WHEN I sit down to play some games, the first thing I tend to reach for after the controller or keyboard and mouse is a trusty pair of headphones.
Over-Ear headphones are generally my ideal pick for long sedentary gaming sessions due to their often more comfortable feel, however I do also enjoy using in-ear earbuds on the odd occasion, especially if I’m gaming on the go with my Laptop, Switch or Phone. This is my experience exactly with the Turtle Beach Scout Air Wireless Earbuds, a solid pair of wireless earbuds that are best used for portable gaming.
In terms of functionality, the Scout Air Wireless Earbuds largely perform the same as other wireless in-ear headphones on the market. They connect via Bluetooth and can be used on various Bluetooth equipped devices such as mobile phones, computers, and also the Nintendo Switch, so long as you update the firmware via the Turtle Beach Mobile App, which can be used to monitor battery life, shuffle between various EQ sound modes, and also customise the functions performed when using the earbud’s touch enabled controls.
Also present within the Audio Hub application is the ability to turn on Game Mode, a feature that cuts down the regular 100ms latency on the headphones down to roughly 60ms. I do wonder why exactly the 60ms Game Mode option isn’t enabled on the headphones by default, but it is a welcome feature that is handy to have when gaming, as lower latency audio is only going to assist you when it comes to playing games, especially ones of the competitive multiplayer variety.
Bluetooth connectivity is always going to result in some form of latency, but I never felt a noticeable sense of delay when using them for work and play over the last few weeks. In summary, the mobile app is by no means essential, but it is a worthwhile companion application that helps get the most out of the earbuds.
Unlike my beloved albeit old Jabra Elite Active 65t wireless earbuds that charge via Micro USB, the Scout Air has gotten with the times and makes use of USB-C, which is not only a more reliable connection type, but also one that provides faster charging speeds.
The earbuds hold five hours of charge, with the charging case providing a further 15 hours, which while not the most impressive battery life is still quite decent. Impressively, the charging case can fully recharge the earbuds in merely 15 minutes. They’re also quite comfortable, and come with three different bud sizes to ensure that you’ll be able to find a fit best suited for your ears.
The earbuds and charging case aren’t as premium feeling as one might expect from a product at this price range, but don’t let the seemingly cheaper feel scare you off.
I’ve stated before in previous headphone reviews that I’m definitely not an audiophile that can pick up the slightest discrepancies in sound, but in saying that, I know when things sound good. Audio sounds crispy and clear even at high volumes, and the earbuds are surprisingly loud, resulting in some punchy bass.
In moments where I wasn’t gaming, I still found myself using the headphones for everyday activities such as listening to music and podcasts, as well as watching YouTube videos.
The earbuds performed well in all situations, and if it weren’t for a couple of minor faults (which I’ll get to in a moment), they’d likely be my daily driver pair of earbuds. The microphones present in the earbuds do a satisfactory job at grabbing your voice whether it be for phone calls or party chats over Discord, but they aren’t anything to write home about, as they sound about as good as your normal earbud microphone.
The biggest issue with the Scout Air earbuds for me is the lack of noise cancellation. Wireless earbuds within a similar price range to the Scout Air (which retail for $169) often feature noise cancelling, alongside other potential niceties such as a slightly larger battery life. Given the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds offer the same low latency mode alongside noise cancelling, better battery life and even RGB functionality for roughly the same price (albeit without touch controls), it does make you question whether the Scout Airs are perhaps a little overpriced.
I also find it a little disappointing that the headphones can only connect to one device at a time, as it requires you to unpair and re-pair every time you shift between devices, an issue other headphones have sorted out.
Another shortcoming is the inability to manipulate the volume through touch controls. The lack of a pressable button on the face of each headphone also makes controlling them slightly more finicky than they need to be, with the headphones not always picking up my touch input when I try to perform multi tap gestures such as forwarding to the next track in my Spotify playlist.
Although not perfect, I still believe the Turtle Beach Scout Air Wireless Earbuds a good enough product to warrant the price of admission, especially if you’re in the market for everyday use earbuds that you can also use to game. I don’t recommend them as a primary pair of headphones for gamers to use on their consoles or PCs everyday, but instead as a secondary set that can be used for casual sessions and portable play. They’re comfortable, they sound surprisingly well, and they’re viable not only for gaming, but for everyday situations such as work or perhaps in the gym.
Written by: @GrumpyGoron