Cases And Accessories

Razer Hammerhead True Wi-fi Assessment: RGB and ANC for much less

Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Review: RGB and ANC for less

RRP $ 130.00

“The new Hammerhead True Wireless brings an RGB light show to your ears along with pretty effective ANC.”

advantages

  • Comfortable fit and improved design

  • Solid passive and active noise cancellation

  • Eye-catching RGB lighting

disadvantage

  • Buggy beta software and tricky touch controls

Razer used to be a bigger name in the gaming world than it was in the audio world, but after several generations of audio products have been released, it’s safe to say that it is no longer the case. The latest in Razer’s audio lineup, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Earbuds are the second generation of Razer’s true wireless earbuds for gamers.

They bear quite a resemblance to the first generation Hammerhead True Wireless, but have several significant design refinements, eye-catching Razer Chroma RGB lighting, and solid active noise cancellation (ANC) and audio capabilities. However, the software was still in beta when I tested, and there were some issues with tricky controls, so my rating will likely change after I’ve had more time with the final software.

Ajay Kumar / Digital Trends

Design and fit

The most immediate and obvious comparison for the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless is that with the AirPods Pro. Available in gloss black, they come with angled earbuds attached to a stem, in-ear silicone earbuds, and a pill box-sized charging case that charges with USB-C. The box came with three different sizes of silicone earbuds, but the standard pair worked perfectly for my ears.

The fit is close-fitting without feeling uncomfortable when worn for long periods of time. At only 53 g, the earphones are barely noticeable when worn. This was not the case with the previous generation, which was half-eared and did not go directly into the ear canal. The in-ear design also improves passive noise isolation, which works well to improve active noise cancellation.

A light show in your ears

However, this is all pretty standard you’ll find on other true wireless earbuds, including Razer’s own Hammerhead True Wireless Pro. The big feature here is Razer Chroma RGB, Razer’s full-color lighting ecosystem that it uses for all of its gaming devices and peripherals. After all, how do you know that there is something for gamers without RGB?

On the back of both earbuds you can see the Razer logo illuminated with RGB lighting. The lights are on by default in breathing mode, but you can adjust brightness and modes using the Razer Chroma app. One of the more interesting modes is Audio Meter, which reacts to the music being played to give a light show to the people around you. It’s a noticeable feature that is sure to get some glances in the elevator and grocery store.

Ajay Kumar / Digital Trends

Apart from the aesthetic effect, I can also see it as useful for night joggers. Razer says it has worked on optimizing Chroma so that it doesn’t drain battery life excessively and that it will last longer than the first generation hammerheads.

Software and battery

Both the Razer Audio and Razer Chrome companion apps that I tested were still in beta and required sideloading on my Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra so I won’t really be able to gauge their capabilities until they reach consumers Version is available. The first time it was used, the app was slow to connect to the earbuds each time and the tweaks were a chore, but hopefully this will change with the final release. With that in mind, the Razer Audio app offers the key customizations that most people look for in true wireless earbuds.

You get customizable EQ controls and a number of pre-programmed profiles including Amplified, Default, Enhanced Bass, Enhanced Clarity and Vocal. As a metalhead, I particularly enjoyed using enhanced bass for music and enhanced clarity for podcasts and audiobooks.

Ajay Kumar / Digital Trends

ANC can be turned on to block out most of the background noise, set to ambient mode so you can hear some background noise (which is helpful when commuting or needing to talk to someone), or turned off entirely if you want to save battery.

The controls of the Hammerhead True are all touch sensitive and can be assigned different tapping gestures for play / pause, skipping tracks, voice assistants, controlling ANC modes and more. The touch controls were a bit fussy, and I never got used to adjusting the volume, which required a double tap and hold. It almost never worked properly on the first try, and often stopped my music or skipped my track instead. It might take some practice, but I would have preferred to remap the double tap to do something else, even if it meant the loss of the volume feature.

According to Razer, the earbuds should last four hours with RGB and ANC on and 16 hours with charging out of the case. With both off, they estimate 6.5 hours for the earbuds and 26 hours for the case. I have to spend more time on the earbuds to know for sure, but my testing with RGB and ANC and volume at a moderate 20-30% easily took at least four hours, if not longer.

