Razer Kraken (2019) headset review: Quality gaming audio for all

Razer Kraken
Razer Kraken (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Razer Kraken is a familiar name to PC gamers everywhere. Even non-gamers may have seen people on the bus wearing the famous green headphones.

The newest member of the family is simply called Kraken and it's a fairly mild update. Mild doesn't mean uninteresting, but it's a direct replacement of the Kraken Pro v2 and an important part of Razer's lineup refresh for 2019.

The Kraken isn't necessarily the headset for you if you're looking to upgrade from an older model, but if you're coming in new, it's well worth your ears whether you game on console or PC.

What you'll like about the Razer Kraken

Razer Kraken

Razer Kraken TE (Image credit: Windows Central)

From the very second you open the box, the Kraken feels like a familiar old friend. You're presented with the standard black and green packaging, the Razer stickers and the letter from the CEO, welcoming you to the Cult of Razer. It's always a nice feeling opening a Razer product, the small details just make it feel like a quality item.

When you get to the headset you'll see something that's unmistakably a Kraken. The design hasn't changed much in recent years, and to glance at the new one looks basically the same as the Kraken Tournament Edition.

The frame is metal, yet the headset is still pretty light. There's thick padding on the headband and ear cups, and thick, super-soft foam trimmed in a leather-like finish that Razer says transfers heat. There's even a cooling gel layer beneath and a concealed glasses channel so you can match comfortably with your eyewear. It's a thoughtfully designed headset that feels like it'll stand the test of time.

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CategorySpec
Frequency response12Hz to 28kHz
Speaker size50 mm
Connection3.5 mm
CompatibilityPC, console
Price$80

The thick padding all around presents you with a beautifully comfortable headset to wear for long periods without enduring fatigue. During my time with it, I've happily sat for many hours without the need to take it off and rest. There's a plenty of adjustment for different size heads and slight movement from the cups to sit just right over your ears.

Kraken fans have always enjoyed using their headset as a pair of regular headphones, and that's still going to be the case with the new one. The microphone doesn't detach, but it does retract so far that it's not noticeable, so you can go outside without feeling ridiculous.

Sound quality is excellent and is on par with the more expensive Kraken Tournament Edition save for the lack of spatial sound. You only get stereo on the new Kraken, but with good clarity and low end, as well as an impressive frequency range.

You also get a lot of volume, and though no active noise cancellation, the ear cups are so large and create such a good seal on the side of your head that you don't really need to worry about hearing the non-game world too much.

Best of all, there's no difference in how good the Kraken is whether you're using it on PC or on console. As it connects over 3.5mm only, you don't lose any quality or features by using it with a console.

The Kraken is available in four colors, too, with green joined by black, black with blue accents and the Quartz Edition in pink.

What you'll dislike about the Razer Kraken

There's not a whole lot wrong with the Kraken at all, especially for its price. Razer has been making these things for long enough now that virtually all of the issues have been ironed out.

It's worth pointing out though that the Kraken is quite large. Part of the popularity of the old model being used as headphones was that the headset maintained a fairly flat profile on your head like a good pair of over ear headphones.

The new Kraken and its cooling gel infused ear cups are somewhat larger and if you do wish to use them as a pair of headphones, you'll have to run the risk of looking like you work the runways at the local airport.

It would also have been nice to the see the Kraken, which makes no secret of its target of esports, folded up into a travel-friendly, compact form. Alas, no.

The microphone is also mildly disappointing. It's not bad, but it's not particularly outstanding either. If you're into streaming, it won't be replacing your desktop mic, and it is a little on the quiet side. Your team-mates will hear you nice and clearly, though you may have to speak a little louder than usual.

Should you buy the Razer Kraken?

If you already own a recent Kraken headset, such as the Kraken Pro v2 or the Kraken Tournament Edition, then you're not going to gain a whole lot from getting this one. The Kraken Tournament Edition is still the better choice for PC gamers, too, if you're OK spending the extra.

But none of this means the Kraken is bad, far from it. The negatives aren't close to being deal breakers, and many may not even see them as negatives at all.

The Kraken sounds great, feels great to wear and in its traditional green paint job, certainly stands out from the crowd. Console or PC, this is a fabulous headset at an attractive price.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. 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 covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.