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Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra Controller review

A new Xbox Elite Wireless Controller contender emerges.

Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra Controller
Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra Controller
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Compatibility
PC, Xbox, Android
Connectivity
USB, 2.4GHz, Bluetooth
Battery life
Max 30 hours
Nathan Lawrence
Feb 21, 2024
Icon Time To Read6 min read
Quick verdict: Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra Controller
The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra Controller is a cinch to set up and use, offering responsive feedback in a lightweight chassis. I’m a big fan of the practical quick-action buttons beneath the controller, and the dongle-holding dock is a great inclusion. It’s a good thing the Stealth Ultra has a recharging dock, though, because battery life isn’t up to snuff. Despite the premium price, there aren’t any replaceable D-pad or joysticks, and the main-feature display is only contextually handy.
pro
Pros
pro Great performance
pro Quick-action buttons are great
pro Charging dock is a nice touch
con
Cons
con Disclaimer-y battery longevity
con No replaceable D-pad, joysticks
con Contextually useful display

High-end gaming controllers are the new hotness. Microsoft popularised the movement with the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller. Since then, Sony’s followed suit with the DualSense Edge Wireless Controller, Razer with the Wolverine V2 Pro and now it’s Turtle Beach’s turn with the Stealth Ultra Controller. The Stealth Ultra is certainly priced to compete with the bigger names, but how does it fare?

How much does Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra Controller cost in Australia?

Priced to compete with a decked-out Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 ($329 RRP).

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra Controller follows in the footsteps of the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller and PlayStation 5 DualSense Edge Wireless Controller. At full spec, both premium controllers include a carry case, an internal rechargeable battery as well as some extra accessories.

While you can grab an Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 by itself for $249.95, paying $79.95 more includes the case and components. That $329.90 RRP pricing is effectively the same as the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra Controller’s $329 RRP but slightly cheaper than the DualSense Edge’s $339 RRP. The Nacon Controller Revolution 5 Pro has a slightly higher $369 RRP asking price but allows for more personalisation than any of the aforementioned options. In terms of price, the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra Controller is about right.

Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra Controller design

Display-dominated design with some neat accessories.

The first thing you’ll likely notice about the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra Controller is the prominently placed display. Size-wise, it’s a good mix of practical without being dominant but it will necessitate some muscle memory training if your thumbs are operating on Xbox controller autopilot, specifically for the Xbox, Start and Select buttons.

Those particular buttons have been repositioned: the Xbox button is below the screen, Select is left of the screen, while Start is on the right (just above the X and Y buttons). The anti-drift joysticks are covered with smooth caps but there are two replaceable alternatives as well (fully studded or quad studded).

Neither the D-pad nor joysticks themselves are replaceable. Beneath the Stealth Ultra are four quick-action programmable buttons, all within practical reach. The Stealth Ultra comes with a hard-shell carry case, which holds the controller, those joystick cap replacements as well as the 2.4GHz wireless dongle and recharging dock (with a removable USB-C to USB-A cable).

Info Box
What is Turtle Beach?
Turtle Beach is a peripherals manufacturer that’s been around since the 1970s. Today, Turtle Beach is known for gaming headsets, flight simulation peripherals and game controllers.

Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra Controller configuration and comfort

Easy configuration and a great lightweight controller for long gaming sessions.

Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra Controller is plug-and-play out of the box. The only disclaimer there is it’s worth doing a firmware update. Download the Turtle Beach Control Center 2 app on a Windows PC or Xbox console and follow the prompts. If you’re on Windows, don’t try to multitask while the firmware updates for the controller or receiver are in progress or the update might fail and you have to start over. Pro tip: always keep the receiver in the dock, so you don’t lose it but also because it’s tricky to comfortably pull it out.

Now you’re ready to play if all you’re after is a replacement Xbox controller. The Stealth Ultra will automatically connect to the receiver after a few seconds. Use the switches beneath the USB-C port to set the triggers to short or long and all the main buttons should function as they would on any other Xbox controller. Those quick-action buttons won’t work yet but you’ve got options for personalising their inputs.

Either use the Xbox/Windows app or do it directly on the controller by tapping the plus button between the right joystick and D-pad. I’m of two minds about these options. On one hand, more options equals greater versatility. On the other, having a companion app reduces the importance of the Stealth Ultra’s screen. Admittedly, customisation was restricted on the mobile app, and I did have some initial sync issues with the Windows software remembering my profile settings.

