Razer Barracuda X review: Multi-device gamers rejoice at this go-anywhere $99 headset

Razer's new headphones are fabulous for multi-device people who want the same audio profile on their phone, PC, or Nintendo Switch. Just don't lose the dongle!

Razer Barracuda X
(Image: © Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

There are plenty of headphone options these days, but they usually fall into best PC gaming headsets, or best Xbox gaming headsets, with few spanning all your devices.

The new $99 Barracuda X does that by trading Bluetooth for a universal Type-C 2.4Ghz dongle that you can use on any Android phone, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, and Windows PC. It's plug-and-play, low-latency, and the headset is something you won't mind wearing in public.

I've spent the last few weeks with the Barracuda X, and here is what works with them and what doesn't (including no Xbox).

Razer Barracuda X: Price and availability

Razer Barracuda X Hero

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

The Razer Barracuda X is now available for $99.99 at Razer.com and authorized Razer resale channels. There is only one version — in all black — with no other models to choose from as of July 2021. Razer may add more color options later should the product line prove successful.

Amazon.com and Best Buy are both likely to sell the Razer Barracuda X as they are distribution partners for Razer.

Razer Barracuda X: What's good

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

One of the problems with having excellent headphones is you ideally want to use them everywhere. Whether you're watching TikToks on your phone, watching a movie on your PC, or gaming on your PlayStation, why not just have one headset to rule them all? You used to be able to do that with 3.5mm adapters, but smartphones mostly ditched those in the last few years, and many other devices, including some laptops, are also looking to ax the port.

  • Wireless USB-C multi-platform connectivity
  • 250g ergonomic design
  • Over-the-ear design
  • Razer TriForce 40mm drivers
  • Detachable Razer HyperClear Cardioid Mic
  • On-headset controls
  • 20 hours battery life with USB-C charging
  • 7.1 surround sound (Windows 10 64-bit)
  • Compatible with: PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Android devices
  • Works with 3.5mm jack

Of course, there is always Bluetooth, but, as many people know, 1. Bluetooth still kind of sucks in 2021, 2. there is still latency, which is terrible for gaming and not great for movies, and 3. it's a pain to use on multiple devices.

The Razer Barracuda X looks to solve this with a simple solution: a universal 2.4GHz dongle. Simply stick it into any Type-C port, and you suddenly get high-quality, lag-free audio with excellent reception. The Razer Barracuda X dongle works with Android smartphones, the Nintendo Switch, PCs, and PlayStation making it one of the most versatile headsets available.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Freq response20Hz to 20kHz
Impedance32Ω @ 1 kHz
Sensitivity96dBSPL /mW@1KHz by HATS
DriversCustomized Dynamic 40mm
Inner ear cup60mm x 40mm
Mic100Hz to 10kHz>60dbUnidirectional

But Razer also tosses in a 3-foot 3.5mm cable to go old school. Don't have a Type-C port? You get a lengthy 4.92-foot (1.5m) Type-A to Type-C converter cable, too. Don't need the high-quality, unidirectional cardioid microphone? Just pull it out for later. And use the included Type-A to Type-C cable to top off that 20 hours of battery life.

Audio quality is excellent thanks to Razer's TriForce 40mm drivers that "divides the audio driver into three distinct parts for the individual tuning of highs, mids, and lows" to deliver "clearer audio with richer trebles and punchier, more controlled bass." You can augment the sound with the excellent THX Spatial Audio for PC, which does give a nice EQ, presets, and bass boost. While that app usually costs $20, if you buy the Barracuda X, you get it for just $10. It's totally worth it (even if you're not buying these headphones).

Let us not forget comfort. Razer went with a padded headband, swivel earcups that pivot, and over-the-ear memory foam cushions. Weighing in at just 250 grams, the Barracuda X is also the lightest headphone in its class. The result? I wore these for hours and did not have any pain points or discomfort.

Razer Barracuda X: What you won't like

Razer Barracuda X Dongle

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

While the dongle delivers excellent, consistent, audio … it is a dongle. So, let's talk about it. The dongle is wide and flat, which Razer insisted on to maximize reception. I don't have any real problem with that, but it could block ports on some devices. That's also why you get a Type-A extension cable to get around that issue, but then you may have a 5-foot cord when you needed much less.

Audio quality is excellent thanks to Razer's TriForce 40mm drivers.

There is also nowhere to stow the dongle. That is easy to overlook if you just set it and forget it, but that's not the point of the Barracuda X. You are supposed to use this across multiple devices. Plug into your phone, your laptop, and maybe your Nintendo Switch. Good luck trying not to lose it! I nearly did after just three days.

Also, notice no mention of an Xbox here? We can let Microsoft take the hit on that one as it requires the usage of its proprietary Xbox Wireless protocol, which costs extra and requires even more hardware. Of course, you could just use the 3.5mm cable and go old-school wired to the controller.

I'm a bit surprised there is no audio-tuning ability on Android, considering Razer has its own "Razer Audio" app to do just that for Opus, Opus X, and Kraken BT, Hammerheads, etc. While these sound great, there is no customization for your smartphone. Sad.

Finally, the Barracuda X is plain looking on purpose. Razer wanted a more "understated aesthetic" versus its regularly bold designs, so it's hard to complain about. If you prefer bold, Razer says get a Kraken instead, or maybe the new Opus X in bright green.

Razer Barracuda X: Competition

Razer Barracuda X Controls

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Razer puts the Barracuda X up against the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless, Corsair Void Pro RGB Wireless, and HyperX Cloud Stinger Wireless.

All those headphones retail at $99, making cost a non-issue, although you can find refurbished versions for as low as $60. And because something like the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is a few years old now (late 2019), it means you can find it often around the $80 mark.

But really, here is the thing: those all use micro-USB for charging, which I consider sacrilege in 2021. Don't do that to yourself. You are also getting a better mic with the Razer (cardioid), 7.1 surround sound (PC), and it is the lightest (beating SteelSeries by 4 grams). And some don't even have a 3.5mm option (Corsair, HyperX).

Razer Barracuda X: Should you buy it?

Razer Barracuda X

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

You should buy this if ...

  • You jump between devices frequently and want excellent wireless connectivity
  • You like Razer's motif and low-key design
  • You want a lot of accessories and flexible options

You shouldn't buy this if ...

  • You lose dongles
  • You tend to lose dongles
  • You want to use this wirelessly with Xbox (or an iPhone)

Overall, these are fabulous headphones. I loved wearing them; the audio response and low latency made them perfect for movies, gaming, or music. I also really like the flexibility — go wireless or stick a cable in them like all real headphones.

For $99, it is hard to get mad at the price as these feel like $99 headphones.

I never even considered using headphones with the Nintendo Switch, even though those speakers are completely awful, but it's super easy with this adapter.

Of course, my main concern is that dongle. If you were to lose it, it mostly defeats the purpose of this accessory. I wish Razer thought of something clever to stow when you travel because I believe if you're sticking this in many devices over weeks (or months), you're bound to lose it. Razer will likely sell you a replacement (no idea on the cost), but that's another headache.

But if you are neat, tidy, and organized, these are cool headphones that let you finally ditch that shaky Bluetooth connection. If you fit that profile, go get 'em.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.