Razer BlackShark V2 Pro wireless gaming headset review
Quick verdict: Comfortable, powerful and versatile, the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro is up there with the best wireless gaming headsets on the market.
- Sharp highs and powerful lows make for excellent audio performance across the board
- THX Spatial Audio produces an impressive simulation of true surround sound
- Fast and reliable wireless connection
- Nearly twice the price of the wired BlackShark V2
- A fair bit heavier than the wired BlackShark V2
Razer has been on something of a wireless kick lately, cutting the cord on many of its flagship PC gaming peripherals. This worked well with the Razer DeathAdder V2 Pro which preserved the quality of the wired DeathAdder V2 while expanding its functionality with a wireless connection.
The same holds true for the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro. Like the wired BlackShark V2, the BlackShark V2 Pro wireless gaming headset delivers excellent audio performance in a light and comfortable package, only now you don't have to worry about tangled cables or the limited range of a wired connection.
- Supremely comfortable despite being slightly heavier than the wired BlackShark V2
- Sturdy construction feels built to last
- All-black colour scheme is even more subdued than its predecessor
One of the most noticeable changes from the wired BlackShark V2 to the BlackShark V2 Pro is the colour scheme. Gone are the green highlights that adorn so many Razer products. Instead, the BlackShark V2 Pro opts for an all-black design, one that helps it blend in with most other gaming hardware out there, Razer or otherwise. Personally, I feel the little touches of green added an attractive panache to the wired BlackShark V2, but it's a minor quibble.
Outside of the monochrome colour scheme, the BlackShark V2 Pro features an identical design to its wired predecessor. A soft, padded headband connects the two sturdy ear cups via thin metal arms. You can extend or retract the arms to suit different head sizes. Slim cylinders house the arms and also provide an easy way to grip the headset when putting it on or taking it off. It's a strong, well-constructed package, and even the thin metal arms feel durable enough to weather heavy use over the long term.
Tucked underneath the left ear cup, you'll find the power button, a microphone mute toggle, a micro-USB port for charging, a 3.5mm port for wired connections and a port for the detachable boom mic. Volume is controlled by a knob on the surface of the left ear cup itself, and it operates independently of the system volume on the connected device. Oddly, the knob is a little looser and less precise than the one on the wired BlackShark V2.
Comfort remains one of the BlackShark V2 Pro's best qualities. Along with the padded headband, each ear cup is surrounded by memory foam cushions that do an excellent job of absorbing the inward pressure of the headset. This allows it to sit firmly on the head without ever feeling tight. The cushions themselves are encased in a cool, breathable fabric that deters sweat and moisture build-up quite well, even on hot days or over marathon gaming sessions.
The only compromise on comfort the BlackShark V2 Pro makes is its weight. It clocks in at 320g, which is a fair bit heavier than the 262g of the wired BlackShark V2. 320g is still relatively light for a gaming headset, especially a wireless one, but the difference is noticeable.
Included with the BlackShark V2 Pro are two cables: a micro-USB cable for charging the headset and a 3.5mm cable for connecting to devices other than a PC. Both cables use Razer's SpeedFlex coating, a custom fabric designed to prevent tangling and catching on objects more effectively than standard rubber or braided cables. Having tested many Razer products that feature SpeedFlex cables, I can attest to the efficacy of its low-friction coating.
- Clear and powerful audio across the high, mid and low frequencies
- Immersive and accurate surround sound through THX Spatial Audio
- Rock-solid wireless performance
Razer hasn't changed the hardware inside the BlackShark V2 Pro from its predecessor, and that's just fine. After all, the wired BlackShark V2 already delivered excellent audio performance. That's still the case here, with Razer's Triforce Titanium 50mm drivers pumping out stellar sound across a variety of games, music, videos and other media.
As the name implies, the Triforce Titanium drivers consist of three dedicated tuning ports that Razer claims simulates three distinct drivers in one. Each port handles a separate area of the audio spectrum: one for tuning highs, one for mids and one for lows. Technical jargon aside, the result is a clear and powerful audio mix that doesn't lose clarity across frequencies, preventing audio distortion when playing thumping bass and high-pitched whirrs and whines simultaneously.
Destiny 2 serves as a versatile benchmark for headset audio, and the BlackShark V2 Pro handles it with aplomb. Firing a hand cannon produces a viciously sharp crack followed by a booming echo that conveys the physical force you'd expect from such a large weapon. Defeated Hive enemies shatter into oblivion with the tinkle of crystal rainfall, a beautiful yet haunting climax delivered with impeccable clarity.
Audio quality remains high in Halo 3. The thump-thump-thump of a Marine ally unleashing the Warthog's chain gun rattles the skull like the roar of a 1960s muscle car, all the while plasma bombardments from enemy Wraiths singe the air and raise hackles on the nape of the neck. In DOOM (2016), meanwhile, firing the Gauss cannon sounds like you're punching a hole clean through the very fabric of space and time.
