to see it to believe it.
Fortunately, thanks to the company's generocity, I've had the chance to review this high quality premium product.
The unit used in this review was provided at no cost to the reviewer by the company.
Between the outer sleeve and the inner box are two pieces of sticky tape keeping the two together. Use a finger to remove these, one at the top of the short side and one on the bottom of the same side.
They can't be fully removed, so not worrying about those, take the sleeve away from the box by sliding the sleeve away from it carefully. If you can feel a small loop of material,keep this to your right.
Now pull this loop up and to your right, lifting the magnetic flap that comprises the top of the box upwards and to your left, similar to opening a book.
This reveals the main packaging of the headset, with the elite 800x being the first thing you'll likely be able to spot, in a plastic holder of sorts.
This plastic holder can be carefully lifted from the top, near where the top of the headband is, using the protrusions that stick up.
Once this is lifted away, you'll see a box and some papers. The box is wrapped in a polythene-like bag, which can be pierced carefully with a finger.
Pulling up the oblong tab cealing the box and pulling away the connected piece of cardboard, all the necessary cabling you'll need for your Elite 800x will be revealed (2 USB cables, a 3.5mm "mobile cable", and an optical cable cealed in a harder plastic bag compared to the others).
Putting the cables to one side (unwrapped or otherwise), you will also find a manual wrapped in another polythene-like bag, which you can put to one side as well.
Extracting the headset itself
The Elite 800x comes with a very interesting extra accessory, which is an integral part of its operation. The wireless charging station. Fortunately, that plastic holder you extracted from the main box earlier, whilst containing the headset, also contains the charging station.
Once you've pulled the headset carefully up and out of the holder via the headband,you'll find yet another box wrapped in polythene underneath, but not before you've removed a card discussing the Turtle Beach Elite membership.
Unwrap the wireless station's box, then open the box (which isn't sealed with any tape). This reveals the station itself in its polythene bag, which you can gently undo.
Now you have all the components you need to get started.
The Elite 800x headset is very much a headset designed for gaming. That doesn't make it any less attractive, however. It sports rocker plates on the sides of the headset that can be changed out for alternative designs.
But the key feature of these plates is the small tactile points, 4 on each plate.
The left ear cup is the home of the following points
front: power on/off (hold), noise cancellation on/off
Back: bluetooth/multi function.
Up/down: game volume up/down.
The right ear cup holds the following controls:
- Front: Mic On/off, hold for mic room selection
- Back: preset selection, hold to change main mode
- Up/down: game chat up/down.
The Transmitter/charging stand
The wireless station is a very simple piece of equipment externally only having a USB port, optical in and out ports (one of each) and a pairing button. For reference, the in port is next to this pairing button.
When plugged in to a mains outlet (not a console), the station will charge the headset via a set of magnetic contacts that connect to the right ear cup and hold it in place.
indicated via voice prompts.
Set Up and pairing
Setting up the headset involves charging the headset first. Place the headset on your charging station and take one of the two USB cables (which strangely both look the same even with sight), plugging it into a wall adaptor ideally. Leave it for a few hours and then remove it.
You shouldn't need to pair the transmitter and headset, though if you do the manual's instructions are pretty sufficient to allow you to do this even without sighted assistance.
Pairing the Elite 800x with your headset is relatively simple. Plug in the optical in cable to the back of your console and the USB cable as well, making sure your audio settings are calibrated as follows:
Optical Format: Bitstream out
I tested this headset with Halo 5: Guardians and Killer Instinct, the latter of which I play on a regular basis and the former seeming designed for surround sound (with Astro, Turtle Beach's competitor, producing surround headsets for this title in particular).
When testing Killer Instinct, the first game I tried with this new product, I noticed an important and welcome improvement over the Stealth 500x. The reverb-like filters featured on the Stealth 500x, which were a frustrating point, have been upgraded and sound far better even when handling a stereo game that occasionally has surround elements.
The only point of slight annoyance I encountered was with the music, which never seemed to be quite as balanced as with the Afterglow AG9's, what I would consider to be the benchmark for headset sound quality in terms of balance and ease of use with a stereo unit. However, that's not to say that the Elite 800x didn't sound good with the music up to a fairly loud volume, just that for recording replays, I couldn't quite tell whether I'd got the balance adjusted to the usual standards I try and keep.