Sound quality and features

The Hammerhead True Wireless have Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity, 10 mm drivers and a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 KHz. In practice, this results in solid sound quality with balanced lows, mids, and highs. The default audio profile is crisp and balanced, and the EQ can be adjusted to your preferences if you like more punchy bass or crisper vocals. I particularly enjoyed Enhanced Bass listening to Sabaton and Iron Maiden, while Mike Duncan’s Revolutions podcast benefited from Enhanced Clarity. Watching Netflix shows sounded perfect in the default settings.

The standard audio profile is clear and balanced

As a gamer, I used the gaming mode, which reduces the audio latency to 60 ms, but at the expense of audio compression and the shortening of the regular Bluetooth range from 33 feet to around 2 feet. This isn’t a big deal unless you’re using the Hammerhead True Wireless with your console or gaming PC and sitting some distance from the source device. I’ve only used it with my phone and laptop so it haven’t encountered any range issues.

Ajay Kumar / Digital Trends

I used gaming mode to play Genshin Impact, Assassin’s Creed Rebels, and Asphalt 9 Nitro on my phone. On Asphalt 9, I heard the biggest impact of the reduced audio latency – there was no noticeable delay between my car burning up and the tires screeching.

Overall, I found the sound profile to be cheap in terms of detail and soundstage compared to the Anker Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro I normally use, although it can’t hold its own against higher-end true wireless earbuds or over-ear Bluetooth headphones.

Active noise cancellation

The other big standout feature here is Feedforward ANC, which means that the earbuds have two microphones that pick up noise and cancel it out with counter-noise. Feedforward isn’t as good as the True Wireless Pro’s hybrid ANC, which has microphones both inside and outside, but when combined with the passive noise cancellation, it comes pretty close. It was definitely better than the ANC on the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, which don’t form a physical seal with the ears.

Ajay Kumar / Digital Trends

I left ANC on for most of the time and found it very effective at blocking out most of the background noise, including the rumble of my window air conditioner, the sound of my fan, and the general hustle and bustle of the subway. I also had no problem hearing audio over the sound of my rowing machine while exercising. However, it doesn’t match the ANC capabilities of the Sony WF-1000XM4 or AirPods Pro, which can block out a wider range of sounds more consistently, and you may notice a slight background noise when no audio is playing.

Price and availability

At $ 130, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless sits in the middle of Razer’s audio lineup and proves to be less expensive than the $ 200 True Wireless Pro but higher than the $ 100 first-generation True Wireless. They will be available in the Razer Store on August 11th.

Our opinion

Despite some software quirks and tricky controls, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless are a compelling pair of true wireless earbuds – the audio quality is solid, the RGB lighting makes for a fun and stylish look, and ANC is good enough for commuting to work or exercising .

Are there any better alternatives?

If price doesn’t matter, that will $ 249 Apple AirPods Pro provide more seamless connectivity for iOS users with Apple’s H1 chip and superior noise cancellation. Sony is also the leader in noise cancellation, and the $ 280 WF-1000XM4 are packed with features and support codecs like LDAC. The recently announced Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 offer comparable ANC, IPX7 water resistance, and even better battery life for $ 150 if you’re ready to wait for them to hit stores on August 27th.

Anker’s Soundcore brand has plenty of inexpensive true wireless earbuds for the budget-conscious, including the Liberty Neo for $ 70, the Life P3 for $ 80, the Liberty Air 2 Pro for $ 130, and many more, though these are yours do not offer the same audio quality or noise cancellation.

How long it will take?

The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless supports IPX4 water resistance, which is designed to protect it from splashes and sweat so you can use it while exercising. I also accidentally dropped them a couple of times and they survived without physical harm. They also come with Bluetooth 5.2, which was just launched in January 2020, so you should be future proof for a few years. The earbuds also come with a two-year limited warranty.

Should you buy it?

Yes. With the caveat that the software I tested was still in beta, you won’t be disappointed with the sound quality, noise cancellation, or eye-catching RGB lighting of the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless.

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