As the guys at Razer continue on their journey of peripheral world domination, they seem pretty untouchable thanks to their high-end manufacturing quality on their products that not only cater for gamers but also everybody else with their non-gaming products such as watches and newly released earphones. Razer have been at the top of their game for years now. Once a small team, Razer have now hit the heights of prestige in their field, buying out companies such as THX and, more recently, smartphone manufacturers, Nextbit.
Razer is also renowned for their use of menacing names for their products, more predominantly, sea creatures with the Hammerhead, Leviathan and the Kraken. Razers Kraken range are a multitude of headsets that are purely for gaming although the earlier models, equipped with a 3.5mm plug, can be used as conventional headphones. Their latest iteration of their Kraken headset is the Kraken 7.1 V2, a revised and improved version of the Kraken but as I removed the item from its iconic black and green packaging, I noticed that it was significantly bulkier than any of the others in the series. Its bulkiness shouldn’t deter you from buying the Kraken 7.1 V2, though, its size gives it space to really pack a punch in the audio department. Two large ear cups with a black meshed design sport the swirling serpents of the developer’s logo that impressively lights up when switched on making it look super sleek. On the inside, a circular shaped cushion surrounds the speaker that maximizes comfort, and does so brilliantly. Putting the headset on was a blessing, the cushions cradled my ears and not once did I ever feel sweaty after long periods. The extendable arms of the head band mean they fit everyone too.
The Kraken 7.1 V2 boasts its sound capability in its name. Full 7.1 high definition surround sound with hefty base similar to that of a cinema theater. The sound this thing whips out is unprecedented and nothing short of stunning. I heard every bullet chink next to me and every voice from every angle in such a quality, I almost felt right there. This big and chunky device can unleash crisp sounds that not only highlights every sound effect but music too. Hi-hats are crystal and bass lines pound the ear drum, depending on the quality of the music you play. The bass is best heard during explosions when in the thick of it. The booms can almost be felt without ever hurting your ears.
The microphone pushes into the left ear cup which prevents it from feeling invasive when using the headphones only. It also protects the flexible rod that the mic itself sits on from damage. Voice chat is so clear that it beats even the best smartphone microphones quite easily. Even during busy lobbies, I was able to recognise individual voices among the chaos of a busy chat room. Extremely impressive.
The main issue with the Kraken 7.1 V2 is its limited connectivity options. 7.1 sound requires a digital USB connection which eliminates being able to use the Kraken for anything other than a gaming headset. Maybe it could have shipped with some sort of a converter to eliminate this issue. Another qualm is the lack of gaming pre-sets although it does have about a dozen music ones such as country, classical, blues, rock and oldies. It’s not a completely bad thing. Not having to fiddle with audio profiles to get the perfect sound balance between music and gaming. There is nothing worse.
The Kraken 7.1 V2 is a premium piece of kit that not only delivers unprecedented sound quality in music or gaming but also maximizes comfort and usability. It’s a hefty device but quality comes along with it. Razer are well-known for their top-quality manufacturing capabilities and the Kraken 7.1 V2 doesn’t disappoint with its top notch premium feel. It’s compatibility with Razers Synapse app means you can fiddle to your hearts content with all the pre-sets or equalizer settings although you can’t do this with console gaming. It may be mammoth sized but the Kraken 7.1 V2 is a beast within.
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: 26th October 2016