- Quality construction
- Excellent virtual surround with Dolby DTX Headphone: X
- Bluetooth support
- Less comfortable than Steelseries H Wireless over long periods
- Poor wireless range with USB receiver
Turtle Beach has the console headset market pretty well sewn up, but its position in PC audio is of a relative outlier, particularly compared to familiar, reliable names such as Creative, Logitech… you know, the companies who were making headphones before you got your first PC. For context, then: the Turtle Beach Ear Force Z300 is a wireless PC variation on its excellent PX4 and Stealth models for PS4 and Xbox One, respectively.
It boasts a specific surround technology from Dolby called DTX Headphone: X, which is particularly good at tricking your ears into hearing a broad vertical space in addition to a wide stereo pan. When using these to listen to a 7.1 surround mix that makes use of that tech, the effect is wonderfully cinematic.
In fact it’s that surround sound quality, coupled with the Z300’s excellent construction, that has us singling it out from the crowd at the $150 mark (give or take a few bucks). The circumaural cups do a brilliant job of filtering out external noise while also minimising heat levels thanks to a breathable material cover over its cushioned pads. It’s extremely adjustable, and the wide design of the headband allays any sensation of its weight digging in to the top of your head.
Compared to our absolute top pick, the Steelseries Siberia 800, there is a noticeable difference in comfort levels during long sessions (largely down to the softer materials used in the Steelseries model’s contact points). There’s less between them in surround quality, though. Turtle Beach has been building surround cans for consoles for years now, and knows the algorithms needed to trick your ears into perceiving a wide space.
What’s more, it’s a really unfussy piece of hardware. Setup requires connecting a single, memory stick-sized USB receiver, and… that’s it. No long, dangling wires from the receiver to your PC as with so many other wireless setups. There are volume, mic volume, EQ options and compression on/off buttons on the earcups themselves, but the design doesn’t look busy or crowded.
Bonus feature: it’s Bluetooth compatible, so you can hook it up to your smartphone or tablet in addition to your PC. However, that plus point actually leads us onto a flaw in the Z300’s overall package. Wireless range using the USB receiver isn’t great—the bar’s set high enough that you expect to be able to continue listening anywhere in your home, and that wasn’t true for us in this case. Via Bluetooth it’s much better though, so if you have a Bluetooth receiver for your PC it’s a good idea to use that format.
Perhaps the above issue makes this a slightly controversial pick, but in addition to the tank-like build and surround sound chops of the Z300, there’s also a really handy 15-hour battery life to win you back over. As with the SteelSeries Siberia 800, we found the manufacturer wasn’t lying on the spec sheet, and that a fully charged pair really does last longer than you’d ever want to use them for in one session—comfortably three or four sessions, actually.
Competition is fierce at this price point; relative superiority between one manufacturer’s prize fighter and another is slim. But Turtle Beach is wise to pack its strengths in the console market into this PC headset, and though it’s not a perfect offering in terms of range, the surround experience will blow you away in-game. The Turtle Beach Z300 is the best wireless headset we’ve used at a mid-budget price.