Razer Thresher Ultimate Wireless Gaming Headset Reviewby Kirby Yablonski
- 50mm Drivers
- Frequency Response: 12 - 28,000 Hz
- Totally Wireless (including chat)
- Digital Microphone
- On-Headset Controls (Chat Volume/Master Volume/Mute)
- 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound
- Boom Mic is Retractable
- Up to 16 Hours Battery Life on Single Charge
- Charging Time: 4 hours
- Weight (approximate) 408g (0.89 lbs.)
During what is known as E3 week, PC centric company Razer announced a new headset geared for console and PC gamers. Known as the Razer Thresher, it is a totally wireless headset that has been in development for over three years. It was a surprise announcement as Razer did not give any hints to the masses out there that they were developing this premium headset. Given that we are an Xbox centric site here at XBA, we have been putting the Xbox One version of the headset through its' paces over the past couple of weeks, and I have to say that overall the headset is pretty darn good, and quite enjoyable to use.
When the Thresher arrived at my home office for review I was surprised by the size of the packaging. Upon opening it up you could tell that this is a premium product as the even opening the box felt kind of special. There is a lot of stuff in the box, including the headset itself, the transceiver for the audio, a headset stand that can be used on its own or put on the transceiver, two USB to micro-USB cables (both are braided cable too), an optical cable, and some paperwork (with a Razer sticker). Overall, the packaging is implemented well and you can't help but appreciate the premium feel in this area.
Getting the headset to work is very easy. Plug the optical cable from the back of your Xbox One to the transceiver, as well as plug one of the USB to micro-USB from one of your Xbox One USB ports to the transceiver, as this will power the base unit. The headset is already ‘paired' with the transceiver so you only need to turn the headset on, and then the transceiver. You will see the power button blink on the transceiver briefly then once connected it will go solid and you are good to go. What I found neat was that the transceiver has a small light strip at the front (underneath side to side) and which emits a nice Razer-esque green glow across the surface that the transceiver is sitting on.
Once you pull the headset out of the packaging, it feels that you're getting one of Razer's top of the line products. The headset is a flat black with some green highlights to let you know that the headset is meant for the Xbox One. There is the traditional Razer three-headed snake logo on the earcups, and they light up when you turn the headset on. This feature looks good and is not gaudy given that they light up, as they are not overly bright and they don't take away from the headset's design. The chat microphone is on the left earcup and it is retractable so you won't see it when you game solo. You'll find some small, but easy to use, rocker switches on each earcup. The left one adjusts your game/chat volume balance, and if you press it you mute your microphone. The right rocker switch controls the master volume of the headset.
Comfort wise, I was somewhat impressed by the level of comfort offered, as well as the fact that it allowed copious amounts of room to go over my big head, even when I wore a baseball cap. I have found that other headsets can fit my head, but when I put a baseball cap on, they could be uncomfortable to wear now then, but not the Razer Thresher. The headset is designed so that you don't have to adjust each side, as the design has a flexible band below the main headband. It's this flexible band that allows you to just put it on and pull down the earcups until they are over your ears. Each earcup has memory foam covered in a faux leather, and the material is somewhat breathable. I was using the headset during some very warm summer days here on the west coast of Canada in my home office, and my ears would get somewhat warm, but this was due to the temperature of my home office and not strictly a result of the earcups per se.
I had the Threshers on for some extended video game play sessions, listening to music, and some movie/Netflix sessions as well, and at no time did they become uncomfortable. The headset is nicely balanced weight wise and you can use them for some extended gaming sessions and not be impacted by having a set of headphones on for a long time. Using the rocker switches for chat/game volume mixing, and controlling the master volume is very easy. I should note that the headset does not get too loud to hurt your ears. This was most likely a design choice by Razer as to not risk damaging your ears.
I guess the most important question is how does the Razer Thresher sound? I think that I can describe this in one simple word, as they sound "awesome". I have been playing a lot of DiRT 4 lately, so the Thresher heard a lot of this game. I also played COD: Modern Warfare Remastered, and a bit of Forza Horizon 3.
In terms of DiRT 4, I was very impressed, more than I had anticipated I would be. The detail that this headset output was very, very good. One thing that really took me by surprise was hearing the different sounds of the vehicle tires (or tyres in Europe) on different surfaces. This became very evident when racing on the Swedish tracks that were covered with snow. You could hear the distinct sound of the tires driving over the compacted snow on the ground with that crunching of the snow sound. It sounded very winterlike and lifelike. Other details were just as noticeable, such as when passing fans who had lit flares in their hands (you could hear the hissing), as well as when using the ‘in-car' view and you could hear the car creaking and squeaking when driving on various tracks, hitting bumps and taking corners, even more so than other headsets that I have used recently.
