The Razer Barracuda X ($99.99) is a wireless gaming headset with a USB-C transmitter that works with almost anything. You may quickly obtain wireless sound by plugging it into your PC, Android phone, PlayStation, or Nintendo Switch. It also has good sound quality, and the mic records voice communication with great clarity. The Razer Barracuda X receives our Editors’ Choice award for wireless gaming headsets because it offers a comprehensive bundle (save for iPhone and Xbox users) at a fair price.
RAZER BARRACUDA X SPECS
|Type||Circumaural (over-ear), Gaming|
|Connection Type||USB-C, Stereo 3.5mm|
|Active Noise Cancellation||No|
Light and airy
The headset is simple and black, having flat earcups rather than rounded ones, akin to the Blackshark V2. Except for the fabric- and faux-leather-wrapped earpads and headband padding, which are matte black plastic on the outside. The headset’s light, 8.8-ounce chassis ensures a comfortable fit, even though the padding isn’t very substantial. However, due to its light weight, the Barracuda X feels less solid than the Blackshark V2 or Nari Essential. It’s not inexpensive in any sense, but it’s not as dense or robust as the other two.
The power button, mic mute button, volume wheel, USB-C charging connector, 3.5mm wired connection port, and another 3.5mm port for the supplied detachable boom mic are all located along the left earcup’s edge. The microphone is a cardioid capsule set on a flexible rubber-covered arm with a foam windscreen.
It Is Compatible With Almost Everything
The headgear connects to a 2.4GHz USB-C dongle that may be plugged into a variety of devices wirelessly. The dongle has a compact, black rectangular shell that sits perpendicular to the USB-C connector, allowing it to sit flat against your phone or Switch. It connects to the headset automatically.
A male-USB-A-to-male-USB-C cable for charging, a male-USB-A-to-female-USB-C cable for connecting the dongle to devices without USB-C ports, and a 3.5mm cable for using the headset wired are included with the Barracuda X. Surprisingly, no carrying bag or even a fabric pocket for the headset and all of the components is offered. This is a pain because there is no place to store the dongle on the headset (unless you want to just connect it into the USB-C port when you’re not using or charging it). It’s uncomfortable juggling three separate wires without a place to hold them, even with useful rubber loops to keep them neatly bundled up.
Thanks to its USB-C dongle and 3.5mm connector, the Razer Barracuda X is compatible with a wide range of devices. For wireless use, insert the dongle into your Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation, or Android phone. You can also use the 3.5mm cord to connect to any of those devices via a passive, analog wired connection, which is the only way to utilize the headset with an Xbox. I had no trouble connecting the dongle to my Google Pixel 3a XL, PlayStation 5, or Nintendo Switch by inserting it straight into each device’s USB-C connection or using the accompanying converter cable to connect it to my PC through a USB-A port. Because the headset lacks Bluetooth, you can only use it wirelessly with your phone by removing the dongle (which won’t work unless your phone has a USB-C connector, so iPhone users are out of luck).
Optional Audio Enhancement
Because of its versatility, the Barracuda X does not require any specific programs or integrated audio processing, like some PC or console-specific headsets do. It works as a stereo device by default. This doesn’t mean you have to forego simulated surround sound; the Barracuda X, like nearly other headsets, is compatible with any software-based audio processing, including Dolby Atmos, THX Spatial Audio, and Pulse 3D. The Dolby and THX apps charge extra for surround sound processing, but Razer includes a promotional code with its headsets that reduces the cost of THX Spatial Audio from $20 to $10.
Microphone with a Clear Sound
The Barracuda X’s microphone is excellent, as is typical of Razer headsets. My voice was clearly captured in the test recordings, albeit there was some background fuzz from my notebook’s fan when I sat nearby (my notebook sits on my desk, so it was maybe 18 inches from the microphone). When you gain some distance from any sources of humming or buzzing, you’ll have a nice, clean sound that will work great for voice chat and podcasting and streaming (though we recommend getting a dedicated USB mic if you want to do any serious content creation).
Bass-forward, balanced sound
The Barracuda X is capable of handling music and has adequate bass. The deep synth notes and kick drum beats in The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” our bass test track, come through with a lot of low frequency power and don’t distort even at maximum volume. They don’t quite make you shake your head, but they’re close.
The Barracuda X’s overall sound character is well-balanced, with a preference for bass over higher frequencies. The acoustic guitar plucks in Yes’ “Roundabout” have plenty of reverb and string texture to sound sharp. The bassline is a little more forward in the mix than the other parts as the music truly kicks in, but the guitar strums, high-hat, and vocals all have enough presence to be easily distinguished. It’s a nice sonic profile for a reasonably affordable wireless gaming headset.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5 sounds rich and detailed thanks to the Barracuda X. The orchestral sweeps’ bass has a strong presence, and sound effects are clear (albeit Miles’ webs’ “thwip” isn’t nearly as sharp as it could be). When rotating the camera towards talking pedestrians and honking cars, the PS5’s 3D audio processing works effectively through the headset, giving you a solid sense of directionality.
NEO: The World Ends With You’s stylized tunes have plenty of strength, with greater lows and low-mids than highs once again. It makes the game’s hip-hop and punk songs feel loud and lively, while still giving the quips and battle sounds enough presence to stand out against the music.
A Multipurpose Value
Thanks to its USB-C dongle, which works with almost anything, the Razer Barracuda X is a wonderful value. You may experience wireless audio by plugging it into your PC, Android phone, PS5, or Switch, however Xbox users are limited to a cable, passive connection. The Barracuda X provides a well-balanced, powerful sound, but the highs could be crisper, and the microphone is great. Just remember where you put the dongle because it’s little and easy to misplace.
The $99.99 Razer Blackshark V2, despite being a strictly wired gaming headset, delivers somewhat better sound and mic performance for the same price as the Barracuda X, as well as a more sturdy design. The wireless Astro Gaming A20 Gen 2 costs $119.99 and comes in versions that work with both the PS5 and Xbox One (and PC, for both models). The $99.99 Xbox Wireless Headset is your best pick if you’re searching for a wireless headset to use with an Xbox One/Series console (and it has Bluetooth connectivity so you can still use it with your phone).
The Razer Barracuda X is an intriguing package for a nearly universal wireless gaming headset. It receives our Editors’ Choice award because it provides numerous connectivity options and superb audio at a reasonable price.