Razer Nari Ultimate
Gaming Headset (Wireless)
Haptic feedback has a long history when it comes to gaming, especially when paired with sound. Back in 1994 a product called the Aura Interactor
was released for the Sega Mega Drive that essentially strapped some woofers to your chest so you could feel the on-screen action. At a glance it’s the sort of thing that can be passed off as mere gimmick, but as the Rumble Pak for the Nintendo 64 proved later that decade, vibration can tap into additional senses in ways that the absence of simply can’t. In fact, by all accounts the Aura Interactor was a success, both commercially and with players.
In 2019 it’s hard to imagine a controller without some form of rumble, some sort of haptic feedback. The importance of touch is now par for the course in the console space. In the world of headsets designed for PC, a bass-heavy sound can often be felt by the listener. Depending on the structural integrity of the cups and the dampening of driver vibration, this can be both good and bad. The Razer Nari Ultimate is certainly not this, as having a speaker’s movement felt would be a little silly as a feature. Instead Razer has opted to create a headset that reacts and moves and vibrates alongside in-game action at the hardware level. Dubbed Razer HyperSense it aims to add a new dimension to the concept of audio immersion – that feeling of being there when playing a game.
And, yeah, it certainly does exactly that.
- Type: Closed
- Driver: 50 mm, with Neodymium magnets
- Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ohm
- Wireless range: 12 m / 40 ft
- Wireless frequency: 2.4 GHz
- Microphone: Unidirectional
- Microphone Frequency: 100 – 6.5 kHz
Okay, so before we dive a little deeper into the Razer HyperSense side of the equation, it’s worth looking at the audio capabilities of the Razer Nari Ultimate. The sound. Which, to summarise - is good but not great. For the premium price-point you’re essentially getting a mid-range sounding gaming headset – with a microphone that is fine for in-game chat but a far cry from broadcast or competitive quality. Not that you’d be able to broadcast with your head feeling like it has become the opening scene from Saving Private Ryan.
"Dubbed Razer HyperSense it aims to add a new dimension to the concept of audio immersion – that feeling of being there when playing a game."
On that front, the wireless 2.4 GHz audio signal falls into the camp of ‘not quite as good as wired’ with a trade-off that is mostly worth it. Plus, we wouldn’t want a headset with haptic feedback to be wired in the first place. With Razer HyperSense turned on it compensates for some of the overall audio shortcomings when it comes to the clarity of the frequency response. Sitting and activating in the low-end of 20 – 200 Hz, HyperSense creates a bass experience unlike anything we’ve ever heard. Or felt.
Design and Comfort
That said, the build quality and comfort of the Nari Ultimate is all premium – with an excellent and sturdy aluminium frame and cushions that offer excellent breathability. In addition to a very welcome soft touch. The look is very much in line with the current crop of Razer headsets with the cups adopting the newer oval shape for improved fitting. The Nari Ultimate might just be the most well-built Razer headset to date, with the only real drawback being the weight sitting in at around 430 grams. Which means the Nari Ultimate isn’t well suited to lengthy sessions.
The auto-adjust headband is a great touch though and complements Razer HyperSense in that it keeps the headset from feeling too lose or require adjustment whenever the haptic feedback kicks into 5th gear.
Where the Razer Nari Ultimate excels, and clearly where Razer has placed its design focus, is when it comes to the surround sound and the head-shaking build coming together. Connected to a PC, the Nari Ultimate showcases it’s purpose the moment you turn on both THX Spatial Audio and Razer HyperSense. Though, we do recommend running the HyperSense force feedback intensity on the lower end of the spectrum. Turning this up is like cranking bass levels to maximum – the boom becomes overwhelmingly overwhelming.
"...with your head feeling like it has become the opening scene from Saving Private Ryan. "
From there firing up something like Battlefield V or RAGE 2, and you’ll briefly be transported to the moment you first played a game on a big screen. It’s revelatory and using haptic feedback in this way is part theme park ride, part cinematic thrill. With THX Spatial Audio turned on the effect often feels natural and a key part of the experience. For games with a lot of action the haptic feedback adds a level of intensity often missing in the PC space, especially when you factor in that keyboards and mice don’t have any sort of rumble. Now that you (or we) mention it, here’s a Grade A Gold Idea – a wrist rest for both a keyboard and mouse that has haptic feedback. Ahem.
That said, it can often feel a tad overwhelming and when turned off the Nari Ultimate transforms into a fine wireless headset that’s great for gaming in surround but not so great for everything else. Which is a versatility problem that it a little weird for a headset that adds something to the equation rather than taking something away. Still, it’s easy to see why Razer has created the Nari Ultimate – it attempts and mostly succeeds at bringing something new to the world of game audio. And something, unlike say fancy lighting, we should see more of. Or, feel.