As for the other games I played, my experience was also positive. I was quite content when playing COD: Modern Warfare Remastered. I hadn't had the chance to play through this since I got the game in 2016, so playing it was quite a treat with the Thresher headset. From hearing the chatter from AI teammates, hearing enemy fire fly by in all directions and enemy grenades bounce towards me to big explosions and epic events that happened at various points during my game progression, all of it it was very well reproduced in the earcups. Bass was impactful and noticeable while the highs and mids were not drowned out. I found that many of the big explosions pushed the 50mm drivers quite hard, but not so much that it was distorted, but it was close. Many of the epic moments in COD:MW Remastered, such as a nuclear bomb detenation to the sound of the 40 cal. cannon firing and then reloading on the A-130 level, they were all solid sounding, and you can't help but grin at how the Thresher handled everything in this game. As for Forza Horizon 3, one of my go to games when reviewing headsets, I loved hearing the various music soundtracks play as I raced in so many different cars. Everything sounded tight, like it should, and hearing all the various engine sounds of each car, the nuances when switching car views, and all the environmental sounds in the virtual version of Australia, was very impressive.
The Razer Thresher is a 7.1 surround sound headset. The button to activate the surround sound mode is on the transceiver itself. When gaming with the surround sound off, the headset is a very good sounding stereo headset, with 2 channel directionality, but turn on the surround sound and you feel in the middle of your games. This was really evident in DiRT 4 as all the environmental sounds were amazing. From the sound of debris from the ground kicking up under the car, and behind it, to hearing the pockets of people on the course cheering you along. It was also noticeable in COD: MW Remastered, as you felt in the middle of each battle you fought in during the single player campaign to those instances of how well you can hear your enemies, and teammates, all around you in the various multiplayer modes.
I took some time to listen to some other sources of entertainment on the Xbox One. This started with Netflix where I watched my latest obsession, Season 5 of Orange is the New Black, as I am chipping away at the season whenever I get a chance. When listening in stereo sound, which I prefer for Netflix, the dialog was crisp, and the various music during each episode was well balanced watching OITNB. In surround sound the dialog was all around me, which was something I didn't like. I switched over to one of Razer's recommendations, and put in my Blu-ray of Stars Wars Rogue One. I must say that this was a good pick, especially the final battle sequence to get the Death Star plans in surround sound mode. Spaceships whizzed all around in the headset, laser fire (space ship or hand weapons) was very crisp, and the various explosions managed to sound ‘beefy'. Not to mention that I was able to listen to the dialog in surround sound mode without any issues. Finally, I played some of my go to music through the Xbox One's music service Groove. From the Linkin Park Studio Album (2002-2012), Dire Straits, Eminem, Deadmau5, ZZ Top and well as some Skrillex and some Video Games Live albums. Whatever music I threw at the Thresher, it handled it with no problem. I found myself rocking out, or relaxing, to the various music I chose. From hard hitting bass, the cool sounds of some 80's or 90's rock, to the symphonic sounds of video game tracks reproduced in the Video Games Live albums, everything was very musical and sounded good.
As far as online chatting was concerned, my friends who I played online with had no issue chatting with me as I was loud and clear. What I did find though was that their voices, when using the surround sound mode, kind of sounded all around me, so I had to really adjust the chat/game sound mix to hear the in-game sound more than the voice around me. On a side note, when you mute your voice chat a red light in the microphone, which is retractable, lights up.
A few quick items to wrap up my impressions. Razer claims that the headset is good for up to 16 hours before recharging. I'll tell you the truth, I have yet to charge this headset and I swear that I am around the maximum time using it. So I can feel confident that their estimate is accurate. As for the range of the headset, what I can say is that my home office is on the third floor of my house. I could go to my kid's rooms at night to say "good-night" on the same floor, as well as head to my own bedroom (and maybe bathroom) all without losing contact with the transceiver and the music continued to play. Other headsets (wireless or those connected to the controller) have cut out during the same instances. The transciver also has a optical cable out, so you can pass through to a receiver or TV for use with external speakcer too. Oh, for those wanting to use this headset on their PC, it is as simple as using the USB to micro-USB cable to plug into your PC, flicking a switch on the transceiver to PC, and the you'll be ready to go.
I think that the Razer Thresher is a very solid headset to use with the Xbox One. I know there will be pundits complaining that it doesn't connect to the Xbox One console directly (like the upcoming headsets from Turtle Beach and LucidSound), but that doesn't mean it's not a good headset in its own right. The Thresher also doesn't have any EQ settings, but you can likely attribute this to Razer tuning the headset to be the best sound for all genres of games and sound content. Given the time that I have spent with the Razer Thresher, I can wholeheartedly recommend it for Xbox One gamers, as it is comfortable to wear, looks and feels premium, is totally wireless (chat included), and it sounds great when playing games, listening to music, or watching movies via Blu-ray or when streaming from the likes of Netflix. You really can't go wrong with it, and I think it's something you should consider when looking at a surround sound gaming headset for your Xbox One.
OVERALL SCORE: 9.0 / 10