Whether you’re looking for the best PC gaming headset, the best Xbox One headset, or just want something that can handle all of your gaming and media with ease, you’re likely to be considering Razer. The company has continually pushed the boundaries of what can be done in gaming hardware, and its latest, the BlackShark V2, is the cream of the current crop.
Best Overall: Razer BlackShark V2
Razer has been making gaming headsets longer than most, and the BlackShark was one of the very first, way back in 2012. It was something of a game-changer back then, and eight years on, Razer has revived the iconic design and brought it up to scratch for the needs of the PC gamer in 2020.
The BlackShark V2 has been designed in partnership with some of the leading professional gamers to ensure that this headset captures everything that the competitive scene is looking for. That starts with being comfortable to wear for long periods, and luckily, the BlackShark V2 is about the lightest headset you’ll ever put around your ears. Paired with large memory foam cushions and breathable flowknit fabric, you can wear it for up to 14 hours at a time without feeling any fatigue.
Sound quality is also essential, and that starts with superb passive noise cancelation provided by creating a tight seal around your ears. Inside, Razer’s all-new TriForce driver has dedicated tuning for highs, mids, and lows, ensuring best-in-class clarity and volume. The microphone has also been given some upgrades, with a new focused pickup pattern that rejects more sound than ever before from the back and sides.
The party piece is the THX Spatial Audio, which in conjunction with the dedicated game profiles created by THX in partnership with game developers, helps deliver either an immersive or a competitive edge — the so-called Razer “unfair advantage.” But if you’re a competitive gamer, this is the headset to get right now above all others.
- Lightweight design
- Extremely comfortable
- Updated THX spatial audio with dedicated game profiles
- Detachable microphone
- Built-in controls
- USB sound card cable is too short
- Console users lose all the neat features
Razer BlackShark V2
Lightweight, sounding great and attractively priced
This revisit to an iconic Razer headset has produced something that competitive and casual gamers alike will love.
Runner-up: Razer Kraken Tournament Edition
The Kraken is one of the most iconic gaming headsets in the world and the Tournament Edition combines an attractive price with supreme comfort and awesome sound quality. It’s a pretty large headset, but still not too heavy so there’s little fatigue over longer sessions,
Since it has a regular 3.5mm, connection you can use it with consoles and mobile, but it’s PC gamers who get the most from this headset. The included USB sound card adds the icing on the cake with THX Spatial Audio, and while it’s the older version without the new game profiles you find on the BlackShark V2, it’s still exceptionally good and gives you that infamous Razer “unfair advantage” in competitive games.
The microphone is a bit underwhelming and needs more volume, but it’s serviceable for party chat and does a decent job at isolating your voice. Passive noise cancelation is also good thanks to the chunky foam earcups providing a great fit around your ears.
If you play PC and console then this is a strong shout, but if you’re a console only gamer you should buy the regular Kraken instead. It’s basically the same headset but costs less. It comes without the USB sound card that you won’t be able to use anyway.
- Premium style and build
- THX spatial audio is superb
- Can be used with consoles
- Quite large
- Microphone is too quiet
- Doesn’t have new game profile feature
Razer Kraken Tournament Edition
Still going strong as one of the best headsets out there
One of Razer’s most popular headsets is still a strong buy for PC and console gamers alike.
Most Immersive: Razer Nari Ultimate
Razer is well-established in the PC accessories space, producing some of the best keyboards, mice, and more for gamers. With the latest line of Razer Nari headsets, its flagship brings something fresh to the scene, with the ability to actuall feel your game. As we found in our Razer Nari Ultimate review, the haptic feedback isn’t a gimmick, but its implementation, like a vibration in controllers, may still be better excluded in competitive scenarios.
Furthermore, the haptics won’t play perfectly with some titles out of the box, though tweaking various game settings can help with that. While the Nari Ultimate has support for a wide variety of platforms, the best experience is on PC with access to Razer’s Synapse companion application to tune it properly. When running on a PC and playing titles with full support for the onboard haptics vibration technology, you’ll have an experience unlike anything else around today. Paired with excellent audio, high build quality, and considerable flexibility via software, this headset is an ideal companion for any PC gamer.
Xbox fans aren’t left out, either, with a dedicated version of the Nari available for use over wireless on the Xbox One.
- HyperSense haptics are game-changing
- Great audio
- Long battery life
- Wireless over USB only
- Quite expensive
Razer Nari Ultimate
A unique and impressive headset
The HyperSense haptics in the Nari Ultimate produce a genuinely unique and immersive experience for gaming.
