Say hi to the Turtle Beach XO Three, a $70 headset (opens in new tab) that touts big audio in an affordable package.
As the latest entry in Turtle Beach's low-mid tier XO range, the XO Three is a new option for those who want to shave some dollars off the price of the XO Four, which comes bundled with the largely unnecessary 3.5mm adapter required for older Xbox One controllers. If you're using a modern Xbox controller with a 3.5mm socket, or you have a headset adapter left over from a previous purchase, the XO Three is something to consider.
But, just how good is it? Frankly, I was surprised when I went back to check the price. Thanks to its support for Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic, the XO Three is a remarkably capable headset.
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XO Three features, style and build quality
The XO Three is comprised almost entirely of plastic, with airy, fabric coated over-ear cups, with cushioning on both the top of the headband and the earphones themselves.
The cups can be rotated into a flat position, which is often better for transportation, and the microphone can be removed if you fancy leveraging that standard 3.5mm connector for music or movies on the go. Occasionally with lower-end headsets, I've found myself frustrated by the cheaper materials used on microphone booms, sometimes resulting in them being hard to position. Thankfully, the XO Three mic boom doesn't have much of a mind of its own and will retain whatever position you desire in most cases.
While this headset is listed and licensed for Xbox One, it is compatible with PCs and phones both for audio and recording. It is also being advertised as "Surround Sound Ready," in reference to Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos software solutions found on both Windows 10 and Xbox One. I'll go into a little bit more detail about how this works in the next section, but the XO Three's 50mm neodymium drivers help this headset punch well above its weight.
Speaking of weight, the XO Three is incredibly light, but it doesn't feel cheap. The way the synthetic leather wraps around the headband like a sleeve doesn't look particularly nice, but it gets the job done, which at this price point is all you can ask for. It's hard to comment on the durability of the XO Three without using them for an elongated period of time, but its counterpart, the XO Four, has lasted me an incredibly long time with virtually identical materials and construction (with fairly heavy abuse).
Like with the XO Four, it's hard not to be impressed with the solid offering Turtle Beach has brought in at this price. But the true measure of any headset is audio.
XO Three sound quality
As far as chat goes, the XO Three delivers crystal clear voice across Xbox Live. And even though it's not designed or promoted for it, the XO Three makes a decent effort on PC as well if you ensure to tune your settings, and it can pick up background sound quite easily. You won't be recording podcasts on this thing, but if you want a headset you can use adequately across both Xbox One and PC for party chat, the XO Three is a solid buy. But what about audio?
I purposefully don't check the price of headsets before reviewing them, to see if they line up with my expectations, and given how good the XO Three sounds, I expected them to be priced higher than $70.
The Turtle Beach XO Three delivers some seriously impressive audio for its price, sporting great volume, meaty bass tones, with decent highs and mids.
Honestly, you're not going to get the clarity with a $70 set you might get with something like Turtle Beach's Elite Pro Tournament or LucidSound's LS40, but the XO Three certainly defies expectations, and you can extend that experience even further with Dolby Atmos or Windows Sonic.
Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic are software solutions that simulate surround sound experiences and accentuate certain frequencies in an attempt to provide a richer sound. With premium headsets, the difference is hard to notice, but enabling it on the XO Three makes a marked improvement, particularly in games. Despite not supporting surround sound natively, you still get some positional feedback with those software solutions enabled on the XO Three, undoubtedly beyond what standard stereo can offer.
Dolby Atmos has a small fee attached, but Windows Sonic is free, and the XO Three is a great example of a headset that can enjoy an elevated experience as a result of the tech. There's very little to complain about here.
Turtle Beach Xo Three final thoughts
The XO Three is one headset that I honestly expected to be far more expensive than it is, given the quality of the sound and the comfortable construction. You're not getting some of the bells and whistles of a more expensive headset such as native mic monitoring. Nor will you get the soundscape of something more premium, but if you want a decent headset without blowing the bank, you should definitely look to the XO Three.
- Great value.
- Solid sound.
- Light and comfortable.
- Misses out on premium features, like mic monitoring.
The Turtle Beach XO Three is available for around $70.
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Jez Corden is the Managing 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!
While nice, I'm still waiting on solutions that use the official Xbox wireless protocol that the controllers use. These types of headsets should hopefully start making their way into stores and I'm guessing you guys will review them so I can make an informed purchase. So hyped about the One X! #earthisflat
Yeha man, looking forward to the next gen of "true" wireless headsets. :D
Mic monitoring is a deal breaker here I am afraid as well as lack of 'surround" sound.
Sure, you gotta pay more for those kinda features tho.
Mic monitoring for 'dumb' headsets using 3.5mm jacks is built into the XB1 audio settings. It's always available unless you use an adapter and it works very well.
Yeah but even at max volume you can't really hear it, I don't rate it.
Hmmm, my experience is different with Turtle Beach XO SEVEN 'dumb' no adapter and controllers made in the last year. Mic monitoring is quite audible (at max) and has been confirmed to me by other owners of the same headset. Additionally, Turtle Beach xbox controller adapters also provide mic monitoring but perhaps those don't come with this particular headset.
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