Where the BlackShark V2 Pro really shines, however, is in its implementation of spatial sound. It utilises THX Spatial Audio technology to simulate a surround sound experience, creating the illusion that sounds are coming from all around you.
Razer has been working with THX on this front for many years now, and the results continue to impress. Gunshots, footfalls and explosions all sound like they're coming from specific points in 360-degree space, ensuring you always know where the danger is. The positional accuracy is spot-on, and I had no trouble dialling my sights on enemies trying to sneak up from behind me before I even spotted them.
Along with a competitive advantage, positional audio enhances the illusion of physically occupying a virtual space. In Destiny 2, for instance, the sounds of beeping mainframes, drizzling water and gurgling biomass enveloped me as I traversed the underground caves of Mars, convincing me that I really was sludging my way through knee-high alien gunk. The whine of an incoming dropship, meanwhile, sounded all the more harrowing thanks to the 360-degree Doppler effect it produced in the headset.
Great audio doesn't mean much unless it's paired with strong wireless performance, and the BlackShark V2 Pro nails this. Using Razer's custom HyperSpeed wireless technology, it maintained a rock-solid wireless connection with no interruptions throughout my testing. The HyperSpeed tech is constantly scanning local wireless channels and switching to the one with the least traffic to minimise interference, and I've never had connection issues with any of the wireless Razer products I've tested that feature the technology.
The last key performance consideration for a wireless headset is battery life. Razer touts up to 24 hours off a single charge and that tracks with my testing. While a full day's worth of use isn't as high as some wireless gaming headsets out there, it's still a good chunk of game time before you have to plug in. The one criticism I have is that the battery icon in the Razer Synapse app lacks a power percentage reading. Most other wireless Razer products list the percentage of battery remaining in the app, but the BlackShark V2 Pro only displays a battery icon that provides a vague indication of how much juice is left.
Razer lists passive noise cancellation as one of the BlackShark V2 Pro's key features, claiming that the closed ear cups shut out a significant amount of ambient noise. In my testing, however, I found the cups did little to dampen the sounds of my keyboard clacking or my cat meowing for attention.
For a gaming headset, audio input can be just as critical as audio output. The BlackShark V2 Pro addresses this with its flexible and detachable supercardioid microphone. Leveraging Razer's HyperClear technology, the mic captured a clean and powerful recording of my voice each time I used it, muting or eliminating completely the hum of electronics, the calls of nature and other background noises in my environment.
- 10-band EQ and plenty of sliders for customising audio profiles
- Microphone audio customisation is equally comprehensive
- Compatible with a wide variety of devices via 3.5mm connection, albeit without support for THX Spatial Audio
Like many Razer products, the BlackShark V2 Pro offers a raft of customisation features through the Razer Synapse desktop app. You've got sliders for boosting the bass, normalising the sound to ensure a more consistent volume level and increasing vocal clarity within the audio mix. A 10-band equaliser lets you adjust the volume of different frequencies across the high, mid and low channels, emphasising the sounds you most want to hear in the midst of battle.
The mic settings are just as versatile. There's a voice-gate slider for adjusting how aggressively background noise is filtered out as well as toggles for normalising the volume of your voice, enhancing vocal clarity and increasing ambient-noise reduction. Another 10-band equaliser gives you control over the mix of frequency ranges within your voice, while a mic-monitoring slider lets you set how much of your own voice you hear back through the headset.
Depending on your surround-sound preferences, you can set THX Spatial Audio to activate automatically or set it manually for different games and applications. In a select few games, you can also choose to enable THX Game Profiles. These custom-built modes are designed by a game's developer and offer two options: Environmental Mode for an enhanced sense of place within the game's world and Competitive Mode for heightened awareness of hostile noises in your proximity. As of writing, only a handful of games support THX Game Profiles, but Razer and THX say more games will implement the feature in the coming months.
While PC is the BlackShark V2 Pro's primary platform, you can use the headset on any device that includes a 3.5mm headphone jack. Just be aware that audio output is limited to stereo when using the 3.5mm connection, so you miss out on THX Spatial Audio.
Another handy feature within the Razer Synapse app is the power-saving mode. When active, this turns off the BlackShark V2 Pro after a period of inactivity that you can define: anything from 15 minutes up to 2 hours or more.
Lastly, fans of Razer Chroma should note that the BlackShark V2 Pro does not support any RGB lighting.
Should you buy the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro?
- Buy it if you want crisp and powerful spatial audio unbound by physical cables
- Don't buy it if you need multi-platform surround-sound compatibility
Much like the Razer DeathAdder V2 Pro did for the wired DeathAdder V2, the BlackShark V2 Pro retains the sublime performance and features of its predecessor while adding versatility through the freedom of a wireless connection. It's a comfortable, customisable and supremely capable product that earns its place among the best wireless gaming headsets on the market.
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