X marks the spot…
It’s coming up to that period… Black Friday is nearly with us, Christmas shortly after and maybe you just want to buy yourself something new and shiny. Whatever the reason, if you’re in the market for a wireless gaming headset that doesn’t break the bank, we’re about to give you a reason to spend some money. We’ve been very lucky to have been provided the Razer Barracuda X headset to review but all thoughts are our own. I’ve broken this review up into sections so hopefully if you have a particular area of interest you can jump right to that to find out what you want!
Right off the bat, let’s talk about sound quality. I don’t claim to be particularly well versed on audio in general however I can tell what sounds good or what sounds bad and the Barracuda X sounds great. I used this mainly for gaming so I’ll recount my experience with that specifically.
I was very pleased with my time gaming with this headset. Playing “competitive PvP” modes in Destiny 2 I was always able to hear the sound cues and had a good idea of which direction they were coming from, which when you’re playing these competitive modes is absolutely key. The quality was great and it compared well in my opinion to the two other gaming headsets I use regularly, the Logitech G X Pro Wireless and the Corsair Virtuoso SE.
There isn’t any active noise cancellation but the headset does a great job of cutting out outside noise regardless with the over ear cups. I never felt distracted by anything happening outside of the games I was playing while using the Barracuda X.
This is an area where the headset falls short. If you’re relying on the included mic to be your primary source for voice input, I’d think twice. The best I could say is that it’s fine and it works but honestly, it’s not one I would use if given a choice. The sound isn’t particularly clear and a bit tinny. However, if like me, you have an external mic then it’s not something you’d even really need to think about. Luckily it’s detachable so you can chuck it in a drawer if you don’t want to use.
The design of the Barracuda X is simple, elegant and all around lovely. The black finish is a nice change from the constant RGB we see plastered all over gaming peripherals, especially from Razer. While I actually do love a bit of RGB, the simplicity of the Barracuda X is appreciated. Especially as I can’t see them while I have them on! There is the Razer branding across the headband but it’s subtle and classy.
Build quality on the headset is nice, although it’s clear it’s a mid tier headset as it’s pretty light and feels a little bit flimsy but it holds up well under stretch and I’ve not had any problems with anything actually breaking or feeling cheap.
It’s surprisingly comfortable as well. Not to say I thought it wouldn’t be but the clamping is just right for my smaller than average head and once on I barely thought about it which is the highest compliment I can pay a pair of over ear headphones.
It comes with a USB-C 2.4 Ghz receiver so it will work with your PC, PS5, Nintendo Switch and even Android devices. It does not come with bluetooth but can be used wired with the included cables.
Immerse HIVE Plugin
The Barracuda X is compatible with the Embody Immerse HIVE plugin for 3D spatial audio. This is really cool. You can set the parameters to have the audio coming at you from different directions to really take advantage of the 3d audio. I tried it out and was really surprised by the quality of the directional audio I was getting. The Barracuda X already did a good job with hearing sound cues and generally knowing which direction they were coming from but this took it up to a different level. Being able to pin point exactly where enemies were on a map meant I was able to always be hyper aware of my own positioning. I turned the HIVE plugin off afterwards and I definitely felt worse off, almost as if I lost part of my hearing, it was quite extraordinary the difference it made and I never knew it was something I needed before I tried it out.
Embody have a setg up guide here that makes it really easy to get started: Immerse Gaming | Quick Start Guide – YouTube
It’s either £12 a year or a one off cost of £40 and I definitely think it’s worth checking out, especially as they have a free trial!
I used this headset, from out of the box to a dead battery in around 2 weeks. I didn’t charge it once in that time and averaged about 2 hours of gaming per day (some days were longer and some days I didn’t play at all). While I don’t expect that to be the case every time, Razer’s 20 hours was certainly reached and exceeded in my experience. The battery life is one of the most important factors for me in a gaming headset as I want to know I’m covered when I’m in the middle of gaming session and don’t have to frantically search for a charge cable every day as the battery doesn’t last. The one bug bear is that isn’t an easy way to know when your battery is low while you have your headset on. There is a small LED indicator on the headset itself that will be red when it’s low however you’d have to take the headset off to actually see that.
At £99.99 the barracuda comes in at a competitive price for the market. It certainly sits below the top headsets when it comes to build and mic quality but I believe it holds it’s own when it comes to audio, comfort and battery. The Corsair Virtuoso SE comes in at £180 RRP and the Logitech G X Pro is set at £110. The build quality of both and the mic’s are clearly better but considering the price differences, especially on the Corsair Virtuoso, the audio quality and comfort are very similar in my opinion.
However, the Razor Barracuda X is currently priced at £65 on Amazon and at that price it would be very difficult or me not to recommend this headset over any at that level. For £65 this headset is a steal and definitely worth picking up.