There are more than enough good gaming headsets to go around, but one company that seems to deliver more often than not is Turtle Beach. It's been working on these peripherals for quite a few years now, and while the Stealth 520 wireless headset for PlayStation 4 and PC may not be leagues above its previous 500 model (it's more of an upgraded headset than a newer model), it has immaculate quality that really comes through for a $100 model.
First thing right out of the game you'll notice about the headset is that it's wireless, with easy connectivity to either your PS4 or PC, depending on what you're using it for. While some gamers will swear up and down about the convenience (and price) of wired headsets, being able to run around while you game and not be so constrained by a cord connected to the system is a pretty big deal. On top of that, the range isn't half bad, as we managed to use the headset within a few feet of the system without losing any of our chat action. That's going to be useful to folks looking to grab a snack in-between rounds (but maybe not the bathroom – take off the headset then, okay?).
As for what features have been improved, probably the first one you'll notice is the full-on 7.1 surround sound support, encoded with Dolby DTS. This can actually make a difference with certain games, like Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, where atmosphere is everything as you're listening for enemy footsteps and explosions happening around you, so you can direct your fire when appropriate. The 360-degree soundstage really plays a heavy role here, especially to those that get the most from their audio.
Other than that, most of the design follows in the footsteps of the 500 model. The headset features an extendable headband, making it simply to adjust onto your skull so that it's not crushing it (looking at you, cheaper headsets), and the ear cups are nice, as you can adjust them up to 90 degrees for simple adjustments during play. They can't absorb sweat that well during sessions, so be sure to wipe them off when necessary. (That's a problem with most headsets anyway, so don't worry about that too much.)
As for the mic, it's detachable, should you just want to use the headset for listening or whatever. It connects via the headphone jack on the headset, and doesn't really get loose at all. You can also activate your headset with a double press of a button on the right side, but can also activate a "superhuman function," for better sound quality. Granted, it doesn't differ too much from the 7.1 surround effect anyway, but if you really want the most out of it – especially for games like Battlefield 1 and the like – you'll surely want to try it a few times and see what difference it makes.
In addition, you can adjust treble and bass however you please, should certain balance be needed with games, like music/rhythm titles such as Rock Band 4 and Guitar Hero Live. It can take a little bit to get used to, but it provides strong sound clarity that will feel right at home, no matter what game you're playing. Between this and the "superhuman" set-up, finding your quality of audio shouldn't take too long.
With recharging, the headset is capable of lasting a few hours. We did about four to five hours on a marathon session with the review model and only lost a decent amount of power, and recharged within a matter of an hour. That's not bad for a wireless model, but we wish it had come with a designer station to plug it into, like the one Astro offers.
If there is a negative factor with the Turtle Beach Stealth 520, it's that it can take a while to set up on the PlayStation 4, mainly due to its UI structure. It took a few minutes for the connection to be read and then pair up. But once that's done, it's a breeze to use. As for PC use, we found very little error on that part, running games like Fallout 4 and Dodonpachi Resurrection like a boss. (Your model may vary, though.)
Though some consumers are more than pleased with the 500 models that previously came out, Turtle Beach's Stealth 520 is a great value for $99, delivering a wireless and comfortable experience with different sound options, so they can cater to your every need. The headset is easy to use, and, despite mild struggles with the PS4 set-up, has no trouble keeping up with your style of play. If you're seeking an upgrade this holiday season, or just want a new headset that provides convenience and a bit of slickness, you can't go wrong here.
RATING: Four out of five stars.
Disclaimer: A review model of the headset was provided by Turtle Beach.