The portability of the Nintendo Switch makes packing a pair of earbuds inside a carry case a paramount accessory to take with you. While a bog-standard pair will usually get the job done, using the hands-free connection contained within them may not quite be the best option when it comes to crystal clear voice chat online. The gang down at Turtle Beach has seen an opening to satisfy such a need and that their new Battle Buds range may fill a gap in the market. This unassuming in-ear headset is priced at £24.99 and not only promises an optimal voice chat experience, but they’ve also been tailored to be acceptable enough for both gaming and everyday use.
What you get inside the box is a handy little carry case, a removable boom mic, three ear tip sizes and, of course, the Battle Buds themselves. The Battle Buds come in two different colors – white with teal accents or black with silver accents. Out of the box the earbuds look to be aesthetically well-designed with triangular casing units and removable silicone wingtips to ensure that they fit securely within the ear. With the mic rod detached, they still house a hands-free microphone contained inside the volume rocker so you don’t have to look like a call center worker when using them to chat on the bus. Unfortunately, the length of each earbud unit is just shy of 1.5 inches long – making them stick out of the lobe quite significantly to look like something you would get on the NHS. The black pouch that came with our white and teal pair is also quite linty. That doesn’t bode well when the bright, clean, rubbery silicone of each earpiece start to readily attract tiny particles of black fabric.
Once I found a good size earbud, they did fit in well enough into the ear without needing to be adjusted too much to secure a decent position. The 10mm speaker makes for a decent audio experience for this particular price range. Don’t get me wrong, the sound quality isn’t exactly high-end when compared to what you would get if you’re willing to shell out much more. But, it’s more than good enough to be a worthy purchase within its price point. While everyone’s ears are different, they did feel quite comfortable when plugged into the old auditory meatus without any itchiness to distract my usage. With the volume rocker sitting on the same wire that leads to where the unit of the ear microphone attachment slot is, it may make the Battle Buds feel a little less balanced in weight for some. To be fair, I personally barely even noticed it and found the overall weight to be more than adequate enough.
The flexible unidirectional boom mic stands at a modest 4.5 inches long, and at a radius of 1.5mm wide. To paint a visual picture in your mind, that’s roughly halfway between your ear to the corner of your mouth. The head of the mic spans around 10mm across to give it a fairly discrete and light end to it. The sound quality on the receiving end is as clear and crisp as you’re willing to hope for, which is ideal for squad communication when pairing up in games such as Fortnite and Warframe.
The problem is, I have never been big into either of these two games. And so, playing the 95 percent of online multiplayer games that do not support voice chat on Nintendo Switch is more of an issue. Without any extra attachments to cater for using the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app while still listening to in-game audio, it does force the sticky situation of sacrificing one over the other. The fact that the Battle Buds are advertised as a Nintendo Switch accessory can put a dampener on things too, which is probably why the slogan “Built for Battle Royale” is splashed across the bottom left-hand corner of the box. On top of that, the 1.3-meter lead length means that there is no practical way to use them when the console is docked.
Nintendo can be blamed for these unfortunate barriers thanks to their misguided approach to online voice chat, as opposed to the Battle Buds themselves. Still, no effort appears to have been made to come up with a workaround. The Battle Buds are manufactured to work effortlessly across other platforms, so at least they can be useful for those whose gaming habits span across multiple consoles. As for general use when listening to music or podcasts on a phone, they get the job done as you would want and expect. It’s obviously worth being aware of the size of these things when placed on your ears, for those that are a little more self-conscious of their appearance in public.
Despite a few glaring issues, the Turtle Beach Battle Buds have satisfactory technology packed inside them to match the in-ear gaming headset’s affordable price point. The detachable mic is a welcome touch in helping to safely store the headset, but, whether it is suited to the Nintendo Switch for voice chat is a complicated answer that will be based on your online gaming habits. Either way, Nintendo’s solution to voice chat still doesn’t really make things easier for anyone. That’s why the Turtle Beach Battle Buds might be a better fit for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 compared to Nintendo Switch, thanks to the impractical hurdle you need to leap over to enjoy voice chat with friends.
Review Unit provided by Turtle Beach