Razer Kraken Tournament Edition review: Excellent headset, not so excellent mic

Windows Central Recommended Award

The chances are high you've seen someone wearing one of Razer's iconic Kraken headsets at some point. They've been around for a number of years and are easily identifiable by their incredibly bright green paint job.

Razer still makes the Kraken, and the latest version, the Tournament Edition (TE), comes with a few bells and whistles to take your PC gaming experience up a notch, while still retaining the heritage of its predecessors.

There are no fancy light-up panels either. This headset is all about the gaming.

What you'll like about the Razer Kraken TE

Razer Kraken TE DAC

Razer Kraken TE DAC (Image credit: Windows Central)

The gaming headset space is pretty crowded, especially around the $100 price point, but Razer certainly knows what it's doing. From the second you open the box you're immediately presented with a quality product.

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 a cooling gel layer beneath and even a concealed glasses channel so you can match comfortably with your eyewear. It feels premium, and it feels incredibly well built.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Frequency response12Hz to 28kHz
Speaker size50 mm
Connection3.5 mm with additional USB audio controller
CompatibilityPC (USB), console (3.5 mm)

That 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 happily sat for four to six hours without the need to take it off and rest. It doesn't even seem to promote a great deal of perspiration. There's a good amount of adjustment for different size heads and slight movement from the cups to sit just right over your ears.

The microphone on the Kraken TE isn't detachable, but it retracts to an almost invisible state, so you can get away with wearing this headset as a regular pair of headphones if you wish. There's no active noise canceling, but the sheer size of the cups lends to excellent sound isolation as your ears are truly enveloped.

Razer Kraken TE

Razer Kraken TE (Image credit: Razer)

The sound quality is very good. The audio controller only works with PC, but hooked up to an Astro Mixamp from my Xbox One, the Kraken TE handled the processed surround sound very well. There's a lot of clarity and plenty of boom. The Kraken TE also has a higher than average frequency response range.

Volume is excellent, and even without the USB audio controller, you still have inline controls for muting the microphone. But the THX spatial audio you get on the PC is extremely good, especially for a $100 headset. In battle royale games like PUBG, the added awareness you get is really helpful, since you get an actual sense of direction. The settings aren't fixed, either; if you feel like they're a little off balance, you're able to adjust the directions in the Razer Synapse app.

That app has a bunch of features to play around with, including an equalizer for the headphones, as well as some settings to tinker with the microphone. Everything is very simple to use, though naturally, you can't make any of these adjustments if you're using the headset only over 3.5 mm.

What you'll dislike about the Razer Kraken TE

Razer headset

Razer headset (Image credit: Windows Central)

The microphone is probably the only real letdown on the Kraken TE. Like the Kraken Pro v2, it's just too quiet, and some of the settings in Synapse seem completely unnecessary. If you turn down the sensitivity too far, you'll have to actually shout just to be heard.

Plenty could be fixed with software updates, but at stock settings, the microphone is too quiet. You have hardware controls to adjust the mix of game and chat audio, as well as monitoring for yourself, but your buddies won't be hearing a lot from you unless you crank it up. Sound quality is OK, nothing particularly outstanding, but assuming you get the volume sorted it's quite clear, and you have settings to add a little extra clarity on vocals if you need to.

Mic sensitivity is supposed to act as a noise gate, helping you block out unwanted background noise. But it also blocks out your voice unless you yell at your friends. I also miss the red ring you get on the microphone when it's muted on some other Razer headsets. For gaming, you'll be OK, but if you're planning to stream you're going to want a dedicated microphone.

The only other thing you could criticize is the sheer size of it. You could wear the Kraken TE as headphones thanks to the retractable microphone, but you probably won't because you get a real Princess Leia effect going on. The headset doesn't fold, so it'll take up plenty of space in a bag and is embarrassingly large on your head. So it's not good for traveling with.

Should you buy the Razer Kraken TE?

Kraken Tournament Edition

Kraken Tournament Edition (Image credit: Windows Central)

If quality game audio is a higher priority than an amazing microphone (and honestly, it should be), the Kraken TE is a great option at the $100 price point. It has tough competition, but it's not relying on anything flashy to suck you in.

It's a comfortable, well-made headset you'll enjoy wearing for countless hours, and for PC gamers the inclusion of spatial audio is a great value add.

If you're exclusively a console gamer, this shouldn't be the headset for you, as you lose out on enough not to be able to justify the price tag. But, aside from a weak microphone, the Kraken TE is an excellent headset and a worthy addition to the name.

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

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