The Kraken… just how cool is that for a name of a headset? It certainly sets the bar high when you name your product after a legendary water beast! Razer is renowned among the PC crowd for their quality headsets and gaming peripherals, now they are stretching out on to the Xbox One with their first stereo headset – so how does the Kraken fare?
The Kraken is beautifully packaged, with the headset proudly on display behind thin transparent plastic secured down by the Velcro backed flaps of the packaging – it certainly looks the part!
First things first, you need to get your headset connected to your console. Simply plug it into your controller via the 3.5mm jack and connect the controller (while it’s switched off) to the Xbox One via the USB that comes supplied with the headset – ‘update in progress’, job done – it’s as simple as that.
After fracturing the wire in one of my previous headsets, I was a little concerned that the Kraken’s connecting wire from headset to controller wasn’t detachable and therefore not replaceable, upon further inspection and after some use I noted that the connecting wire and jack are in fact quite durable and so a potential fracture looks like it may well have been considered and not as likely as I had previously thought.
The headset chat adaptor that is included in the box is identical to the official Xbox One adaptor save a few differences to the aesthetic. By default the game and chat volume is equally balanced but you can increase or decrease either one and also adjust the overall level of sound in the headset. The trusty mute button takes centre spot on the adaptor for when you just don’t want your group to hear the level of cuss words that come out of your mouth, or when your wife walks in wanting a conversation about what the kids want for their tea!
Having previously used a wireless receiver for connecting a headset, this was the first headset I’ve used that only needs to be connected via the controller – that’s right, no additional leads are required – simply plug it in to the controller and it works, gone are the days of being tangled in a mass of wires, mind you if you did get tangled the bright vibrant Razer green wires are easy to unravel.
The mic clicks down into place and stowed back again when not in use, it’s positioned neatly at the end of a flexible boom, which is rigid enough to perfectly get the mic into a position that you prefer. Be warned though, the mic is very sensitive so best not put it too close to your mouth unless your friends like hearing you breath heavily down the mic. As for clarity of voice, the mic gives crystal clear sound – the difference was extremely noticeable when I swapped out the Kraken for another pair I own. Unfortunately (like most headsets I’ve used) you can’t hear your own voice, which can mean you might end up talking far more loudly than you need to. Remember to mute the headset when you’ve stowed the mic – there’s no auto-mute for when it’s in the upright position, which I feel is a feature that should have been included.
While the mic isn’t obvious when stowed it’s enough to put me off wearing these while walking down the street with them plugged into my iPhone, I couldn’t help but feel like an idiot wearing a pair of gaming headphones out in the neighbourhood!
The headband of the Kraken features little padding, but I never understood why some headsets put so much effort into headband padding – take beats for example, they have virtually no padding and they’re super comfortable.
Unless you have large ears, the ear cups are perfectly adequate in size and have ample padding. The lightweight design of the headset make the Kraken one of the most comfortable pair of cans I’ve worn – this is no fashion show, but you also don’t look like an idiot while wearing them.
The sound of the Kraken is great, offering a beautifully crisp balanced clarity to your games although if “you’re all about the bass” then you might be left wanting because I found that the Kraken lacks the deepness to bass making them sound rather too high on the treble – this also means explosions won’t rock your head as much. Once my ears became accustomed to the lack of bass I can’t say I missed it and the high treble enabled me to pick out other sounds like my good ‘friend’ Dave trying to sneak up on me and stab me in the back – apparently that’s what friends do!
I would have liked for there to be some options to adjust sound on the Kraken, like a bass booster or a way to reduce the treble – while some games sounded perfectly balanced, others were far too ‘light’ because the bass just wasn’t coming through well – the opening menu of Titanfall and sound of your Titan coming thundering down to earth just sounded weak and needed that extra thump from the bass.
Range wise, the headset doesn’t quite make it round all the rooms in my house and even a trip to the kitchen suffered some loss in connection.
The Kraken is a no fuss headset, it looks great, the mic is crystal clear and the sound mix is almost spot on. To top it all off the Kraken is one of the most comfortable headsets I’ve worn – congrats Razer you certainly have my attention, now how’s about a 7.1 surround sound version?
Thanks to Razer Europe for supplying TiX with a review unit
You can buy the Kraken for Xbox One directly from Razer for £89.99.