Razer is well known in gaming circles. They are often at the forefront of gaming peripheral industrial design and technology implementation. Razer was one of the first manufacturers, if not the first, to target gamers, recognising that we craved individualised, specialised mouse and keyboards. Starting with the venerable old Mamba mouse, a gaming empire was born that soon gifted us with mechanical keyboards and, for ill or good, RGB peripherals via Chroma. For some time, Razer has produced various headsets and has now unleashed the Nari series, of which the Ultimate version boasts some impressive sounding rumble features.
The Razer Nari Wireless falls squarely in the middle of the series, forgoing the Lofelt actuators that provide the force feedback in the Ultimate version, the Razer Nari Wireless is still a near perfect set of gaming-focused headphones at a lower price point, albeit one that still carries a significant “Razer tax”.
As is befitting all Razer products, the headset is housed in a premium box. This provides the “Razer experience” when opening it up. You immediately see the headset nestled in the moulded plastic. Underneath you will find the usual Razer welcome letter, congratulating you on your purchase, along with the triple snake sticker, and a simple, yet effective, manual. Also in the box are two very important cables: the micro-USB charging cable, and the 3.5mm headphone jack cable. Justifying the price to an extent is the fact that both cables are braided, thus providing greater strength at the connection to the jacks, ensuring that the usual movement won’t lead to frayed cables.
From an industrial design point of view, the Razer Nari Wireless shares most of its design with the Razer Kraken and Man O’War headsets. In fact, if I were given all three to identify without looking at the box, I would be guessing which was which. The only clue that I would have is the fact that the Razer Nari Wireless is not an adjustable headset. It uses the self-adjusting strap on the inside of the headband that is supposed to adjust to your head and suspend the headset on your ears. In theory, this is a great idea as it should every head, however, I always felt as though the headset was too loose on my ears and was slipping down my head.
It was a minor issue as they never fell off, but I was constantly checking them, and it did distract me somewhat during gameplay. Another potential snag are the wires that run along the outside of the adjustable headband to the ear cups. These are exposed so run the risk of fraying or being cut or damaged in some way. If that happens, the headset will no longer work.
As a wireless headset, the controls are on the earcups. You will find a mic-mute button, a roller to adjust the mic/game audio mix, and power on the right, and on the left is the volume roller, the micro-USB port, and the 2.4GHz wireless dongle. This dongle is the short version so has a low profile which is great on the front IO of a PC, but on the PS4 Pro with its wedge-shaped design can be difficult to grip to remove. The rollers have a good weight to them and decent resistance. They also don’t have an “infinite” roll so you can adjust them when they are powered off in case you are worried that the volume had been accidentally pushed up to the maximum. The wireless dongle is a good implementation of wireless technology as you don’t have to try and pair the headset with various devices, however, it is a one of a kind device. If you lose it you will lose all wireless functionality as each dongle is paired with each headset at the factory and is, thus, irreplaceable.
In terms of battery life, a fully charged Razer Nari Wireless should last for eight hours, and in practice, I experienced slightly more, but I switched off the Razer Chroma lighting effects. Unfortunately, Razer decided to use micro-USB instead of Type C, so charging is going to take longer than it should in 2018. It isn’t a major concern as you can just use the 3.5mm jack to plug into a controller or the PC headphone jack, but it is a silly design decision.
The headset also features cooling gel in the earcups that make it more comfortable to wear for longer periods. However, over long play periods, the gel does not retain the cooling effect. As the earcups are lined with a micro-fibre type material, they don’t get as hot as leather or pleather, but after a while, you will sweat and a break every so often is advisable. The earcups cover your ears comfortably, forming a good seal and, thus, cutting off all ambient sound. This is great for immersion, but if someone is trying to chat to you, you will not hear them.
As mentioned, the headset is fully compatible with Razer’s Chroma software allowing you to create customised light shows for anyone who may walk past you to see. The logo on the earcups lights up and cycles through your light show, but in-game you aren’t going to see that.
More importantly, the headset has implemented THX Spatial Audio giving you as close to real-world 3D audio as possible. The audio is a step up from the standard 7.1 surround sound that most headsets offer these days and does give you a more immersive sound experience. In Battlefield V, I certainly heard the gunshots clearer and was better able to pinpoint the direction from which I was about to be murdered from much quicker than before. On console, the sound is clearer, with the lower end a bit sharper and clearer than the ManO’ War, but I cannot say for certain that THX Spatial Audio is enabled on the console.
I did try the headset for music and while I am no audiophile, the headset provided clear audio. As it is a gaming headset, it is suited to the lower register and bass, so anyone who enjoys bass heavy music will be glad that it can be used with their phone, via the now obligatory headphone jack dongle.
The mic is decent, certainly one of the better headset mics out there. In test recordings and party chat, I came across clearly, with a somewhat better sound than most tinny headset microphones. This certainly wasn’t distracting and did not result in friends or teammates asking me to repeat myself so it is serviceable for gaming, but if you are streaming or recording, it will not replace a good discrete mic. A nice touch is that when you mute the extendable mic, the tip is lit red, giving you a quick visual indication of whether the mic is hot or not.
Given that the mic uses a wireless dongle, I had high hopes that it would work on both PS4 and Xbox, as well as PC. Alas, as is the case with most third-party peripherals, the wireless functionality only works with the PC and one console, in this case, the PS4. As of this review, the headset only works via the 3.5mm cable with the Xbox. According to the local distributor, Razer is working on implementing wireless functionality for the Xbox, but there is no timeline on that update.
The Razer Nari Wireless is a premium headset that offers typical high-end Razer design and quality coupled with excellent audio quality enhanced by THX Spatial Audio. The few criticisms I have do not prevent me from recommending these if you are in the market for a high-end gaming headset. If you have the budget you should look no further than the Razer Nari Wireless.
Grumpy Old Man who still collects toys (THEY. ARE. NOT. DOLLS), PC Gamer lured to the Dark Side of console gaming, comic book reader and fan of all things pop culture.
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