Over the years Razer has established itself as one of the most iconic brands in the gaming world, leading the way in PC peripherals and accessories. More often than not you will see a Razer headset ranking highly in the various ‘best of’ lists on the internet; whilst they usually sit at a higher price point, the Kraken shows off the versatility of the brand, offering one of the best mid-range headsets on the market with bags of quality for its price. It boasts a very sleek design with clever thought-out features and good in-game sound, but it’s large form factor can lead to discomfort after long periods of usage.
Aesthetically the Kraken is a very good-looking headset, upon first inspection I was impressed with the efforts they made to make the Kraken feel like a luxury item for its price. It has a sleek, blacked out design, and opts for high end materials in a lot of components, such as brushed metal accents, aluminum framing and leather-styled upholstery on the earcups and headband, with the Razer logo embossed on the latter. The headset does have quite a large form factor and the earphones sit quite wide when wearing them, but the matted logo and mesh plating on the sides mean that it certainly isn’t ugly to look at. The Kraken also has the best designed microphone out of any headset I’ve used, with it being fully retractable and adding a real sleekness to look of the headset. The Kraken opts for a more simplistic and stylish aesthetic than some of the more visually striking headsets like the Astro series, it certainly lives up to Razer’s high design standards and is one of the nicest looking headsets on the market.
Razer prides itself on having very high build quality, and the Kraken pulls no punches in this department. Whilst the headset has quite a large form factor, the lightweight aluminum frame and heavily padded headband means that it feels great to wear. The earcups share the same quality of padding and sit comfortably on the ear, meaning that whilst there isn’t any conventional noise cancelling technology on the headset, they do a great job of cancelling out a lot of outside noise even when playing at lower volumes. Around the headset is a lot of nice little touches, like a threaded wire as opposed to rubber, engraved lines to mark the levels of adjustment for the earcups, but by far the best feature for me was the built-in microphone. This is the stand out feature on the headset, having a microphone that can be stowed away proved to be a really useful feature that keeps the design free of clutter, allowing it to double as a gaming headset and a traditional pair of headphones.
The sound quality of the headset is another highlight, offering great balance across a wide range of games and media. As a gaming headset the audio is second to none, it does a very good job of picking up the minute details, be it the roar of a crowd, the rustle of a bush or gun shots in the distance. This is also very evident when during character dialogue, speech is very crisp and it allows you to hear additional dialogue from NPCs clearly which some cheaper headsets may not pick up, providing a more complete experience to story driven games. The Kraken comes built in with 7.1 surround sound which greatly enhances the experience for competitive shooters like Battlefield or Call of Duty. It massively improves the sense of direction, allowing you to pick up minor sounds from all angles and quickly respond, this feature certainly has earned me a few kills in my time of using it. Whilst it wouldn’t be my go-to option for listening to music, I found that the headset had a good range of sound with it being quite high on base. The only area I’d say it is slight lacking in is some mid-range tones when compared to traditional music headphones, but as the Kraken is deigned to be a gaming headset first and foremost, I didn’t see this as too much of an issue.
The Kraken’s design with heavy padding on the cups and headband provides a lot of support, and it is a comfy headset to use. Both the microphone and the earcups are fully adjustable to fit all head sizes, and you can place the headband in various positions whilst still providing good support and comfort all round. This area of the headset is where I found the most drawbacks however; one issue I found is that after wearing them for longer periods of time there is some heat build-up from the ear cups, which means that I sometimes have to take them off for a couple of minutes to avoid discomfort. One other minor issue I’ve had is that when using the headset for console gaming, the wire seems to twist quite easily and feels a bit on the long side, it didn’t feel like a major drawback though and could easily be resolved by unplugging and straightening it out. Whilst this aspect of the headset is where I found the most issues, the Kraken is still designed to provide a lot of support and it is a very comfy headset to wear.
The Razer Kraken is priced at around £70 or $80 which puts it in the mid-tier category for gaming headsets, and for this price it has to be considered as one of the best value for money headsets on the market. The stylish design and excellent sound quality means that it looks great on display and has excellent sound quality, and even though there are some slight drawbacks in comfort and functionality, the positives of this headset far outweigh the negatives. Razer have done an excellent job in making every penny count and it really does feel like a high-quality luxury item for the price. Upgrading to this headset had certainly enhanced my gaming experience, and it has provided me with good insight as to why Razer has become one of the most well-known brands in the market.