Turtle Beach Recon Gamepad -Full Video & Written Review/How2
UPDATE: Written review below posted: 8/27/21
Video Review posted: 8/9/21
Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/yeRymJqGJxg
A great addition to your gaming arsenal. The Turtle Beach Recon increases shot accuracy with Pro-Aim, gives you Spider-senses with Supersonic Hearing, and adds convenient audio controls right on the gamepad.
Negatives? Not easy to program action buttons.
The Turtle Beach Recon is possibly the best Xbox and PC controller for FPS gamers. Features like Pro-Aim give the equivalent of mouse DPI settings (for the right thumbstick) and Supersonic Hearing for enhanced footsteps and voices!
STYLING / DESIGN / COMFORT
If you’ve ever played a modern console game, the layout of the Recon controller will be quite familiar. It’s got the two standard thumbsticks, D-pad, 4 main/4 shoulder buttons, vibrate and the menus around the X button. That much is the same.
Where it starts to differ is the control console on top. You have a smorgasbord of volume controls, audio enhancements, “DPI control” and so forth (selectable by tapping “Mode”) that bring you a much better gameplay experience than the typical controller – without being distracting. There are also two customizable action buttons underneath each ring finger.
You’ll notice 4 diamond shapes on top that cycle through various options for your selected mode. In EQ for example, diamond 1 (or slot 1) is normal audio, slot 2 is for bass boost, slot 3 is bass & treble and slot 4 is for vocal boost.
I love the grippy textures on the thumbsticks that seem to suck on my thumbs whenever they go near them. I’ve never lost grip on them and only ever push hard because of intense gaming, not because I feel like my fingers are slipping. The shoulder and action buttons use a different texture that are probably more appropriate for tapping, rather than the push/pull of thumbsticks.
Overall, the controller feels comfortable in the hands, especially with the cooling grips attached on the handles. They’re rubbery for good grip, but have etched, crisscrossing lines that apparently allow air to circulate. Very different from the typical hard plastic grips that get sticky and grimy from hand sweat.
Being that I don’t have an Xbox console, I’ve been using the Turtle Beach Recon to play PC games. And I love it!
Straight out of the box, it’s plug-and-play too. There are no drivers to install, no software to futz with. It’s a huge change if you’re used to using SCPtoolkit, because now there’s no emulated driver running in the background that’s vampiring computing resources.
You’re provided a USB-C to USB-A cable to connect your controller on top, while a 3.5mm headphone jack lays underneath for your favorite gaming headset like the Roccat Elo-X Stereo (Roccat is a division of Turtle Beach).
Usability for gameplay is very good. As mentioned above, I’ve never lost grip on the thumbsticks because of the awesome texture (as opposed to a PS3 Dualshock, which starts slipping after several hours of sweat-inducing gaming.) The buttons are all reactive and have a good feel to them.
And those grips. For the many hours that I gamed, I never once felt or experienced grime collection that typically happens on plastic grips. It never felt icky, never slipped from my hands for which you’d normally wipe down with a damp cloth. I’m pretty sure the Recon isn’t immune to the eventual need for a cleaning, but I AM sure it can be used for a much longer period of gaming before that’s required.
The etched grooves for airflow has no negative impact on your hands either. It’s so fine that I can’t really tell they’re there and they don’t bite into your hand either.
The only downside related to usability is in programming the action buttons, which I discuss below.
SPECIAL FEATURES / FUNCTIONS
There are two functions that really make the Turtle Beach Recon shine amongst the crowd; the awesome selection of audio presets and the action button for Pro-Aim. They’re nice features to have when used separately, but when used together it can give FPS (First Person Shooter) gamers the upper hand for more wins.
First there’s Pro-Aim, which to me is roughly equivalent to changing DPI settings on a mouse. It helps by slowing down the movement of the right thumbstick typically used to aim – which is really helpful when shooting far-away objects (especially when using a scope). If I was able to play The Last of Us with this controller, I’d breeze through the the part where the hero is swinging upside-down on a rope, trying to shoot down the zombies that are after Ellie. It’s quite unfortunate then that the game is a Playstation exclusive.
You can cycle between 4 speeds, ideally before (and not during) a firefight. Once selected, it activates whenever the right action button is held (beneath the controller). This function can really help level up your gameplay when using a keyboard & mouse isn’t possible.
Turtle Beach considers Supersonic Hearing important enough to merit its own button. Turn it on to enhance the sound of your enemy’s footsteps and voices. In games like State of Decay, I was alerted to hidden zombies by hearing their moans way before I was able to see them, allowing me to sneak past or plan an attack.
The advantage this offers in competitive shooter games is even more crucial. Given a similar reaction time between two opponents, the winner most likely will be the one who can react first, even if by a split second. If you add Pro-Aim on top of Supersonic Hearing, the combination of early awareness plus the higher degree of accuracy means an even higher chance of victory.
I don’t know about you, but I can certainly see how the Turtle Beach Recon goes above and beyond the *yawn* of typical game controllers.
EQ & Volume controls
There are two volume controls for headphone and microphone with LEDs that dim depending on loudness. It bypasses the need for adjusting volume via software on PCs, which is a huge time (and hassle) saver.
There’s also an EQ mode for bass boost, bass/treble boost or voice boost for those games with great soundtracks like Chrono Trigger or Strider Hiryu.
Finally, there’s a Turtle Beach favorite – mic monitoring. It lets you hear your own voice through the earcups, which can be helpful when you need to confirm (to yourself) that you’ve said something important to your teammates. A mute button cuts out all the noise for when you’re slurping your drink or chewing a granola bar… the perfect button for when you want to be polite.
Programmable Action Buttons
The last party trick I want to mention are the two programmable action buttons beneath the gamepad. You can remap any of the other buttons to it, and like the other modes, you have 4 slots (3 actually) in which to save.
In our video of the Turtle Beach Recon above, I map RUN to the left action button since it’s much more convenient to use when you want to move fast. You could map the right action button to something too, but I use that one exclusively for Pro-Aim since I’d probably confuse myself if I kept switching button functions.
Only one thing comes to mind for improvement – an easier way to program the action buttons. The thought process behind it feels like a Visio flowchart created by a techno-geek – who then forgot that this controller would be heading into the hands of normal people. Heck, I have a degree in computer science and even I struggled with it at first… and second, and even the third time.
Unless the procedure for these action buttons get easier, I have a feeling most people simply won’t use it. Otherwise, this gamepad is peaches and cream all the way.
The Turtle Beach Recon is more than just a game controller. It increases your shot accuracy with Pro-Aim, gives you Spider-senses with Supersonic Hearing, and adds convenient audio controls right on the gamepad. For FPS gamers, it’s like upgrading a rifle with automatic load cartridges and a sniper scope with night vision – it boosts your gameplay to a whole new level!
Recommended? Hell yeah!
More Info: https://www.TurtleBeach.com
(Test unit provided by Turtle Beach for this review.)
Games played in this video: State of Decay, Resident Evil 2, Capcom Arcade Stadium