The emergence of wireless earphones has been one of the most exciting advancements in recent years. Consumers have loudly stated that they want quality headphones small enough to fit in their pockets, whether it’s from Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, or the dozens of cheap imitation manufacturers on Amazon.
Razer is adding a new Pro model to its Hammerhead True Wireless Earbuds, which will be available in late 2019. The strong earphones deliver highly wanted features such as THX certification and active noise cancellation while raising the price to $200. (ANC). Add in IPX4 water resistance, a redesigned carrying case, and Razer’s legendary 60ms latency for mobile gaming, and you’ve got yourself a set of earbuds that are hard to refuse.
I spent the last week with the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pros, and here’s what you need know about them and whether or not you should buy them.
- The audio quality is superb thanks to the ANC and THX certifications.
- Extremely easy to put on and take off.
- The charging case is quite nice.
- A good selection of features
- The battery life isn’t great.
- Gaming Mode is a specialized market.
- Miniature touch zones
Razer Hammerhead True Wi-fi Professional: What I like
With an all-black earphone and a stalk that hangs to add balance, grip, battery, and microphones, the Hammerhead True Wireless Pro design is a familiar one.
Razer’s standard three-headed snake (THS) logo is featured on the exterior, which also serves as a touch-sensitive control. Toggle ANC, double-tap to skip forward, tap to play and pause, and so on. The Hammerhead app for iOS and Android allows users to customize all of these parameters.
Because these are “Pro” headphones, Razer includes a plethora of interchangeable ear tips. SmoothComfort silicone is for optimizing comfort, whereas SecureSeal silicone is tackier and more suited for jogging or exercising. Comply “premium foam tips,” which conform to your inner ear canal, are also included by Razer. In total, you’ll receive seven sets of ear tips in various sizes. While the Comply is the most comfortable because to its memory foam construction, it wears down over time, requiring replacement to maintain the same passive noise-cancelling performance.
This year’s casing is also reminiscent of Apple, which is a good thing. Because of its smaller size, the case fits better in your pockets (including the change pocket) and is easier to manage. A simple flip cover snaps into place; a green LED on the front indicates status, and the casing has a Type-C charging connector on the bottom.
A $30 THS Carrying Case is also available from Razer. That case slides over the supplied one, providing additional protection as well as the Razer THS insignia and a carabiner for easy attachment to your backpack or jeans. This is certainly for the hardcore enthusiasts, despite how wonderful it is.
- Advanced Active Noise Suppression (ANC) – Hybrid active noise cancellation with four dedicated ANC microphones. Passive as well.
- THX Certified — For crystal-clear vocals and dialog, no distortion, and outstanding noise isolation.
- Comfortable Design – In-ear design with Comply premium foam tips
- True Wireless Mobile App by Hammerhead – EQ settings may be customized, touch movements can be remapped, and an earbud fit test can be performed, among other things.
- 60ms Latency is low. Gaming Mode — When gaming or watching videos, the audiovisual is more synchronized.
- Quick Attention Mode — When you need situational awareness, this is the mode to use.
- Life on the Go – Battery life of up to 20 hours, IPX4 water resistant, and touch controls
- Clear Vocals, Dialog, and Impactful Bass: Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz is a frequency range between 20 Hz and 20 kHz.
- SBC and AAC are the codecs used.
- At High Volumes, There Is No Distortion
- ten millimeter drivers
- 7 Pairs of Tips, including Comply Premium Foam + 2 Types of Silicone; In-Ear Design: Snug Fit + More Passive Noise Isolation; In-Ear Design: Snug Fit + More Passive Noise Isolation
The THX Certification is also noteworthy. Despite the fact that Razer now owns THX, the firm functions autonomously, which means these earbuds had to pass THX’s stringent tests in order to match the brand’s high standards. I previously evaluated the Razer Opus – Razer’s first THX Certified headphones (over the ear) – earlier this year, and they remain one of my favorites.
These are the rules, according to Razer:
- Headphones are evaluated for frequency response to provide a well-balanced frequency response with minimum channel imbalance.
- Distortion vs. Output: The best sound comes from having enough sensitivity to get a high degree of audio output while keeping distortion to a minimum at the desired sound pressure level.
- Isolation: The ear cushions, headband clamping force, and ear tips are all assessed to ensure a good seal and reduce undesired external noise.
THX (balanced), Amplified (increased low-mids), Vocal, Enhanced Bass (increased low frequencies), and Enhanced Clarity are among the equalizer (EQ) presets available in the app (emphasizes mid-highs). Razer has also added the ability to tweak the ten-band EQ to your taste.
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro sound fantastic, look fantastic, and are really comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
The ability to test for ANC, though, makes the software much more enjoyable. While wearing the earphones, the app will play music and detect any sound leakage using the built-in microphones. My right earbud was indeed slightly looser than the left, as evidenced by the test. The app suggested that I try a different size, which solved the problem. There’s also a “fast connect” option that allows you to quickly switch between paired devices.
The Gaming Mode is when these earbuds really shine. This parameter, which is turned off by default, enables 60ms ultra-low latency streaming. It’s approaching wired headphones’ latency, and the idea is that when you’re playing real mobile gaming that relies on speed, low latency, and quick reflexes, the audio should match what you’re hearing. Although every Bluetooth headset can accomplish this, according to Razer, manufacturers do not activate it since it depletes battery life. Razer, at the very least, allows you to do so.
