Turtle Beach Recon Cloud controller review: 'doesn't exactly spread itself too thin, but certainly straining'

Turtle Beach Recon Cloud controller
(Image: © Future)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

The Turtle Beach Recon Cloud is going to have a tough time finding a home. It's a solid controller in itself, with responsive controls, excellent additional functionality, and a wireless PC connection, but it doesn't quite nail the mobile market it's aiming for. A clunky, full-sized design means this isn't exactly backpack worthy, but if you're after an all-in-one device across PC, Xbox, and Android it's a solid contender.


  • +

    All-in-one for Xbox, PC, and mobile

  • +

    Solid phone mount design

  • +

    Responsive controls

  • +

    Wireless PC connection


  • -

    Full size and extra weight cuts out mobile market

  • -

    Heavy d-pad

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The Turtle Beach Recon Cloud controller takes the original Recon gamepad and adds extra support to bring it into the world of mobile streaming. At $99.99 / £89.99, this is no cheap device. In fact, it's just pushing the $129.99 / £119.99 official Elite Series 2 Core price. This is an Xbox, PC, and mobile controller all in one, though, with wired and wireless connectivity for different platforms and the Recon's classic Superhuman Hearing and Pro Aim extras packed in as well. 

There's no doubt about it, this feels like a solid piece of kit and it's got plenty of applications packed into that price tag. We spent three weeks using the Recon Cloud to see just how well it performs its many roles. 

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Key Specs
Price$99.99 / £89.99
ConnectionWired / Bluetooth
Remappable buttons2
Headset connection3.5mm
Cable length3M
Weight0.3kg / 0.67lbs


Turtle Beach Recon Cloud with phone holder

(Image credit: Future)

The Turtle Beach Recon Cloud looks very much the same as the original model, save for a phone grip slot where the cable used to be and a new set of wireless connectivity options along the bottom. That means you're still getting the nicely weighted Xbox-style design we celebrated in the Turtle Beach Recon Controller.

The unit I received sported a dark blue, black, and orange aesthetic, with the main body covered in metallic plastic. That's a new colorway not explored in the original Recon release, and while outside of the standard black or white models before it, the Cloud still retains a premium feel. 

The grips running down each leg are only very slightly textured, but I never slipped in my testing. I did, however, appreciate the larger bumps on the triggers and bumpers. You'll find the volume rocker, chat mix buttons, mic mute, Superhuman Hearing, and Pro Aim buttons centered at the top of the gamepad. These are small buttons with little space between them, and I did struggle to accurately hit volume and chat mix rockers without accidentally pushing others. 

Turtle Beach Recon Cloud back

(Image credit: Future)

The rest of the gamepad is organized in a standard Xbox layout, with the addition of two paddles around the back. That means you're keeping the octo-directional d-pad. Whether you love or hate these new directional buttons, the first thing you'll notice about this particular implementation is the heaviness of those arrows. This requires some serious force to actuate in a linear direction, which did grow tiring particularly quickly. Diagonal movements registered fine, but the clunkiness of those buttons made more precise actions particularly difficult. If you're a fan of intricate platformers, this might not be the right option for you.

Then we come to the plastic phone mount. This is one of the best grips I've used so far - sturdy, easy to connect, and offers plenty of viewing angles. Everything feels solid in this design, and I felt confident the soft rubber pads lining the inside would keep my gaming phone secure.

Turtle Beach Recon Cloud connection

(Image credit: Future)

Herein lies the problem, though. That phone mount squarely aims the Recon Cloud at the mobile market, a market the rest of the design doesn't quite meet. Compared to the easily transportable Razer Kishi V2 and Backbone One, this is a chunky device. You're effectively taking a full Xbox Series X controller with you wherever you go, and that's a tall order for a gamepad aimed at convenience. 

Of course, there's also PC and Xbox functionality to consider here, this is a gamepad designed to hit all your needs in one whack. To cater to all three markets you'll need a chunkier set of buttons in your hand, but such a design does shunt the Turtle Beach Recon Cloud out of the streaming market it's aiming at.


You'll find all the same features present in the original Turtle Beach Recon in the Cloud model. That means you're keeping Pro Aim, Superhuman Hearing, volume and chat mix options, and the rebindable back paddles. That's not to say these features have become boring, though. There are very few third-party controllers (and even fewer first-party options) offering these extra layers of functionality. 

Turtle Beach Recon Cloud controls

(Image credit: Future)

The Pro Aim allows you to slow your reticule to line up a shot with far more precise movements and Superhuman Hearing amps up the volume of footsteps and gunshots to vastly improve your surround sound. That's perfect if you're an FPS regular, though the Superhuman Hearing does require a wired gaming headset to function.

