Turtle Beach Earforce PX5 gaming headset hands-on preview
Ear Force PX5
- Super comfortable
- Removable boom mic
- Bluetooth capabilities
- AA batteries required
- Software not user-friendly
Overview / Setup
Although this headset can be used on either PS3 or Xbox 360, PSN issues meant we did most our testing on the Xbox 360. Inside the box you'll find the headset itself (boom mic attached), a mini-USB cord, a pair of AA batteries (phew!), an optical cable, the base station, USB power adapter and the 360 game chat cord. There's also a set-up guide and a sheet indicating what each of the 8 presets does. Once you've got all that, linking the headset up to your console is as simple as powering and connecting the base station to the Xbox. And once you power on the headset, you'll need to choose between PS3 and Xbox mode by holding down the power button for two seconds.
It would be pointless to review a gaming headset and not mention how they actually felt on our heads after long periods of playtime, right? We logged quite a few (read: too many) hours playing games like Halo: Reach, Halo 3, COD: MW2 and Black Ops and came to the realization that these cans are among the most comfortable we've ever put over our ears. The PX5 offers superior comfort, as the head-piece and ear cups are packed with soft padding that fits around and doesn't crush your ears. They'e so comfy we rarely had to adjust the headset, even after long periods of play-time.
And how they sound? The PX5 sounds incredible. Depending on what preset you use (bass + treble boost was our favorite), gunshots pierce your ear drums, footsteps become very distinguishable (Search and Destroy, anyone?) and you can actually hear where your enemies are in addition to being able to see them. The presets can be accessed by pressing the designed button found on the left earcup, and there's a main button to quickly jump back to the default setting. It's sort of difficult to put into words how well these things sound, but we'll say this: if you have the cash and are in need of a series set of gaming cans, the PX5s should be near or at the top of your want list.
Software / Bluetooth
One of the main features embedded within the PX5 is the ability to customize each of the eight available presets that Turtle Beach provides. Downloadable software is required to create and customize your own presets, but only after creating a username / password on the company's site (blergh). We had a few problems with the software -- it's only available on Windows and frankly, it's not as user-friendly as we'd hoped. Sure, there's plenty of clickable buttons and toggles, but using this software might be on the difficult side if you're not audio-savvy. We created our own custom preset and downloaded it to our headset, but after testing we weren't impressed. We just dragged a bunch of sliders up and down, but the lack of ability to preview our work was frustrating and made the whole thing almost seem pointless. The software has limited user functionality and appears somewhat half-baked, so we recommend sticking with the eight presets that come pre-programmed with your purchase.
If you'll recall from our preview, the PX5 has a Bluetooth channel for PS3 game chat or pairing up with your cellular device to listen to music or take calls while you mindlessly hop through portals. We linked up the cans with our iPhone 4 and used the Beaches as a wireless, Bluetooth headset. Music sounded crisp, our ears were filled with a solid balance of bass and treble, and range was more than acceptable. The PX5 make a somewhat decent pair of wireless headphones, if you're into that sort of thing.
After spending hours and hours gaming with Turtle Beach's latest creation, we can confidently say the company has outdone itself. The headset's build-quality is better than most of its competitors, and again, the PX5s are super-comfortable to wear -- even for long periods of time. Five minutes after you get your head in the game, you'll realize why they cost $250 bucks. Sure, the price is a bit steep and we could live without the ability to customize presets, but if you're looking to make a solid investment that'll last you through the next 15 iterations of Modern Warfare, look no further than the PX5s.