We all enjoy haptic feedback in some way. Whether it’s on the touch screens of our phones or in the rumble packs of our controllers, haptics are a part of our lives. Today, we’re looking at a gaming headset that takes the idea of haptics to the next level with the Razer Nari Ultimate. Their tagline is “feel every battle” and this time it’s more than just marketing. Find out in our official review!
- MSRP: $199.99
- Razer HyperSense
- THX Spatial Audio
- Cooling Gel-Infused Cushions
- Lag-Free Wireless Performance
- Game/Chat Balance
- Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ohms at 1 kHz
- Sensitivity (@1 kHz): 107 ± 3 dB
- Input power: 30 mW (Max)
- Drivers: 50 mm, with Neodymium magnets
- Inner ear cup diameter: Width 56mm / Length 67mm
- Oval ear cushions: Designed for full-ear coverage with cooling gel, perfect for long-wearing comfort
- Connection type: Wireless USB Transceiver / 3.5mm analog
- Wireless range: 12 m / 40 ft
- Wireless frequency: 2.4 GHz
- Analog connection: 4 – pole
- Battery life: 8 hours with Razer Chroma lighting and HyperSense / 20 hours without Razer Chroma lighting and HyperSense
- Frequency response: 100 – 6.5 kHz
- Signal-to-noise ratio: > 50 dB
- Sensitivity (@1 kHz): -42 ± 3 dB
- Pick-up pattern: Unidirectional
Lofelt L5 Haptic
- 1 in each earcup
- Frequency Response: 20 – 200 Hz
- Maximum Generated Force: 4.3 G
- Intelligent Digital Signal Processing
The Razer Nari Ultimate is a special headset. Instead of just delivering high quality audio, these headphones also deliver haptic feedback straight to your ears. If we speak broadly, it’s not the first of its kind - I was using a vibrating headset as far back as 2011 - but it is the first of its kind that does haptic feedback in exactly this way. The Nari Ultimate is equipped with Razer HyperSense and it completely changes how you’ll experience the audio in your games.
Inside each earcup are two massive 50mm L5 haptic drivers. The sound they produce is big and wide with good channel separation for picking out oncoming enemies before they’re even in sight. I was impressed by the level of clarity in the mids and highs, too, which is important to hear the fine details in cacophonous games where little details often get lost in the mix. More than perhaps any other headset I’ve used, I would describe these as cinematic. It’s a weird way to discuss a gaming headset. I get it but hear me out.
The defining feature of the Razer Nari Ultimate is that haptic feedback. Working with Lofelt, makers of the Basslet, Razer has developed a system that feels like nothing short of a subwoofer, vibrating the headset in tune with exactly what’s happening on screen. Think of sitting in a theater. When deep noises take over the scene and you can feel them reverberating through your body or those big moments hit and you can feel the shake in your chest. That is what this headset does in the comfort of your living room.
That headset I had in 2011, and every one since, has worked with vibration motors like you’d find in a game controller. It’s off or on, nothing or everything, and they would give you a headache after a while. The L5 drivers are the next generation of that idea and respond to the exact waveform coming through the speaker. Big explosions will hit hard and let you feel the power of the blast, but orchestral scores, planes flying overhead, the honk of a semi, will each land with a tight, constrained feedback that exactly matches the intensity you’d expect it to.
It’s not head-rattling or headache inducing. In fact, the actual shake of the headphones isn’t that bad at all. By embedding the haptic tech in the driver housings, that vibration can feel pretty profound without shaking you all that bad at all. Describing their Basslet (a neat bass transmitting bracelet we’re also trying to get in for review), they say their haptic technology “uses a psychoacoustic phenomenon [where] your brain merges sound and vibration into a single experience.” That sure sounds about right to me.
The headset includes a number of different controls onboard, including volume, microphone mute, and game/chat balance. It also features a chamber to store the wireless transmitter when not in use (bottom right)
This headset is clearly tuned for games, so I found the default EQ needed to be adjusted to my taste for music. Thankfully this was easy to do inside the Synapse 3 software, which also allows you to control the intensity of haptic feedback and perform other customizations, like adjusting the noise filtering on the microphone or the color of the RGB logos on each ear cup. Once everything is dialed in, the Nari Ultimate can sound good for music, Netflix, or anything else you’d care to throw at it.
The best part is, the haptic feedback will work even without being connected to a PC. Since this headset is designed for console use too, you’ll be getting the full experience even when strapped up to your controller or smartphone with a 3.5mm cable. We weren’t able to test the headset on PS4, but according to the documentation we received, you can ever use the headset wirelessly with the included transmitter, but outside of PC, HyperSense is only enabled with using the 3.5mm jack.
The Nari Ultimate also features THX Spatial Audio. It sounds great and works well to retain positionality without soaking the signal in reverb. Combined with the L5 haptics, the Nari actively tries to draw you into the game, which honestly made action titles like Battlefield V more fun to play.
The Nari Ultimate comes to market at $199. For that kind of money, we expect more than a single unique feature to sell the headset to us and thankfully, it delivers. The Nari Ultimate features a metal headband with a self-adjusting strap, swivel earcups for resting on your chest, and memory foam ear cushions infused with a gel layer that makes them feel cool against your skin. Each cushion also features a small channel for the arms of your glasses, which is always much appreciated.
At this price point, I do wish they’d used a little more metal in the construction of the ear cups. They feel just fine but coming from the well-done headband, the use of plastic here does stand out.
When it comes to comfort, however, the Nari Ultimate definitely delivers. I love the ear cushions. The cooling gel infusion always makes them feel nice to put on for the first time and their lightweight build (which is partially because of that plastic) makes them easy to wear for long periods of time. I have a smaller head, so the self-adjustment band did sit a little looser than I prefer but short of headbanging or bending over to pick something up off the floor, they never came out of place.
The headset also comes with a retractable microphone to keep it out of sight when not in use. When it comes to wireless mics, this one is only so-so. To date, almost every wireless headset we’ve tried suffers from the same over-compression from sending the microphone signal over the air. The result is a lack of body and a nasally quality that’s not unique to the Nari but still not suited for things like streaming. For communicating with your teammates or taking calls over Skype it will work just fine, and a wider look at Razer’s catalog tells us that’s probably exactly what this headset is intended for. Have a listen for yourself:
The Razer Nari Ultimate is the most fun headset I’ve used all year. The haptic feedback is just plain cool. Being able to feel the game like you’re sitting in the middle of a THX-certified theater enhances the experience in a way that’s instantly more immersive. Few headsets can claim to literally change the way you experience your game. This is one of them and it’s nothing short of a blast to game with.
- Haptic feedback changes the way you experience games
- Can be used wired or wirelessly
- Haptics aren’t limited to PC only (but can be customized through Synapse 3)
- Comfortable over long gaming sessions
- Glasses channels! Cooling gel!
- Plastic on the driver housings stands out
- $199.99 is pricey - but is anyone else doing this?
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.