Halo 5: Guardians
I was very surprised to see that Halo 5: Guardians allowed me, after a little practice to get a sense of players being behind me in the virtual space. This gave me the chance to try and circle around them, getting a few assassinations in the process. Within larger open arenas, however, the understanding of distance was rather tricky, but could be gotten used to with time, though it was never as fully featured as the hype might have prospective buyers believing.
Gears Of War 4
Gears of War 4 wasn't quite what I'd expected in terms of the ability to distinguish enemy proximity. However, like Halo 5 Guardians, it might just be down to practice. However, it can't be understated that the impact and grit in Gears sound design is still apparent and welcomed.
Mortal Kombat X
Mortal Kombat X is known for its impactful sound and intense action. With dialogue also being prominant, I thought it'd be a good test for the Elite 800x and how right I was. Changing into movie mode, far from being a disappointment, allowed me to still fight and have the dialogue and accompanying sounds play in an atmosphere reminisent of an action film.
Complaeting a couple of living towers convinced me that possibly, the PDP AG9's might have a full-scale contender on their hands, all be it one at a far higher price with added virtual surround sound features.
Injustice 2, sometimes shortened to I2, is a game that's been making waves in the accessibility community because of the lack of access to the gear system, one of the game's main selling points, without sight. However, sound wise, the game definitely lives up to the scale of Mortal Kombat X and Killer Instinct, sometimes even surpassing it. Transitions feel impactful, environmental interactions feel suitably weighty and the score backing it all up feels well merged to create a cohesive whole when combined with the Turtle Beach Elite 800x.
Setting the unit to movie mode even allows for the feel of a blockbuster with interactivity and if you're willing to have a look around through the unit's default settings I'm sure you'll find one to suit your liking.
Rock Band 4
After a fair amount of sighted help to recalibrate the game, Rock Band 4 worked near flawlessly with the Elite 800x headset. Switching the unit into music mode with the stadium preset gives a pretty authentic feel to the larger arenas.
However, the microphone lag that I experienced, whether part of the game or partly to do with the optical connection, was definitely noticeable through the unit.
This resulted in the need to turn the Microphone volume all the way down in the in-game options.
Also, for reference, the game thinks the built-in microphone on the headset will work with the game. After a very quick, if unintentional test, it produced some very unpleasant results. I'd not recommend trying to use it to achieve high scores or play the game in any way. Unless, of course, you want to scare those you're playing with into complete shock.
Titanfall 2 is a game that I'm not overly familiar with. But that doesn't matter when the Elite 800x makes the world, as well as the player's interactions with it, an intense and elaborate experience. Unfortunately, though not the fault of the unit but of the game itself, the player's footsteps both as a pilot and titan aren't in the foreground anywhere near as much as they'd need to be for a comfortable hold on what's going on from an accessibility standpoint.
Grenades are deliberately a shock to the system and the rattle of gunfire echos in the distance so you can at least tell if you're going in roughly the right direction. But the thing that the Elite 800x does to the greatest effect is present the game's titular walking tanks as cinematic, powerful, larger than life entities.
Titanfall is very much a demonstration of what the Elite 800x headset can do well with a large range of sounds, even if the virtual surround doesn't help as much as with Halo 5.
Turtle Beach headsets are known for their comfort and this headset is no exception even if I have to adjust my headband to be fully extended on both sides. That probably means I've just got too big a head.
Waring these for several hours at a time, whilst it might've been a little hot, was doable and the ability to adjust party chat and game chat independently is, as always with headsets, much appreciated.
Well-built headset and charging stand
Manual is relatively accessible, though it is a PDF.
Useful voice prompts even when charging.
Given knowledge of ports on your console, pairing is relatively simple.
Inaccessible software for working with presets and updating hardware, similar to the Stealth 500X.
Charging notification doesn't play consistently.
HDMI audio must be turned off to reduce lag, making it difficult to capture gameplay from external devices with the unit connected.
Though most other games work, rock band suffers from calibration issues which cannot be fixed without sighted assistance.
The Turtle Beach Elite 800x headset is certainly an improvement over the Stealth 500x and I can recommend it to those who would have a little sighted assistance to update the firmware and if needed place presets on the unit. However, with the inaccessible software and semi reliance on LEDs for charging and connection status (though the latter is less of an issue), I cannot recommend it with full confidence. If you have the choice between the Stealth 500x and Elite 800X and the money available, I'd suggest going with the latter due to it's marked improvement over its predecessor.
I'd like to again thank Turtle Beach for their willingness to assist me in this review. Hopefully their product accessibility improves in the near future.
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