Turtle Beach Recon Cloud Controller Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - A Closer Look - Hardware

If other Turtle Beach controllers reminds you of the official Xbox Wireless Controller, then I would say that the Recon Cloud Controller follows in the same vein. For one, it has a similar shape and size to the official Microsoft gamepad. This means we have a wide body with two extending arms where your hands are placed, quad color set of ABXY buttons, and two thumbsticks. This also has the circular D-pad to make diagonal presses easier. In the middle, we have an Xbox logo button with three more buttons situated underneath. From left to right, these are View, Share, and Menu buttons. One thing that makes this Recon Cloud Controller stand out on the black finish is the silver accents, especially with the contrasting D-pad and outline around the hand grips. There are a few more buttons around the back and underneath as well as a cluster of Turtle Beach specific buttons at the top, but we will cover these as we continue on in our review.

In terms of dimensions, the Recon Cloud Controller is 155mm in width, 63mm in height, and 110mm in depth. These numbers are both similar to the OEM Microsoft gamepads as well as other ones from Turtle Beach, such as the React-R Controller and the Recon Controller. In terms of weight, the Turtle Beach Recon Cloud Controller weighs in at 251g without the cable attached. Comparatively, the Microsoft version weighs about 233g without batteries, making the Recon Cloud Controller slightly heavier than the aforementioned versions. This is probably due to the inclusion of an internal battery with the Recon Cloud. As for its build, it feels very solid, as the controller is balanced well with nothing else attached.

As for all of the buttons and triggers at the front, they all feel very good with solid feedback in both an audible and tactile sense. They are very similar in feel to the Recon Controller, which means we have a good amount of travel in the primary ABXY buttons without wobbling around. The two thumbsticks are grippy around the edges with a concave middle, so users can rest their thumbs comfortably. The D-pad also caves in for another thumb rest area. Overall, the fit and feel of these buttons are very similar to the Microsoft controllers, which is great to see.

At the backside of the Turtle Beach Recon Cloud Controller, we have a pair of shoulder and trigger buttons. These buttons are marked with a dotted textured finish to ensure your fingers stay in place and help identify these buttons easily. The back buttons are marked with LB/RB and LT/RT for button and trigger, respectively. The two shoulder buttons are typical push buttons that produce a soft "thock" sound when pressed, but they have more give and travel than my OEM Xbox controllers. The triggers are analog and actuate in a range of how far you have pressed down. Otherwise, in the middle of the back is a USB Type-C input for users to plug the Recon Cloud Controller into the Xbox or PC via the included 3m braided cable. Underneath, we have another hole, and this is actually used to mount the included smartphone mount to the controller. The Y-shaped layout of the additional mounting holes means the mount should not swivel about.

On the flip side of the Turtle Beach Recon Cloud Controller, we can see two paddle buttons underneath. The two underside buttons reside where your fingers wrap around the controller. They have a tactile click on each press and have the same speckled pattern so users can easily feel them. With these paddles, users can activate a Pro-Aim Focus mode, which will automatically decrease the sensitivity to the right thumbstick. Many shooter games rely on the right thumbstick for moving the perspective, which will in turn aim your gun, so this is a pretty neat feature. In addition, you can remap these buttons to be a different single action on the controller for flexibility. Otherwise, there are some Turtle Beach branding and certification logos on the back.

Another feature that differentiates the Turtle Beach controllers from the traditional Xbox ones can be found at the top. Here, we have added to provide a physical switch for users' audio experience. Starting from the outer edges, we have a volume rocker on the left and a chat rocker on the right. These provide adjustments for game and chat volume, respectively. On the Xbox, these adjustments sync with the Xbox dashboard settings. On a Windows PC machine, only the main volume rocker will change and it will be independent of Windows settings. If you are using the Recon Cloud Controller wirelessly, none of these volume controls will function and audio will not be output of the controller. Moving on, in the middle, we have a Superhuman Hearing button, mode button, select button, and a mute switch for your headset microphone. Activating Superhuman Hearing is similar to what we have seen on other Turtle Beach audio products. It provides users with accentuated areas to hear audio cues like footsteps or weapon reloads.

The mode and select buttons are for users to cycle between the four different adjustment modes, as seen on the four indicators above the buttons. The middle diagonal pattern then illuminates to display different levels of each respective mode. The left most mode lets you adjust your own microphone monitoring. The EQ mode provides different Turtle Beach equalizer settings like their "Signature Sound", bass boost, bass and treble boost, or vocal boost. You can also turn it off if you so desire. The controller icon lets you select between four different profiles for button mapping with respect to the back paddles, as you have already seen. Finally, the last mode is where you can modify the Pro-Aim Focus mode, to adjust the tuning of how much you want the aiming mode to reduce the sensitivity. Once again, you can also turn it off altogether.

At the bottom, you can see a single a few connections and buttons. In the middle is a 3.5mm combination audio jack to plug in your headphones. To the left and right are the new wireless functionality buttons. The right button allows you to turn on the gamepad to connect to devices via Bluetooth. This connects via Bluetooth 4.2, and supports Bluetooth Low Energy, or LE. Once powered on, you can connect to your device via the Bluetooth marked button on the left side. Afterwards, any time you turn on the controller, you can hold the Xbox button in the middle to re-pair to the last known connection. I would have liked to see it automatically connect when powered on, but this still functions well. Otherwise, Turtle Beach mentions this Recon Cloud Controller can reach 30 hours or more of operation, but we will see what we are capable of achieving in our tests.

One thing that should be mentioned is that audio through the Recon Cloud and vibration feedback are disabled when operating wirelessly. Wirelessly, this will connect to Windows PCs and Android devices via Bluetooth. Android support is nice to see as they advertise this as an Xbox Game Pass controller, although you do not need to have the subscription service to use the gamepad with your phone. Oddly enough, this is not compatible with the Xbox console or iOS devices, despite having Bluetooth support.

The other primary difference are the two sets of grips on the back two arms. For one, this makes it easier for users to grip onto their controller, especially if they have sweaty palms. To add to this, Turtle Beach also has noted these should provide micro-cooling channels to keep your hands cooler and drier for longer periods of use. We will discuss these claims as we conduct our gaming tests.

As for the accessories included with the Turtle Beach Recon Cloud Controller, there are two main ones to point out. First is the phone clip that attaches to the back of the Recon Cloud Controller. You can see we have a captive screw with three protruding plastic points to insert into the holes at the back. The clip then can tilt forward or back to adjust your viewing angle with your mobile device attached. The clip is made up of an extending and retracting arm that holds your device with a clamp-like action. There is rubber on all edges that make contact with your device to ensure it does not scratch or damage it while maintaining a good grip. This clamp extends up to approximately 9cm so it should be able to hold most phones.

One thing I did find a bit annoying was the fact that there is no counterbalance, which makes the whole unit very top heavy when your phone is attached. This imbalance will also create unnecessary fatigue on your hands and wrists after prolonged use. This can be slightly alleviated by removing the clamp altogether, as it can slide off this mount and be used as a phone stand with an integrated kickstand at the back. The other accessory is a braided USB cable that measures 3m in length.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Performance Tests
4. Conclusion