Turtle Beach's courting of esports has led to a bit of a renaissance for the company's headsets. In its PC-focused Atlas range, gone are the plastic neon accents, replaced with metal parts and industrial stylings.
These are headsets that mean business, and the company wants you to know it. No headsets in the range exemplify this as much as the Elite Atlas, which is a truly special piece of kit. In fact, it's the best $100 gaming headset available today.
Turtle Beach redefined
Sound so good it almost feels like cheating.
Bottom line: Turtle Beach has stepped up its game with the Elite Atlas, delivering a premium experience for a shockingly low price.
- Industry-leading audio
- Supreme comfort
- Professional design
- Customizable speaker plates
- Amazing price point
- Cable is too short
- Materials are dust magnets
Turtle Beach Elite Atlas design, comfort, and construction
The Turtle Beach Elite Atlas joins its Atlas brethren with a more modern, professional-looking design, sporting metallic accents, and quality materials. Upgrading Turtle Beach's Elite Pro Tournament headset of yesteryear, the Elite Atlas drops the tension controls across the top of the headband for a metal frame, complete with a floating headband. The distance between the headband and the speakers can be adjusted to fit different head sizes, all stocked with sturdy, solid-feeling plastics.
|Frequency response||12Hz to 20kHz|
|Connection||3.5mm and a PC splitter option, (110 cm braided cable)|
|Compatibility||Xbox One, PC, PS4, Mobile, and Nintendo Switch|
After using the previous Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament headset for the past couple of years, I can vouch for the construction of this range with confidence. This headset will take an extreme amount of punishment.
Turtle Beach has made some notable improvements to the Elite line with this Atlas product, however, throwing in a rubber-coated noise canceling microphone which is far nicer than the very basic construction on the previous microphone. The microphone is flexible but sturdy, able to maintain whatever shape you contort it to with some well-tuned resistance.
Another area Turtle Beach has improved here is the speaker cups. The over-ear construction remains largely the same, with thick, airy fabric cushions that remain comfortable across hours and hours of play. However, they can now be removed for cleaning easier than before, owing to magnet connectors. Additionally, Turtle Beach has thrown in magnetic speaker plates for the first time, with custom branding options coming "this fall."
The ability to remove the cushions makes the speaker channels much easier to clean than the previous Elite headsets and should also make replacing worn out cushions easier, potentially extending the life of the overall product. Speaking of cleaning, it's worth noting the glossy black plastics and near-porous rubber used around the speakers attract dust, so if you're easily frustrated by this, you might want to look for a headset that opts for matte plastics instead.
The Elite Atlas also rocks braided cables, which is welcome to see, but it's frustrating how short they are, a criticism that I echoed in my Atlas One headset review. For most PC gamers, unless you're sitting on top of your PC tower or connecting your audio through a controller, the included 110 cm cable is simply too short. It's easy enough to extend the length of a 3.5 mm cable through extension leads, but it's something worth considering when you look into this headset.
Bottom line, the Elite Atlas is a well-constructed, beautiful headset that I wouldn't feel weird wearing in public, which is something you can rarely say about Turtle Beach products. The customizability is a welcome upgrade, and the introduction of metal housing adds a level of long-lasting reassurance.
Turtle Beach Elite Atlas audio experience
Like the Elite Pro before it, the Elite Atlas is a cut above when it comes to pure gaming audio, with a balanced soundscape that is not only great for movies and music but revelatory for gaming.
Using the same 50mm Nanoclear speakers found in other premium Turtle Beach headsets, the Elite Atlas delivers what I consider to be the best sound in gaming at the most affordable price point yet. The way Turtle Beach finetunes its audio scape to emphasize footsteps and other sound cues in shooters can truly elevate your game. Folded in with Windows Sonic or Dolby Atmos for more precise directional audio, it provides such a large tactical advantage you'll almost feel like you're cheating.
This was the moment @TurtleBeach's Atlas Elite headset saved my life, lol. You can BARELY HEAR the foot steps on my Surface Book 2 left speaker (volume up), but the Atlas Elite headset made them crystal clear, loud and proud. Stunning headset so far, full review on the way. pic.twitter.com/rtL7hY7gfxThis was the moment @TurtleBeach's Atlas Elite headset saved my life, lol. You can BARELY HEAR the foot steps on my Surface Book 2 left speaker (volume up), but the Atlas Elite headset made them crystal clear, loud and proud. Stunning headset so far, full review on the way. pic.twitter.com/rtL7hY7gfx— jezette👑 (@JezCorden) October 16, 2018October 16, 2018
Playing through a few games has been a real joy with the Elite Atlas. Turtle Beach has done some stellar work to get it down to this $100 price point. It has an expanded frequency response range over some similarly priced headsets, granting creamy bass notes atop distortion-free highs.
Turtle Beach's audio engineers separate the different channels particularly well, most notably for game-relevant audio cues, such as footsteps and reloads. Turtle Beach's headsets tend to be the only headsets where I can demonstrate getting kills as a direct result of the audio tuning.
Some of Turtle Beach's lower-end headsets prioritize game audio above all else, as so they should, but the Elite range ensures a quality experience across all sorts of user scenarios. I found listening to music on this thing truly infectious, with each channel ringing distinct and clear, completely distortion free even at boosted volumes from my mix amp. Sweeping bass and crisp highs have helped me discover new dimensions to songs I thought I knew very well.
The headset also features a noise-cancelling microphone aimed at esports players, designed to reduce background sound. The audio quality isn't at the level where you'll want to record podcasts or YouTube video, but for voice comms in games over Discord or even Xbox Live, the quality is clear. The above clip was recorded directly from the 3.5mm cable with an open window and fan noise in the background.
The audio quality is in a league of its own for gaming, and provides rich sound for movies and music should you want to go mobile.
The bottom line on Turtle Beach's Elite Atlas gaming headset
Turtle Beach has outdone itself. The construction feels premium and looks great, the sound quality is crystal clear, and the new customization options show a progression in Turtle Beach's design mission.
The only complaints I have is its stingily short 110 cm cable and the glossy material's proneness to dust accumulation. Beyond that, this is a headset that cuts above all other $100 wired options in this range. It's simply sublime.
Turtle Beach redefined
Sound so good it almost feels like cheating.
Bottom line: Turtle Beach stepped up its game with the Elite Atlas, delivering a premium experience for a shockingly low price.
Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
How are the ear cup size for larger ears?
Good question that I should include in future reviews, thanks. Inside they're about 7cm diameter from top to bottom, oval shaped, and the cushioning is very soft and airy. I think on larger ears they'll be very pleasant.
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