The unboxing of a new piece of Razer kit is an experience that borders on the religious, for some. The peripheral manufacturer is held in high regard in the PC gaming scene (and, increasingly, console owners, too, though this product is PC only. Check out the Razer Man O’ War 7.1 Wireless Headset for – stereo only – Xbox One compatibility) and the distinctive black kit sporting the green Razer logo is a mark of quality. Every piece of Razer kit ships with a note from the company’s founder, Min-Liang Tan, with the message “Congratulations, there is no turning back.” Who could forget that?
So it was with no small amount of joy that we took delivery of the Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 – a wired USB headset aimed at PC gamers. With more and more games featuring Play Anywhere – more of us are using our PCs to play and – just as with console gaming – a good headset’s a must.
The Kraken 7.1 V2 connects to your PC via a (very long) braided USB cable. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, and PlayStation 4 but not Xbox One (Xbox uses a proprietary audio format so ordinary USB headsets won’t work, unfortunately). When you pick the headset up out of its box you’ll be surprised how light it feels – that will be the bauxite aluminum from which the entire frame of the Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 is constructed, making it lightweight, flexible and strong.
Setup is simple – just plug it straight into a spare USB socket and you’ll be enjoying immersive virtual 7.1 surround sound in no time. After running through various high definition audio sources for an hour or so, we took a break – removing the headset and setting it down while the audio was still playing, we were surprised at just how loud, clear and distortion-free the audio was, even at a distance. Heck, these things are ALOT better then our PC speakers.
Although they sound great out of the box, the Razer Synapse software allows you to tune almost every aspect of the sound – for example shifting audio channels spatially to get just the right sound for you.
One thing that really impresses is the comfort. As well as being light weight and comfortable (thanks, bauxite!) the Kraken is super-super-comfy and according to Razer’s website the headband “was designed for balanced weight distribution and reduced clamping force to maximize comfort during lengthy gaming sessions.” They’ve hit it spot on. It’s light enough to forget you’re wearing it, until you walk away and forget you’re attached by a wire!
The Kraken 7.1 V2 is an upgrade from the V1 – ear cushions are larger, softer and more sound-isolating than before, and are easily interchangeable with a choice between the standard circular or (sold separately) oval-shaped cushions. The moulded channels in the cushions allow spectacle wearers to have the same comfort as normal humans, as the headset doesn’t press down uncomfortably of the legs of your specs. It’s another neat touch from a company that thrives on the details.
One of the best features of the Kraken is the fully retractable microphone. It’s brilliant when your listing to music or watching a movie, as the last thing you need is a microphone in-front of you. With this feature you can just retract when it’s not needed – without fear that it will go missing, as can be the case for models with detachable mics.
With full active noise cancellation (PC only), a few lengthy sessions on Steam and Xsplit demonstrated the Kraken’s chat prowess – we encountered no issues with voice lag or delay, and set up was flawless. Testing… Testing… Works!
The Kraken 7.1 V2 is the best PC headset we’ve ever used. With 7.1 virtual surround sound, 50mm drivers, cool features like the retractable mic and Razer’s Chroma lighting, we can’t really find fault. And it’s not Razer’s fault Xbox went with a proprietary sound format!
- Frequency response: 12 Hz – 28 kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ω @ 1 kHz
- Sensitivity (@1 kHz): 123 dB
- Input power: 30 mW (Max)
- Drivers: 50 mm, with Neodymium magnets
- Inner ear cup diameter: 56 mm / 2.2 in
- Connection type: USB Digital
- Cable length: 2 m / 6.6 ft
- Approx. weight: 346 g / 0.76 lbs
- Frequency response: 100 Hz – 10 kHz
- Signal-to-noise ratio: > 55 dB
- Sensitivity (@1 kHz): -38 ± 3 dB
With an RRP of £99.95, the Kraken 7.1 V2 is clearly a bargain for a 7.1 gaming headset. If sound quality, design, accessibility and comfort matter to you, you need to seriously consider the Kraken 7.1 V2 Gaming Headset – it’s a clear step up in every area from any other PC headset available today. You can buy the Kraken 7.1 V2 directly from the Razer Store
Razer supplied the Kraken 7.1 V2 headset for the purposes of this review.
A perfect PC headset for under £100.
Yes, yes, yes. We explained all this. Cool your jets. This is a PC headset that’s not compatible with Xbox One. But, you know what? Through Xbox Live and Play Anywhere, Xbox is as much a service as a console, and if you play at all on your PC, you’ll need a good head set. Don’t bother with wireless for a PC headset. Don’t even shop around. Buy this one. The Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 is just that good. Also, we know almost all aluiminium is refined from bauxite, but we just like saying it. Bauxite. It’s a cool word.