Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero
Turtle Beach has just released another headset in their renowned "Elite" series. Except, this one is solely for PC gamers. We put the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero through the paces in our latest product review.
Theater-Quality Sound in a Mobile Frame
We all know Turtle Beach makes some fantastic headsets for gamers of all brands. Even better, they usually work on every console imaginable. If it’s got a headphone jack or a USB port, chances are you can use their headset for all your devices. However, sometimes Turtle Beach creates tech with a bit more exclusivity, which is the case with their latest wireless headset, the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero.
The Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero is a state-of-the-art headset created exclusively for the PC Master Race. While my testing proved the Elite Atlas Aero could work on all current-gen consoles, it’s definitely limited in its capabilities. For instance, the sound quality was that of a typical console headset, only you had no control over volume settings on speakers and the mic. Certain features like Superhuman Hearing (a previously-released feature that amplifies sound) are still able to work, but it only makes normal sound slightly louder. The one feature that definitely works on console, though, is the uber-convenient mic mute button.
On the flip side, when the Elite Atlas Aero is plugged into a computer, the full potential of the headset is completely unlocked, resulting in an incredible sound experience. For most non-Elite Turtle Beach headsets, you can usually avoid the instruction manual. It’s because setup for those tends to be pretty simple. For Elite headsets, however, ignore those instructions at your own peril. Without reading the instructions, you’ll be missing out on what makes the Aero special.
The first thing the instructions tell you to do is to download the Turtle Beach Control Studio app. That app is one of the keys for unlocking incredible 3D sound. Once downloaded, your computer becomes a certifiable mixing station for you to create bold, wholesome sound for your ears and toggling how you’ll sound to your friends with the super sensitive mic.
Once I had the settings where I wanted them (treble up by half and a whole lotta bass), I put the Elite Atlas Aero to the test. First, with Destiny 2 on my PC. My first impression of gaming with the Elite Atlas Aero was awestruck. The audio came in with more depth and quality than I’d experience in my many hours of playing Destiny 2, thus far. Footsteps are crisp, firefights are louder, and the glorious soundtrack has more depth than ever before. It’s as if this is how video games were supposed to sound, all along. As an added bonus, the extremely sensitive mic picked up every sound I made, even during moments I was trying to be quiet while my wife was sleeping in the next room. Thus, allowing me to make call-outs during Raids without waking up my better half.
My test took an even more profound turn when I tested the Elite Atlas Aero headset on various streaming services. I started by testing it out on a movie on Netflix (Spider-man: Into the Spiderverse to be exact). Between the settings I used and the powerful speakers within the Atlas Aero and the noise-cancellation, it fully captured the sound quality that was missing with normal speakers. The soundtrack and actions delivered an all-around more enriching experience, similar to the one you'd get in a movie theater.
My test then took me to Hulu to watch a TV show that isn’t necessarily supposed to sound like a movie. The show I tested it on was the uber-underrated ABC comedy Single Parents. I picked this show, knowing it wasn’t supposed to have epic sound quality, and yet the Elite Atlas Aero was able to highlight and infuse a richer sound experience.
My last test took me to live TV to test the Elite Atlas Aero on various sports. In Football, the pads hitting the opposing player and crowd’s excitement were impactful. In Baseball, the ball hitting the catcher’s mitt and cracking off of the bat were emphasized. It all felt like I was at the stadiums, experiencing the games, just without the overpriced parking and concessions. The overall audio experience was absolutely insane. However, there was one drawback to the stellar gaming tech.
Expiration on Comfort and Some Connectivity Issues
As you’ve read thus far, the Elite Atlas Aero and the Atlas Edge are premiere headsets for PC gamers, but they aren’t perfect. In fact, there is a shelf life on how long they’re able to be worn in a given game session and the wireless mode can have connection issues.
The lesser of the two evils is definitely the connectivity issues. For the most part, the Elite Atlas Aero has no trouble keeping you connected to the PC you’re working with. However, there are times where I found the connection can get bumpy and temperamental if you move your head to much away from the wireless receiver. This became most evident when I would use the Elite Atlas Aero while laying down. However, it was flawless when I was sitting up right, as it’s intended to be used.
The bigger issue with the Elite Atlas Aero is the comfort. It’s important for every great, albeit elite, gaming headset to employ impeccable comfort. That’s because the Elite series is designed for the Elite gamer to be able to up their game and play competitively for hours on end. That was the case with one of my favorite gaming headsets of all time, the Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2. It’s supposed to also be the case for the Elite Atlas Aero as well, but it falls just short of that mark.
When I put on the Elite Atlas Aero for the first time on each of my gaming or viewing sessions, the headset felt good. It was comfortable and formed well to my head. It was a bit heavier, but that’s to be expected with a wireless headset. Roughly 30 minutes to an hour into my sessions, I found myself adjusting the headset, moving it around, trying to find some sort of comfort. That’s because my ears started to get sore from the ear cushions. I even removed the ear cushions and tightened the bands underneath, thinking it had to do with my glasses and the ProSpecs tech. Alas, that was not the case.
To uncover the reason, I compared the ear cushions of the Elite Atlas Aero to that of the Elite Pro 2, a headset I’ve never had any issues with comfort with. What I found was that, while the fabrics are the same, there is a difference in size between the two Elite products. The ear cushions on the Elite Atlas Aero are just over 2 cm. In contrast, those cushions are dwarfed by the 3 cm the Elite Pro 2 cushions employ. That one full centimeter makes a considerable difference in the long run, in terms of comfort.
I understand why the Elite Atlas Aero reduced the cushion size, as they were focusing on making the headset easy to transport by folding. That’s all well and good, but to do so meant sacrificing a measure of comfort, which consequently leads to reduced game time with the headset itself. Don’t get me wrong, the Elite Atlas Aero remains a premiere gaming headset for the PC Master Race, with it’s insanely powerful sound and 30+ hour battery, but it’s not the most comfortable headset I’ve ever used. Consumers will have to weigh whether the quality of sound is worth a few discomfort now and then. For me, experiencing movie theater quality sound is worth that trade off, but most likely on select occasions.