Razer Hammerhead X Wireless Earbud REVIEW
PAT PILCHER puts a pair of nicely priced wireless earbuds to the test and discovers that they sound better than expected.
Razer has been the gamer’s go-to brand forever. They sell everything from glowing RGB mechanical keyboards to cool sci-fi looking RGB-illuminated anti-COVID masks. Now they’re expanding their reach to a broader consumer audience with the Hammerhead True Wireless X Earbuds.
They’re excellent value for money and have some features that are aimed at gamers. The question is, though, do they sound any good?
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The Hammerhead’s might look like generic EarPod wannabe buds from a design perspective, but Razer’s added a few nifty tweaks. First and foremost, they come with a gel covering, which makes for a super comfy fit. The gel is grippy, which means the likelihood of losing these buds as you run for the bus is low. They also have illuminated touch surfaces (which can be animated, switched on/off and dimmed) so you can sport glowing green Razer logos in each ear. Their charging case gives 24 hours of use (28 hours with lighting disabled). It isn’t huge and features soft curved edges, which help to make it very pocketable.
So, what of their sonic capabilities? While they sounded average out of the box, pairing the Hammerhead X buds with the Razer app improved their sound considerably. Soft treble and waffly bass took on more sonically precise characteristics. There’s oodles of bottom-end audio, but their mids and highs don’t quite have the same level of precision as Sony’s WF-1000XM4’s. Given that the Hammerhead X’s cost a quarter of the price of the Sony buds, this difference is understandable.
The Razer app (Android/iOS) allows you to customise their lighting, tweak EQ settings, and remap their control gestures. A nod to Razer’s gaming DNA is included in the form of a Gaming Mode that provides ultra-low latency audio. Razer says the lag is a mere 60ms. In practice, it bought mobile gaming to life. Firing up Roblox Noob Army Tycoon, I could hear enemy troops become cannon fodder. My rocketing kill score took me to the 63rd position on the leaderboard. There used to be a noticeable lag between on-screen action and in-game audio. Gaming is now swift and sonically satisfying.
Getting set up with wireless earbuds can be a bit of a crapshoot. Some brands can be paired and configured in minutes. In contrast, others are a frustrating demonstration of what a nightmare Bluetooth can be. Thankfully, the Hammerhead X’s were firmly in the former category and were straightforward to pair and customise. Pairing was particularly easy thanks to Google’s Quick Pair tech, which involved opening the charging case lid and hitting the “Connect” button on my smartphone.
In use, I only found two minor drawbacks. Their glossy surface makes it tricky to retrieve them out of their charging case. While this is not a biggie, it’s nonetheless, annoying. The other is that they don’t support wear detection. This means that if you’re playing music and you pull them out of your ear holes, music will continue playing.
Taking the Razers for a stroll in the Wellington CBD (where there’s lots of RF interference), I found their Bluetooth connectivity robust and easily on par with Huawei’s Freebuds. Their connection with my phone only dropped out once. While they lacked the bone-conducting tech of Huawei’s Freebuds, taking calls on the Hammerhead X’s was surprisingly clear. Checking afterwards revealed that those calling me had no idea I was chatting away to them via earbuds.
Razer says that the Hammerhead X’s will deliver up to seven hours of music listening with the lighting off and six hours when illuminated. That’s not too shabby. In practice, I tried with the illumination on and the volume at 60 percent. I got five-and-a-half hours’ use. With the lights turned off, that stretched to just over six hours. The charging case gave three full charges. While there is no wireless charging, wired charging is much quicker, taking just two hours.
For casual daily use and especially for gaming, the Hammerhead X’s worked well. Given their reasonable sticker price, Hammerhead Wireless X offers solid value for money. It would have been nice to have seen active noise cancellation and wireless charging included. Still, they delivered solid audio performance at an amazing price, especially when used with the Razer app.