Every interested buyer in the market for a new headset should start their purchasing journey with one important question in mind: do I buy on a budget, or empty my bank account in the name of quality? The price range for well-made, comfortable headsets is almost laughable, so it’s crucial to know what you’re looking for before you even begin to conduct any research.
The Turtle Beach Ear Force Z11 model for PC isn’t going to blow you away with supreme audio quality or durability. A simple, standard headset that focuses on the basics, the Z11 leaves the flash and extra knobs for its superiors and instead provides an affordable option for PC gamers on a budget. You’ll still hear each bullet as it whizzes by your noggin and rarely even notice the well-cushioned piece of hardware sitting snuggly atop your mane, but at $40, don’t expect a revolution.
Right out of the box, you’ll notice there’s not much to the Z11. A 3.5mm unified connecter that’s compatible with laptops, tablets and smartphones is paired with a stereo/microphone splitter meant for desktops. Volume control, as well as the ability to mute the mic, is available on the cable connecting the headset to your device of choice, but the complexity of the package ends there. There are no bells or whistles to the Z11, which make it easy to plug in and enjoy.
The angled 50mm speakers performed well during our hours of testing. Multiple games of League of Legends were played in the name of science, and the pure audio quality coming through the gear stayed consistently solid. Strong base helped improve both gaming and movie experiences, and it was rare to even notice any other sound outside the realm of the laptop being used. It never quite reached the level of “extraordinary,” but the stereo audio of the Z11 is nothing to complain about.
Sadly, the fragility of the materials makes it feel like what it is – a $40 headset. While the cushioned ear phones provide a comfortable listening experience, the thin plastic headband feels as if it could snap with one false move. There is some extra padding for the top of your head, but the core product doesn’t seem sturdy enough to take along in a bag or other piece of luggage. While it can be used for phones and tablets, we wouldn’t recommend taking it too far from the comfort of your own home if you’re looking to keep it in one piece.
The flexible mic attached to the Z11 is a well-made element of the product, though. It easily slides from the top of your head to just inches from your mouth, and little feedback or vocal inconsistencies were noticed during Skype calls and recorded Audacity files. The hiccups you hope to avoid in lesser pieces of hardware were virtually absent in our testing, so the Ear Force Z11 should be a strong choice for any aspiring podcaster.
The hours of talking and heavy editing involved with podcasting will also be a comfortable experience with this PC headset. The Z11 may not be flashy or heavy, but the cups just feel right covering your ears. Extended time will eventually lead to a small amount of discomfort, but you’ll more often find yourself forgetting that the gear is even sitting atop your head than complain that it’s there.
It’s uncommon that we recommend a product that rarely breaks away from being more than adequate, but the Turtle Beach Ear Force Z11 headset is a good option for PC gamers looking for quality sound at an affordable price. There are plenty of better headsets on the market, and many of them carry the Turtle Beach brand, but the best just won’t come close to the Z11’s $40 asking price. If you have plenty of disposable cash, keep shopping. But if you want a cheap option that’s both comfortable and easy on the ears, look no further.
If you’re interested in purchasing a Turtle Beach Ear Force Z11 headset, you can grab one from Amazon today! A review unit was provided by the creators, Tritton and Mad Catz.