Overall, the sound quality is excellent. While the THX preset is great, I prefer a classic mid-scooped EQ (U-shaped) with higher lows and highs and flatter mids.
ANC is also particularly effective at blocking out most background noise that follows a predictable pattern, such as engine sounds or crowds of people. While not as fantastic as over-the-ear models, the ANC was a lot of fun when paired with well-fitting ear tips. Because ANC consumes more battery power, users can turn it off or turn on a “ambient” mode that amplifies external sound if they wish to converse to someone without taking off the earphones.
The Hammerheads pause, play, and toggle power depending on whether you’re wearing them or not, as you’d expect from premium earphones.
Razer Hammerhead True Wi-fi Professional: What I do not like
Razer isn’t hesitant about admitting that the Hammerhead True Wireless Pros’ battery life isn’t very impressive. Part of it is intentional, such as the 60ms low-latency mode. This is the compromise for mobile gamers, and it’s the right decision for Razer to make.
When utilizing ordinary latency (which had no lag when watching videos) and ANC activated, you should expect to get around four hours of battery life, depending on volume levels. The Hammerheads can be recharged four times in the case, which is where Razer derives the 20-hour estimate. The right earbud, like other wireless earbuds, drains significantly faster than the left because it is the master.
These are the best earbuds for mobile gaming on the market.
When it came to reduced latency, I had a hard time distinguishing between Gaming Mode and without having that feature enabled. Your mileage may vary in terms of how useful it is. Similar arguments may be made for 120 frames per second and the value that 144Hz or greater panels provide. In a nutshell, declining returns.
Highway robbery is the charge in the $30 THS case. While it is totally optional and not needed, it appears to be a money grab.
Taking the earbuds out of the case is… unsatisfactory. It’s a little difficult to get a hold of the earbuds and pull them out.
Although “Hey, Google” works just fine on Android, there’s no direct support for any smart assistant capabilities like Alexa, Google, or Siri.
Finally, the touch controls function properly. Considering how little the touch target is, I think Razer did an excellent job, and it works. It does, however, take some getting used to.
Many wireless earphones compete with these, but few are as focused on gaming as these.
The Sony WF-1000XM3 has a retail price of about $200, although it is frequently available under $160. Sony excels at audio and ANC, compensating for a lack of ultra-low latency with features and overall quality.
Apple’s AirPods Pro are also very popular, as long as you don’t mind the fact that they’re white and don’t mind paying $220 for them (they’re also less fun if you’re on Android).
The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 2 earbuds cost roughly $270 and are regarded as having the best all-around audio.
The Surface Earbuds ($200) from Microsoft are particularly noteworthy, concentrating on all-day battery life and comfort. While they are excellent earbuds, they are not the same market as Hammerheads (i.e., productivity versus gaming).
If you’re looking for something simple and inexpensive, consider the Aukey EP-N5, which can be had for as little as $45. While they’re not quite as nice as the Hammerheads or any of the other options, they’re still a lot better than the pricing suggests (and you won’t be too upset if you lose one).
Check out Android Central’s list of the Best Wireless Earbuds for more suggestions.
Razer Hammerhead True Wi-fi Professional: Must you purchase
If you’re looking for a unique way to express yourself, this is the book for you.
You’re a gamer who enjoys playing on your phone.
Razer is first and foremost a gaming company, and these are designed with gamers in mind. While they are useful even if you do not play games, the primary benefit is the 60ms low latency for mobile first-person shooters. You’re not getting the most out of these earbuds if you’re not planning on gaming.
You’re looking for THX and ANC.
There are currently no other earphones with THX accreditation, which is noteworthy. These earbuds give amazing sound performance in an excellent overall package when paired with ANC (and passive).
You place a premium on convenience.
I have sensitive ear canals and don’t usually wear in-ear headphones, but the Hammerhead Pros are comfortable enough to wear for hours. They were light, stayed in my ears, and I didn’t even realize I was wearing them. They’re also not AirPods.
If you’re looking for a unique way to express yourself, this isn’t the product for you.
Low latency isn’t required.
If you don’t play games, you’re probably better suited with Sony’s WF-1000XM3 or Google’s Pixel Buds ($180). Even if you just play once in a while, 60ms latency may appear insignificant if you can’t tell the difference.
You don’t like the logo or the design.
These earphones have a similar design to Apple’s AirPods, but they’re black. That isn’t bad, although some people could prefer a unique design. You might not like the Razer THS logo, which, while subtle, is nevertheless noticeable.
Overall, Razer’s Hammerhead True Wireless Pro is a fantastic device. They were easy to pair, sounded fantastic, had just the perfect amount of personalization, were comfy, and had a standard appearance, which isn’t awful.
Whether 60ms latency provides genuine value depends on how dedicated you are to mobile gaming. These Hammerheads are a bit niche because of this, but they’re still a good choice even if you don’t game.
In some tiny, low-key earbuds, THX and ANC are qualities worth having.
Perhaps the bigger issue is that the market for active noise cancellation earbuds is already crowded, making these a difficult choice. If you don’t require or value THX or ANC but still want low latency, the ordinary Hammerhead True Wireless costs roughly $70, which is a terrific deal.
Finally, as someone who has never been a fan of earbuds (especially while working from home), these Hammerheads amazed me. I plan to use these again if I ever get the opportunity to commute or roam around the city because of the small carrying case, ease of wearing, and audio quality.