Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Hardware Review (Turtle Beach MW3 Foxtrot Headset)

After going through several stock Microsoft headsets, I finally decided to get something a bit more durable - what I ended up getting is the Limited Edition Turtle Beach MW3 Foxtrot Headset.

Out of the box, I was pretty quickly satisfied with the design and the feel of it. It's well-made, yet lightweight. Hook-up is also quite simple, but if you need instructions, they're there for you. As this thing is wired, it doesn't take batteries; it simply plugs into one of the USB ports on your 360.(I recommend the one in the back, just because. Well. It's in the back.)

On the cord, there's a little box that allows you to adjust game sound, chat sound, toggle mute, adjust bass, and this thing that says "Expander" ... I'm ignorant as to what this thing is supposed to be, all I know is that when you turn it to on, you get a bit more static than when it's off, doing nothing from what I can tell other than lowering the audio quality. There's also a little 360 controller on the box, which is where you plug in the little included adapter cord, so you can talk to people over Xbox LIVE.

It's really quite incredible what a solid headset does for you - how much it changes the game. You really have to hear it to believe it. While this isn't the absolute best headset on the market, or the cheapest, it's not too bad at the price of about $100. While this headset doesn't have Dolby 7.1, it has "amplified stereo," as well as an awesome thing I mentioned above - the bass boost. This thing makes the headset all-the-more worth it. Turn this up, and any game you're playing instantly becomes better. In Call of Duty or Battlefield, every shot you fire from your gun rattles your eardrums ever-so nicely, as does a nice big explosion. Perhaps even better, is using this headset while playing Rock Band or the good ol' defunct DJ Hero - never has the music sounded so good. And of course, the bass just makes it better.

Another thing that's included with the Foxtrot Headset is "chat boost." The chat boost is a built-in thing that is supposed to adjust the volume in the people you're talking to's voice, to the sound in-game. While this is great in theory, I've had issues with it. While playing Modern Warfare 3, I had the game volume about 3/4 of the way up, and chat at half way. Seemingly randomly, the chat would suddenly get incredibly loud, so I'd turn it down. After doing so, it was so quiet, I couldn't hear anybody to talk. I had to do this over and over again, and it resulted in quite a bit of frustration. What I have noticed is that the lower your bass boost, the less likely this will happen. Regardless, it seems unavoidable if you're chatting with people, and it can be either a minor annoyance, or an ear-bleeding hell of an experience.

So... would I recommend this headset? Yes. Are there other and better, cheaper options? Yes. The main reason why I really prefer this headset to other Turtle Beaches, is that it just looks nice with its sleek design. I should also let you know that even though this says it's a Modern Warfare 3 headset, the only spot you can really sense that it's a Call of Duty headset is on the box on the cord, where it says Call of Duty MW3, and on the top of the headset itself, where it has Call of Duty pressed in. Overall, it's just aesthetically pleasing all-around, and the audio quality isn't too shabby either.

+: That brand new "out of the box" smell, solid sound quality, bass boost, looks pretty cool.

-: Cord is pretty freakishly long, the chat boost has its issues, may not be the best option for the price it is - shop around first.


3/1/12 UPDATE: Just a couple weeks ago, after having this headset for just about 2 months, it stopped working for no reason at all. I take care of my stuff, so it certainly wasn't because of throwing it around, dropping it, or anything like that. I just used it one day, and the sound coming out was really quiet and staticy. I went to return for a new pair, and found that they don't even sell Foxtrots anymore - at least not at Best Buy, apparently. I wound up settling with the Turtle Beach X12's (Which I'll be reviewing soon, most likely). As much as I originally liked the Foxtrot Headset because of its design, feel, and sound quality, I can't rate it very high now considering it only lasted me about 60 days. You may be thinking that I'm just incredibly unlucky, but this same thing also happened to one of my friends around the same time mine broke. Because of the lack of durability in the Foxtrot Headset, I'll now have to give them a...


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