Turtle Beach Stealth 420X+ review: The newest wireless headset for Xbox One

However comfortable gaming headsets strive to be, most of them still involve plugging the headset into your controller or console via wire. Wireless headsets are rare on Xbox One, but Turtle Beach's new Stealth 420X+ is truly wireless. Does it live up to its comfort potential? Read on to find out!

Turtle BeachStealth 420X+ at a glance

Turtle Beach Stealth 420X+

These are the 420X+'s features in a nutshell:

  • 100% Fully Wireless for Xbox One - No wires anywhere. Experience crystal clear game and chat audio using the latest intelligent, channel-hopping technology for interference-free wireless gaming.
  • Superhuman Hearing - Offers players a competitive advantage by allowing them to hear soft sounds like enemy footsteps sneaking up from behind and weapon reloads off in the distance.
  • Mic Monitoring - STOP SHOUTING!!! Mic Monitoring lets players hear their own voice in the headset to avoid shouting at teammates and other players when shouting isn't required.
  • Independent Game and Chat Volume Control - Players can independently adjust game and chat audio levels to their preference.
  • 15-Hour Rechargeable Battery - An onboard rechargeable battery delivers up to 15 hours of wireless gameplay.

In addition to the Stealth 420X+ headset itseld, in the box you'll find the USB wireless dongle, a 2-foot Micro-USB charging cable, and a 3.5mm audio cable.

Connecting to Xbox One

Turtle Beach Stealth 420X+

The Turtle Beach 420X+ is designed primarily as a wireless headset for Xbox One. It can also be used with PlayStation 4 or mobile devices via the included 3.5mm cable, which plugs into the bottom of the right ear cup. You wouldn't buy this headset specifically for PlayStation use, but people who own both consoles will appreciate the option.

Xbox One Headset Assigned

To use the Stealth 420X+ wirelessly with Xbox One, you'll connect the included USB dongle to any of the console's USB ports. Turtle Beach recommends waiting until you've signed into Xbox Live on the system before inserting the dongle. If you leave the dongle inserted all the time, it's a crapshoot whether or not the system will detect the headset. Sometimes it sees it, sometimes not. Plug in the dongle after signing in, though, and the "Headset assigned" notification will pop up on cue. I wish we could just leave it plugged in all the time, but reinserting the dongle isn't a huge deal.

The USB dongle and headset are automatically paired by default. If they ever lose sync for some reason, there's a pinhole button on the dongle to re-engage sync.

Powering and charging the headset

Turtle Beach Stealth 420X+

To turn the Stealth 420X+ on or off, press and hold the Turtle Beach logo on the right ear cup. The exterior side of the ear cups on which you'll find the power button is the only matte part of the headset. You're bound to leave fingerprints on it with use, which is unfortunate. The logos on both ear cups light green when powered on. The headset also plays "Powering on" and "off" voice prompts when you turn it on and off.

The 420X+ has a non-swappable 15-hour battery. To charge the headset, simply plug in the included Micro-USB cable to any USB charger, including the ports on your Xbox. You can use the headset while charging, though the included cable is probably too short for that.

Build and controls

Turtle Beach Stealth 420X+

The Stealth 420X+ has a matte black plastic extendable frame. Although not as sturdy as a metal frame, it feels solid enough to hold up to extended use. Comfortable synthetic leather padding lines the inner headband and ear cushions.

All of the headset's controls are found along the bottom of the right ear cup. Unlike wired headsets, users can't adjust game and chat volume through the Xbox One system menus, so the independent game and chat volume dials are a necessity. An equalizer Presets button toggles bass, treble, and vocal boosts on and off.

The mute button, sitting on the front of the right ear cup, is needlessly small and hard to find while wearing the headset. Considering how important easily muting a headset actually is, Turtle Beach really should've made the button significantly larger. Instead, I usually have to take the thing off in order to find it. The "Microphone on" and "off" voice messages make it easy to tell whether you're muted or not, at least.

