Razer Kraken X
Gaming Headset (Wired)
In the world of audio, a general rule of thumb is that to some degree you get what you pay for. For a premium price you should be getting a premium sound. The lower the price, sacrifices need to be made. And when you get into the budget realm, then it’s a matter of trade-off. Where did the hardware maker cut some corners – and was the focus put in the right areas. The great thing about budget audio is that alongside efforts not worth the moulded bits of plastic that make up their form, there’s still room to be impressed. And to get a decent, well, sound.
Breaking the $100 threshold for the first time, that being a headset for less than this amount in Aussie dollarydoos, the new Razer Kraken X is impressive in both form and function. But also, in just how different it is to other Kraken gaming headsets currently available. Namely, this one
and this one
. Which means that the naming is here not only for recognition, but to confidently state that even though this is a re-designed for affordability version of the popular Razer headset – it’s still part of the Kraken family. And will, by extension of that, sound good.
- Type: Closed
- Driver: Custom-tuned 40 mm Drivers
- Frequency response: 12 Hz – 28 kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ohm
- Microphone: Unidirectional
- Microphone Frequency: 100 Hz – 10 kHz
- Weight: 250g
- On-headset Controls
- Cross-Platform Compatibility
Smaller drivers than what’s found in the more expensive Kraken efforts is the only on-paper technical difference that comes with the Kraken X. You get the same support for 7.1 surround (which is also limited to Windows 10) and the same attention placed on a sounds-space that has depth and nuance for the sort of audio once can expect to find in games. Surprisingly the 12 Hz – 28 kHz frequency range of the new Razer Kraken models make an appearance here, as often more affordable headsets tend to stick with the standard 20 Hz – 20 kHz. Not that this a mark of quality, in the end it comes down to how it all comes together. And how it all sounds.
"The new Razer Kraken X is impressive in both form and function. But also, in just how different it is to other Kraken gaming headsets currently available."
As found across many Razer headsets the bass frequencies get the most love and attention in the new lightweight Kraken X, alongside some additional equalisation on the high-end frequencies that feels more pronounced with the smaller drivers. As mentioned in the past this is something that makes headsets in the Kraken range not ideal for music ‘out-of-the-box’ – as you’ll often need the ability to fine tune and tweak the sound when it comes to the listening of the musical arts.
Design and Comfort
The biggest changes though, come with the new design of the Kraken X – which outside of a microphone that doesn’t retract ala the larger Krakens, is wonderful. Lighter, durable, and comfortable. Although plastic the build quality is uniformly excellent, and when worn it doesn’t feel budget or cheap. The smaller cups and on-ear controls have a great feel and can be worn for extended periods without causing discomfort. The versatility that lets you switch between PC or any number of consoles and devices is here too, with a splitter cable provided and the headset itself being small and light enough to be whisked away to any corner of a house or bag or car or office or other location.
After using the Kraken X across both PC and Nintendo Switch for a couple of weeks now, we’re now of the opinion that we’d love to see Razer take this same design and produce a high-end headset. Which is the opposite of our initial reaction. The lightweight feel and smaller frame had us worried that the Kraken X might just be a case of cutting corners right down to the sub-atomic level. In the end it’s a showcase for the reason as to why Razer headsets have featured the same overall look and feel for several years now, and the need to re-think the entire package for a new budget offering.
Testing the new Kraken X we were able to swap and change between this and the Razer Kraken priced at $149.95. Now it would be a lie to state that there wasn’t any difference, but outside of the smaller capacity of the drivers resulting in a softer sound there really isn’t all that much separating the two when it came to gaming. From DOOM, Frostpunk, and The Division 2 on PC to Diablo III and My Friend Pedro on the Nintendo Switch, the Kraken X offers an impressive sound-space with enough bass and high-end clarity to suit almost any style. One minor different comes with the closed nature of each of the headsets, with the Kraken X blocking out less outside noise than the standard Kraken – which probably comes down to not being able to adjust the angle of the cups.
"We’d love to see Razer take this same design and produce a high-end headset."
Music is a different story, and as found in, well, just about every headset in this price range – there is a noticeable lack of depth to the mid-range. By no means a deal-breaker but a clear example of an emphasis placed on gaming first and foremost. From 7.1 surround support to the ability to switch between PC and any console or smart device, the new Kraken X sports a lightweight and comfortable build and sturdy design that instantly stakes a claim as an affordable option to consider.