Turtle Beach Recon Spark Headset Review: A Colorful, Slightly Pricier Recon 70 Upgrade
A Turtle Beach representative told me at E3 that the company had done some research, and apparently, there's quite a potential market for PC and console headsets that are not primarily jet black.
The Recon Spark, which retails for $49.95, is the first result thereof. It's the first of a planned series of headsets from Turtle Beach that will receive what it calls the "Spark treatment," which begins with a unique visual style.
The Recon Spark is bright white with lavender cords, which is more of an eye-catcher than you'd expect, and more color options are intended to follow in the coming months.
As the name suggests, the Recon Spark is an update and cosmetic redesign of Turtle Beach's entry-level Recon line of wired headsets. The Spark is a cross-platform model with a 3.5mm jack, intended for use with any modern console or tablet, and comes with a splitter cable for PC compatibility.
Like the Recon 70, the Spark features a volume dial on its left speaker, the ability to mute its mic by sliding it into an upward position, and an adjustable, reinforced metal headband.
The extra $20 price tag above the Recon 70 does get you a few bonus features besides the new color scheme, however. The Spark doesn't feel as flimsy or cheap as the Recon 70 does, and it's markedly more comfortable. It's got a wider headband, with a glasses-friendly design on its speakers' padding. The 70 tended to sit a little uneasily on my ears, but the Recon Spark was comfortable and stable through several multi-hour gaming sessions on PC, Switch, and PS4.
Just for the hell of it, I also tested the Spark by spending half an hour on an elliptical machine while I watched Netflix on a tablet. While I don't recommend that as, you know, a life decision (yeah, work out in earmuffs, see what happens), the Spark stayed firmly in place throughout the experience. It's got a nice bit of grip and weight to it, comfortable without being heavy or restrictive.
As far as the audio quality goes, I didn't really notice a difference between the 70 and the Spark. It's still a perfectly serviceable option for games and still sounds decent if you're watching movies or streaming video.
As with the 70, then, the Recon Spark is aimed strictly at a no-frills, entry-level audience. The extra $20 over the 70 might seem a little steep, but that extra money is getting you a lot of additional comfort, as well as a much-needed splitter cable that addresses one of the 70's primary issues.
- One of the rare gaming headsets that you can also use for music or TV without a noticeable dip in audio quality
- It systematically addresses many of the issues I had with the Recon 70
- Decent sound
- $49.95 feels like a slightly tall ask for an "entry-level" product
- It's a little warm and bulky, even by the standards of a stereo headset with big speaker cups
- As with the 70, the best thing you can say about it is that it does the job
[Note: A Recon Spark review unit was provided by Turtle Beach for the purpose of this review.]