Razer Hammerhead USB-C review: Great sound and better than carrying a dongle
USB-C headphones, because they're better than carrying a dongle.
When Razer first showed me the Razer Phone, one of the questions that popped out of my mouth was "oh, so I guess there's going to be a USB-C Hammerhead now, then?"
Of course there is, and they're available to buy now for all. Not just Razer Phone owners, but they'll be the first target audience.
USB-C still doesn't come in a "one size fits all" formula. Just because these headphones connect to your USB-C phone or laptop, doesn't necessarily mean they'll work. From the perspective of the Razer Phone though, they work very well.
Not perfect, but in most cases, they're a lot better than carrying around a dongle.
$79.99Bottom line: Good sound quality, no dongle to hook up to the Razer Phone and they light up. Because that's important.
Pros:Good quality overall sound.Very comfortableNice length cable.Included case.The earbuds light up.
Cons:Quite expensive.No guarantees on which devices they'll work with.Sound good, but not as good as the THX dongle you get with the phone and a good pair of headphones.
What you'll love about the Razer Hammerhead USB-C
In the box with the Razer Phone, or likely any other phone, tablet or laptop you don't have a 3.5mm headphone jack on, you'll get a dongle to connect your headphones. That's good, but it's something that's easily lost. I know I've already misplaced my Razer Phone dongle at least a dozen times.
- 10mm drivers
- USB-C Connector
- Custom-tuned DAC
- Flat cables for tangle-free storage
- Bi-flange ear tips in 3 sizes
- In-line microphone and volume control
- Custom carry case
The USB-C Hammerhead removes the need for the dongle, hooking the headphones directly to the USB-C port on the phone. The DAC is in the headphones, so you just plug in and go. The cable is nice and long, too, so there's no trouble stashing your phone in a pocket.
If you've ever used Razer Hammerheads before you'll be in familiar territory. They're really comfortable, with different sized tips included to get it right for your ears. The earbuds also light up on the outside with a glowing green Razer logo. This is important. And looks awesome.
The flat green cable is tangle-free and there's an inline remote for volume and play/pause control. Despite there being no active noise cancelling, the Hammerhead USB-C creates a nice tight seal in your ears and as such you get a good amount of passive noise isolation. I used these on the train and could barely hear the outside noise.
Sound quality is overall pretty good. They're a little better than the Bluetooth Hammerhead, with clear vocals, decent mids and highs and surprisingly, pleasing levels of bass that don't completely pummel your eardrums into submission. There's plenty of volume, too.
And for folks who travel about a lot and want to keep their headphones safe, Razer includes a small hard case to look after them when they're not in your ears.
What you'll hate about the Razer Hammerhead USB-C
And even though the USB-C Hammerhead is more convenient and just better than carrying a dongle, in this case, the Razer dongle has a THX DAC inside that sounds amazing. With a good pair of headphones attached it blows the USB-C Hammerhead away.
And there's the perennial USB-C Elephant in the room: There's no guarantee which devices these will support. That's not necessarily Razer's fault, but you (sadly) cannot assume any USB-C headphones will work with any USB-C phone, tablet or laptop. The Hammerhead does work with the Google Pixel 2, at least.
This is also a fairly expensive set of headphones at $80.
Bottom line on the Razer Hammerhead USB-C
While the dongle you get with the Razer Phone and a good pair of headphones still sound much better, personally I'm happy to take that trade-off for not having to carry a dongle with my Razer Phone.
The USB-C Hammerhead still sounds great, is well designed and comfortable to wear while offering solid passive noise isolation and plenty of volume.
If you own a Razer Phone, this is a worthwhile investment. Sadly there's no guarantee that if you run a different phone they'll work properly, but if you're in luck, you'll be pretty happy.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine