Turtle Beach Ear Force XO Seven Gaming Headset Review: Where Xbox One and mobile audio compatibility Meet
It’s currently a very lonely place to be a gaming headset for the Xbox One; Microsoft neglected to release any decent audio products with its next gen console, so that responsibility has fallen to third party manufacturers like Turtle Beach to sort out. The Turtle Beach Ear Force XO Seven gaming headset (along with its smaller brother, the XO Four) was one of the first audio devices released for the Xbox One, and as an added bonus, has been made to be compatible with mobile devices. Let’s see if the XO Seven has decent enough mobile credentials to warrant your time and money.
What’s in the box
As always, Turtle Beach again makes the case that opening your boxes should be a pantomine event and the XO Seven box does not disappoint. While the XO Seven has less gear in the box than the i60 (read the full review of the i60 here), there’s still a lot of substance to the contents which include the headset, a Xbox One controller adapter and an assortment of cables to suit your chosen mode of gaming, either Xbox One or mobile (or even just listening to music).
You’ll find your XO Seven headset nestled in the bosom of the moulded packaging and beneath it, you will find the various included cables and adapters. The XO Seven is a solid over-the-ear headphone affair that follows the design methodology of Turtle Beach’s other Seven series headsets, giving it quite a lot of size. To wear, I found the XO Seven extremely comfortable, probably the most comfortable headset I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing this year so far; more on that later.
With equal parts of black leather and black plastic, the XO Seven looks like a menacing piece of audio hardware, which is only accentuated by the lime green highlights used throughout the headset. This colour scheme extends to the braided cable, which is also extremely tough and well shielded. There’s a fair amount of memory foam both on the earcups and the headband that all add to the comfort of the XO Seven.
If the all black decor isn’t exactly to your liking, the XO Seven also allows you to remove the faceplates of the earcups and replace them with other ones supplied by Turtle Beach, and typically feature games that Turtle Beach is the official audio provider for, like Titanfall, or just movie deals, like the Avengers.
As for the accessories that you will get with the XO Seven, you’ll get one cable that you can use to connect to mobile devices, one cable to connect to the Xbox One controller adapter, a headset boom microphone that attaches to the headset, and inexplicably, a micro-USB cable, which I can only assume is for use with mobile devices (though only with Android). I’m a bit torn on Turtle Beach’s decision to include a removable mic; while it’s great that the microphone is removable so that it isn’t in the way when you’re using it with mobile devices, it’s a bit of a bother to be removing it and replacing it if you’re using it regularly.
While I wasn’t able to give the XO Seven a proper run as a Xbox One headset, in large part due to the fact that I do not yet own a Xbox One, the controller adapter appears to be of solid construction with quite a few buttons mounted on the adapter itself to help make quick changes to both audio and chat volumes during your gaming sessions.
How does it sound
Apart from the game and chat options available to the Xbox One adapter, the XO Seven doesn’t have much else in the way of electronic audio smarts. What it does have, however, is passive noise cancellation courtesy of its “noise-isolating memory foam ear cushions” which do an amazing job of blocking out about 80% of the noise that is happening around you; the sound coming out of the 50mm audio drivers will easily take care of the remaining 20%. In fact, more than once, I’ve used the XO Seven to specifically block out extraneous sounds, making it a perfect headset for game immersion or just general audio immersion.
Despite the fact that the XO Seven’s are ‘only’ stereo, I found the sound to be extremely impressive. While not on the same level as the i60, the XO Seven still does an impressive job with the full range of sounds. Mids and highs are sharp and crisp, though as a gaming headset, the bass is of course accentuated, though not overwhelmingly so. Overall, I had no issues using the XO Seven to listen to a range of music genres on my mobile device including rock, pop and the occasional classic symphony. I thoroughly enjoyed the audio experience I got from the XO Seven; while there are definitely better headphones for specifically listening to music, the passive noise cancellation of the XO Seven’s makes sure that any disadvantage that they might have had due to noise leakage is minimized.
What I like about the Ear Force XO Seven
I mentioned earlier that the XO Seven is one of the most comfortable headphones I’ve tried this year, and that’s mostly thanks to the way the headband is designed. While most headphones are designed so that the headband comes straight out of the earcups, the XO Seven headband has a slight forward tilt relative to the earcup orientation. This means that the headband sits slightly further forward than usual, not on the top of your head but rather the front slope of your skull. I’m a huge fan of this layout and I was happy to use the XO Seven for hours at a time with no complaints whatsoever. The fit may have been on the tight side, but the leather cushioning on the earcups and headband stopped any stress points from eventuating.
The XO Seven looks like its built to last; every part of the headset looks like it is beefed up so it can take some serious pounding, whether that’s through travelling or angry gamers getting, well, angry. I’m a big fan of chunkier headsets and the XO Seven ticks all the boxes, including a super-wide headband to distribute some of those head stresses.
What I don’t like about the Ear Force XO Seven
Although it is advertised as mobile compatible, just about the only things additional that make the XO Seven “mobile” is the inclusion of the breakaway mobile cable. The connection that joins the cable to the headset contains two notable features, the answer call button and an in line microphone so you don’t have to lug around the boom mic. While that’s definitely better than some allegedly mobile compatible headsets out there, with such a large breakaway connection, I would have expected a few more gizmos and gadgets, like a volume wheel or something similar.
As I mentioned earlier, the boom mic isn’t the most convenient thing to have to remove and replace every time you want to use it. Naturally, if you’re using it exclusively for Xbox One play, this won’t be an issue at all. However, for those who want to use it interchangeably between Xbox One and mobile devices, it’s a bit of a hindrance.
I definitely have a soft spot for the Turtle Beach Ear Force XO Seven Gaming Headset; while it might not have the best quality sound of all the headsets available for the Xbox One and it’s not always the most practical headset, it’s incredibly comfortable and is built to survive some serious punishment. Marketed as Turtle Beach’s premium Xbox One option, the XO Seven is priced accordingly at $159.95 USD, compared to the $99.95 XO Four, where all the quality is in the details. If you’re in the market for something for your Xbox One that can be also used for your mobile device, the XO Seven is a hard choice to overlook.
If you’re interested in picking up the Turtle Beach Ear Force XO Seven Gaming Headset, be sure to visit its product page here, or to check out Turtle Beach’s range of other gaming products, you can visit their homepage here.
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