Page 2 - A Closer Look - Hardware
The Turtle Beach React-R Controller looks very similar to the Recon Controller, which in turn also resembled the Xbox Wireless controller in its shape. It has a wide body and two extending arms where your hands would rest. In addition, we have the four color ABXY buttons, and the layout of the two thumbsticks are also the same. Furthermore, we have the same circular layout on the D-pad. In the middle, we have the same Xbox logo button with three more buttons underneath for View, Share, and Menu buttons. Once again, this layout mirrors the official controllers. On the other hand, there are still some Turtle Beach-specific buttons, as we will see as we continue. The white and purple color scheme is pretty nice, and it stands out from the competition. Turtle Beach is one of the few manufacturers who have more color palettes in their peripherals, and I hope to see all companies making more purple peripherals. As mentioned, if you are looking for a more typical looking React-R, Turtle Beach also makes a black version.
In terms of dimensions, the React-R Controller is 155mm in width, 63mm in height, and 110mm in depth. This is very similar in size to the Microsoft and Recon controllers. However, the major difference is in terms of weight, as the Turtle Beach React-R Controller is 207g, which is about 20g lighter than the Turtle Beach Recon Controller and 30g lighter than the official one without the batteries. I will also say there is a bit of a cheaper feeling with the React-R controller with the lighter weight, as well as some buttons or triggers not feeling as smooth or clean in its actuation.
Speaking of which, for all of the buttons and triggers at the front, they all feel decent. However, there is a hollowness to the sound of all of the actuations. These primary buttons exhibit a slight wobble; something that we did not see in the Recon Controller. The two thumbsticks offer the same grippy surface around the edge with a concave middle for users to rest their thumbs in. The thumbsticks have a slightly scratchy motion with a noticeable squeak on the right thumbstick. The D-pad naturally caves in for another area for resting your left thumb in without feeling awkward.
At the back of the Turtle Beach React-R Controller, there is a pair of shoulder and trigger buttons, marked with a textured finish to ensure your fingers stay in place. I also appreciate this contrasting texture for grip and a reminder of where your fingers are. The buttons are marked with LB/RB and LT/RT for the shoulder buttons and triggers, respectively. The two shoulder buttons are push buttons with a good "thock" in its audible feedback. Unfortunately, there is also a bit of wobble on these buttons too. The triggers are analog in nature and actuate in a range of how far you have pressed down. This is helpful in racing games, where you can use this range to simulate accelerator and brake pedals. The triggers here feel smooth and sound satisfying when pressed. In the middle, we have a USB Type-C input for users to plug their controller into their console or PC. This is a wired controller, and a 2.5m rubber cable is included. I wish Turtle Beach did not reduce this cable length from the 3m cable offered from the Recon Controller, but I am also hoping to see a wireless version from them in the future.
Just like the Recon, the Turtle Beach React-R Controller has some additional buttons and features to augment the controller experience. This starts at the bottom, where we have two paddle buttons. These two inputs reside right where your fingers wrap around the controller for a quick squeeze to actuate. These bottom buttons offer a nice tactile click with each press and have the same speckled pattern as the back buttons to easy identification. These are meant to be remapped to another single action on the controller. I do appreciate this set of paddles, as it is something that generally was reserved for more expensive gamepads. Otherwise, there is some Turtle Beach branding and certifications on the back label.
The other primary feature that makes the Turtle Beach React-R Controller stand out can be found at the top. Traditional Xbox Wireless controllers have a standard 3.5mm audio jack at the bottom for audio out and microphone input. However, these added buttons allow for some on-the-fly adjustments. These adjustments are simplified from the Recon Controller. Starting from the left side, we have the Superhuman Hearing button, which accents frequencies in the audio output to hear specific cues like footsteps and weapon reloads. The right button is for microphone mute, which is pretty self-explanatory, and it will glow red when active. In the middle, we have what Turtle Beach calls the D-Pad Shift. Pressing this in combination with the D-pad buttons will let you change the audio out. With the D-Pad up and down, you will be able to increase and decrease the output volume. Meanwhile, the left and right D-pad buttons are used to balance between your game and chat audio. Finally, if you double press the D-Pad Shift button, you can remap the back two paddles, as aforementioned.
Turning to the side facing the user, you can see a single 3.5mm combination audio jack to plug in your headset. The other main difference is the grip texture on the back two arms. Compared to the OEM Microsoft Xbox controllers, this is an improvement, as they make it easier to grip onto the controller. On the other hand, this is a rougher texture than the rubber grips on the Recon, which makes it a bit less comfortable. Otherwise, as I have mentioned already, the React-R controller will work with Windows 10 and 11 PCs, as well as Xbox One, Series X, and Series S consoles. You will just need to plug it into your system or console of choice, and it will be immediately recognized.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Performance Tests