Review: Razer Kraken headphones – an excellent, wired experience
A solid option for the price.
A few weeks ago we got a set of Razer’s Kraken stereo headphones, bright green monsters designed for gaming. I love audio equipment and I’m one of the resident game contributors here, so I gave them a whirl. Do they topple the reigning stereo headset champions, the SteelSeries Arctis 7? Not quite. Are they great headphones that you can definitely find a use for? Absolutely. Find out why, intrepid reader.
First of all, what are we looking at? The Kraken is a set of wired, stereo headphones with a 3.5mm unified audio/microphone jack. Fundamentally, that’s it. There is no wireless dongle of any kind. There’s no Bluetooth. There’s no software to install.
The Kraken is just a 3.5mm-only stereo headset that comes in black, black+blue, white, quartz pink, and the aggressive green shown here. It’s adjustable along the frame, the cabling is woven, the cushioning is a “cooling” gel, and the frame itself is made of a fancy kind of aluminum (bauxite, if you must know).
My first impression was that the Razer Kraken headphones are CHUNKY
If you’re looking for something sleek, this ain’t it. These are big headphones that take up plenty of space and no, they don’t really twist, contort, or compress in any meaningful way. Given that, however, they actually don’t feel any heavier than the other stereo headphones I’ve reviewed here.
The headphones also advertise a cooling gel, but it’s not perfect. My ears were neither the hottest nor the coolest they’ve ever been wearing headphones, but honestly, they get the job done reasonably well. I still prefer whatever dark sorcery SteelSeries used for their Arctis-series fabric, but Razer’s technology isn’t that far behind.
I’m not a huge fan of on-the-cord controls, something the Kraken headset features
The Kraken has those, which is a twisting volume knob and a mute switch for the retractable microphone. It’s not bad, I just like to reach up to my headphones and use controls in the same fixed location every time rather than fussing around trying to find where the cable-based control is currently draped.
See, that was my problem with the Kraken the whole time: I kept comparing this headset to the Arctis 7. But the Kraken is a different category of headset, you see. It didn’t click with me until I went to PAX West and demo station after demo station was using this exact headset. I kept using the Kraken and it dawned on me that that’s what it’s for: This is a great common headset. It’s extremely reliable.
The Kraken has an MSRP of $79.99 and honestly, it’s worth every penny. We reviewed a bare-bones headset not that long ago and god, I hated it. It felt flimsy. The sound wasn’t that great. It was uncomfortable. The Razer Kraken is none of those things. It’s extremely durable and feels that way, the sound is great (boasting excellent bass, though no on-set equalizer), and it’s more comfortable than most of what’s in that price range.
Plus I’ve come to accept the “it only has 3.5mm and no wireless” as a perk, because I’ve actually lost my cable for the Arctis 7 and had to replace it, increasing its functional cost. You also never have to charge the Kraken, so you can just plug it into your Nintendo Switch or PlayStation 4 controller or whatever and be good to go instantly every time.
I haven’t reviewed the SteelSeries Arctis 5, the Kraken’s direct competitor, nor have I checked out the Arctis 3 which is $20 cheaper, but I can tell you that the Kraken is a dependable beast. I keep mine handy and I still find uses for it, despite having headphones that I all-around like better.
Jake reviewed the Razer Kraken with a review model from the manufacturer. It is available now in stores everywhere for an MSRP of $79.99 USD.
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