Microphone quality

Turtle Beach Stealth 420X+

The Stealth 420X+ comes with a removable and flexible boom mic, should you want to use it as a standard set of wireless headphones when you're not engaged in multiplayer gaming.

Gauging the volume of your voice won't be a problem with the 420X+. Its built in mic monitoring plays your voice back through the headset. It takes a little getting used to, but I really like the awareness of my volume and sound that it brings.

Superhuman Hearing

Turtle Beach Stealth 420X+

The key difference between the Stealth 420X+ and last year's Stealth 420X is the new Superhuman Hearing feature. To activate it, simply press the power button on the right ear cup. Voice prompts confirm when you turn Superhuman Hearing on or off, so you won't be stuck in Superman mode without knowing it.

Superhuman Hearing purports to offer a competitive advantage by boosting the volume of distant sound effects. The idea is that you'll be able to hear enemies coming sooner than normal. Enabling Superhuman Hearing really does make sound effects louder.

Whether that actually provides real strategic benefits is hard to say. While playing Warhammer: Vermintide with Superhuman Hearing, I quite clearly heard a fight off in the distance. I couldn't tell where it was coming from just from those boosted sounds, though. It seems like directional audio – 7.1 surround – would be more immediately useful, gameplay-wise. The boosted sound effects do sound great, though.

Strong sound without wires

Turtle Beach Stealth 420X+

Whether you have Superhuman Hearing on or off, the Turtle Beach Stealth 420X+ provides extremely rich sound. The wireless nature of the headset doesn't negatively impact the sound at all – I found I could move 20 feet or so from the console before it would cut out.

Speaking of clear sound, the independent volume levels for game and chat let you fine tune the audio balance better than the Xbox One's built-in audio mixer. With other headsets, I always feel like either chat or game audio suffers. Here, you can adjust each one to such a fine degree that you'll be able to hear them both as loudly as needed.

The Stealth 420X+ retails for $149.99, making it one of the pricier Xbox One headsets on the market (but not as expensive as the wireless Turtle Beach 800X). For the price, you get some strong features: wireless connectivity, great sound quality, optional Superman Hearing, and a flexible microphone. The actual mute button should be larger and easier to find, but that minor inconvenience is outweighed by the convenience of wireless functionality.

If you want a wireless headset for Xbox One and your budget allows it, the Turtle Beach Stealth 420X+ is a no brainer.

