The world of gaming cans is a confusing one, and with the offerings getting more and more expensive, it's refreshing to see a headset that enters the market with a sub $100/£100 price tag, but without losing any of the features that you'd want from a premium alternative. And that's exactly what Turtle Beach has done with the latest addition to its vast gaming headset lineup - the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas.
With this new headset, the company seems to have crammed everything that I love about my daily go-to, the Turtle Beach Elite Pro headset released in 2017, into an alternative that's half the price, and that's something that should be highly commended.
Turtle Beach Elite Atlas - Design
What I've always loved most about the Turtle Beach Elite Pro is how comfortable it is, and I can say exactly the same for the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas. Wearing this headset is like wrapping your head in a memory foam cushion - without the suffocation potential. Turtle Beach describe the earcups as athletic fabric-wrapped Aerofit cushions, but they really are like mini memory foam pads, absorbing all external noise whilst simultaneously being incredibly comfortable and oddly cooling. I've been using them to review and create guides for Assassin's Creed Odyssey, and some 90-odd hours in, there hasn't been a moment where I've found the Elite Atlas uncomfortable. The Atlas has a great new design that allows space for the arms on your glasses too, something which could be a problem with the Elite Pro - and a number of other headsets for that matter. You literally just remove the ear cups and use a little tab to manually adjust the divot space that you require for your glasses. It might not be high-tech, but boy does it work. Bye bye sore ears and skull.
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However, if you've got a smaller head, you may struggle with the size of this headset. Whereas the Elite Pro has adjustable sliders to lock the headset at a range of 11 different sizes, the Atlas only has three alternatives. So although it works for my giant noggin, it might not work for daintier skulls.
I do also love the fact that the Elite Atlas is a very understated headset. While other manufacturers make headsets that look very much like a gaming headset, with garish trims and lots of bold colours, the Elite Atlas is all black, with a discrete Turtle Beach logo and lovely chrome accents. At first glance they might even get mistaken for headphones from the likes of Bose or Sony, such is the premium look and feel of the Elite Atlas. Of course, you might not want to wear them on the street while you're out and about, but the fact the microphone is detachable might help aid that need to parade it around for all to see.
It's also incredibly robust. Other headsets at this price range can tend to feel a bit plasticky and cheap, but whilst the Elite Atlas is mostly crafted from plastic, the build quality is such that you can chuck them in your bag not worrying about scratches or other damage.
Turtle Beach Elite Atlas - Features
Although technically it's marketed as a headset exclusively for PC and eSports enthusiasts, it's actually an incredibly versatile pair of wired gaming cans, capable of working with all your tech thanks to its 3.5mm headphone jack option. The cable is 40-inches long, making it more than useful for plugging into your various console controllers, but you might find it a little short for using with a desk setup. For PC affectionados though, there's also a much longer (78-inches) Pink/Green PC Splitter Cable that will help with using with your impressive gaming rig.
And what's more, it's all a very much a plug-in and play experience right out of the box. There's no software to tweak, and not an RGB light in sight, if that's not your sort of thing. What the Elite Atlas does have is magnetic, interchangeable ear cup plates, meaning that in the future you can bear your affiliation to an eSports team, or hopefully a game brand, on your ears - although it's worth noting that I can't currently find any alternatives on the Turtle Beach website. However, with such a strong design from the off, I doubt that this issue is going to bother many people, regardless of how much I'd love some Fortnite ear cup covers. #llamaforlife
I previously mentioned the fact that the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas has a removable mic, but it's worth mentioning just how great that is. Not only can you completely remove it, leaving nothing but a small, hidden port behind, but Turtle Beach has equipped the Elite Atlas with a highly sensitive unidirectional mic that's incredibly good at filtering out the natural sounds of your home - namely other people and a flurry of WhatsApp messages coming in mid-match.
Turtle Beach Elite Atlas - Performance
Although this is only a stereo headset, lacking any surround sound - simulated or otherwise - you can still use the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas with Dolby Atmos for Headphones or any other software that you can find on PC, or consoles for that matter, and still get a great effect. The overall game audio using the Elite Atlas is wonderful. The bass is dense and heavy, making gunshots and explosions boom, but the rest of the audio is so well-sculpted that lighter footsteps, and the higher frequency sounds like the whistle of a bullet, don't get lost among the bass rumbles.
I've tested the Elite Atlas with a range of games, ranging from the excellent 360-degree audio of Fortnite, which sounds fantastic and totally immersive, even without that inbuilt surround sound. The almost ethereal sounds of No Man's Sky really highlights the weird ebbing sound of the laser mine and the thrusters on your ship, but without detracting from the sounds of travelling through space. Both of those were on PC, but then I went over to PS4 with Assassin's Creed Odyssey, and the crashing of sword on shield, the call of the sailors on my ship, and the screech of your eagle are all gloriously edged, while the bellow of the ‘Mercenary nearby’ warning is wonderfully bass heavy.
While the sound is perfectly sculpted for a gaming soundscape, turning away from games (for just a minute) to listen to some music can leave you feeling a little disappointed. The audio isn't levelled for music in a way that really makes the tunes pop, and suddenly that lack of software can feel a little frustrating. But, at the end of the day, this is a gaming headset, and for that purpose it’s packing serious punch in terms of audio quality.
Overall - Should you buy it?
If you're looking for a PC headset that also works with a range of other devices, has excellent features and wonderful audio quality but won't break the bank, then you need to check out the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas. Other gaming headsets at this price point include the Logitech G Pro ($89.99/£84.99), which also offers excellent sound but doesn't compare when it comes to comfort or overall build quality. If you're looking for a similarly priced wireless headset, you might have to spend more around the £100/$100 mark, you should check out the SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth (£99/$99), but I would still opt for the Elite Atlas.
This is a mid-range gaming headset that can compete with those at least twice it's price. Yes, it might not offer cheek-tingling haptic feedback like the Razer Nari Ultimate, but that's definitely a niche requirement. The Turtle Beach Elite Atlas is sleek, high quality and affordable and that's definitely ticking all my gaming audio requirements - and then some.