Release the Kraken!
Choosing a headset can prove to be mighty difficult in today's era. There's a ton of options; whether it's comfort level, sound quality, or functionality. Usually headsets tend to favor one factor over the other, leaving you fairly dissatisfied in the long run.
After dragging Razer's new Kraken Pro through the mud for many lengthy sessions, however, I've found that they're a great compromise if you're looking for a pair of PC headphones.
Product: Razer Kraken Pro Headset
Input: PC Audio/Mic splitter, or standard 3.5mm jack
Since this is being advertised as "the most comfortable headset ever," I had to put that claim to the test. To trial the comfort factor, I wore them for two lengthy sessions, among other shorter bursts -- one five hours and the other, eight. In these power sessions, I tried it on a variety of content: PC games, portables, music, films, TV shows, and everything in-between.
At some point during both of these experiments, I forgot I was even wearing them. The top headband is so cushioned that I can barely feel it unless I'm thinking about it, and the headphones are fairly light at 0.65 lbs.
At times, the side-cups make themselves aware and you'll have to re-position them, but they were never uncomfortable. Speaking of the cups, they're built with plush circumaural padding, which provides a decent (but not shockingly good) amount of noise isolation. Unless you have elf ears, you should find that your listening devices fit fairly well into the comfy cups.
When compared to other headets, I have to say; I own around ten pairs of non-bud sets, and I've found that the comfort factor actually works out as advertised. Since I review games fairly often, long gaming sessions are normal for me, and where other headsets would get muggy or itchy after a while, the Pro feels great. Specifically, this should speak to MMO fans, who find themselves on long raids in need of a comfortable headset with a mic. So if you're tired of scratchy or bulky feeling headphones, this is your huckleberry.
As far as looks go, the Kraken is a fairly sexy headset, but the bright green may be a little too flashy for your tastes: especially if you work in a professional office environment. The green may not literally light up and look too ridiculous, but odds are, you will be noticed with these on (which, depending on your personality, you may enjoy). Thankfully though, the mic is retractable (and flexible), so if you don't need it, it doesn't look ridiculous popping upwards like every other headset. You can also get the Pro in black.
In terms of functionality, the Kraken accomplishes everything it sets out to do, but just be aware that it does lack some features found in higher-range headsets. For instance, the Kraken doesn't have inline volume control, mic control, Bluetooth, console support out of the box, or handset/phone call controls -- so if you're looking for a more versatile headset, you may want to look at something else, like the Tiamat.
Since they're primarily meant for PC gaming, they come with an audio/mic splitter so that you can chat/podcast/Skype to your heart's content. The standard audio cable is 4.27 ft., which isn't a whole lot of slack, but you also have the extended 6.6 ft. length of the splitter. There's also no software drivers here: just plug and play.
As previously mentioned, the mic is retractable, and pulls out very easily without having to take the headset off. It might take a few times to get used to position when you're pulling it out, but with a good two-handed grip you can easily retract it. The material for the mic and mic-stem feel sturdy enough that it won't snap if you apply too much force, and should last you a long while.
The audio itself comes in both clear, and loud. I tried comparing it to a few comparable Turtle Beach and Astro headsets in the same price range side by side, and I found that the Kraken Pro was capable of a higher sound output. The only downside is that the lows are crazy powerful, which may either be a good or bad thing depending on the person; so you might need to hit your EQ. Otherwise, I have no real complaints for a headset that lacks on-board volume control. The audio quality itself also isn't worthy of truly calling it "surround," and from what I can tell, it only supports 2.1.
I enjoyed my time with the Kraken Pro headset, and look forward to busting it out during lengthy gaming sessions for the foreseeable future. While console support tout of the box would be nice, it still works great with mobile handsets, portables, and of course, as intended, any PC. The Pro is listed at $79.99, but you can pick up the non-Pro (with no mic and no included splitter adapter) for $59.99.
reviewed by Chris Carter