Tuesday, 08 May 2018 14:10

Razer Thresher 7.1 Gaming Headset PC review

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Razer Thresher 7.1 headset Razer Thresher 7.1 headset Razer

On paper, the Thresher 7.1 doesn’t bring much to the table. So why are we such big fans of them? The core features of being wireless and offering (virtual) 7.1 surround sound are top-end features, but not unique.

If ever there was a tech segment that was in danger of becoming commoditised, it’s headphones – especially gaming headphones. The choice is mind-boggling and frequently based upon brand, colour and price rather than performance. 

First up, it’s really comfortable to use and for long gaming sessions too. Many competitors are downright uncomfortable to use or make you overheat quickly. The Thresher's big, round cans don’t squash your ears and they aren't too tight for big heads. They also didn’t cause us to overheat nearly as much as some competitors. We also found that they isolated ambient sound more than rivals – we know this from family members having to yell that bit louder to make themselves heard when calling out to whoever was using them.
razer thresher
The Razer Thresher 7.1 gaming headset.

The next benefit is ease of use, but note first that Razer makes two flavours of the Thresher 7.1 headset: an Xbox-and-PC version and a PS4-and-PC version. We tested the latter on a PC. That involved simply plugging in the partnering USB stick and the drivers automatically install. We turned on the headphones and everything just worked. There’s no iffy third-party software or awkward pairing process. The only buttons you need are intuitive and well-placed – on the right is a dial that controls volume and if you press it, it cuts volume. A similar dial is on the left and controls the volume of the flexible microphone. Muting it turns the tip of the mic red so that you know it’s off – a useful feature.

Beyond that, everyone we played with heard us with no issues. Pro-spec mics will always sound better, but this is perfectly usable. Audio is generally very good. While some gaming headsets are highly-optimised for frequencies that exacerbate sounds like someone sneaking up on you (which makes general sound tinny and horrible) these ones offer a well-rounded, balanced fidelity. The 7.1 (virtual) surround sound still means you can hear where competitors are located in games like Call of Duty WWII and it works very well.

This is a double-edged sword, however. Other headsets will still make it easier to hear twigs breaking, doors opening and other giveaway signals that usually get lost in the ambient mire. As such they offer slightly-better gaming performance for high-end competitors. On the other hand, music sounds good on these headphones.

They cost anywhere from a reasonable $229 to a steep $299. You can buy a charging stand separately or bundled, but this tends to bring the price nearer $400. Note, it’s very bulky but potentially useful. Otherwise you’re charging it with the bundled, high-quality, long, USB cable. The charge lasts for an impressive 15 hours and if the headset does go dead, it still works with the charging cable attached.

Ultimately, these are our favourite gaming headphones – in terms of comfort and performance. Competitive players might want more of an edge from frequency-distortion, but anyone playing for fun, for long periods and for moderate levels of competition, would likely prefer these. 

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Nick Ross

Nick Ross is a veteran technology journalist who has contributed to many of Australia's top technology titles and edited several of them. He was the launch editor of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation online Technology section.

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