As someone who is sensitive to being touched, especially when it is a foreign method of being touched. While I have not explored the world of VR or immersive technologies before, this one reminded me of the dangers of technology I watched in shows like Black Mirror or Love, Death + Robots. If you have not ran away from my weirdness yet, do not worry, the Raycon Gaming Headphones offered a lot of unique features that have scarred me in a safe way.
The design of the audio piece was sublime with its silver body and purple contours to offset the shiny, metallic chassis. The yellow breathing lights that outlined the outer shell of the earpads added a nice contrast as well, sadly not customizable. The breathable honeycomb earpads were very comfortable and held their end of the bargain when I went on a 6-hour gaming marathon with a mission to grind out XP in the MultiVersus Closed Alpha preview—not a single drop of sweat. It was made available in two colours: Lunar Silver and Deep Space Black—I had the former.
So, what made the Raycon Gaming Headphones unique? Well, one of the most jarring aspects of these headphones was the immersive haptic vibrations I felt when I tested it with music and some games. It really scared me so much with I could feel every bass kick and I knew there was no shot I would test it out first in a competitive game of Valorant. So, I ran an Unrated/Normal match to see if getting physical feedback could really help me play better or react faster.
While the output sound was magnificent, the audio input of the retractable mic on the Raycon Gaming Headphones told a different story. The audio for the mic was atrocious with its threshold being barely audible for others I tried to chat with on Discord. I thought it was a one-off problem but various people on various servers and games like Valorant and Overwatch reported that they could barely hear me. I tried to adjust the position of the mic, I tried to unplug the receiver and plug it back in to reset it. I even tried it on my Xbox One and it was a little bit better, but just barely.
“While the output sound was magnificent, the audio input of the retractable mic told a different story…”
I went into my PC’s sound settings and could not find a solution there either. After scrounging for a solution, I gave up and switched the audio input back to my generic $30 boom mic. How was it that a $30 boom mic could outperform a $119.99 gaming headphone? It was unfathomable and was the most disappointing experience I had received from Raycon since I had a positive familiarity with their earbuds.
I know I always mentioned with other audio devices I had tested, from EPOS to HUAWEI, I loved a product with a customizable app. While it would not be necessary in every case, I knew that most gaming headphones of this price range and caliber would have had an app. It could have been utilized for customizing the lighting on the headphones or for the purposes of adjusting the various audio settings such as an equalizer setting.
As an entertainment and gaming headphones, the Raycon Gaming Headphones excelled at offering the three different sound profiles: Pure Sound, Balanced Sound and Bass Sound. There was a simple button to press and hold to change between the three settings, and I was able to play around with them while listening through some of my Spotify playlists and new albums—such as Kendrick Lamar’s “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.”
“As an entertainment and gaming headphones, the Raycon Gaming Headphones excelled at offering the three different sound profiles: Pure Sound, Balanced Sound and Bass Sound.”
I was also continuing my cinematic and excruciating journey in the Lands Between in Elden Ring, and I found the Pure Sound setting excelled in-game and for the main menu music (that menu score will never fail to hype me up). Additionally, I started playing Horizon Zero Dawn and the cutscenes and gameplay all sounded very well orchestrated, hearing the tiniest drips of water or the wind blowing through the terrain—this was where I could see the haptic function working supremely well.
While I did not have a VR setup myself, I thought VR players would certainly gain a more immersive experience with the haptic and Pure Sound setting. Whether they would be enjoying a peaceful time in Cities VR or a stressful time with some Resident Evil zombies, it would be great. During gameplay in Elden Ring and Horizon Zero Dawn, the hits/arrow shots felt deeply satisfying as the bass rocked my head and even the steps and sounds of the enemies/machines were a euphoric ASMR trip.
Raycon claimed the headphones would last about 26 hours, as most wireless audio devices have been doing, but failed to show signs it could last up to 26 hours. At first, I used it at medium-to-high levels, in which the headphones lasted about 9-10 hours. Although, even at medium-to-low levels, the most battery usage I got out of it was approximately 12-13 hours. I played around with Bluetooth connections and turning off the glowing lights, and at best, I got about 16-17 hours out of it—so a little disheartening on the stated 26 hours of playback time.
Ideally, the Raycon Gaming Headphones thrived on single player games and moments—which offered a lot with the haptic feature and three different sound profiles to play with. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Netflix shows like Stranger Things 4 and Vampire in the Garden, which had several scary scenes and action set pieces—definitely made me jump with Stranger Things on the Balanced Sound mode.
While the singular experience was amazing, the competitive gaming/multiplayer experience was lacking with the mic being irrelevant and I had to switch my mic to an external one in almost every interaction. While I thought the haptic innovation was great overall, I felt like there were some features condensed into the headphones that may have suffocated the concept that Raycon was aiming for initially. Everything on paper made sense, but it lacked a certain pizzazz to raise it to the level of other gaming headphones in its similar echelon and price point. I would still recommend it for gamers who enjoy immersive single player games such as the Uncharted series.