Tech Review: Razer Electra V2 USB Gaming Headset: Back to basics and a step forward

When it comes to gaming headphones, Razer’s cans have never been my favourites. They’ve always been clunky, heavy things with sound that rarely came close to meeting my expectations. I wanted to put all that on front street because, if the Electra V2 is any indication, Razer’s headset efforts might have finally found their groove at last.

Before I begin, I’d like to be totally clear: this review is focused entirely on the Razer Electra V2 USB headset. There is a alternate version of the Electra V2 available that comes with a 3.5mm audio cable. If you are a console player, for the sake of simplicity, I would recommend you go for the 3.5mm version over the USB. Further, if you’re looking to pick one of these headsets up, double check which one you’re getting before you leave the store. Alright, on with the review.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Electra V2 is its shape. These are headphones that adhere to the streamlined, but still quite boxy shape that Razer likes in their cans at present. They are lightweight and quite comfortable on the head. They don’t weigh on your ears and you can wear them for long periods without any aches and pains. This solves one of my biggest problems with Razer’s older headsets — they weighed a ton and I could only wear them a short time before becoming quite agitated. The build quality feels sturdy but most of the frame is a unibody aluminium so you wouldn’t want to test its fortitude too much.

The headset connects to your PC, Mac or PS4 via USB cable which makes plugging it in easy but also presents a bit of a problem for console players. That is, if your PS4 isn’t fairly close to your TV then you’re going to have to find an USB extension cable from somewhere or you aren’t going to be able to plug it. Getting an extension cable creates another problem — do you really want a long cable stretching across your entire living room just so you can have a headset on? There’s plenty of other gaming headsets that connect directly to your controller, minimising the length of cord required, so if you’re a console player, I don’t know why you’d want an Electra V2. For PC players however, the cable won’t be a problem. It’s long enough that it should be able to reach your desktop tower provided it isn’t on the other side of the room.

Soundwise, the Electra V2 is one of Razer’s more polite headsets. The bass is greatly lessened compared older models, but by no means is it on the weak side. It’s better balanced on the whole and no longer obliterates all other sound. This balance continues throughout the rest of the mix. The positional audio feels like it works a lot better with this more even mix, the high and low range sound never cut each other out and the volume output has been cut down to a much more respectable level. It’s still capable of being quite loud but its not going to rupture your eardrum like some of the older Razer cans. The attached microphone is light, thin and doesn’t draw the eye mid game. It also gets a crisp, clean sound with minimal setup hassle.

And that’s really it. This is Razer’s new entry level headset and as such it doesn’t really come with the sort of bells and whistles you tend to find in the higher end models. And that’s okay. In my view, when it comes to gaming headphones in particular, simplicity is key. The more you add, the easier it is to get it wrong. By stripping their entry level model back to the basics, Razer have been able to craft a headset that impresses me more than any other they’ve released. It’s not trying to be anything other than a solid, well-tuned, no bullshit pair of cans and I respect that. Worth a listen for sure.

Score: 8.5 out of 10
Highlights: Solid sound; Solid design; Lightweight
Lowlights: The USB cable’s going to be a problem for console players
Manufacturer: Razer
Price: $109.95 AUD
Available: Now

Reviewed using a loaned retail headset provided by the manufacturer.