Razer Kraken Pro 2015 ReviewManufacturer: Razer
UK price (as reviewed): £69.99 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $79.99 (ex Tax)
So far this year we've seen some rather extravagant products from Razer. The BlackWidow Chroma
, DeathAdder Chroma
and Mamba 2015 Tournament Edition
, for example, have all been premium, feature rich peripherals. Now, however, we turn our attention to something a little more basic. The Kraken Pro headset is hardly a budget offering but it does away with RGB lighting, software control and virtual surround – it's simply an analogue, stereo headset advertised for esports use, and it comes in black (as here), neon green and white flavours.
The Kraken Pro is fairly lightweight but the plastic construction does add some bulk in places, and build quality is average – it's sturdy enough for daily use and will withstand some knocks and bumps but equally it doesn't wow us with its materials or finish. Fixed to the left earcup is a rubberised, 1.3m long cable that ends in a 3.5mm TRRS connection suitable for mobile devices and notebooks, but a 2m extension/splitter cable is also supplied if you're using a device with separate mic and headphone jacks. As an analogue headset the Kraken Pro has no use for software – simply plug in and go.
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Putting the Kraken Pro on your noggin reveals that it exerts a rather high amount of pressure on your ears. Coupled with the circumaural earcup design and leather padding, this amounts to an effective seal that's good for attenuating external noise. However, the pressure often feels excessive, even with the generous amounts of admittedly comfortable padding. We also think the headset would benefit from additional padding on the headband, though it was still around our ears where we felt it most.
As to the earcups themselves, the space for your ears is rather small, which resulted in us having to fiddle and wiggle whenever we used the headset in order to get a proper fit. Fortunately, there's a decent amount of extension on the earcups, and their suspension mechanism lets them pivot fairly freely along the x and y axes too. The result of the high clamping force, sealed padding and lack of space is that your ears become noticeably warmer over long play sessions, especially during these warmer summer days. Lastly, it's worth noting that the earcups have a foldable design for easier transport, though there's no carry case supplied.
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The in-line controller is a new addition for this 2015 edition. It has no clip but hangs in a natural place and features both a two-sided volume wheel and a mic slider, which has a small but handy red patch to indicate mute mode.
The microphone is fully retractable and resides within the left earcup. It's very flexible and stays put when you adjust its position. The audio quality is fine and your voice comes across clearly over any reasonable levels of background noise.
Pumping some sweet tunes through the 40mm drivers reveals the Kraken Pro's boy racer approach to audio, where bass frequencies dominate at the cost of all else. On occasion, this can be enjoyable; some dance and tracks sounded suitably upbeat, for example, but even then the comparatively weak and muffly mid-range was a disappointment. Higher frequencies are okay, but again the rumbling bass seems to just take over, leading to an unnatural sound on many vocal and acoustic segments.
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Switching to a selection of games, which is of course what the Kraken Pro is really built for, and things do improve. Naturally, it's action scenes that benefit the most from the bass-heavy soundscape; fans of shooters and high octane racers, for example, are likely to enjoy the immediacy and power the booming low end brings to the table. However, it's not so fun when playing games with lots of dialogue or where the soundtrack is key to the experience. Similarly, voices in multiplayer games can become distracting, especially if you've got some deep-voiced friends.
£70 is frankly too much to pay for this headset, in our opinion. It doesn't really excel in any one area, other than bass production. Don't get us wrong; we are fans of bassy music and of the energy that a powerful low end can bring to games, but here it's overdone and, worse, it comes at the cost of weaker sound production elsewhere. The in-line remote is a welcome addition but when headsets like the HyperX Cloud
and Qpad QH-90
, which offer higher quality sound, supreme comfort and better accessories, retail for as much or even less than the Kraken Pro, the latter isn't something we can recommend for purchase.