Razer's headsets are usually named after creatures of the ocean, with the likes of the Hammerhead and the Kraken, and this, the Man O War. This particular headset comes in two versions, a wired setup that'll work great on your Xbox One as well as your PC, and a wireless option for just the latter.
It's the wireless version I have here, and it's a fairly expensive headset. It's not perfect by any stretch, but it's still pretty damn good.
For those who like to see the techy bits, here's what makes up the headphone part of the Man O War:
- Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
- Impedance: 32Ω at 1 kHz
- Sensitivity (@1 kHz): 112 ± 3 dB
- Input power: 30 mW (Max)
- Drivers: 50 mm, with Neodymium magnets
- Inner ear cup diameter: 60 mm / 2.36 in
- Connection type: Wireless USB Transceiver
- Wireless range: 12 m / 40 ft
- Wireless frequency: 2.4 Ghz
- Battery life: Up to 14 hours with Razer Chroma lighting / 20 hours without Razer Chroma lighting
- Approximate weight: 375 g / 0.83 lbs
In simpler terms, the Man O War is completely wireless and yet promises lag-free audio and 7.1 virtual surround sound. So on paper, it sounds awesome. How does it translate in practice?
The Man O War is a large headset. It's not particularly heavy, no doubt due to its mainly plastic construction. It's well made, but aside from the adjusting arm it's a mixture of glossy and matte plastic. It looks impressive, especially with the Chroma lighting on the cups, but there's no getting away from how plasticky it is.
The headband has plenty of adjustment, as do the cups themselves. They rotate horizontally and adjust within their mountings vertically meaning you should have zero trouble getting a comfortable fit. Comfort is something the Man O War scores top marks on. The cups are trimmed in a leather finish and are super soft. They're also enormous and a proper over-the-ear fit. This means that passive noise isolation is fairly good, though naturally nowhere near as effective as active cancellation would be.
As they're truly over-the-ear, wearing the Man O War isn't fatiguing at all over long sessions. Aside from a little perspiring due to the finish on the cups, you could probably wear these all day without discomfort.
As these are completely wireless, you'll have to account for the lack of an inline remote and the need to regularly charge the headset so you can hear anything at all. Fortunately charging is over micro-USB and the battery lasts a claimed 14 hours with the lights on and 20 hours without. In my testing these claims seem accurate, as I've been getting about four days use from a charge, even over a heavy-use holiday weekend.
All controls are on the headset, with separate volume dials for the microphone and the headphones and a simple click in on either to mute. There's also a handy slot built in to carry the wireless USB receiver when it's not plugged in to your PC so you don't lose it. Sometimes it's the littlest things that please!
The microphone doesn't detach from the headset, rather sliding in and out of the base of the left-hand cup. I'd have liked the mic boom to be a little longer, as it maxes out around the edge of the cheek rather than coming fully to the mouth. Spec-wise, this is how the mic shapes up:
- Frequency response: 100 – 10 kHz
- Signal-to-noise ratio: > 60 dB
- Sensitivity (@1 kHz): -38 ± 3 dB
- Pick-up pattern: Unidirectional
It seems fairly good at cutting out unnecessary background noise, such as typing, but the sound quality is best described as adequate. If you're literally just going to use this as a way to talk to your in-game buddies, then it's perfectly fine. If you're planning to be a little more ambitious and perhaps stream or use it to record voiceovers, you'll be disappointed. The sound is very clear and crisp, but the tone isn't very natural at all.
It's easily the most disappointing part of the Man O War. I've used much cheaper USB headsets that produce a much more impressive microphone sound quality. Sound sent to the headphones, though, will not disappoint. The virtual surround sound is on point, and you can calibrate this manually in the Razer Synapse app on your PC. You get a decent but not overpowering rumble of bass, nice mids, and an overall pleasing sound.
I've been able to move about practically my whole house without losing the signal. This is thanks to the proprietary 2.4GHz wireless connection instead of opting for Bluetooth, which typically has a range of around 10 meters.
The Man O War is a very good headset. For the right circumstances it's an excellent buy, and going wireless is something that's hard to go back from once you've lived with it for a while. While losing the cable will always affect the sound quality compared to having one (laws of physics and all that), the Man O War still sounds great and is a sublimely comfortable headset to wear. Throw in a strong wireless connection and solid battery life and you're in business.
But the Razer Man O War is let down by the immensely plasticky build and the sub-par microphone quality. If you're just going to use it to talk to people, there's nothing to worry about. But if you're a creator of any kind, definitely stick with a dedicated microphone, or compromise and get a wired headset.
For the asking price of $169 though, the Man O War is a good buy. It's well balanced, tastefully designed and performs well where it matters most.
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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