Best Budget: Razer BlackShark V2 X
If you’re looking at the BlackShark V2 X and thinking it looks identical to the BlackShark V2, you’re not far off. That’s also precisely what makes it the top pick for those shopping for a Razer headset on a budget.
The BlackShark V2 X contains the same TriForce drivers as the regular version, with individual tuning of highs, mids and lows producing a clean, punchy and well-rounded sound. It’s also extremely light and comfortable, capable of being worn for the longest of gaming sessions without fatigue or excess perspiration. Even the microphone is as good, with the same great pickup pattern and background noise isolation.
Where the V2 X differs is the lack of THX Spatial Audio and the associated game profiles. Instead you get a more common 7.1 virtual surround sound effect, which itself is nothing to sneer at for something this affordable. The microphone also doesn’t detach, which makes it a little more awkward to travel with. But for the price, this is a breathtaking gaming headset.
- Lightweight design
- Extremely comfortable
- Affordable price
- Built-in controls
- No THX audio
- No game profile feature
- No detachable microphone
Razer BlackShark V2 X
A more affordable version of Razer’s best
Pretty close to the BlackShark V2 and much more affordable, this is a staggeringly good budget headset.
Best for Music: Razer Opus
In recent times Razer has started to explore the world beyond gaming, and the Opus is one of the its first products to go after a different kind of market. That’s not to say you can’t use this as a gaming headset — you absolutely can — but its primary reason for existing is as a high-end pair of active noise-canceling headphones.
On paper and on your ears, the Opus compares well against the other big names in this space from Microsoft, Bose, and Sony. It’s a light pair of headphones with good battery life, solid comfort, and very good active noise cancelation.
Other favorable points include USB-C charging with fast charging, an included hard case for travelling with,and perhaps the icing on the cake, THX certification. The bass isn’t overpowering, and the sound is rich and well balanced. And compared to other leading ANC headphones, the Opus is also more affordable.
If you want to hook up to your PC or console to use for gaming, you can, with an included 3.5mm connection making sure you can use the Opus with all of your audio devices.
- Very comfortable.
- THX certification delivers
- Excellent battery life
- Competitively priced
- Nice included accessories
- Can only have one active pairing
- No digital voice assistant support
- Bluetooth 4.2
- Can’t customize EQ
Best for Music
Razer’s first non-gamer focused headphones
Razer’s venture away from targeting gamers has produced an excellent pair of ANC headphones with excellent sound quality.
Best for Mobile: Razer Hammerhead True Wireless
Whether you game a lot on your mobile device or just want to consume media with a great pair of headphones, the Hammerhead True Wireless is a great choice. Razer’s Hammerhead line has continued to improve in recent years and now boasts some great products for gamers and non-gamers alike.
The Hammerhead True Wireless connects to your device over Bluetooth 5.0 with auto-pairing when you remove them from the charging case. Each charge of the case will deliver up to a total of 16 hours of completely wire free audio, which is OK but not the best among wireless earbuds. However, since it uses regular Bluetooth, it doesn’t matter if you’re pairing to iOS, Android, Windows, even Chrome OS or Linux, you can use the Hammerhead True Wireless.
On Android and iOS you also get seamless access to the virtual assistant on your phone via the built in touch controls. And with gamers in mind, Razer kept the latency down to a super-low 60ms. So whether you’re indulging in xCloud or playing Fortnite or PUBG Mobile on your smartphone, you’ll always be in the thick of the action.
- Great sound
- Attractive price
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Support for virtual assistants
- Case a little plasticky
- Average battery life
Best for Mobile
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless
Go totally wire free
The Hammerhead True Wireless is a convenient and great sounding partner to your mobile device whether for media or gaming.
Razer is one of the original pioneers of the gaming headset as we know it today and still makes some of the best gaming headsets on the market. The tale has come full circle with the revival of the famous BlackShark. Many, many years after the original, the BlackShark V2 is here and it hits hard, and for many will be the perfect gaming headset.
The target is the competitive gamer, and the influence of some of today’s top professionals is evident throughout. This truly is a headset you can wear all day without getting fatigue, it’s so light, and the material trimming the earcups keeps perspiration to a minimum.
But it’s not just for the most serious of gamers. All the bells and whistles are accessible to anyone, the price is extremely attractive and while you lose some of the standout features on console and mobile, the fact you can use it with all of your devices and not just a PC makes it an extremely well-rounded package.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you’ll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.