More and more manufacturers are offering exorbitant amounts of gimmicks and unnecessariness to their gaming headsets, which often tend to overcomplicate things when attempting to use it for the first time, or every time. While surround sound and noise-cancelling are some of the few features that add value to the headset, wanting a simple, plug-and-play solution is, at times, more desirable.
Razer, not known for their simplicity, are well-known for their gaming headsets, which have, over the years, been one of the driving factors of the company’s success. The Razer Kraken Pro Neon was released a few months ago, and offers simplicity we haven’t seen on a gaming headset for some years. The headset was designed for a specific purpose at a lower premium, while still offering great sound quality and comfort for long use.
Design and Build
One of the stand-out aspects of the Razer Kraken Pro Neon is its design and build. From the offset, you’re struck by the sheer brightness of it. Its name is a dead giveaway, the device being neon bright. The Kraken Pro is predominantly made of plastic, although it still has the look of a premium headset. Although it isn’t the lightest around, at 293g, it isn’t so bulky that it becomes uncomfortable.
Apart from the plastic frame, each ear cup has a black, metallic mesh surrounding the, centred, Ouroboros logo. The headband and inner ear cups, too, draws attention away from the plastic frame, with their leather finishes. The plastic, although durable, provides sufficient flex so as not to put too much strain on your ears after extended usage. In addition, the headband is adjustable to fit any sized head, while the ear cup section folds inward to make storage and transport easier. However, they don’t swivel to adjust to the shape of different ear types. Irrespective, the padding on the ear cups implies that there is still adequate cushioning for your ear. Although the headband, too, has some padding, it isn’t as excessive as on the ear cups.
The audio cable extends to 1.3m, an ideal length for gaming. The cable has a 3.5mm audio jack at the end, which means that you’re able to use it on your desktop PC, as well as on the go with your smartphone. There is a retractable microphone on the left ear cup, which, when not in use, can is tucked out of sight. The microphone is flexible, which allows users to bend it into the most comfortable position when communicating. The only real concern with the retractable mic is that it requires somewhat nimble fingers, which could make it a little tricky to extend while the headset is already over your ears.
The Kraken Pro Neon is fitted with 40mm drivers, with an output frequency of 20 – 20,000Hz, impedence of 32Ω at 1kHz, and sensitivity of 110 ±4dB at 1kHz. Like with previous Razer headsets, the Kraken Pro Neon is quite well-suited to getting the job done. With this particular model, users don’t have the luxury of easily adjusting the settings of the highs and lows of the audio output. Unless you download and setup third-party software, users are constrained to the pre-installed setup. It may seem a little troublesome, but the Kraken Pro Neon has a good handle on audio quality, right out the box. Listening to music provides a well-rounded sample of sounds, which remains clear and undistorted even when volumes are cranked up.
This may be good for the average user, but this isn’t quite the intent the headset should be used for. The headset is more aptly suited for gaming, as well as action movies with very little dialogue. The low end sounds are a strongpoint here, with output during explosions and shootouts sounding massive. In terms of the mid end, voice quality when gaming online, the headset, once again, performs well. Although it doesn’t have the impact as low end sounds, there are no real complaints. The highs, however, could be a lot clearer, as they are often washed out into the background. At the same time, if you’re in any sort of action scene, the last thing you’ll be yearning for are the high end sounds, especially when there are explosives detonating all around you. Razer has offered its Surround Software via a simple download, and claims that it can be used on any of their headsets to provide, what I assume would be, simulated surround sound. Although I wasn’t able to gain full spatial experience, I did pick up a little difference over the standard sound setup. All this, however, is based on user preference.
The Razer Kraken Pro Neon is a headset with only one objective in mind, and that is to provide users with a great looking gaming headset. While users can use the headset for other formats, it’s not as well-suited as it is to gaming. That’s where the Kraken Pro Neon shines. Not only is it comfortable, but it provides excellent low end sounds to make an action game fully immersive.
If, however, you’re looking for something more suited to different media, you may have to aim your wallet elsewhere. That being said, the Kraken Pro Neon has a retail price of R699; a more than adequate pricing plan for gamers who aren’t able to dish out a fortune on just a headset. With the added bonus of a solid and comfortable build, along with the neon colours, the Kraken Pro Neon is ideally suited to the part time gamer.