Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra review – one of the best Xbox pro controllers yet
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Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra review – one of the best Xbox pro controllers yet

Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra review – one of the best Xbox pro controllers yet

There are few controllers that are more visually striking than the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra, a seriously high-end Xbox gamepad that boasts a miniature full-color display for tweaking settings, reading messages, and assigning extra inputs while you play. It also grants the ability to conveniently adjust audio levels on the fly, which is a game-changer for folks who regularly play online with friends.

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra benefits from premium materials and excellent RGB lighting, too. The tactile mechanical switches are an absolute joy to use in everything from fighting games to first-person shooter (FPS) titles, while the Hall effect thumbsticks should help keep the controller operational without drift for years to come.

Although the lack of interchangeable thumbsticks is a minor annoyance (the included rubber thumbstick caps don’t offer quite the same versatility) the controller’s biggest shortcoming is the Turtle Beach Control Center 2 software. Buggy and ugly on both PC and mobile, it urgently needs some serious polish.

Thankfully, the wide variety of settings that can be tweaked on the controller’s in-built display means that you can sidestep the software to a degree, but it’s still a disappointing blemish on what is otherwise comfortably one of the best Xbox controllers.

Price and availability

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra is available to buy now for $199.99 / £179.99 (around AU$329.95). It’s available directly from the Turtle Beach website or at a range of retailers like Amazon and Best Buy in the US or Amazon, Game, and Argos in the UK. Availability seems a little more limited in Australia, but it is currently in stock in the region at JB Hi-Fi.

This price is $20 / £20 more expensive than the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, which seems reasonable given the addition of a high-tech display. This is a different story over in Australia, though, where it costs an eye-watering AU$100 more than the Elite Series 2 which is just too much to ask even with the desirable specs.

While the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra excels when it comes to controlling the headset audio of your game, if this is the one feature that you’re looking for it may be worth saving some cash and picking up the Turtle Beach Recon Controller instead. This brilliant wired alternative costs $59.95 / £49.99 / AU$99.95 and is more limited, but does give you the ability to tweak some important audio settings for a fraction of the price.

Design and features

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra Xbox controller.

(Image credit: Future)

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra feels absolutely fantastic in the hands. Its form factor will be familiar to anyone who has ever used the standard Xbox Wireless Controller, but with the Xbox button now moved down to accommodate a small screen. There are also four rear buttons that can be mapped to basic inputs or software features like the pro aim focus mode – which reduces thumbstick sensitivity for easier aiming.

The plastic grips themselves sport a pleasant grooved design and slight color variations between the black and bronze plastic elements, in addition to some small decals, lend the controller an almost sci-fi look. This is further enhanced by the bright RGB lighting, which runs down the grips and has a range of customizable presets. The lighting is not just for show either, as it illuminates to indicate charging and flashes red when the battery is low.

A robust carrying case, magnetic charging stand, and wireless dongle are all included in the box, alongside four rubber thumbstick caps. There’s also a lengthy 10ft / 3m USB-C cable to plug in the stand or the controller for use over a wired connection. The wireless dongle can be slotted either directly into your PC or Xbox or into a USB port in the charging stand itself – a smart way to reduce the number of precious USB ports that the controller occupies on your system.

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra controller's inbuilt display.

(Image credit: Future)

The real star of the show is the display, however, which can be controlled using the face buttons with the click of the input focus button (which is found right below the standard Xbox Share button). You can tweak almost any setting on the display, from button mapping, trigger and thumbstick dead zones to vibration strength, lighting, and much more.

Although it’s a little fiddly to use at first, being able to navigate complex settings without any additional software is a massive convenience. The option to save and quickly alternate between up to ten distinct profiles is similarly excellent and allows for so much more customization than the measly three profiles found on the Xbox Elite Series 2.

Even more features become available when you plug a gaming headset into the 3.5mm jack, with buttons to change the game volume, chat volume, mic gain, or even alternate between several equalizer (EQ) settings. The best of these is by far the superhuman hearing mode – which boosts certain sounds and makes it easier to hear enemies in games like Fortnite.

Performance

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra controller and an Xbox Series S console.

(Image credit: Future)

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra performs very well where it counts. The face buttons are pleasantly tactile and very responsive, which makes it perfect for a wide range of games. Although I was initially a little disconcerted by the slightly strange concave design d-pad, I actually found that it worked quite well during my testing with its shape allowing me to slide my thumb across its surface to make quick and accurate inputs.

The Hall effect thumbsticks are also smooth and of a decent size, but it’s worth noting that they cannot be removed and swapped like the Elite Series 2. While I have never personally relied on alternate thumbsticks, it is a noticeable omission at this price.

In addition to Bluetooth connectivity, it’s compatible with Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, and PC via the controller’s proprietary dongle. I found this could be a little tricky to pair at times but, thankfully, things stay reliably connected once set up. The controller can also be used with Android phones via Bluetooth.

Battery life can vary dramatically depending on your choice of settings, with an included power saving mode reducing the brightness of the lighting and in-built display for optimum battery performance. Turtle Beach claims that the controller can last up to 30 hours during play, though I was only able to squeeze out just over 18 hours of play once I had tweaked everything to my liking.

Although this definitely isn’t the best battery life we’ve ever seen, the on-screen battery indicator will always let you know when it’s time to recharge so you’re very unlikely to actually find yourself running out of juice during a play session.

The biggest let down here is the Turtle Beach Control Center 2 software. Although it contains many of the same settings found on the controller, its janky, unappealing presentation and constant bugs make it a nightmare to actually use.

This is true for both PC and mobile versions. On the latter, I even found that the notification feature (which should allow you to read phone notifications on your controller) was far too inconsistent – at least when paired with my iPhone 13 Mini. It’s difficult to say whether this was the result of my phone settings or the controller itself, but it’s disappointing nonetheless.

Should I buy the Nacon Evol-X Pro controller?

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra controller place on its stand on a wooden surface.

(Image credit: Future)

The color display of the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra means that it’s quite unlike anything else on the market right now. It’s a very practical addition too, as it makes changing your controller settings more convenient than ever. If you have the cash to splash and want to pay a little more for the huge amount of added functionality, this is a great choice.

Buy it if…

Don’t buy it if…

How we reviewed the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra

I used the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra as my primary controller with an Xbox Series S console for over three weeks. In addition to this, I frequently used the controller with my PC over both a wired and wireless connection.

During my time with the controller, I tested it with games such as Fortnite, Modern Warfare 3, and Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name. I also made sure to experiment with all the available features that I could find, in addition to the controller’s companion software on PC and mobile.

If you’re shopping for Xbox accessories, see our guides to the best monitors for Xbox Series X or the best Xbox Series X headsets.

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