It’s all easy enough to tweak on the controller screen, so I had the four face buttons remapped to the underside quick-action buttons without much fuss. Initially, I was put off by my muscle memory being thrown by the shifting of the Xbox, Start and Select buttons. But after hours of gameplay in Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Helldivers 2 and Oblivion Override, I was right at home with the comfort and never-skips-a-beat performance of the Stealth Ultra.

My biggest gripe is battery life. Turtle Beach claims up to 30 hours. For me, and at least some other user reports I found online, that number was closer to eight hours with default settings. To get close to those 30 hours, you’d likely have to disable the LED strip lighting on the handgrips and not use the display, which does undermine some of the uniqueness of the Stealth Ultra.

Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra Controller vs Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2

The Stealth Ultra mostly holds its own against the Xbox Elite Wireless. Mostly.

Part of the learning curve for my time with the Stealth Ultra was because of how much I love my Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2. It’s the go-to wireless controller I have sitting on my desk for PC gaming. I love its design. I adore how it feels. And I’m a big fan of its weight.

But the Stealth Ultra has helped shine a light on my Xbox lime-tinted glasses. For starters, I’ve already had to do a warranty claim on my Elite Wireless when the right bumper started playing up. I discovered that while playing Elden Ring which, if you’re familiar with, you’ll understand just how important it is to have a functioning right bumper.

Additionally, my Elite Wireless is effectively used in basic Xbox controller configuration. Sure, I adjust the trigger distance and I’ve subbed in my preferred D-pad and joystick heads, but I’ve never been a fan of the paddles beneath the controller. They’ve stayed off the Elite Wireless since my warranty return.

I tried to use them but they never felt natural relative to my controller grip. This is exactly where the Stealth Ultra shines. Its quick-action buttons became second nature within the first minute of play, rather than feeling like I had to adjust my grip to find the value. I still think the Elite Wireless looks and feels better, including the heft, but the lighter-weight Stealth Ultra does lend itself to longer play sessions, even if the battery life does not.

The Elite Wireless claims to have around 40 hours of battery life, which is already better than the Stealth Ultra’s claim of 30. I reckon Microsoft’s claim for the Elite Wireless is true in the dozens of hours I’ve used it before needing to recharge, but I do like that Turtle Beach offers an easy-to-relocate recharging dock with the Stealth Ultra.

In fairness, I rarely play for more than eight hours during a long gaming session, so even if the Stealth Ultra is on the blink by that stage, a couple of hours on the straightforward charging dock is a viable workaround. Or you can just do what you’re supposed to with a USB-C controller and plug it in if you want to keep playing.

Is the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra Controller worth buying?

A great investment if you haven’t already given your heart to the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller.

It’ll be interesting to see if I keep using the Stealth Ultra or revert to my beloved Xbox Elite Wireless Controller. The more I used the Stealth Ultra, the more I appreciated it. But the battery-life disclaimers, the cheaper feel (compared to the Elite Wireless) and a screen with diminishing practical returns after initial configuration make it a tougher sell. Still, if you’re in the market for a high-end controller and don’t already love the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller or something similarly specced, the Stealth Ultra is worth considering.

icon-expertise

How we review controllers

Our controller reviews start with what’s in the box. Cheaper controllers don’t have to have a carry case, removable USB cable or replaceable parts, but we give bonus points to the ones that do. We also check how controllers are priced in terms of competitors, relative to their features.

From there, we look at how easy a controller is to set up. Plug and play is the goal here, and we like when companion software makes initial personalisation that little bit easier. Speaking of companion software, firmware updates should be automatically recommended when available and straightforward to perform.

Design is important, especially overall weight and how easy it is to reach nonstandard buttons. But then it’s all about using the controller in whatever games we’re playing at the time. Compatibility across platforms is a great feature, but not essential. Ultimately, a great controller should boast hours-long comfort and battery life (for wireless options) in equal measure.

Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra Controller frequently asked questions

Yes, the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra Controller is a good investment for anyone in the market for a high-end controller. Just don’t expect massive gains if you’re shifting over from an Xbox Elite Wireless Controller.
For Xbox and PC, power on the device and connect the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra Controller’s dock or dongle to a spare USB port. Hold the Xbox button on the controller for a second or two. It should sync in a few seconds and you’re ready to play. Optionally, download the Turtle Beach Control Center 2 software to personalise your experience.
Download Turtle Beach Control Center 2 software on either a Windows PC or Xbox to update your Stealth Ultra Controller. Shift over to the ‘Firmware’ tab and follow the prompts to update the transceiver (connected to the dock) and controller (connected directly via the included USB cable).
Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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