Ear Force PX21

What we liked:
+ Works on all three systems
+ Slick design
+ Excellent bass
+ Sounds great for stereo
What we didn't like:
- Pesky cord setup
- Comfort after a few hours
- No Dolby Surround
DEVELOPER: Turtle Beach   |   PUBLISHER: Turtle Beach   |   RELEASE: 03/03/2010

A jack-of-all-trades headset.

Turtle Beach continues to deliver headset alternatives for just about any gamer imaginable. So far we have taken a look at cheap alternatives to standard chat devices for Xbox 360, up to some impressive Dolby Surround units that really immerse you into the action. The latest headset is somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades piece that works across three platforms. The PX21 unit is designed to work with PS3, Xbox 360 and PC systems complete with voice chat functionality, chat boost and plenty of other features to make this the most versatile unit to date. For the gamer that needs one piece of hardware to handle all their gaming needs, the PX21 is definitely something to take a look at.

The most prominent feature about the PX21 is its ability to work with voice chat across all three platforms. The original P21 model was designed as the first PS3 headset that worked with chat functionality, so think of this model as a higher end replacement. The design is even similar sporting the glossy black finish with earcups that fold inward when not in use. The set is wired so you will have that to deal with, but the cord does stretch out to 16 feet so you have plenty of room to maneuver during your game sessions. The monster-sized remote attached that controls volume is a bit bulky so I suggest clipping it to your shirt or something to keep it out of the way.

In my tests on both 360 and PS3 the chat functionality worked great. The best part about using it for PS3 is that it uses the USB connecter for both power and chat channels, so there were not extraneous wires. For 360 you will need to plug in an additional (included) cable to the controller, which creates two wires dangling around you. This actually bothered me quite a bit as I am used to my X31 headset which one has the one small wire. It is easy to get tangled up with all these wires around so if you are strictly a 360 gamer, I might recommend picking up one of the other models instead.

First up for sound test was Just Cause 2. The first thing I noticed about the PX21 was its intense bass levels. The explosions in the first level were rocking my ear drums like no other. Thankfully for those with an aversion to pounding bass there is a volume control just for bass boost on the remote. The stereo sound does work nicely, but without having true Dolby Surround, some things are still lost in translation. Games do work a bit better than movies, but overall the quality is good enough for the price tag.

The next thing I usually look for in these headsets is comfortability. The PX21 uses a nice cushioning that keeps the sound encased in the unit, but also tends to jar up some heat and friction. I found that after extended hours of use that my ears definitely started to heat up unlike the X-series. When you combine that with the wire issue you have some obstacles to overcome when it comes to using the set in comfort. Of course this is only applicable to someone who hammers out multiple-hour gaming sessions so if you are just kicking back for a movie or a quick round of Madden NFL, then none of this should be an issue.

As a package it is hard to argue the value of the PX21 headset though. For those that game and chat regularly on one, two or even all three of these platforms the $70 price tag is definitely a steal for the quality you get. It simply becomes a matter of having too many options and things going on for it not to feel cumbersome in design. When a piece of hardware functions on so many levels it is impossible not to have some things getting in the way. Still if you are in the market for a headset and will use all of the features for at least two of the platforms there is really not a better option. The PX21 is a quality product that deserves to carry the name of Turtle Beach.

Review copy provided by publisher.

Ken McKown

Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.

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