Active Noise Cancelling is quickly becoming the go-to feature for lifestyle headphones and even true wireless earbuds, so it was only a matter of time before a major gaming brand tried its hand. Today, we’re looking at the Razer Opus, and even though it’s a Razer product, it’s not necessarily targeting gamers first this time. Featuring THX audio certification, high-res AAC and AptX audio transmission, app control, ambient sound awareness, and a surprisingly reasonable $199 price point, should this be your next on-the-go headset?
- Current Price: $199 (Razer Store, Amazon)
- Key Features:
- THX Certified Headphones
- Advanced active noise cancellation (ANC) technology
- Engineered for comfort
- Quick Attention Mode
- Auto Pause/Auto Play
- Drivers: 2 x 40mm dynamic drivers
- Weight: 265g
- Frequency response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
- Microphones: 4 for hybrid active noise cancellation technology, 2 for voice chat
- Wearing style: Circumaural
- What’s inside: Headset, premium carry case, airplane adapter, 1.3m length 3.5mm analog cable, 30cm length USB-C to USB-C cable, USB-A to USB-C adapter
- Battery life: Up to 25 hours
- Codecs: AAC & APTX, 4.2, A2DP, AVRCP, HFP
- Warranty: Two-year
The first thing to know about the Razer Opus is that it’s not really a gaming headset at all. With this headset, Razer seems to be acknowledging that it's grown up alongside many of its fans, and the teens who may have bought their first Razer-branded gaming keyboard may now be college graduates with jobs and families of their own. The Opus is a traveler’s headphone. It’s ready to take on gaming too, but it’s much more of a lifestyle headphone than we’re used to seeing from Razer.
In fact, it has much more in common with the Sony WH1000-XM4 than it does with the Razer Kraken. Its design is understated, without any bright colors or bold, three-headed snake logos. You could take these out on a plane next to your non-gaming colleagues and they wouldn’t bat an eye. The design is straight, matte black with small THX logos and a Razer stamp on the headband. Even visually, the two headphones bear a striking resemblance.
The set is made of plastic with a sturdy metal headband. That keeps it light and easy to wear. At only 265 grams, I didn’t notice any soreness on the top of my head, even when worn for several hours at a time. Just because it’s plastic doesn’t mean its cheap, however. The headset doesn’t creak or rattle and the connections feel durable. It also features a folding design for easy storage and rotating earcups to allow them to lay flat around your neck.
The headphones are also quite comfortable. The ear cushions are made of memory foam and trimmed in leatherette to seal out external noise and support their active noise cancellation. The clamping force is also well-tuned to provide a nice seal around my ear without making my jaw feel sore. They do allow heat to build up, however. The few times I wore them while mowing the lawn, I definitely began to sweat around my ears. That said, in normal use, this was more of a warmness that never really bothered me.
When it comes to technology, the Opus has a lot going for it. It features wired or wireless playback, THX-certified audio, quick ambient passthrough mode, USB C charging, and active noise canceling. It has a large internal battery that supports 25 hours of playback with ANC on. It also features app support to customize the sound across several different presets. That said, it features an oddly outdated Bluetooth 4.2 version and an app that allows presets but not custom EQs. You can easily get around this by using a third-party EQ on your phone, but it’s an odd limitation nonetheless.
When it comes to sound, however, the Opus’ are real winners. For $200, they punch above their class. As a mainstream headphone, they’re tuned to provide a good balance of bass and treble detail and because of the THX certification will never distort. They feature large 40mm dynamic drivers that offer a substantial punch, which also makes them great for action-packed games without becoming overwhelming.
The active noise canceling is also quite good. Having never heard the Sony XM3 or XM4s, I’m not equipped to make that comparison, but I have heard quite a few noise-canceling headphones. These are easily on par with the Philips PH805s I reviewed back in May. That’s a compliment because the PH805s were also some of the best I had heard. At $199, the Opus’ is roughly $40 more expensive but offer improved PC functionality, THX certification, and app control to earn their keep.
Using the Razer’s in my office, they immediately and entirely cut out the sound of my PC and the fan I had running to stay cool. The noise-canceling algorithm works best for consistent, droning noises, so if you’re looking to block out the sound of an AC unit or an engine out the plane window, these will get the job done with ease. Voices and less consistent sounds still cut through, so you’ll still be able to hear when someone calls your name.
This happened to me more than once and I found myself thankful for the Quick Attention Mode. Voices will cut through, but if you have music or a game playing at the same time, the leatherette ear cushions will still muffle it and make it hard to hear. Simply holding down the ANC button activates the external microphones allowing you to hear what’s around you.
The Razer Opus is a very different kind of headset for Razer but it’s one I’m glad they made. The ANC is excellent and the sound quality is very good, whether you’re listening to music or tearing up the battlefield on COD: Warzone. With the Opus, Razer delivers a more “grown-up” headset, but also one that could easily fill in as the high-end headphone you use for all kinds of content. At $199, it is well priced and worth the investment.
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.