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SteelSeries Arctis 9X vs. Turtle Beach Elite Atlas: Which headset should you buy?

Turtle Beach Elite Atlas
Turtle Beach Elite Atlas (Image credit: Windows Central)

Overall, the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas offers the most bang for your buck thanks to its incredible overall quality and amazingly affordable price, while the SteelSeries Arctis 9X is a more expensive, mostly-equal wireless alternative that's best suited to Xbox players, but can be used by PC players too if some extra money is spent.

Atlas vs. Arctis: Wired or wireless?

In terms of quality, these two headsets are nearly identical. Both of them have superb comfort thanks to their airy fabric cushioning and fully-adjustable frames, both have a strong, durable design with steel frames and sturdy plastics, and both have top-notch, crystal-clear microphones that will transmit your voice clearly and cleanly in-game.

However, the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas has one minor edge over its wireless counterpart: it has better speakers. The Turtle Beach Elite Atlas is equipped with 50mm speakers that have a better frequency range and deliver a stronger base sound, while the SteelSeries Arctis 9X uses 40mm speakers that are a bit worse. However, this difference isn't massive, and at the end of the day both headsets sound incredible.

Turtle Beach Elite AtlasSteelSeries Arctis 9X
Speakers50mm40mm
Frequency response12Hz to 20kHz20Hz to 20KHz
Connection3.5mm (110 cm braided cable)Wireless (Xbox One and Bluetooth)
CompatibilityXbox One, PS4, PC, Mobile, Nintendo SwitchXbox One, Mobile (Bluetooth), PC (with separate adapter)

Ultimately, the biggest thing that separates these headsets is the connection method. The Turtle Beach Elite Atlas uses a direct wired connection with a disappointingly short 110cm 3.5mm braided cable, while the SteelSeries Arctis 9X uses wireless tech made to connect to the Xbox One specifically, though you can also use Bluetooth with it for mobile devices. You can use it on PC, but unfortunately only if you buy Microsoft's separate Xbox Wireless Adapter (opens in new tab). The battery life of the SteelSeries Arctis 9X is absolutely superb at about 18 hours, which is significantly longer than any other wireless Xbox headset that has come before it.

At the end of the day, the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas costs less but is physically restrictive, while the SteelSeries Arctis 9X is more expensive, yet gives you more freedom. However, it's important to note that the universal 3.5mm connection of the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas allows it to work with many more devices.

Atlas vs. Arctis: Which should you buy?

Ultimately, the better choice of headset is the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas unless you simply prefer wireless. The short cable is definitely annoying for PC players, but there are ways of extending 3.5mm connections that are much cheaper than the $25 adapter you would have to buy in order to use the SteelSeries Arctis 9X on PC.

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X offers excellent wireless quality and tremendous battery life, but overall, both the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas' significantly lower price and the versatility of its wired connection wins it the day. However, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X is quite excellent itself, and if you're an Xbox One player who wants to cut the cord, it'll be perfect for you.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.