Turtle Beach Elite 800 review

This PS4 headset costs almost as much as the console, but it's worth it

The Elite 800 wireless headset for PlayStation 4 may be Turtle Beach’s finest headset to date.
The Elite 800 wireless headset for PlayStation 4 may be Turtle Beach’s finest headset to date.
The Elite 800 wireless headset for PlayStation 4 may be Turtle Beach’s finest headset to date.

Highs

  • Fantastic, powerful sound
  • Stylish design
  • Lots of handy features
  • Extremely comfortable to wear

Lows

  • That quality comes at a premium price
  • Charging issues if you use power save with your PS4
  • Headset-mounted controls are less than ideal

DT Editors' Rating

Home > Product Reviews > Headphone Reviews > Turtle Beach Elite 800 review

Turtle Beach’s Elite 800 wireless headset for PlayStation 4 screams “flagship.” It’s a gorgeous piece of kit, all shiny black with lush earpads and rounded edges. Set the free-standing headset on its charge base, which doubles as the wireless transmitter, and it’s an eye-catching addition to an entertainment center. Pop ‘em on your head, and the feeling of quality carries over. Save for a handful of notable flaws, this is perhaps the best headset that Turtle Beach has ever produced.

We’ll start with the form factor. The Elite 800 feels solid from the moment that you first pick it up. It’s not so heavy that it’s uncomfortable resting on your head, but nothing about it feels flimsy or poorly put together. The thick plastic is also adorned with flourishes of metal and blue plastic, and the thick earcup padding looks eminently comfortable even from a distance. There isn’t even a visible mic jutting out from the thing, though there are actually two — they’re invisible, built directly into the unit.

If you wanted to describe the headset in one word, that word would be “sleek.”

The stylish design sensibilities carry over to the charging base as well. The oval-shaped unit is topped by two small depressions, one of which is fitted with magnets and charging contacts. In charge mode, the headset sits upright, with each earcup slotting into its own shallow well.

If you wanted to describe the headset in one word, that word would be “sleek.”

The magnets do a good enough job of sliding the contacts into place, but it’s relatively easy to set the headset down in the charging bay incorrectly. Improper placement prevents the Elite 800 from charging, so it’s important to be careful when setting it into the cradle. One handy tip that Turtle Beach’s documentation doesn’t mention: If you hear the headset’s power cycle on, then off, after you set it down, you know it’s charging.

The base station connects to a PlayStation 4 (it also works with PlayStation 3, and with mobile devices using Bluetooth) via a USB cord, for power, and an optical audio cable, both of which are included. The optical audio is expected, but the fact that the base station/transmitter draws power from the console isn’t ideal.

The PS4 has only two USB ports located on the front of the machine, and one of them always has to be occupied if you’re using an Elite 800. Couple that with the fact that the PS4’s DualShock 4 controller already doesn’t have the best battery life, and you can see where problems might start to crop up.

That’s not the only problem with the base station, however. The PS4 doesn’t provide a charge to the transmitter when the console is completely powered down. Sony does offer a “Rest Mode” that continues to send a charge through connected cables, but it’s all too easy to shut the whole thing off and stop charging the headset. It’s possible to wire the Elite 800 directly into another power source, such as a computer, but this problem could just as easily have been solved by including a wall plug power adapter for the unit. As is, you’ll probably want to go grab one for yourself.

Positional audio is among the best we’ve heard in a two-driver headset.

Power is also sometimes a problem with the headset itself. Turtle Beach promises 10 hours of life on a full charge, but that number comes down when features like Active Noise Cancelling are used. If you’re prone to participate in marathon gaming sessions, it might be a good idea to keep a backup pair of headphones handy. The headset also does a terrible job of communicating when low on battery power; instead of simply shutting down, the audio starts to crackle and fade in/out, giving the impression that there’s signal interference.

Despite these issues, the Elite 800 makes a strong case for itself in the realm of overall performance. It’s comfortable to wear thanks to the thick, padded earcups and additional padding up top. The material is surprisingly breathable, keeping ear sweats at bay, but discomfort sometimes crops up during especially lengthy sessions thanks to a snug fit that presses the inside of the headphones against the tips of your ears.

In terms of sound, the Elite 800 delivers dynamite performance. Positional audio, enabled by DTS Headphone:X 7.1 virtual surround technology, is among the best we’ve heard in a two-driver headset. It’s easy to pick up on an audio source by both location and distance, even when you’ve got heavily layered audio blasting through the headphones. For multiplayer games like Destiny or Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, there’s a definite advantage in being able to tell where potential threats are coming from.

The Elite 800 also has a multitude of settings to fiddle with. The earcups and snug fit go a long way toward providing passive noise cancellation, but there’s also an Active Noise Cancellation mode and a range of mic monitor settings for different environments. Active Noise Cancellation definitely isn’t for everyone, but it’s handy – as is the variable mic monitor – in all different types of playing spaces.

As usual, Turtle Beach’s own “Signature Sound” setting provides the best overall virtual surround experience. There are four categories of EQ settings, for Games, Movies, Music, and Stereo, and multiple tuning options in each, with more available to program into the headset using a Windows-connected Elite 800 and the Ear Force Audio Hub app.

It’s a lot like the company’s Xbox One-friendly flagship, the 500x, but with a very important difference. The Xbox cans communicate which setting is active using high/low beeps that practically require the user to have a cheat sheet on hand. The Elite 800 addresses this problem, using a pre-recorded voice that communicates settings changes as you make them.

TurtleBeach Elite 800 review TB logo

While it’s very handy, cycling through the headset’s various settings can also be a pain. Everything from EQ settings to power to mic monitor to Bluetooth on/off (the Elite 800 can pair with mobile devices) is managed using four-way touchpads on both the right and left earcups. It’s convenient, but the controls are also extremely sensitive, to the point that an errant brush along the side of your head can too easily change things up.

Overall, the Elite 800 is one of the best headset solutions available for PlayStation 4. The build quality, the audio quality, and the added features – particularly Bluetooth pairing (take calls while you game!) and membership to Turtle Beach’s Elite program (mainly for the two-year warranty) – amount to a superb package overall. It’s not without its shortcomings, but in the inconsistent market of wireless headsets for next-gen consoles, the Elite 800 is a standout option. For a premium price, of course.

Highs

  • Fantastic, powerful sound
  • Stylish design
  • Lots of handy features
  • Extremely comfortable to wear

Lows

  • That quality comes at a premium price
  • Charging issues if you use power save with your PS4
  • Headset-mounted controls are less than ideal