Turtle Beach Ear Force Z2 ears-on

With its Ear Force line, Turtle Beach has turned the gaming headset from niche product into must-have accessory for many serious gamers -- particularly those engaging in some warfare of a modern variety. The wireless, 7.1-channel X41 model sits on the high end, but Turtle Beach is now offering those on a bit of a budget a new option: the Ear Force Z2. At $69.95 it isn't exactly cheap, but compared to the other products on the segment it is something of a bargain. Click on through for our impressions.

It's a simple stereo model featuring 50mm drivers in a comfortable, isolating, though predictably bulky over-the-ear design. Stereo input and output is handled through simple 3.5mm plugs, and though there may not be dozens of speakers in there to really put you in the game, the sound quality is quite good. Output here definitely offers the boomy bass that gamers will want so that they can really feel the explosions. Doing these sorts of tests on the incredibly noisy E3 show floor is always a challenge, so we can't give a comprehensive report on audio quality, but the isolating cups did well here to block most of it out, and while we weren't exactly wowed by the experience, we weren't disappointed either.

Out of the box The Z2 is PC compatible, but an optional (unpriced) "talkback" cable lets you use it with your Xbox 360, and a quick disconnect means you can switch between the two easily. Being tethered is sadly something of a drag, but overall quality seems to be good for the price. No specific release date is given, but the word of "soon" means it shouldn't be too long a wait.