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Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) review: ANC with a colorful light show

Razer is all of a sudden changing into a seasoned earbuds model: the brand new $130 Hammerhead earbuds are the corporate’s third pair of true wi-fi buds. They observe the original Hammerheads released in 2019 and the Hammerhead True Wireless Professionals that I reviewed earlier this year. The newest set is extra “Professional” than not in each seems to be and options: they provide energetic noise cancellation, a low-latency gaming mode, and have switched to a in-ear design with silicone suggestions.

However nowadays (and at this worth), these options are not sufficient to face out from a massively crowded subject. So Razer determined so as to add one thing to its new earbuds that’s unimaginable to overlook: RGB lighting. Identical to lots of the firm’s laptops and gaming equipment, the 2021 Hammerhead True Wireless embrace Razer’s full Chroma RGB system, which helps you to decide from 16.8 million colours and a number of flashy results that shine by the snake emblem on every earbud. It makes for what Razer calls “the final word wi-fi earbud flex.” Nevertheless it’s a flex that solely different individuals will see: it’s not such as you’ll ever discover the RGB glow while you’re sporting the earbuds.

By default when first paired with your cellphone, the Hammerhead True Wireless buds use a “spectrum” impact that easily transitions by a number of colours. If you wish to swap up the lighting, you’ll want to put in the Razer Chroma RGB app for Android and iOS — separate from the Razer Audio app that’s used for EQ changes and customizing the contact controls. Two apps for a single pair of earbuds? Actually? Certainly Razer may simply replicate the RGB performance in the primary audio app to scale back litter.

Audio meter: the RGB lighting reacts to the music being performed. You’ll be able to select to have this impact work with a single coloration — the place it actually simply seems to be just like the light is on the fritz — or quickly cycle by an limitless array of various hues.

Respiration: a gradual pulsating impact the place the RGB lighting repeatedly brightens and dims. On this mode, you may set two totally different colours to change between with every “breath” or have the earbuds decide a totally different coloration each time.

Spectrum: the earbuds easily swap between a big selection of various colours.

Static: the RGB lighting will keep on whichever coloration you select.

Out of the field, the lighting is about to 50 p.c brightness, which is sufficient to attract consideration — particularly should you’re sporting them at evening. And let me inform you, these lights will show very helpful must you drop an earbud onto the ground since they’re really easy to identify. Razer says the RGB lighting is optimized for a minimal influence on battery life, nevertheless it nonetheless takes a toll. With each ANC and the lighting turned off, the Hammerhead True Wireless can hit 6.5 hours of listening time. Utilizing the RGB function cuts off a whole hour, and the estimate drops to five.5 hours. Add ANC to the equation and also you’re left with solely 4 hours of steady playback. (With RGB off and ANC enabled, they’ll last as long as 4.5 hours.) These numbers lined up with my expertise, and I think about most individuals will hold the lights on until they’re on a lengthy flight or different eventualities the place battery life is a precedence.

The Razer Audio app consists of equalizer controls: you may decide from presets like “enhanced bass” or “vocal,” nevertheless it additionally offers you full management over the EQ vary if you wish to modify each slider to your liking. The app is the place you may remap the contact controls, which by default are pretty commonplace: faucet as soon as to play / pause, twice to skip tracks, 3 times to return, or press and maintain to toggle ANC. However Razer will get a little over-ambitious past that. I’m all for customizable controls, however “double faucet and maintain” is the place you begin to lose me.

Whether or not it’s consumer error or imprecise contact sensors, it’s too simple to mess up that gesture and skip to the following tune while you didn’t imply to. The earbuds went into pairing mode a few times after I didn’t get it excellent. And by default, that’s the way you management quantity — one thing you’ll need to do usually! Frustratingly, you may’t assign quantity to the less complicated maintain gesture (or any of the others). There have been additionally instances when the contact controls stopped responding till I cased the earbuds and pulled them out once more, so Razer has extra work to do with firmware updates.

Design-wise, the Hammerhead True Wireless are similar to the corporate’s pricier Professional mannequin. They’ve acquired the identical total long-stemmed form, and their instances are virtually an identical. (Neither set helps wi-fi charging.) However there are delicate variations while you look nearer: the Professionals are extra matte, whereas the lower-cost earbuds are all shiny. Razer consists of a deluge of suggestions with the Professionals (together with Comply foam suggestions), however you solely get the everyday S / M / L trio of silicone choices with these. And there’s additionally a massive mic inlet on the Hammerhead Professionals for his or her hybrid ANC, whereas the common mannequin makes use of a smaller mic that’s higher hid.

Just like the Professionals, the second-gen Hammerhead True Wireless had a strong slot in my ears and felt each light-weight and cozy. The massive suggestions made for a good seal and good noise isolation, which helped enhance the noise cancellation and made it really feel more practical than it in any other case would. Like a lot of earbuds on this worth vary, Razer will reduce out a few of the hums and rumbles of on a regular basis life, however they’ll’t knock out as a lot of the encircling world as premium choices like Sony’s WF-1000XM4 or the AirPods Professional. However these earbuds will cancel sufficient noise to maintain you centered in your PUBG Cellular session on the espresso store with out fixed distractions. They’re additionally rated IPX4 for water and sweat resistance, making them a possible choice for runs and different exercises. In case you’re on a night jog, having lights in your ears could possibly be yet one more visibility measure to assist hold you secure.

Gaming mode on the Hammerheads cuts audio latency right down to 60ms, which is sufficient to keep away from any sync points that would rapidly pull you out of the motion. However when it’s enabled, you’ll want to remain nearer to your system than regular for optimum efficiency; Razer recommends protecting inside two ft. The buds have Bluetooth 5.2 and didn’t exhibit any problematic cutouts or different bugs in my time testing them to date. And regardless of missing the “THX certification” that the Hammerhead True Wireless Professionals have, their sound high quality is sort of pleasing for the worth. They aren’t as detailed or full-bodied as earbuds within the $200-300 tier, and the current $150 Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 outperform them with extra dynamic sound. However Razer gave the 10mm drivers a good, even-handed tuning that spans genres effectively — and people complete EQ controls at all times assist if you wish to tinker. They’re neither good nor unhealthy and are proper in that place the place $130 earbuds so usually land.

The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds aren’t going to be a match for everybody’s style: I’m completely blissful with low-key earbuds that don’t emit a light show each time I’m sporting them. However by including RGB lights to its newest earbuds, Razer is doing the plain Razer factor, and it’s a distinctive trick that may attraction to a few of the firm’s diehard followers. I’d sooner advocate one thing just like the Galaxy Buds 2 to individuals searching for an on a regular basis, under-$150 pair of wi-fi earbuds. However these received’t get individuals taking a look at you fairly the identical method that these do.
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