Introducing the Atlas
A look at Turtle Beach’s newest Headset lineup
Turtle Beach has been a mainstay in the PC gaming world for years, but recently it’s seemed like their focus has shifted toward console gamers. The Atlas line is their answer to that, with three headsets modeled after their console offerings and custom tuned for PC gamers.
Our review today will be focusing on the Elite Atlas which comes to market at $99.95, however, it’s part of a larger family which is pictured above. Each headset is very similar to others from Turtle Beach’s console line-up with alterations to make them a better fit for the PC audience. The Elite Atlas, for example, is very similar to the Elite Pro 2 with a slightly modified tuning and absent SuperAmp (reviewed here). The Atlas Three is the counterpart to the Stealth 300 and retails for $69.95. Lastly, we have the Atlas One, which is a re-tuned take on the Recon 200, and ships for only $49.95.
With the exception of the Atlas 300 who appears to be on sale ($79.95, struck-through on the site), these headsets seem to be a great value compared to their console lines. Not only do they offer virtually identical features and quality for a lower price, but they’re also compatible with every other major gaming platform, really making them some of the most compelling items in Turtle Beach’s catalog.
The Elite Atlas, the headset we’re reviewing, offers the best value of the bunch, trading the bluetooth enabled SuperAmp for a massive $150 price reduction. Speaking to Turtle Beach, they said that they felt PC gamers often had high-powered motherboards that could deliver the kind of audio supplied by the SuperAmp anyways, so they’ve axed it and passed on the savings. Having now used both the Elite Pro 2 and Elite Atlas, it’s hard to argue with that logic. At $99.95, this is an excellent headset.
- MSRP: $99.95
- Audio Connection: Single 3.5mm or Pink/Green PC Splitter Cable
- Compatibility: PC, XBox One, PS4 Pro, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Mobile Devices
- Frequency Response: 12Hz – 20Hz
- Speaker Size: 50mm Nanclear speakers w/ Neodymium Magnets
- Microphone: Unidirectional Gaming Microphone w/ Truspeak Technology
- Headband: Athletic Fabric, Leather w/ Memory Foam Cushioning
- Ear Cushion: Over-Ear (Closed), Athletic Fabric, Leather and Memory Foam Cushioning
- Prospecs Glasses Relief System
- Magnetic Speaker Plates
Beginning with the packaging, the headset comes in a sleeved box with a highly detailed picture on its face. Turtle Beach does a good job creating products with high “shelf appeal,” and the Elite Atlas is no exception. Around the back we see a more detailed breakdown of the product, highlighting its standout features.
Inside the sleeve, we find another box. It’s fairly stylish with the reflective silver logo, though I don’t put too much stock in these things since a box is a box. Inside, we have our “welcome letter” from Turtle Beach, as well as the headset itself behind a plastic dust shield. The headset is well cushioned for travel, so holding onto the box might not be a bad idea if you plan to take the headset to events.
Underneath the foam insert is our accessories and documentation. Apart from the expected literature, we have a shorter 4-pole connection cable, with in-line remote, at about three feet and a second splitter cable of about six to reach your rear IO. We also have the same detachable boom microphone found on the Elite Pro 2.
From this point onward, if you read our review of the Elite Pro 2, you’ll know what to expect as the headsets are virtually identical.
The colorway is black this time, similar to the PS4 version of the Elite Pro 2, sans the blue highlights. I prefer this sleeker aesthetic, and the mix of matte and gloss looks good. Until it gets covered in fingerprints, that is, as any glossy plastic is bound to do. Cleaning is a cinch since the plates are detachable with magnets, and they’re designed to be swapped for customs releasing this fall (pricing and variety to be determined).
The yokes and adjustment sliders pictured here are also metal to prevent breakage at these oh-so-common points.
The frame is also made out of metal and flexes very easily. In a one-two punch, Turtle Beach has eliminated the most frequent failure points found on gaming headsets. This does have the unintended side effect of making the driver housings feel a little less durable, however, since they’re almost entirely plastic. They’re sturdy though, which leads me to believe that this headset is made for the long haul and should surpass the lifespan of many others at this price point.
