Aside from a few subtle changes, the design of the X12 is practically identical to that of its predecessor, the X11. An attractive green and black color scheme conveys the headset's Xbox compatibility. Embossed lettering graces the adjustable headband. We thought the fit to be somewhat loose, but still quite comfortable thanks to the X12's mesh cups and lightweight plastic construction. A flexible microphone boom is flanked by a swivel joint and a removable mic windscreen. The microphone boom was very difficult to rotate, requiring two hands to do so, although we suspect this was an issue unique to our review unit. A velcro loop helps wrangle in the 16ft cord, something that console gamers should appreciate as it puts them at a comfortable distance to the TV.
Turtle Beach headsets, not traditionally known for their durability, have transformed into rather impressive contortionists. The X12's joints and swivels feel quite sturdy and both the frame and mic boom don't mind being bent into awkward poses. The slender build of the mic boom and lightweight cup swivels shouldn't be an issue for those who take good care of their kit, but we still question the X12's ability to take abuse over the long term.
The X12 comes with an RCA splitter with passthrough for connecting to your television when using the composite video cables for an Xbox 360. If an HDMI cable is being used, the RCA splitter can be routed to the console using the Xbox 360 audio adapter dongle. The included Talkback Cable connects from the headset's mic cable to the mic port of the controller for chat support over Xbox Live. The sturdy In-line Amplifier has three dials for chat volume, game volume, and bass boost, as well as a mic toggle.
Something that really sets the X12 apart from other headsets is its Talkback feature, which transmits your voice back to you when you talk into the mic. The effect isn't pronounced enough to become bothersome, however it was still somewhat hard for us to get used to hearing our own voice as we chatted with others. We eventually grew to appreciate the added clarity that this feature added to our conversations, helping us to correct ourselves when we were mumbling sentences incoherently.
At $60, the X12 is priced just cheaply enough for us to forgive its lack of any surround sound. That added immersion will cost you $80 in the form of the Turtle Beach DSS2 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound Processor. The processor delivers 360˚ audio from auxiliary and analog inputs through an optical connection while under USB power. You can adjust the surround sound angles and play with the equalizer presets, but this is a rather expensive add-on considering its limited options. We were extremely impressed by the 5.1 virtual surround sound produced by the Plantronics Gamecom 780, a much more comfortable headset that can be had for the same price of $80.