Razer Nari Ultimate review: Headphones that make you feel all the in-game action

Razer's Nari Ultimate headset is a crazy combination of audio and haptics. And it actually works.

Nari Ultimate
(Image: © Matt Brown | Windows Central)

Windows Central Recommended Award

Razer is well-established in the PC accessories space, producing some of the best keyboards, mice, and more for gamers. And with the latest line of Razer Nari headsets, its $200 flagship brings something fresh to the scene, with the ability to feel your game. It sounds crazy, but does this haptics-enabled headset hold up to the promises? We took a deeper dive.

What you'll love about Razer Nari Ultimate

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Drivers:50 mm, neodymium
Impedance:32Ω at 1kHz
Frequency response:20Hz to 20,000Hz
Connection:2.4 GHz over USB, 3.5mm
Microphone:Uni-directional, retractable
Compatibility:USB devices, 3.5mm devices

The Nari trio adopts form factors comparable to existing Razer headsets, with a signature all-black finish, rounded with metallic gray highlights. Among Razer's most sleek and minimal designs yet, the Nari Ultimate adopts full Chroma lighting on both earcups, with the same customization options seen across its line of RGB LED packed products.

Retaining Razer's premium touch, the Nari Ultimate is solid in-hand and comfortable for extended gaming sessions. While a mostly plastic exterior, the headset still retains considerable weight, with metal components ensuring durability. Overhead is a firm metallic band, sporting a mesh and leatherette finish, with "cooling gel-infused cushions" to keep your ears breezy. The result is a comfortable headset even for extensive gaming sessions, although the cooling ear cups show diminishing effects over time.

Razer Nari Ultimate makes everything feel badass.

As an all-inclusive wireless solution, much of the Razer Nari Ultimate's control lines its earcups. On the left, you'll find a retractable microphone and mute toggle, alongside power and an integrated game/chat mixer. For wired connectivity, a 3.5mm combo jack is offered, with a Micro USB port for charging. And on the right, a simple volume wheel offers adjustment as you play.

Best positioned for PC gamers, the Razer Nari Ultimate delivers its wireless audio exclusively over a 2.4 GHz USB adapter. This stows flush inside the headset via a spring-loaded compartment, ideal for desk storage or gaming on the move. However, the solution cuts wireless capabilities for consoles and mobiles, requiring the use of its 3.5mm audio jack. Razer's Synapse suite brings similar PC ties, which provides tuning of audio settings, Chroma, and other features.

Razer Nari Ultimate

Razer Nari Ultimate

As the Razer Nari Ultimate's defining feature, its HyperSense vibration is in the spotlight, with haptic feedback based on in-game sound. When unveiled earlier this year, the concept looked to be a gimmick, and generally approached with low expectations. However, for an established peripheral manufacturer to jump onboard with a flagship headset, its promises shouldn't be overlooked.

Razer Nari Ultimate brings game-changing immersion.

Razer's HyperSense haptics essentially act as a head-bound subwoofer, taking low frequencies and giving them that additional punch. Partnering with Lofelt, a firm dedicated to "natural" haptics, the Nari Ultimate packs a driver on each ear, tuned to provide enhancements on stereo sound. Analysing audio signals, the headset highlights bass with varying intensity levels, adding a range of tactile feedback. And the result is actually game-changing.

The resulting experience is fitting for most titles, adding distinct feedback to your in-game actions. With titles like Battlefield V, ringing explosions and overhead aircraft provide a real kick. Roaring engines in Forza Horizon 4 and shootouts in Red Dead Redemption 2 pack similar effect, without dominating the gaming experience. The game effect translates to music and movies too, packing heightened intensity and weight. And with the help of Razer Synapse, these effects can be reduced, increased, or removed entirely, all still providing strong results.

What you won't like about Razer Nari Ultimate

While the Razer Nari Ultimate's haptic feedback isn't a gimmick, its implementation isn't for everyone in the high-end headset market. Like vibration in controllers, HyperSense is better excluded in competitive scenarios, likely hindering tense shooters and other high-stakes titles. Furthermore, the haptics won't play perfectly with some titles out of the box, though tweaking various game settings often does the trick.

Furthermore, despite touting support for a wide variety of platforms, the best experience is limited to PC gamers. Between the lack of wireless beyond USB devices and Razer Synapse tuning, non-PC gamers can find better solutions elsewhere.

The bottom line on Razer Nari Ultimate headset

While the Razer Nari Ultimate sells an unusual proposition, its HyperSense haptics aren't only fun; they make immersive games even more impactful. Paired with great audio, high build quality, and considerable flexibility via software, this headset is an ideal companion for any PC gamer.

The Razer Nari Ultimate is now available from Razer, priced at $200 in the U.S.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.