The Turtle Beach Ear Force X31 Wireless Gaming Headset with Xbox Live chat is a without a doubt One of the top gaming headsets available for Xbox gamers, yet it does have a few annoying flaws. This is not so much a "technical review" as a real gamers experience with the headset, because this my weapon of choice when it comes to my gaming headphones. I got sick and tired of the crummy chat sound with the standard Microsoft headset, plus my wife and kids were tired of listening to the noise from the video games late at night.
I have a friend who ran the local video game store, and the solution's he recommended were the Turtle Beach Ear Force X11's (wired) or the X31's (wireless). In the end I chose the wireless option for a few more dollars, mainly to prevent possible accident damage to my system from my wife or kids tripping over wires. Once removed from the package, it took me about 8-10 minutes to hook up the headset to the console and have it running. The first game I played with them was Gears of War2 in normal campaign mode. WOW! There was no doubt the X31's reputation as one of Xbox's top gaming headsets was well earned! My first impression was the way I could FEEL the explosions in the background, it was like I could imagine being in the actual game.
Next I had to try Modern Warfare 2 in online multiplayer so I could test out the quality of the chat features. The clarity of the other players voices was amazing, plus it looks much easier to determine where enemy players are hiding since they help you hear even the slightest noise. Playing on the underpass map, I could clearly hear enemies planting C4 mines in the doorway ahead of me! It was surprising to hear sounds I had never noticed before. This is one of the greatest advantages of using a pair of top gaming headsets like the X31's instead of TV speakers and a crummy chat headset.
Some of the many pro's of the Ear Force X31's are:
- Crystal clear sound quality – Both in-game sounds and live chat sounds fantastic, and really makes the games more fun as well as giving an advantage over opponent's. It has a digital RF wireless connection, which means less static and popping noises (when properly installed).
- Comfort – I have no problem wearing this headset for 4-5 hours at a time. The soft mesh covering on the ear cups keeps them from making my ears sweat, and the headband is also well padded. Very few of even the top gaming headsets are this comfortable.
- Xbox Live Chat – Greatly improved clarity improves game play in team death match type games where understanding team-mates is important.
- Battery Booster Circuit – An interesting feature; a special battery booster circuit literally drains every last bit of energy from the batteries before the headset makes a "humming" sound, then goes dead. Once this happens, the batteries will be TOTALLY dead! I usually manage about 20-22 hours from a set of Duracell's, so consider rechargeable batteries.
- Price – The price of this headset varies; but at roughly $ 85. 00, it is possibly the most affordable of the top gaming headsets. Amazing headphones for an awesome price.
- Flexible Mic Boom -Great feature, quickly adjust the mic location without interrupting your game play and getting you killed.
- Wireless – No worries about someone (read: wife) tripping over headphone cords and damaging your console and games, and then getting mad at YOU for it. Save yourself the hassle now, trust me.
I feel the con's of the Ear Force X31's are:
- Effects Button Worthless – I have always kept the button in the first position, the 2nd and 3rd positions seem to be worthless most of the time. I'm not sure why it was even built into the unit really.
- Mute Switch – This is my biggest complaint about this headset, and for 2 reasons: First, it is IMPOSSIBLE to find this switch while in combat / game play. While the X1's were simple to find the mute switch, you will die if you even think about trying to adjust the mute switch while in online multiplayer. The second problem I have with this is that it results in extra wear and tear on the controller jack input because it often result in having to Yank the talkback cable out trying to get it to work.
Overall, I rate this as one of the best deals possible among the top gaming headsets. I have been using my X31 wireless headset for a year now, and I can not play without them!