Turtle Beach has put drift-free sticks and a screen on its new $200 controller for Xbox and PC

Turtle Beach has put drift-free sticks and a screen on its new $200 controller for Xbox and PC

Turtle Beach is throwing its hat into the premium controller ring with a new $200 gamepad for Xbox and PC called the Stealth Ultra Wireless Controller, which will launch on December 15. But instead of just adding some back buttons and hair triggers — the hallmarks of most competition-focused gamepads — it also has drift-resistant Hall effect sticks and a 1.5-inch screen capable of adjusting settings and getting notifications from your phone.

In addition to being Turtle Beach’s first foray into the world of expensive gamepads, competing with the likes of the Xbox Elite Series 2 and Scuf controllers, it’s also the company’s first fully wireless Xbox Series some third parties). It doesn’t connect quite as easily as Xbox gamepads, but the Stealth Ultra uses a simple USB-A dongle that can plug into the included dock — hooking up to just one USB port on your Xbox console or PC for both connectivity and recharging. More importantly, the Stealth Ultra can operate an Xbox remote even though it connects via a dongle (something that unfortunately has not happened in PlayStation Land).

You know what really screams “ghost”? A pair of completely unnecessary “anti-drift” stickers.
Photo: Turtle Beach

The Stealth Ultra also has a laundry list of premium features that you typically find in $150-plus controllers, like four programmable back buttons, hair-trigger locks, precise tactile switches for the face buttons and bumpers, interchangeable thumb sticks, and Bluetooth compatibility , customizable RGB lighting, and a zippered hard case with USB-C charging. The most significant omission from the Stealth Ultra that comes to my mind is its lack of interchangeable D-pads (sorry, fighting game fans), and its claimed battery life of 30 hours is less than the Xbox Elite’s max of 40 hours. (Though, frankly, 30 hours is still miles ahead of any current Sony console out there.)

It maintains the cadre of Turtle Beach software features found in the lower-cost Recon and React-R controllers: various EQ presets to tweak the headset’s game sound, Superhuman Hearing for better impact on enemy footsteps while using a 3.5mm wired headset, and Pro- Aim to quickly reduce stick sensitivity while trying to take some accurate sniper shots.

The USB-A dongle has to connect to a port on your console or computer, but it can at least daisy-chain with the charging dock.
Photo: Turtle Beach

What really sets the Stealth Ultra itself apart is the Hall effect sticks and the Insanity Screen sandwiched in the middle. Hall effect sticks are a welcome addition to this premium controller segment, as expensive gamepads from both Microsoft and Sony can suffer from stick drift over time, but the Stealth Ultra’s display offers an interesting novelty for connectivity and settings. Although you might think it’s a touchscreen, it’s not. The 1.5-inch onscreen controls can only be manipulated by pressing the plus button at the bottom of the face of the controller, disconnecting your input from the game and connecting to what you see on screen.

What can you control on the small screen? Well, for starters, all of Turtle Beach’s audio customizations, RGB lighting effects, and up to 10 controller profiles are user customizable. This actually feels much better than Turtle Beach’s other controllers, which have a somewhat confusing array of buttons to toggle many of these settings. Another use for the Stealth Ultra display is to get phone notifications reflected on your gamepad directly from iOS or Android. Android phone notifications require installation of Turtle Beach’s Control Center 2 app, which can also be used to dial in the same settings found on the Stealth Ultra’s built-in display.

I don’t know if having mobile notifications appear between my thumbs while gaming is any less distracting than keeping them confined to my phone’s screen, but perhaps Turtle Beach is about to try something else on-screen here. At the very least, this is good for quickly toggling advanced settings without having to exit to your console’s control panel or open another application on your PC. I’ll have to see how it goes once I get some hands-on time, and see how the Stealth Ultra stacks up to other premium offerings for Xbox and PC.

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