A good, reliable headset can make the world of a difference. Especially in the days of COVID-19, where staff meetings held from the often noisy comfort of your own home are a new necessity. Multi-purpose functionality is a major bonus with the Razer BlackShark V2, so whether you’re hunkered down for a Zoom meeting marathon, listening to music in your own personal bubble, or using it as intended (intensive gaming) this headset won’t let you down.
In terms of comfort, the Razer BlackShark V2 is built using ultra-soft breathable FlowKnit memory foam ear cushions, so you can game away for hours at a time without that fatigued feeling. While the material is indeed ultra-soft, it’s the breathability that gives it a bit of an edge over the Razer BlackShark V2 X (the V2’s lighter, more economical sibling). After hours of use in a warm room, I didn’t have to peel off a sticky headset. It’s generally quite comfortable to wear for extended periods of stressful gaming.
Weighing in at 262g, the physical build is lightweight and pretty solid, but does have a few downsides. To make the fit larger, you extend from the two metal suspension rods on either side of the cups, not from the headband. This mechanism is a bit stiff, and if you leave them at full extension, it does make me a bit nervous about accidentally bending the metal so it doesn’t slide smoothly back in. The one benefit to the stiff mechanism is that it will reliably hold your set position, so you don’t have to re-adjust once you find that perfect fit.
When manipulating the BlackShark V2, it feels sturdy enough, even with the exposed green braided cable. Even still, I would want to be mindful of how roughly the headset is handled over long-term use. The headset has a speedflex cable that can connect using a 3.5mm jack or through its USB sound card, so there’s cross-platform possibility. The speedflex cable is comfortingly durable and lightweight, so even if you’re putting it to heavy use, I wouldn’t worry too much about kinks or fraying.
It is worth noting that the speedflex cable is not removable (and therefore not replaceable), but miraculously, the microphone is. So if you want to unplug it and just use the headphones to listen to music or watch a movie, you don’t have that little nub of a mic sticking out like most retractable models. This looks and feels a lot more discreet if you choose to wear them in out public as just plain ol’ headphones. Personally, I found this to be a fantastic feature. I’m definitely keen on the idea of using these as basic headphones, and I find the retractable mic to be awkward (at best).
The mic itself is a HyperClear Cardioid mic, so it won’t pick up as much ambient noise from the back and sides, giving a far more accurate representation of your voice. Additionally, you can use the ever-impressive Razer Synapse to adjust your mic further, with features such as Mic Boost, Voice Gate, Volume Normalization, Mic Equalizer and Ambient Noise Reduction. I did find that the mic sounded slightly better when plugged in directly to the computer’s motherboard rather than the USB sound card (which may have to do with compression, but it just sounds a bit cleaner). So that’s something to take into consideration, though again you can always tweak the settings as needed.
The volume is adjusted using a knob on the left-hand side of the headset, which has a soft click at the 50% mark. The BlackShark V2 has TriForce Titanium 50mm drivers which focus on bass, midrange, and treble separately to balance the sound without a ton of bass distortion. I found it to be a bit more treble-forward, which actually smooths it out quite nicely. No music, voices, or in-game sounds are drowned out. Overall the sound quality is a big, balanced improvement over the Razer Kraken.
Dialed to 100%, the volume is surprisingly good. When sitting directly in front of a drum set in full use (literally… the lengths I go to, people), I didn’t even need to have it set to 100%, and the sound-cancellation actually did decently well when tested in the same -- very loud -- conditions. So if you’re going up against background conversation or TV, you’ll do just fine.
The Razer BlackShark V2 also features THX spatial audio, offering lifelike immersion and true-to-life acoustics with positional accuracy. This feature works with the Synapse using the USB sound card included with the V2. With its emulated surround sound, you’re able to pinpoint your enemy’s location based on their gunfire and footsteps. It’s a great way to fully immerse yourself in the game and also feel vaguely creeped out by the in-game zombies you can hear trying to creep up behind you. So… win-win.
If you’re less finicky about features and feeling more price-conscious, the V2 X is a tad lighter on your head and your wallet at $59.99 (and 240g). If the V2 X is appealing, note that the mic is not removable and it doesn’t come with the USB sound card option, so there’s a reason that price tag is a bit lower. Alternatively, you can go full hog and grab the wireless V2 Pro for $179.99 (and 320g).
With the Razer BlackShark V2, you get a lot of functionality and customization. Whether you’re gaming up a storm, getting lost in music, or just trying to have a video meeting without your cat yowling in the background (my own experience), it’s a well-rounded, clear sounding headset that offers great value for its very fair price ($99.99). It’s a great option if you’re looking for a solid headset that can also function well outside of the gaming world.
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