Turtle Beach Ear Force i60 review
- Audio quality
- Comfortable and luxurious
- 10 hours plus battery life
- Too many buttons
- Poor wireless range
- Vocal distortion settings
Turtle Beach has introduced three new headphones designed for use with Apple products; the i10, the i30 and this, the premium model i60.
The Turtle Beach Ear Force i60 headphones are wireless, boast built-in microphones and incorporate DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound.
The premium £350 price tag puts them up against the likes of B&O, Bowers & Wilkins, Beats and Bose in the high-end 'designed-for-Apple' headphone category, but only the Parrot Zik Wireless headphones by Starck match the i60s for wireless features, sound quality and accompanying iOS app.
Turtle Beach Ear Force i60: Design
There's no shortage of high-end headphones designed for Apple products, and as you'd expect, they're a stylish bunch of cans as well. The Turtle Beach Ear Force i60s aren't quite as luxuriously impressive as the B&O BeoPlay H6 or the Bowers & Wilkins P7, but they are completely wireless, while the understated black, grey and white colours stylishly complement Apple products including the iPhone 5s and iPad Air.
The base station that connects to your computer follows a similarly understated design, but it's relatively big - around the size of a beer mat and as thick as a pack of cards. This is used to control the audio and mic volume, as well as set up audio presets for movies, music and games.
Finally, the box includes an audio cable for connecting to any wired audio device, a 6.3mm headphone adaptor for devices such as amplifiers, and an airline adaptor for use on planes. There are also two micro USB cables; one for connecting the base station, and another for charging the headphones. There's sadly no power supply, so you'll need to buy one or use your computer for recharging.
Turtle Beach Ear Force i60: Setup
The i60s are relatively simple to setup, although their wireless connectivity and wealth of features mean it's not as easy as simply plugging in a pair of wired headphones. The headphones may be marketed at Apple owners, but they work just as well with Windows PCs - on both systems, it takes a couple of minutes to change system settings to enable surround sound functionality.
These headphones come with a lot of features and options, which are mostly accessed by pressing one of the nine buttons on the headset. Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity allows you to pair the headset with up to two other devices including phones and tablets, so you can take phone calls and listen to different audio sources.
Turtle Beach has also included preset surround sound modes for movies, games and music, which are toggled using a button on the base station.
The other features of the headphones are rather less useful, and generally overcomplicate things as a result. One button on the headset toggles four different settings of voice distortion, which makes your voice sound low or high to whoever is listening to it.
This feature is a mainstay of Turtle Beach's gaming range, but it's massively out of place on a headset aimed at Apple users. It's more annoying when you consider that noise cancelling, a feature that genuinely would appeal to this market, has been omitted on the i60s, but is included on the cheaper i30 model.
There are also two buttons on the headset for switching between different audio presets. Some of these eight options are useful, such as emphasising bass and treble, and many are aimed at gamers, with options to bring up feint noises such as footsteps and grenade bounces.
It's great that the i60s boast so many features, but a lot of them feel redundant, while the sheer number of buttons to facilitate such functionality feels completely at odds with the simple design ethos of the Apple products they're designed for. We found ourselves constantly hitting buttons by mistake when taking the headphones on or off, which was incredibly frustrating.
Thankfully, for iPhone owners at least, Turtle Beach's iPhone app does a much better job of tweaking the headset's settings. The visual interface makes it much easier to choose the inputs and outputs you want, rather than cycling through them using buttons. Non-iOS owners aren't so lucky though - you'll have to use the (unlabelled) buttons on the headset.