Here at the Co-Op office, there are two brands of headset that are in constant rotation: Razer and Turtle Beach…hell, our Razer Megalodon’s from 2009 are still our go-to PC ‘cans, and is a testament to the brand’s build quality.
So when Razer announced earlier this month that the PC fave Kraken headset was coming to Xbox One, we couldn’t wait to get our paws on ‘em.
Finally, after a week of rigorous beatings, we have our review.
Right out of the box, the Kraken is every bit clean and sharp looking as it’s PC counterpart. Our previous go-to gaming headset, while nice, tends to get a little heavy, especially during lengthy play session. The Kraken’s build, on the other hand is light. Really light. Like, “afraid we’re going to break ‘em” light. A big part of that is because of it’s nearly all-plastic design. I’ll admit, at first we were a little taken aback– especially with its initially snug feel. Plus, it didn’t help that the manual included a “hey stupid, don’t break these” page. Which leads me to believe that people probably snapped them in half during its testing phase.
As a result, we initially handled the Kraken headset a bit more gingerly than other…but quickly realized that this was completely unnecessary. Despite their lightweight feel, the headset is pretty damn resilient. After a week of tossing and yanking, packing and pulling, the plastic is just as tight as it was, right out of the box. Now, even though they’re lightweight and effective, there’s one part of the design that makes me cringe, and that’s the flap/gear that locks the microphone boom in the upward position. Instead of just flipping the mic upward, the mic locks in with a loud SNAP, and while bringing the arm down for the first time, I thought I had broke it. No lie. It also doesn’t help that the “SNAP” sound is twice as loud when you’re actually wearing the headset.
The only other extremely minor gripe that I have is that the headset isn’t really travel friendly, and the lightweight design makes me less likely to throw ‘em into my carry-on/messenger bag for casual use. I feel like the headset would snap if undue force was put on top of it…but there’s a great remedy for that: don’t stack things on top of it.
Now, let’s talk about the mountain of good stuff that the Kraken offers. For starters, it’s an “unpowered” headset, meaning that you still get crisp highs and bass-heavy lows without having to rely on an amplifier. Because of this, the headset is quite literally “plug-and-play” without having to worry about fiddling with sound and input sources. The snazzy connectivity is thanks in part to a lightweight controller dongle, which plugs into the base of the controller, in the same port you use for the monaural headset that comes with your system. The razer attachment, however, gives you a few extra bells and whistles, in a significantly slimmer package. All of the toggles are setup in a simple rectangular grid, with the volume buttons on the right side, the game/chat toggle on the left and the microphone mute in the center.
Utilizing the toggles in in the heat of battle is a snap, and you won’t even need to take your eyes off the screen, thanks to the raised symbols on each button. For example, during a particularly heavy Destiny firefight, I could quickly select the “chat” toggle, crank up my party chat and communicate effectively, all without having to fiddle with analog wheels or in-game options menus. Plus, there’s an electronic “zip” sound that lets you know when you’ve maxed out your volume, so you won’t need to take your eyes off the screen to check your level. Being able to drop in-game audio down to better communicate with teammates is what sets the Kraken head-and-shoulders above other setups…especially when it’s a “non-powered” rig. Plus, you can leave the dongle attached to your controller, and it’s lightweight and low profile enough that it’s never a hindrance. AND it’s a hell of a lot easier than having to search our office for the small, black dongle when you accidentally lose it. So yeah, take it from this cotton-headed ninnymuggins and just leave the damn thing plugged in.
The microphone is also one of the cleanest we’ve heard on current-gen consoles, probably thanks in part to the set volume levels. Even though the rig has no active noise-cancelling setup, you’ll hardly notice any outside sounds while playing. Going hand-in-hand with that, there’s minimal sound bleed, even when playing at the highest volume setting. This results in an unparalleled communication experience…the only downside is that you’ll start to notice how shoddy everyone elses headsets are…especially if they’re only using the factory headset that came with the system.
One last thing about the headset that will likely be a bone of contention for purists: the wires are neon green. Personally, I love it because it’s THAT much harder to lose the cables in a pile of shiny, black wires. Plus, the headset comes with an additional extension (with independent audio/mic plugs), so you can use it for traditional listening, and/or phone gaming.
Overall, the Kraken for Xbox One is fantastic: it’s lightweight, simple design ensures optimal sound, without making you utilize an extra USB power cord. The fact that it’s tethered to only the controller makes you (us) less likely to trip over errand cords, and the microphone is clear as a bell. If you’re looking for a solid set of headphones for your Xbox One, look no further.
- Optimized weight for extended wear
- Closed ear cup design for maximum comfort
- Frequency response: 20 – 20,000 Hz
- Impedance: 32Ω 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
- Frequency response: 100 – 10,000 Hz
- Signal-to-noise ratio: 50 dB
- Sensitivity (@1 kHz, 1V/Pa): -40 ± 3 dB
- Pick-up pattern: Unidirectional
- Stereo Headset Adapter
- Dedicated volume control and mute button
- Individual controls for game and chat volume