Turtle Beach is a company with a long, prestigious history in the world of gaming headsets. The Elite Atlas Aero is the wireless version of its PC-focused Elite Atlas (opens in new tab) headset, released late in 2018, and one of the best PC headsets for gaming (opens in new tab). It’s not the most expensive model available from Turtle Beach - the Elite Pro 2 (opens in new tab) takes that crown - so what does the Elite Atlas Aero bring to the table in the already busy headset space, aside from that wireless capability?
Sliding the sleeve off the box and opening it up presents you with the headset itself folded up as compact as possible with the collapsible headband. Either earcup can fold inside and press against the underside of the headband, with the other earcup nestling on top to make for a much smaller device with better portability. The right cushion can also be popped off to reveal both the 'ProSpecs Glasses Relief System' - an adjustment you can make to ease the pressure if you wear glasses - and a slot to store the small USB transmitter required to use the headset wirelessly.
With memory foam ear cushions on each side, there are no complaints when it comes to comfort. As you’d expect with any headphones on the higher end of the scale, it starts to feel weighty after a while, but not so much that it becomes uncomfortable to wear. My only complaint with the design lies in the small amount of leeway in the extendable headband. Thankfully, I don’t have a big head, but anyone that does may find the Elite Atlas Aero to be slightly too tight.
In order to use the Elite Atlas Aero headset on PC, you need to install the Turtle Beach Control Studio, which is a Windows 10-only application. Sorry, Mac and Linux users! Your mileage may vary with the Control Studio because if you’ll find the plethora of switches, presets, and options useful, you can tweak it to be perfect for your game.
One of the Elite Atlas Aero’s most appealing features - the 'Superhuman Hearing' button that is ideal for those playing games where sound cues are important, like footsteps in shooters - is one example of just how in-depth the Control Studio goes. You can pick between Legacy, Footsteps Boost, or Gunshots Boots, create your own specific Game and Global Presets, adjust the equalizer for specific aspects like explosions and vocals… the Elite Atlas Aero is truly for the dedicated player who incorporates audio as a vital part of their game. You can even set specific keybinds to toggle various functions, like a bass boost or noise gate.
It’s all well and good detailing the unique features the headset offers, but when it comes to in-game performance, how does it fare? With the recent launch of Apex Legends (opens in new tab) season 3, I cranked up the volume, turned on the Superhuman Hearing, and got to work searching for my first win of the new season.
There’s no other way to describe it other than saying the Superhuman Hearing function truly does make you feel superhuman, because you can hear footsteps from a staggeringly long distance away. There’d be enemies over a hill, running around looting and I’d be calling out players nearby because they sounded so much closer than they actually were.
After jumping into Rainbow Six Siege, it had the same effect. Hearing footsteps and gadgets being deployed throughout the corridors and rooms made the game considerably easier to play, because I knew where I should be pre-aiming and could call out locations much easier than ever before. I tackled some Borderlands 3 (opens in new tab) with the headset too, albeit without Superhuman Hearing enabled, and it sounded as clear as day. A headset like this isn’t being bought for single player games though; this is the ultimate headset for competitive gamers who want to be the best online.
I did also test it out with a variety of music genres, and as someone who listens to a lot of tunes while playing games like FIFA 20 (opens in new tab) and Football Manager, it sounded great. I’d never recommend this headset solely for that purpose but it doesn’t drop any marks here, especially if you enable the bass boost preset. It’s also worth noting that while the headset does work on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, you need to utilise the standard 3.5mm audio cable so it’s not wireless any longer, and it sounds considerably worse without the Control Studio installed. Turtle Beach has much better console specific products that you’d find much more suitable if you’re mainly a console gamer. We’d recommend the Elite Pro 2, as that comes with something called ‘SuperAmp’, which is used to adjust sound modes like a lite version of the Control Studio.
Overall - should you buy it?
I was impressed with the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero, when I got it working. Installing the Control Studio is a pain but after investigating all of the various features and options, it provides a level of depth few will have experienced before with a gaming headset. It’s comfortable to wear, the foam cushions block noise well, and all of the physical switches being on the underside of the left earcup makes it simple to use once you learn what is what. It’s worth noting that while the microphone quality is adequate, it’s far from the best I’ve used, and you need to ensure you push it in hard to make it stay in. Nevertheless, it does the job.
This is the best headset I’ve used in a long time for multiplayer games; you’ll gain an instant advantage when playing anything competitive that utilises footsteps, gunshots, and the like. While not perfectly tuned for epic story game or consoles, it’s well worth a look if you’re a competitive online player with a solid gaming PC.