Unlike other manufacturers that build a headset that can be used in all gaming systems, Turtle Beach does the opposite by building headsets specific to gaming platforms. The entire XO series from Turtle Beach is designed for the Xbox One gaming console. Turtle Beach has an entire lineup of the XO line ranging from the entry level XO One to the high-end XO Seven. Even though it’s designed specifically for the Xbox One and nothing else, it still remains one of the top selling headsets year after year.
Audio: While Turtle Beach markets the XO One as an entry-level gaming headset, they packed it with a punch. Sure its audio frequency range hits the industry standard of 20Hz – 20,000Hz (exact range of the human ear), but what’s driving that frequency impresses me, as I wasn’t expecting to see this on an entry-level model.
The XO One comes complete with neodymium magnets. These are normally only seen on middle/high-end headsets and headphones, so you can imagine my surprise to see them on a sub-$100 gaming headset, as neodymium drivers are normally found in more expensive units.
The XO One is designed solely for the Xbox One, but this doesn’t mean you can’t use it on other gaming systems (with an adapter), or on your home PC with a bit of trickery. The XO One will plug into your standard 3.5mm audio jack, but that will give you sound with no mic. Or you can plug the headset into the mic jack and that’ll give you a mic, but no headset. In order to get this unit to work on the PC, you need a 3.5mm audio jack that can do both – audio and microphone, or you need to buy a 3.5mm adapter that splits the microphone and audio.
The XO One uses a USB adapter called the Headset Audio Controller (HAC) to plug directly into the back of the Xbox One gaming controllers. The headset then plugs directly into the back of the adapter and effectively splits your microphone and audio signals. Additionally, the HAC comes with a bass boost button that you can toggle to either off, low or high.
Microphone: The XO One has a flexible microphone that plugs in and out of the plug on the left ear cup, thereby allowing you to use these units as regular headphones while going for a walk or jog.
The quality of the microphone is surprisingly good. You definitely know you’re on a headset, but it’s honestly one of the cleanest microphones I’ve used. Again, from a sub-$100 headset, this surprised me.
Cushions: At about this time, you’re thinking you just want to lay out the cash and buy one of these Turtle Beach XO One headsets, but that’s until you find out about the cushions and this is where this unit differs from all others.
The ear cushions on the XO one do not encase your ears. Let me repeat that so it sinks in – they do NOT encase your ears. The cushions on the XO one actually sit on-top of your ears and this causes a lot of background noise to flow through. If you’re trying to focus with these things one, anyone walking into the room will distract you.
I honestly think Turtle Beach is the only manufacturer that does this. All other manufacturers today use ear cups that encase the ears, or utilize an “open back” feature, which these are neither.
Additionally, the cushions are made of a soft, foam material, so if you’ve ever used these on-the-ear style headphones, you know what I’m talking about when I say they give you hot, sweaty ears.
Headband & Adjuster: The headband on the XO One is made of thin plastic with a small patch of soft foam on the top of the head. Unlike other competitors that will use thicker memory foam, Turtle Beach chose to go with cheaper foam, likely to land at its particular price point.
The headphone adjuster on the XO One is similar to most entry-level headsets. It’s made from a thin, brittle plastic that slides in and out of the upper headband unit.
I would imagine that because of the thinness of the plastic and having the adjuster on the upper area of the headband, this is a prime location for breakage.
While the one I was trying out didn’t break, I’m certain this unit would not hold up for long with my son, who’s broken his SteelSeries Siberia 150’s multiple times and at the exact same point – the adjuster.
What I Like
Out of the box, the XO One is a solid headset, especially for the Xbox One as it interfaces perfectly with the controllers. I was very, very impressed with the quality of some of the internal components like the neodymium drivers for the speakers and one of the better microphones I’ve actually seen.
I like that the microphone can plug in/out of the headset, so if you’re a parent and worried about who your young children are communicating with online, then you can remove the microphone and they can use this primarily as a set of headphones.
What I Don’t Like
The workmanship of the product is designed to land at a lower price point and it shows. The cheap, flimsy plastic the headband, adjusters and ear cups are made from will definitely not last after repeated use.
I really, REALLY don’t like ear cups that sit on-top of the ears. This puts unnecessary pressure directly on your ears and it can and does cause pain and discomfort over extended use (anything over an hour). The combination of the memory foam and sitting directly on-top of your ears gets your ears hot and sweaty after an hour or more of use.
I also like being able to purchase a headset that has multiple uses. Sure the microphone can plug in/out of the headset, but it doesn’t plug into your smartphone or PC without adapters. The uses for this unit are really just for the Xbox One gaming station and that’s about it.
Verdict – Would I Buy It Again?
This raises an interesting dilemma and not one that is a simple yes or no answer.
If you’re looking for an ENTRY LEVEL gaming headset, that’s under $100 and don’t expect it to last more than a year, then this is a pretty good buy. But that said, I honestly think the SteelSeries Siberia 150 is probably a better bet, as it’s much more versatile (it can be used with a PC or gaming console) and it has over-the-ear earcups, as opposed to these on-ear cups.
In the end, I don’t think I’d purchase the Turtle Beach XO One unless it was on-sale for such a ridiculous price, that it would come in at half the cost of the Siberia 150.
Detailed Product Information
Product: Turtle Beach Ear Force XO One
Cheapest place to buy: Amazon
Warranty: 2 Years
My Rating: 4 out of 10