Boy, Razer’s Kraken Pro V2 Gaming Headset seems so quaint compared to what’s out there now. We’re spoiled with choice and many of them eagerly pile on the features, but the Pro V2 is a straightforward headpiece for gaming audio and voice chat that’s been narrowed down to everything you need for less than a Benjamin ($100).
This is coming from a company who release more expensive peripherals that prominently feature exuberant spectrums throughout, but not with the Kraken Pro V2. This is all-black — far from the pulsing orgasms of a colorful rainbow that draw you in, and into a cold dark void where not even the imprinted Razer logo is spared from being murdered out. From the branded leatherette/cloth headband, mesh-looking earcups complimented by thick pads, to an aluminum frame that only weighs 322g.
It’s a sharp look that wouldn’t be out of place if you use them everywhere, and I appreciate that the temptation for flamboyance is kept to a minimum for our tester. For those that do want to get noticed, however, Razer also has the typical white or lime green models available.
The retractable microphone on the Pro V2 is another nice touch that’s situated on the left side of the headset. It’s completely flexible and allows the user to freely adjust to their head, and nicely tucks away to avoid damage. The braided cable with volume control is hardwired on the left side with everything (audio + microphone) through an included 3.5mm adapter.
Speaking of which, the Pro V2 will serve many masters, and will work with PS4, Xbox One (mid-2015+ controllers), or any smartphone or tablet with an AUX jack. Just plug it into whatever you’re using and they work, with the splitter adapter only coming into play for PC/Mac that have separate 3.5mm ports. Not the prettiest solution we’ve seen but effective nonetheless — just remember not to lose the latter because your headset won’t function properly on computers without it.
I should point out that this is the second iteration of the Kraken Pro (hence the “V2” moniker), and the biggest change is the move up to 50mm speaker drivers (transducers) from the previous 40mm modules. Essentially, this widens the surface area in order to generate improved and better empathized bass, or at least that’s the idea behind the change. This theoretically makes sense in expensive headphones for accurate low-end effects or to directly amplify sound on a broad scale, depending on the application.
The latter attribute is where the Pro V2 manages to stand out, as bass is moderately incorporated into the listening profile. If you love high-ends with a tolerable bit of sharpness or moderately thumping lows, then you’ll really like how these sound for the money spent. The soundstage is surprisingly deep for sub-$100 closed-back headphones.
Gaming is what the Pro V2 is really engineered for titles like Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Battlefield 1, basically anything that would involve gunfire and dramatic explosions with excellent proficiency. Immersion is not limited to glorious detonations or absolute chaos though, with atmosphere and footsteps sounding believable, although in a rather linear manner.
Music listeners will also like the Pro V2 to a modest degree, as they’re generally good but the performance is secondary. For rap/hip-hop, electronica/dubstep, or heavy rock there is enough to appreciate and will produce a lively sound on those extremes. However, the mid-tones are a mixed bag with vocals exhibiting some detail loss.
The microphone, despite being analogue is clean, crisp, and on par with other headsets that cost considerably more. On the Xbox One and PC (Skype) my voice chats came in without interruption or outside interference, it easily got the job done.
Razer’s Kraken Pro V2 Gaming Headset is a great update of an already great headset. The focus on sprucing up the appearance and speakers for more ‘oomph’, without breaking the bank and necessary comfort is a smart move. Other choices include the HyperX Cloud and Creative Sound BlasterX H5 which are comparable in quality, but Razer undercuts the competition at $80 and is definitely worth a serious look.