Turtle Beach Ear Force Z22 headset review: PC gaming gets some love at a low price
Turtle Beach's new line of PC gaming headsets, the Ear Force Z series, caters to PC gamers. At only $89.95 – at a time when it feels like every headset is over $200 – it delivers ease of use, an inline amplifier and some pretty solid sound at a low price. Exactly how good is this headset? I spent some time with it over the past couple weeks, and here's what I thought...
Design-wise, there's no mistaking this as a Turtle Beach headset. It's very lightweight – like, to the point where you forget it's on. The padded headband definitely helps with that, but the ear cups aren't the most comfortable thing in the world. They're breathable, so my ears don't get too hot, but they're kind of stiff. By no means am I suggesting that you can't wear these for hours on end; I got used to them. I just didn't feel like the Z22 was the most comfortable headset I've ever worn. Then again, I'm comparing that to $200-plus headsets.
Inside those ear cups are full-range 50mm speakers. They don't pack a ton of punch bass-wise, but they hold their own. It's the mids and highs where the Z22 does most of its magic. The Z22 performs admirably in an array of different games – from Dishonored and League of Legends to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn – all during Skype chat with six people. Thanks to the inline amplifier, you have a lot of control over what you hear and what you don't.
The inline amplifier comes with treble and bass controls, so you can adjust them and find the right settings for what you're doing, whether it's playing games or watching a movie. The inline amp also separates the volume of the game and chat, so you can adjust both, figure out the volume of your own voice if you want to hear what you say, and it has different modes for the microphone. If you're like me and have a wife and two kids, you probably do most of your gaming at night, so switch the microphone to high sensitivity. It'll pick up what you're saying without forcing you to speak loudly. There's also low sensitivity so it'll only pick up your voice in a crowded area. As if that's not enough, there's an auxiliary input for phone calls or streaming music. And the mic sounds really great, too. The GameZone team all agreed that I sounded the clearest I've sounded than with any headset.
Another great thing about the Z22 is that it's really versatile. You simply disconnect the 3.5mm headset from the inline amp, and then you can use it with phones, tablets, mobile devices and consoles, like your Vita or 3DS. The Z22 is also really easy to use, with a simple USB and analog stereo input.
What you're getting for your $90 is a really solid wired PC gaming headset that has the versatility to be used with mobile devices. If you're just into a lot of dubstep, the bass won't blow you away, but for gaming, there's clarity and it holds its own really well. I'd recommend trying on a pair if possible, because not everyone will like the feeling of the ear cups, but the headset is light and generally comfortable. You're not getting all the bells and whistles of, let's say, a Z SEVEN, but the inline amplifier gives you a really good amount of control. Simply put, it's easy to use and is a good headset at a cheap price.