These gaming headphones don’t mess around: we tested the new Razer BlackShark V2 Pro

TVs & Audio | April 29, 2024

These gaming headphones don’t mess around: we tested the new Razer BlackShark V2 Pro

The competition in the gaming headset sector is absurd; it’s very easy to get lost among the plethora of options available in the market, and that leads most manufacturers to try to grab attention with extravagant designs and questionable quality features. However, the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro, priced at 229.99 euros, are taking a different approach.

These are words I never thought I would say about a Razer product, but a simple look at these headphones proves that, on this occasion, the company has cut out the nonsense and simply created a good product, without any further fuss or unnecessary distractions.

To the point of not having RGB lighting; I know, that seems like the ultimate heresy for a company that has based its aesthetic on black color with green lights, but it makes sense in a product that can only be used wirelessly. True gamers won’t mind losing a little light if it means they can play a couple more hours, and that translates into a surprisingly long battery life; Razer boasts up to 70 hours, and in my tests, I’ve managed to get close with conventional use, although it all depends on the volume you prefer.

A Mature Design

Ironically, the design is the part I liked the most about the BlackShark V2 Pro. It’s evident that Razer has matured as a company and is willing to appeal to different types of users. Some may prefer having a cyborg attached to their ears, but this design inspired by the headsets used by pilots of the past is my personal preference; it’s a matter of taste, and the good news is that if you want something more flashy, Razer itself offers it with other ranges like the Kraken.

But it’s not just a matter of taste. What is undeniable is that these headphones are lighter and more comfortable than most gaming models I’ve tried; in fact, I would dare to say they are the most comfortable, period. This is something that those who spend all day in front of the computer, whether gaming, working, or both, will notice; I haven’t had any issues wearing these headphones throughout the entire workday, and then jumping into gaming without taking them off.

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There are two reasons behind this comfort. Firstly, the weight of only 320 grams is not only less than that of other similar products, but it’s also better distributed, making it very easy to find the exact point for our head; and the manufacturing quality is beyond doubt, with no strange noises when we move despite being made of plastic.

The second element that contributes to comfort lies in the memory foam ear cushions (a material also used in the headband), which conform to the shape of our ears and head; additionally, they are breathable, which will be appreciated when summer arrives. However, I would have liked the manufacturer to include leather (even synthetic) ear cushions and the possibility to interchange them, for those who prefer that sensation in colder seasons.

Sound for Everyone

I have to admit that I initially didn’t like the sound of the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro at all; but I completely changed my mind as soon as I did a bit of investigation and pressed the button on the right earcup. Suddenly, the experience completely changed. Unlike other headphones, the BlackShark V2 has four pre-installed equalization settings, and you don’t need to use any program to switch between them; just by double-tapping the mentioned button, we can switch between them.

My problem was that, by default, the headphones were in ‘gaming’ mode, with an equalization clearly intended to highlight the voices of our teammates in online games, hiding most of the other sounds. This mode is very useful in that type of games, but, as the reader will understand, for the rest of the content, it’s dreadful.

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The good news is that the rest of the modes cover all the niches: we have ‘Movies’, ‘Music’, and ‘Custom’; the latter is by default completely neutral, and ironically, it’s the one I liked the most because it makes the best use of the 50mm drivers used in the BlackShark V2 Pro. When properly equalized for the content we want, these headphones have little to envy from non-gaming alternatives, with clean sound and impactful bass. They’re not ‘studio’ or ‘professional’ headphones, but they are very versatile and suitable for all types of content and games.

Razer’s ‘ace in the hole’ is THX sound, which offers a surround sound approximation using only the two speakers using advanced algorithms. It’s one of those things you either love or hate, and there’s usually no middle ground; although in my experience, it largely depends on the type of content you prefer.

In my case, I preferred to deactivate it while listening to music because it affected the balance between instruments; however, I’ve found that it works very well when watching movies because it can move ambient noise and bass to the ‘rear’ and bring voices to the ‘front’ so they are heard better, if that makes sense. It’s just an algorithm trick, but in this case, it managed to convince me. In games, the experience has the same ups and downs, and in some games, it helps to ‘immerse’ into the story, while in others, it’s a nuisance; it’s a matter of trying it out.

Very Versatile

The more I’ve used the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro, the more convinced I’ve become that their strong point is versatility: they serve for all kinds of situations and content, without the need for anything unusual. The button to switch equalization directly on the right earcup is a nice touch from Razer, although of course, we can always install the Razer Synapse program to configure it in more detail; for example, to adjust the ‘Custom’ equalization to our liking.

From this program, we can also create unique sound profiles for each game separately, as well as activate a ‘do not disturb’ mode if we receive a call on our mobile while we have the headphones connected to the computer and the mobile at the same time. And speaking of calls, from Synapse, we can configure enhancements such as voice clarity.

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This way, I haven’t had to take off the headphones for anything, not even to switch devices. The BlackShark V2 Pro has two wireless connections, a 2.4 GHz one that reduces latency but requires the use of a USB adapter for the computer; and they also have Bluetooth 5.2 to connect to our mobile phone or tablet, and there we have access to the same advantages. We can switch from one mode to another with just the press of a button, confirming that ease of use has been a priority for Razer.

The only thing I can criticize is that we can’t connect them to the computer via cable, although for some strange reason, it is possible in the cheaper version of these headphones; the included cable in this model is only used for charging the battery. Another important detail is that these headphones do not have active noise cancellation, although they do have ‘noise reduction’, so even though technically you can take them out on the street connected to your mobile phone, in practice they don’t isolate enough to enjoy your music. At least, it is possible to activate sound normalization, which amplifies external noises (such as footsteps or conversations) if we don’t want to isolate them from our surroundings.

There aren’t many accessories included in the box, apart from the aforementioned cable, the 2.4 GHz adapter, and an extender. And, of course, the microphone, which can be left connected to the headphones or removed if we’re not going to use it. It can be positioned exactly as we want, and the sound has pleasantly surprised me, being clearer and more accurate than what I’m used to in many gaming headphones.

The Safe Choice

The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro may not be the most surprising or advanced wireless headphones I’ve tried, but they are certainly among the most reliable and versatile. At no point have I ‘fought’ with them, and I’ve been able to use them daily for all kinds of content and tasks without any issues; whether it’s making a video call at work, listening to the latest album from my favorite band, or playing an online game, they have performed well, and I haven’t needed to switch them out for others.

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For 229.99 euros, the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro is a safe choice, one that won’t keep you up at night worrying; but if you like taking risks, there are alternatives. For example, the Corsair HS80 Max is more eye-catching both in aesthetics and features, although that means they’re not for everyone. Razer itself also offers the Kraken as a more ‘gamer’ option, but ironically, if you like the aesthetics and features of these BlackShark V2 Pro, I believe you should look at the BlackShark V2 HyperSpeed, which for only 149.99 euros share many characteristics.

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