Well, this has been a strange week. I was down to review a couple of new sets of headphones from Razer. I was expecting to be testing them on my PC and consoles, but ended up spending most of the week using them on my phone and 3DS. Which, it turns out, is what I was supposed to be doing after all.
See, while these are indeed Razer products - down to the black-and-green colour scheme - they're not designed to be strictly gaming headphones. Instead, they're part of a range of products that don't even mention the word "games" in their mission statement at all, instead preferring the term "personal entertainment". In other words, these things are made for music, not just video games.
But that's OK! We all listen to music, we all have phones that can play music, and I guess Razer wants to get you migrating from mice and keyboards to using its products on more everyday tasks as well.
I tried out two sets of headphones over the week. One was the Adaro stereo headset. The other was a pair of Adaro in-ear headphones.
The stereo headset was great. Without having to worry about mute buttons or microphones or 7.1 surround, Razer have been able to concentrate on two things: getting good audio and building a quality headset.
They're mostly there on the audio, with a great booming sound for stuff like movies, though when listening to music it can be a bit muted and muffled at times. The build quality is fantastic. The earpieces don't adjust on clicky rails, they're on a smooth metal slider. The head cushion feels nice and premium, and while the body of the headphones is plastic, it has a nice rough matte finish, which helps them avoid looking cheap.
The in-ear headphones were...a mixed bag. As someone who doesn't just listen to a lot of music on my phone, but also games on a 3DS and laptop, I was interested to see if these could be a viable way to get top-shelf audio in a compact size.
Despite packing four sets of interchangable earpieces, I could never find one that fit perfectly. The different sizes also resulted in different audio; the bigger earpieces gave a nice booming bass (there are tiny drivers in the earpieces), while the smaller ones (the ones that came closest to fitting inside my ears) were less impressive.
When I had a decent set of earpieces in, and they were sitting comfortably in my ear, the sound was amazing, far better than I've ever experienced from stuff like Apple's standard-issue headphones. So for sitting on the couch or the train playing your 3DS, they're awesome.
The size issues, however, meant I could barely use them outside, as they kept falling out while I was walking or even turning my head. That might just be me - maybe I've got freak ears and never knew it until this week - but I can only write about my ears, not yours.
One thing I really liked about the in-ear headpones, though, were their cable. It's a flat, pasta-like cord with a soft rubbery finish, and while they're not 100% tangle-proof, stuffing them in pockets and backpacks rarely resulted in knots (and if you've got the time, they even ship with a tiny carry case so you can really look after them). Considering they're aimed squarely at people listening to music on phones (or other small media players), that's a crucial thing to get right.
I'm not the biggest fan of the BRIGHT GREEN colour of the cord on both units. It's garish, and while I get that its Razer's "trademark", it also makes your headphones stand out a little too much when you're walking down the street.
The Adaro Stereo headset is $99, while the Adaro in-ear headphones are $79. Below are the specs for each.
- Drivers: 40mm Neodymium Magnets
- Frequency Response: 20 - 20,000 Hz
- Impedance: 32 Ω
- Sensitivity @ 1kHz: 104dB ± 3dB
- Input Power: 50mW
- Connector: 3.5mm Gold-Plated Headphone Jack
- Approximate Weight: 168g
- Drivers: 10mm Neodymium Magnets
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ω
- Sensitivity @1kHz: 96dB ± 3dB
- Input Power: 10 mV
- Connector: Gold-Plated 3.5 mm Audio Jack
- Cable Length: 1.3m
- Approximate Weight: 22g