Razer Kraken Gaming Headset For Xbox One Review: A Comfy Stereo Option That Also Works With PS4 And Other Devices

By Alex Riviello , Updated Dec 29, 2014 11:29 PM EST
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Razer has just unleashed the Kraken, a wired headset for the Xbox One that comes with a stereo adapter for your controller.

Retailing at $99.99 (€99.99), this isn’t the top-of-the-line model that some gamers expect from the well-regarded company, but instead a mid-range headset that’s better suited for those who just want quality sound for a good price.

The look of the headset is great, a simple black color palate combined with Xbox green accents. The sole issue one might find is the Razer logo on the very top of the headset, which always looks like it was scrawled into a high school desk by an angsty teen. The material feels nice, the fake leather band soft and very easy to adjustice to a comfortable setting. It sits nice and close to your head, not sticking out and making you look like a space alien like some other headsets.

The unidirectional analog microphone is easily bendable to find the perfect position as well, and it flips up when out of use. When you bring it down it unmutes with a satisfying click sound. The sound is clear and your voice will come through clear and unmuddled- there was no interference of any sorts during my tests.

Unless you have some freakishly larger ears the headset cups will fit over them nicely and drown out outside sounds fairly well. It’s not a tight fit but they’re incredibly comfortable and breathable- I wore them for hours at a time without ever needing to take a break or give my ears some air. It really is one of the most comfortable headsets I’ve ever worn, light enough that you'll forget that you're wearing them after a short time.

Since it’s designed for the Xbox One the headset also comes with the an audio control unit that fits into the bottom of your Xbox One controller, and gives you chat and game volume buttons, as well as that all-important mute button that you’ll no doubt wear out first. The official version of this unit sells by itself for $25 from Microsoft, so you can consider that when thinking about the price of the headset. (Sadly, you can’t just plug in a headset into an Xbox One controller like you can with a PS4’s Dualshock 4.)

The sound quality, while much better than you can find with Microsoft’s Stereo headset, is a bit lacking in bass, even with its 40mm drivers. It lacks the ooomph one hopes to find while playing shooters- I have a pair of SkullCandy earbuds that completely demolishes it in terms of thumping, which is a disappointment. It does 32 OHMS so you won't need an amp to run these, and you can blast it up to a healthy 110 decibels with no real audio leak- they are pretty silent from the outside. 

What it lacks in power however it makes up for in versatility. While this requires the included audio control unit to work with an Xbox One, the Kraken uses a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack that lets it be be used with any other device. I was able to use it to play games on my phone, PC, and even able to use it to play games online with my PS4 while chatting with friends, although since there’s no volume control on the headset or Dualshock 4 I had to go into the system settings to fiddle with the levels. But you’ll be able to use this for nearly everything you own.

Of course, the one big question is whether stereo sound will be enough for you in this world of surround sound, but this is more Microsoft’s problem than Razer’s. The controller adapter only transmits stereo audio, not virtual surround sound. For a headset to provide surround sound it either has to have a surround sound processor or an RF transmitter, which bumps up the price another huge notch, at least 100 bucks or so.

It’s comfy and provides good audio, even if you will feel at a loss playing multiplayer games without any sort of surround sound, virtual or not. Fortunately, unlike most gaming headsets, it looks cool enough (and is light enough) to see use as your regular pair of headphones.

The Kraken is a very solid choice for budget-conscious gamers, and a nice addition to Razer’s headset lineup.

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You can buy the Razer Kraken from Amazon or directly from Razer here.

Here are the full specs:
Headphone features:
Optimized weight for extended wear
Closed ear cup design for maximum comfort
Frequency response: 20 – 20,000 Hz
Impedance: 32 Ω at 1 kHz
Sensitivity (@ 1 kHz, 1 V / Pa): 110 ± 4 dB at 1 kHz Max
Input Power: 50 mW
Drivers: 40 mm, with Neodymium magnets

Microphone features:
Frequency response: 100 – 10,000 Hz
Signal-to-noise ratio: 50 dB
Sensitivity (@ 1 kHz, 1 V / Pa): -42 ± 3 dB
Pick-up pattern: Unidirectional

Audio Control Unit features:
Proprietary port for connection to the Xbox One Controller
Dedicated volume control and mute button
Individual controls for game and chat volume

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