The headband uses a thin cushion mounted on wire rails. Like the Elite Pro 2, I was a little concerned that I would feel these rails over time but the padding is just thick enough to keep them comfortable. The suspension system also means that these headphones will adjust to fit different sized heads comfortably. The one thing I do miss is the grip adjusters found on the original Elite Pro. I’m a smaller guy, and the Elite Atlas grips my head almost perfectly; however, I could see larger users feeling “the squeeze” a bit too much.
The ear cushions are something special. Turtle Beach has uses Aerofit memory foam which is initially cool to the touch. They’ve also opted for dual surfaces: fabric where it touches your skin and leatherette along the outside for noise isolation. To that end, it works quite well at blocking out the outside world – almost too well, if you’ve got the volume turned up. Magnes attach these cushions and designed to be swapped out for alternatives hitting the market in the coming months.
These cushions also feature Turtle Beach’s PROSPECS system. On the rear of each cushion is a small rubber strap and attachment peg. Tightening the strap creates a channel for the arms of your glasses. This. Is. A. Godsend. There’s nothing like being able to adjust your headset without also tilting your glasses right off your nose.
Finally, we come to the drivers. You’ll notice they’re angled, which is a trick used in higher-end audiophile headphones to direct sound, though whether this makes a meaningful difference I really can’t say. Turtle Beach uses the same 50mm Nanoclear drivers found in the Elite Pro 2, and the result is largely the same. The presentation is equally full and rich, though they’re a touch more balanced than the EPs did. There’s still a solid low-end presence and articulate mids and highs. The frequency response range is 12-20,000Hz, which ensures those bass-heavy explosions and cinematics won’t ever distort or lose clarity. I also tested the Elite Atlas’s with a mix of different music and different series on Netflix and found they worked well for whatever I threw at them.
The one downside to the Elite Atlas is that, without the SuperAmp and USB connection, you’re not able to take advantage of the features of the Turtle Beach Audio Hub. That said, I think the developers were onto something when they said most PC gamers will have these many features (like EQ customization) already built right into their motherboard and its software. On my ASUS ROG Maximus X Hero, I was able to customize my EQ, adjust the noise gate on the mic, and even add a little more low end to my vocals for when I wanted to stream. None of this is a given, however, so you’ll want to check your software suite to see what’s possible.
The lack of SuperAmp also means that you’ll need to look to outside solutions for surround sound. If you’re running Windows 10, this isn’t an issue at all as Windows Sonic does a great job with its spatial audio algorithm. The Elite Atlas is also Dolby Atmos compatible for license holders, too.
One big benefit to connecting with a standard 3.5mm is that we can take advantage of Window’s mic boost function. When I reviewed the Elite Pro 2, one of my criticisms was that even though it featured a better, more natural response than the original Elite Pro, it was just too quiet. Well, not anymore. The added volume does add a little more noise to the signal but gets perfectly loud enough for communication with friends or hosting your stream.
In a nutshell? This is the Elite Pro 2 without the SuperAmp and for a lot less money. Seeing the Elite Pro 2 at $249 and the Elite Atlas at $99, it feels like a downright steal and makes this one of the best gaming headsets you can buy at this price. With decent onboard audio, you likely won’t even miss the amplifier. It would be nice to see a USB powered version to tap into Turtle Beach Audio Hub and give users without their own audio software some more control, but it’s hard to argue with the price proposition. Download Dolby Atmos or click on Windows Sonic and you have a full-fledged surround sound headset that’s ready for any genre you can throw at it. The Turtle Beach Elite Atlas is an elite recommendation.
|Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
|How product was obtained:||The product is on loan from Turtle Beach for the purpose of this review.|
|What happens to the product after review:||The product remains the property of Turtle Beach but is on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.|
|Company involvement:||Turtle Beach had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.|
|PC Perspective Compensation:||Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by Turtle Beach for this review.|
|Advertising Disclosure:||Turtle Beach has not purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.|
|Affiliate links:||This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases through those links.|