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Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • I own last year's 420X model and am quite thrilled with its overall performance. At $120-$150 USD, it's not a cheap headset, price-wise. So far, its build quality is showing that, as well. However, this is far from the most expensive headset that you can invest in for your Xbox One (Astro - I'm looking at you and your stupendously-expensive headphone sets.. you may be great, but you're absolutely not over $200 "great".. geez). More importantly, there aren't that many "good" pure-wireless headset solutions out there, from what I'd seen when I bought my set. TL/DR: Great review, Paul and a hearty agreement on the idea that the updated version is a good investment for quality sound for the Xbox One!
  • How often do you hear yours jumping channels? I have the x41 from a few years ago, I really love them, but sometimes it is constantly jumping channels making a very loud clicking noise. I live in a tower, so I know there is a lot of inference. I am ready to upgrade soon, probably to these.
  • Hey there - sorry for the delay. I live in a neighborhood with reasonable spacing between homes. We do have a a fair number of wifi networks in the area but nothing like what can be encountered in a high-density living arrangement like an apartment building or a tower of condos. To directly answer your question: I do not have any problems with the headset constantly changing channels. It locks in and holds. Every once in a rare while I might get a little static or cut in/out of the audio. That is definitely not the "norm", fortunately. I'd be quite disappointed in this investment if it happened routinely. Does that help?
  • Helps a lot! I assumed the tech got better in the few years since. Good to hear it seems it has.
  • "Astro - I'm looking at you and your stupendously-expensive headphone sets.. you may be great, but you're absolutely not over $200 "great".. geez" Man, I don't know about that. I have a set of A50s (currently wearing them with Deus Ex paused) and they're far and away the best headset I've owned. I started with a set of Tritton AX720s back in the 360 days, but the wires got eaten by my then-kitten. I tried a wireless set whose brand I can't recall, but had issues with interference. After a handful of wired options, the best of which were Skullcandy SLYR (whose cables were also eaten). I found a good price on a Gen 1 A50s set, and have been pleased as punch since. They were in pretty rough shape when I got them, and in the 2+ years since, part of the headband snapped, but a little Gorilla tape and they're still going strong. Last year when they snapped, I picked up the 800x because for the price I wanted BT functionality, but I returned them because the way I sit while gaming kept pressing one of the buttons and it was too annoying for a $300 headset. I bought a Gen 2 A50s refurbished for around $200 and use them most of the time, and use my original set at night when there's a chance of me falling asleep wearing them. With the Gen 3 being properly wireless, I'm strongly considering retiring the first set and picking the new ones up. They're a lot of money, but for console gaming, they're the best I've ever used, and it'd take something pretty special to win me over.
  • I feel ya. Ive had two expensive headsets eaten up by my cat. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Amazon sells these great cord protectors that have saved 99% of my cables from my naughty cat. Give them a try: Cable Protectors
  • Please understand that I am not saying that the Astro headsets are worthless, cheap or somehow underperformant. It's their price level that I take some issue with. Especially when the base model headphones are wired, not wireless, and still cost over $200 at retail. A refurbished set or secondhand set at a lower price would likely be a better value, no argument there. With that said, let's face it: the folks who're searching for the best bang-for-the-buck aren't looking to buy $199-$300 headphones. I certainly wasn't. That's why I was rather excited to find the 420X set for $120 on sale at Best Buy. The sound quality surprised me (I was expecting "acceptable" sound reproduction but got something a bit better, instead). The build quality seems to be good, so far. Make no mistake: You're a commited Astro owner and I respect that! We all have to get what we're comfortable with. That's why I was calling Astro, itself out -- not its customers. Please don't think that I am criticizing anyone's choice to buy their products here. I definitely acknowledge that they're the "headphones of the Gaming Pros". Nothing wrong with that. :)
  • Were the X800 Elites reviewed again after they fixed them? Also....what's with Turtle Beaches Presets? I haven't seen any new ones in at least 2 years.
  • Actually doing this now, received an updated unit from them.
  • So other than the foam on the mic, what is different from last years model? Totally recommend these though to anyone looking for a quality headset for extended gaming sessions.
  • See the Superhuman Hearing section of the review. ;)
  • Yeah sorry about that, I ended up reading the entire thing after I made my post. Thanks!
  • As started in the article, the Superhuman Hearing.
  • I have the 800X and they work great after the update
  • This makes me wonder: if I have a pair of headphones paired to a USB Bluetooth dongle and plugged the dongle into the Xbox One, could I use that as my headset?
  • The problem is, I don't think it is possible to pair using the Xbox os. There are some BT gateways out there that may do it, but a standard BT dongle won't work. Of course, I could be wrong :)
  • Right, but wouldn't it just connect to Xbox OS as a USB device? The Bluetooth connection would be between the dongle and the headset. 
  • The dongle is just the radio, the software, such as Windows, is what it is paired to. So.. example. If you have a keyboard paired to a dongle, if you move that dongle to another PC you will have to pair again.
  • I don't use headsets often enough, but these seem pretty cool. I would love the superhuman feature. What ruins it for me is the inconsistent recognition. Paul, is the issue the same whether you have the console full boot or instant on? At $150, I should have to give up my laziness to plug in a dongle, especially when space is tight around my console. I suppose you could use a USB extension cable so yiu don't have to try accessing the side or rear ports. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • The issue seems to be that the headset has to be assigned to a single XBL profile during use, so it can't just be available to all users on the console. Thus, you sign in and then it pairs to you for that session. What Microsoft needs to do is add a way to force it to pair with a profile without having to reinsert the USB dongle.