Gamers from the 90’s might remember Turtle Beach for their series of excellent soundcards, but as onboard sound has become more and more the norm for most gamers, Turtle Beach has pivoted toward making gaming headsets. We wrote about their Elite Pro model not too long ago, and praised it for its comfort and excellent in-game performance.
The new Elite Atlas Pro is the successor to this line, sporting 50mm drivers and a more streamlined feature set. You can pick up the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Pro for $99.99.
Design and Comfort
On the surface, not much has changed from the previous version, and that’s not a bad thing in this case. The accent color on the earcups has been removed in favor of a mostly monochrome grayish-black look. The coloring choice could be polarizing among gamers, with some praising the uniform utilitarian aesthetic, and others yearning for the flashy coloring of old. Personally, it doesn’t make much of a difference to me, as I wear my headphones more than I look at them. But for those who like their gaming headsets to look like something you could wear outside without getting stares, you’ll likely be happy with the Elite Atla
Turtle Beach has always made comfort the focal point of their design for their gaming headsets, and the Elite Atlas Pro is perhaps the pinnacle of this mindset. Much like the Elite Pro, the Elite Atlas Pro is one seriously comfortable pair of headphones. The ear cups are nice and wide, great for those with larger heads. The over-ear closed headset itself forms the perfect seal – it’s snug and secure without being oppressively tight.
One of the things I loved the most about the older Elite Pro was its copious and thick padding, and Turtle Beach has again included a generous amount padding around the ear cups of the Elite Atlas Pro. The padding itself is made of a combination of leather and memory foam, giving it excellent breath-ability for those long gaming sessions.
One neat feature of the Atlas Pro is that the earcups magnetically attach to the headset. On other pairs of headphones, replacing the earcups is an exercise is frustration – you have to carefully thread the new padding around the earcups, and it never fits as snug as I want it to. Here, you simply snap it on and snap it off.
Speaking of the earcups, they can also swivel, allowing the Elite Atlas to sit around your neck when they’re not in use. This is a strange compliment, but they’re probably the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever not worn – the wide spacing between the earcups makes it so even those with big necks won’t feel choked.
Another great design choice on the Elite Atlas Pro is that everything is detachable. Both the microphone and the cable connecting the headset to the computer/video game console can be removed, which makes storing and traveling with the Atlas Pro is incredibly simple. The cables themselves are braided, and look and feel great.
The Elite Atlas Pro has what Turtle Beach is calling the ProSpecs Glasses Relief System to make the headset more comfortable for glasses-wearers. You’re supposed to be able to slide the arm of your glasses through the notch in the earcups to prevent your glasses from being unnecessarily squeezed to the side of your head. It’s great in theory, but I didn’t really notice much of a difference.
The only other negative on the Elite Atlas’s design is that adjusting the height of the earcups is a little finicky. I could never get it to sit just right – it always slid a little too loose, so I had to keep it slightly tighter than I would have wanted. I also wish there was a bit more padding on the headband – it’s not bad enough where it digs into my skull and causes pain, but compared to the fantastic amount of padding on the earcups, it feels a bit lacking.
Performance and Features
Right off the bat, I have to give it up to the Elite Atlas for being a truly universal headset. The Elite Atlas has a single 3.5mm cable that plugs straight into the headset for connecting to the Nintendo Switch or your mobile phone, as well as a two port 3.mm splitter to connect to your PC, Xbox One, or PS4. No matter what system you prefer to game on, you can use the Elite Atlas Pro.
The Elite Atlas’s adjustable microphone works well enough – my voice came through loud and clear, and the included wind filter was great for those pesky popped P’s. It’s obviously not up to snuff for a professional streamer or aspiring podcaster, but it’s more than powerful enough for games where clarity and consistency is what matters most.
There’s no two ways about it – gamers are going to love the sound quality on the Elite Atlas Pro. Thanks to the 50mm Nanoclear drivers, the Atlas Pro has a strong emphasis on upper-mid and treble frequencies. This lets weapon fire, voice chat, and other sound effects stand out in the battlefield, giving you a clear picture for vital information such as enemy positioning. This makes the Elite Atlas Pro especially good for frantic FPS games like Overwatch, but MOBA and RTS gamers will also like the Elite Atlas’s punchiness.
It’s obvious Turtle Beach spent a lot of time and energy to painstakingly shape the acoustics to deliver the best possible in-game sound, and it’s a breath of fresh air. While there’s not of lot of extra features here, I doubt you’re going to notice or mind. Personally, I’d much rather have a gaming headset that flat out sounds awesome than one packed to the gills with audio gimmicks like virtual surround sound (which was a feature in the older Elite Pro that never quite delivered what it promised). Overall, the Elite Atlas is one of the most immersive gaming headsets I’ve tried yet.All that being said, the Elite Atlas Pro isn’t the best pair of headphones for listening to music. The focus on the higher frequencies means the lower end gets slightly shafted. That booming bass and thick mid-range you want when listening to rock and metal just isn’t present here, giving a slightly weak, flimsy soundstage. If you’re not an audiophile, or don’t have high-definition music files, you might not notice the difference, but you’d really be better off sticking with headphones designed for music if that’s going to be your primary use.
If the $99 price tag isn’t quite what you were looking to spend, don’t fret - Turtle Beach has a less expensive Atlas for you as well. Dubbed the Atlas One, it’s half the cost of the Elite Atlas, at $49.95. The tradeoff is that there’s a little less padding on the earcups, and a 40mm driver instead of the Elite Atlas Pro’s 50mm driver, but it should still do the job. It also lacks the detachable cables and microphone of its bigger brother, as well as detachable earcups and braided cables.
It may not be quite as feature rich, but for $50, it’s a solid deal for sure, and a great alternative if you’re trying to stick to a budget.
Turtle Beach has knocked it out of the park with the Elite Atlas Pro. It combines first-class level comfort, fantastic sound for gaming, and the versatility to be used on basically every single platform out there. It’s a no-frills, all killer and no filler headset, and for many gamers, that’s exactly what they’ve been looking for.