Tech Review: Razer Nommo Chroma 2.0 Desk Speakers: The sound of cannonfire

You review enough gadgets and speakers and eventually you get a sense for The Order of Things. You can tell a lot about a device just from looking at the promo images — you get an idea of their size, the design philosophy and where their predicted strengths and weaknesses will lie. And sometimes they arrive and you realise that you’re maybe not as smart as you thought you were.
The Razer Nommo Chroma 2.0 desk speakers are way larger in person than they appear on the website. After pulling them from the box and placing them either side of my computer monitor, I stood back to really look at them. It was as though I’d positioned a pair of cannons on my desk and pointed them directly at me. The pictures on the site make them look like they’re about the size of a regular pair of PC speakers. They are not, and I suspect the monitor in the images they use (the same one I’ve used for the header image on this review) is about 32 inches. which means its huge too.

Their design recalls the look of a police radar gun. I have no idea if this was intentional but out of a group including my house mate and four or five friends who passed through my apartment during the week, every last one of them made the same comparison.

Their size makes them rather prohibitive as a pair of PC speakers. They took up a pretty astounding amount of room on my desk after setting them up, room I couldn’t really afford. In fact, as they relate to the PC gamer market, I’m not really sure who they’re for. When really thinking about it, I don’t know anyone who still uses speakers on their PC anymore. Everyone I know uses headsets, and for multiple reasons — hassle-free setup, a space saving measure, better access to 7.1 surround and a more immersive audio experience overall. As a result, I actually ended up attaching these cans to my TV where they performed rather admirably, their considerable size much more at home in the entertainment unit than they were on my desk.

Sound wise, there’s lots of pleasant surprises to report. For a pair or cannons that have no external sub, there’s some surprisingly deep bass coming out of these boys and I suspect this bass response is the primary factor in their size. They also feature bass ports on the rear to help fire the boom anywhere but directly at you. Using the bass knob on the right speaker to fine tune the boom levels is nice and clear, the speakers using their Chroma lighting strip on the base plate to indicate volume and bass percentage. It’s all very nice and crisp, courtesty of the custom 3″ woven glass fiber drivers built into either speaker.

There’s also quite a bit of volume in them too, enough to rattle our soundproofed apartment windows. Hooking them up to the TV and then throwing God of War at them had the effect I was looking for, a nice mix of high and low range sound that was never distracting or buzzy. Kratos’ gravelly voice really gave the bass something to do but, obviously, being a 2.0 set up, it was lacking in the surround sound department. You get an idea of when something is behind you but nothing on the level of a true surround setup or a decent pair of headphones. The marketing spiel, particularly on the site, promises full range sound but after moving these speakers to different places within my set up, I certainly didn’t get that impression at all (though the image of the sound engineer they use holding them in his hands should give you an idea of their size in scale).

These are fine speakers, a pair of cannons that are absolute overkill as a desktop solution and solid option as a simple home theatre kit. They’re big and brassy design belies a sound that doesn’t quite match up but for their asking price of $249.95 AUD, the Nommo is nevertheless a very respectable piece of kit.

Score: 7.5 out of 10
Highlights: Precise bass and volume control; Easy set up; Good sound for its price range
Lowlights: Gigantic design makes it prohibitive as a desk piece
Manufacturer: Razer
Price: $249.95 AUD
Available: Now

Review conducted using a loaned retail unit provided by the manufacturer.