There's plenty new here, though. Wireless connectivity is on the cards for the first time in Recon controller history, though this functionality is reserved for Android and Windows use - you'll still need to plug in on Xbox. I found this connection to be rock solid in my testing, never dropping or lagging, and connecting quickly across both mobile and PC. Turtle Beach suggests that the battery under the hood can last over 30 hours on a single charge, which can take just a couple of hours to achieve. That largely rang true in my own testing. I was able to play off a full battery for just over a week.


Turtle Beach Recon Cloud with phone

(Image credit: Future)

The Turtle Beach Recon Cloud does feel solid in the hands and handles itself well in both slower-paced and action-heavy games. The thumbsticks carry a solid weight to each movement - enough to provide a satisfying tension without feeling heavy under the fingertip. There's a nicely textured rim to each stick, keeping everything firmly under control, and a snappy bounce back as well. 

The face buttons feel premium and comfortable under the thumb thanks to that matte texture, and carry a similar travel distance to the standard Xbox controller. As mentioned above, the same can't quite be said for the d-pad, which does feel a little too sticky for twitch-reflex maneuvers. That meant I was getting far more out of titles like Forza and Tunic than I was Ghost Song and Ori. 

The bumpers and triggers have a nice amount of depth to them, even if I was hoping for a little more resistance in L2 and R2. That's largely because I've been spoiled by the DualSense controller, and can often find Xbox-geared gamepads a little too light in this respect, but if you do prefer some feedback to your trigger pulls it's worth bearing in mind. 

As always, Pro Aim did a fine job of assisting in sniper shots and more fine-tuned movements in single-player games. I didn't manage to find enough time to use it competitively - once the action kicks off there's little room for perfectionism - but it's a solid addition to the roster. Like with the React-R, though, I did notice the Superhuman Hearing mode flattening audio in efforts to artificially amplify certain noises. That's not necessarily a bad thing - a beautiful score means nothing if you can't hear enemy footsteps, after all, but for story-driven titles it's well worth keeping this feature off. 

Should you buy the Turtle Beach Recon Cloud Controller?

Turtle Beach Recon Cloud side

(Image credit: Future)

The Turtle Beach Recon Cloud is a strange beast. At $99.99 / £89.99 is knocking on a pretty premium door, but it does do enough to satisfy that price point. That's if you don't already have an Xbox, PC, or mobile controller. If you've already got one of the three then you likely have a gamepad for both Xbox and PC, and the mobile-first qualities of the Cloud just don't do enough to justify a switch at nearly $100 / £90. 

Too clunky to be used as an everyday Android companion and too expensive to compete with similar models for console and PC, the Cloud doesn't exactly spread itself too thin, but it's certainly straining. If you're looking to invest in one controller for all your devices, it's well worth a look - but the number of people who realistically find themselves in that camp will be pretty low considering Microsoft's device works out the box with both the console and PC. Of course, there are those additional audio and aiming features to consider, and they certainly are strong - just not an extra $100 strong. 

After all, the Thrustmaster eSwap X Pro packs a whole world of customization options that the Recon Cloud doesn't even touch, at $159 / £149 (and is often also on sale for less than that). Plus, both the HyperX Clutch Wireless and SteelSeries Stratus+ have shown that you can offer lightweight mobile performance while still catering to PC controller needs - and they do it for far less cash as well. 

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Turtle Beach controllers compared
Header Cell - Column 0 Recon CloudReconReact-R
Price$99.99 / £89.99$59.99 / £49.99$39.99 / £34.99
Remappable buttons222
CompatibilityPC, Xbox, AndroidPC, XboxPC, Xbox
ConnectionWired (Xbox, PC), Wireless (PC, Android)WiredWired
Pro AimYYN
Superhuman HearingYYY

How we tested the Turtle Beach Recon Cloud

I used the Turtle Beach Recon Cloud controller over the course of three weeks, swapping between a mouse and keyboard setup on PC and using alongside a Black Shark 5 Pro for Xbox streaming on mobile. I tested using Submerged: Hidden Depths and Yooka-Laylee on PC and across Ghost Song, Forza Horizon 4, Tunic, and Ori on mobile. For more information on how we test controllers, check out our full GamesRadar+ Hardware Policy.

We're also rounding up all the best Xbox steering wheels and the best steering wheels for PC if you're after more control options. Or, check out the latest Xbox Game Pass deals for a discount on your next streaming subscription. 

Tabitha Baker
Managing Editor - Hardware

Managing Editor of Hardware at GamesRadar+, I originally landed in hardware at our sister site TechRadar before moving over to GamesRadar. In between, I've written for Tom’s Guide, Wireframe, The Indie Game Website and That Video Game Blog, covering everything from the PS5 launch to the Apple Pencil. Now, i'm focused on Nintendo Switch, gaming laptops (and the keyboards, headsets and mice that come with them), PS5, and trying to find the perfect projector.