For the last year or so I have been mainly using wireless gaming headsets or my console gaming, finding the lack of having to mess around with a cabled headset just easier to use but like all headsets that require charging to keep them ready to go, they also have one flaw as a result….forget to actually charge them and just when you need them, the battery will run out. This is exactly what happened to me just last month (August) when during a really fun stream and right in the middle of a fantastic discussion with my chat, my wireless headset died on me mid-sentence, resulting in a ten minute frantic search for a spare headset I was surprised I did not have ready so ended up having to pause my stream whilst I gave the headset a quick charge just so I could apologise for not having charged it before I streamed. Schoolboy error you could say but an embarrassing one. What came next was that a lovely member of my community then sent me something I had been eyeing up as an upgrade to my gaming setup…the RAZER Kraken 2019 Edition Headset.
RAZER is a brand that is known to every gamer no matter which platform you play on, from PC Gaming accessories to controllers, RAZER is a high-end brand in gaming which is especially true when it comes to their headset range. So many Twitch streamers and YouTube content creators can be seen wearing one that they really are impossible to miss not to mention the active push RAZER are making into the world of eSports. The KRAKEN 2019 Edition headset is perhaps their best-known midrange model of gaming headset, a tweaked version of the KRAKEN Pro V2’s, this headset has mostly been given some quality of life refinements rather than a full redesigning of the wheel. Let’s take a look at some of the features:
- Custom-Tuned 50 mm Drivers
- Cooling Gel-Infused Cushions
- Retractable Unidirectional Microphone
- 3.5 mm Audio Cable with in-Line Controls
- Equipped with 7.1 surround sound software: (Windows 10 PC Only feature)
- Cross platform support: Works with Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC.
I love how this headset looks and whilst the large ear cups might be off putting as first, I really came to love how the KRAKEN looks. Starting with the presentation of the box they come in which has the instantly recognisable RAZER branding and though it is just a small thing considering once the headset is out the box they may never go back, it is very satisfying to see a well packaged product reflecting the price point of it compared to the more cheaper throwaway packaging of the low end accessories. A minor thing in the grand scheme of things but one I appreciate.
The RAZER KRAKEN comes in a variety of colours: RAZER Green, Classic Black, Quartz Pink and Mercury White and depending on which retailer you look at, will also differ in pricing for some reason such as the Mercury White will cost more than the RAZER Green quite often which is a little strange but with the KRAKEN now pretty much discounted everywhere could only come down to a difference in a few £ pounds. I have the Classic Black or “Tactical Black” as I prefer to call it and I really like it. From the aluminium metal frames around the ear cups with a honeycomb mesh to the headband with ruler markings to show how each ear cup arm is extended from the headband to easily mark that perfect positioning for the wearer once happy with the adjustment for their head. They just look great but more importantly they feel great to wear as well with effort taken to provide the most comfortable experience a user can have.
This is in no part thanks to the additional elements to the build quality of the KRAKEN such as the additional padding for the headband stopping it being a hard feel when wearing, especially for long gaming sessions. This focus on comfort extends to the ear cushions with the new cooling gel layer to reduce heat build-up around the ear cups added to the memory foam cushion to allow them to shape to the wearer’s ear shape and the heat transfer fabric material that manages that ear sweatiness that can come from a good gaming session. All of which works superbly well and as I often stream for anything up to 5-8 hours sometimes as well gaming sessions with friends or when reviewing titles, this headset feels as comfortable in hour six as it does in hour one of the sessions. The headset is also lighter than you would expect thanks to the materials used in the build, it does not feel heavy to wear and is just another example of how comfort and performance are the focus of the KRAKEN.
Performance wise this headset really is superb and as I said, this is not a complete redesign of the Pro V2s but more a refinement of that headset. The sound is incredible with the headset tech boosting the bass and low-level audio range across the soundscape that really enhances any game you are playing. The sound of engines in Forza Horizon 4 to the explosions and gun play of Borderlands 3, CoD MW and Destiny 2 just resonate so much with the KRAKEN that even though my last headset was not terrible at the same price point of the KRAKEN currently, the difference in sound quality is noticeable right away. For gaming this headset really is incredible value for money but it should be pointed out, that the focus of the KRAKEN is gaming audio, those who like to use headsets for listening to music may not have the same level of satisfaction which does not mean this headset handles music terribly because to me it did not, but the natural feature boosting the soundscape of a game is different for listening to music or watching TV. But this is definitely a minor niggle and not a full complaint for me personally but it is worth noting.
The big surprise for me came in the microphone, with friends and audience on stream noticing the difference in quality from my old headset mic to the one with the KRAKEN, some even asked if I had switched to using a full desktop microphone. The mic is retractable, which means when not in use it can be pushed inside the left ear cup making it a much cleaner cosmetic look than either removing it or just moving it to the side. The strength of the microphone quality comes in the way it performs as a unidirectional microphone, which simply means it rejects noise from beside and behind the mic so that only your voice from in front of the mic is transmitted allowing for a far richer and more crystal clear when communicating with it. For a retractable mic, it is also surprising flexible so it can be positioned where you need it to be without fear that it is going to snap or break. The very fact that in the last few weeks where the heat levels required me to use a tower fan especially when gaming and for the sound of the fan to not be picked up by the mic even when close by was very impressive.
As I had gotten so used to a wireless headset and all the controls being built into one of the earcups, it did take a few minutes to get used to having a wired headset again. Thankfully the KRAKEN has a braided 1.3 metre cable which is long enough for the wearer not to be tangled up in it. The inline control is positioned halfway on the cable and has a microphone mute switch which is easy to toggle as well as a volume control dial to manage volume levels, though I did find it was easy to accidently knock this and either turn the sound all the way up or down. As a wired headset using a 3.5mm jack, the KRAKEN is an instant plug and play headset for any console which is brilliant when you see other headset brands releasing different versions of the same headset for an individual console platform which can be a pain for those who game across many. For those who also game on PC, there is an extension splitter cable which provides full audio and mic access for platforms requiring separate audio output and mic input ports.
Overall, the KRAKEN 2019 Edition is a staggering good quality gaming headset which at the moment of posting this review, can be found at various retailers for under £60 now which is incredible value for money. For those who stream or create content for YouTube and Twitch, the microphone is of such good quality that you can easily rely on it to record your voice. The KRAKEN headset benefits from being versatile with the same quality of performance easily transferrable across all platforms especially on console. For those making the jump to the next generation of console gaming, RAZER is amongst the 3rd party accessory makers who have confirmed their current range of console kit will work on the Xbox Series X and S consoles and no reason to not expect the same for PlayStation 5.
This headset is an instant upgrade for your gaming setup and there is no better time to invest in one, this really feels like a high-end headset experience at a very mid-range price point and fully restored my faith in wired headsets.