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Unless your stock pad has bit the bullet, the Turtle Beach React-R is the wired third-party Xbox controller you’ll hand off to player two. But that’s not a bad thing. It’s not much to look at, and it feels pretty cheap, too. Because it is. But you get some genuine utility that makes it a good buy if you need a cheap controller outside of sale season.


  • Good value, responsive pad
  • Quick-access audio controls
  • Mappable rear buttons


  • Very plasticky
  • Mushy D-pad
  • Stiff buttons

Key Features

  • Unique audio controlsAudio controls are built into the D-pad and a separate hub above the Xbox button.
  • Superhuman Hearing buttonThe control hub at the top of the control can be used to automatically mix audio to boost distant and light in-game sounds.
  • Mappable rear action buttonsLeft and right buttons on the underside can be mapped to replicate any of the four face buttons on the controller.


The Turtle Beach React-R doesn’t fight the idea that a cheap wired pad needs to look ugly and feel hollow, but it does introduce features once seen as a premium offering beyond even a stock pad.

Rocking bonus buttons on the underside and a dedicated key to bring Turtle Beach-style audio to any connected headset, the React-R needn’t be just the backup pad. It could genuinely be a wise investment.


  • Relatively diverse colour options
  • A little cheap-feeling

It’s a little unfair to dub the Turtle Beach React-R as universally ugly. The one we were sent just so happens to be the gaudiest of the lot. 

Mixing bright red with little in the way of accenting creates the look of a child’s toy, giving credence to the idea of a cheap third-party controller being the lesser option when that isn’t always necessarily the case. Red just so happens to be my favourite colour, but the red React-R is far from my favourite design.

The Turtle Beach React-R with a Trusted Reviews backdrop
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Thankfully, there are a bunch of other colour schemes to grab, with more appearing from time to time. There’s a soft retro white and purple, a standard black, a Minecraft-style green, and a gorgeous galaxy print affair. Each pad has texture baked into the stems for grip.

In terms of layout and button placement, there’s little out of the ordinary besides the Turtle Beach control hub at the very top. This is a wired controller, with no option for wireless play, although the wire is at least detachable which makes it easier to tidy away.

The packaging of the Turtle Beach React-R
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

This darkened section of the pad plays host to the Superhuman Hearing toggle used to enable a sound profile similar to the Turtle Beach Recon 70 and others to any connected cans. There’s also a microphone mute, as well as the button you’ll use to assign the quick-action buttons to the back and trigger the media controls.

Packaging is as simple as you can expect: a light cardboard box with a matching insert that cradles the controller and the detachable USB-C cable. You can toss the lot straight into the recycling.


  • Slightly inconsistent tactility
  • Multi-purpose D-Pad is a neat touch
  • Taller buttons help with grip

The Turtle Beach React-R may be cheap, but it’s certainly no slouch. It performs well enough and won’t introduce any unwanted inputs into your gameplay. The build quality doesn’t instil much hope as you take it out of the box, but the actual feel is just fine.

That being said, there are some slightly odd inconsistencies to it. These will always depend on player preference, of course, but they’re worth bearing in mind.

The face buttons are quite stiff, and they’re about as loud as a first-party stock controller. They’re far from soft and silent, and need quite a bit of force to push down. You won’t be triggering them without intent, but they’re also far from the fastest you can get, and certainly not competitive.

That stiff and somewhat mushy feeling carries over to the full-circle D-Pad. This is always a point of contention depending on your genre of choice, and I can’t comment on how a fighting game fanatic might feel about executing complex combos, but it’s not a win for me.

An angled view of the Turtle Beach React-R
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The D-pad is raised quite aggressively with a large recess in the middle to cup your thumb. You can rock it around quite easily because of that, but inputting an action again requires quite a bit of force.

If you’re not the type to come down hard on your controller, it’s easy to imagine it wearing you down after a few rounds. Its added use as a media controller is thoughtful, but it’s certainly not for everyone.

On a similar note, the main triggers are just large and loose enough to feel good. They curve and protrude out well and have maybe a little less travel than the average pad, which can help you react quickly without sliding off the whole thing.

They’re nowhere near as clunky as the face buttons, instead feeling more like hairline switches capable of taking a little squeeze after they actuate. They’re also quite pronounced and textured, which aids to the comfortable grip the whole thing affords if you’re the type to wrap every digit around a button.

The underside of the Turtle Beach React-R showing the two paddles
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)


  • No RGB lighting to be tweaked
  • Most features can be enabled on-device
  • Can be calibrated if needed

You don’t need a shred of software to get the Turtle Beach React-R up and running. Assigning the back buttons is done with four quick presses from the front, enabling its unique audio manipulation quirks is the case of an on-device toggle, and the D-Pad’s media key modifiers are ready to rock.

You can, if you want, use either the Turtle Beach PC software suite or the Xbox controller app to tweak things like stick deadzone or, on PC, remap the whole thing.

There’s no fancy lighting on display here, so don’t expect to be assigning personal flair to individual profiles. Again, this is as almost as simple as these things come.

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Should you buy it?

You should buy if you want a round D-Pad without breaking the bank

With competition looking relatively fierce in the £30 price bracket, the best selling point for the Turtle Beach React-R could be the full-circle D-Pad. If you have a disdain toward the stock option, it could be an inexpensive solution.

You shouldn’t buy if you’re looking to go competitive

While the bonus buttons on the back are appreciated, there are pads out there that offer a more complete package. The React-R’s buttons are too clunky in some places and potentially too soft in others.

Final Thoughts

At £30, it’s hard to fault the various shortcomings of the Turtle Beach React-R. There’s no doubt in my mind that the engineers did their best to squeeze some unique flair into what is a bargain-bin product without compromising its reason for existence. But there are options.

Unless you’re specifically looking for the Superhuman Hearing gimmick or the chunkier D-Pad, you can get a backup controller (with rear buttons) at a slightly cheaper price with the PowerA wired controller. But for a £5 uplift at launch, what the React-R offers is a neat little bonus. But for a tiny bit more on top, you can switch back to PowerA and get adjustable triggers. It’s a toss-up.

The Turtle Beach React-R is a great value proposition. It’s just not a slam dunk at this price range. The HyperX Clutch Gladiate offers more customisation at around the same price, and you can stretch for that glowing transparent look with the Clutch Gladiate RGB. Hyperkin, the ones behind the return of the Duke controller, offer more visual variety, too. And if you’re curious about what’s available at the upper end of the market, the best PC controllers will work just fine on Xbox as well.

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How we test

We use every game controller we test for at least a week. During that time, we’ll check it for ease of use and put it through its paces by playing a variety of different genres.

We also check the controller’s software support and battery life if applicable.

Used as our main controller for at least a week.

Used across a variety of games to test all the features.


Does the Turtle Beach React-R have rumble?

Yes, there’s rumble support in the Turtle Beach React-R.

Does the Turtle Beach React-R have a Share button and 3.5mm headphone jack?

Yes, these two common features of the stock Xbox controller are a part of the Turtle Beach React-R as well.

Full specs

Release Date
First Reviewed Date

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