Editors' note: We've updated some of the information in this review to reflect the X31's functionality in reference to some of the other gaming headsets in its price range. The product's final score remains unchanged.
Last month we took the Turtle Beach Ear Force P21s for a spin using its chat function with our PlayStation 3. To be fair, we thought we would even the playing field by checking out the company's Xbox 360 headset and voice chat solution with the Ear Force X31.
While the X31 is a wireless solution, opposed to the P21's wired setup, it provides just as good sound quality and voice chat performance in-game. In fact, if you're desperate for a wireless experience and don't mind living without voice chat, you could even use the X31 with your PS3.
As mentioned above, the X31 is quite similar to the P21 except for the fact that the X31 utilizes a wireless RF signal to transfer audio information from the Xbox 360 to your headset.
The overall construction of the X31 definitely trumps that of the P21; the headset simply feels more durable and not as frail as the P21s did. The earcups are comfortable and won't irritate your head after long sessions of play time. That said, the wireless headset is a bit heavy, which may become uncomfortable to some after wearing it for an extended period of time.
Setting up the X31s is easy enough. The included audio wire allows for bypassing, which lets you plug them into where your Xbox's audio would normally go. With that cable in place, you must then run its 1/8-inch jack into the RF transmitter, a tiny USB-powered black box. You're free to draw USB power from anywhere you'd like, including an open port on the front of your console. In our case we were able to power the RF transmitter via our cable box. On the rear of the transmitter you'll find an adjustable output volume.
The headset requires two AAA batteries (which are included) to operate. While Turtle Beach doesn't estimate how much play time you'll get, we didn't have an issue with power during the four days of our testing. As always, we'd recommend rechargeables in this situation.
Out of the left earcup protrudes the boom mic. Its wireframe design makes it completely adjustable--in fact we wish all boom mics were made out of this similar construction. It simply gives you the most control over the mic's location.