- Manufacturer: Razer
- Model: Kraken X
- Type: Over-ear gaming headset
- Reviewed on: PC, Xbox One and PS4
- Supplied by: Razer
Kraken is a name that has for a long time been associated with the crisp, high-end of the headset market: Not usually someone’s first pick for an entry-level headset. But, what if you could get a Kraken headset for under £50?
Enter the Kraken X.
The Kraken X is a lightweight multi-platform addition to the massive Razer Kraken lineup,equipped with 40mm tuned drivers, a cardioid (unidirectional) mic, and super lightweight construction. Best of all, it is just £49.99 direct from Razer.
Starting with the design and construction, the Kraken X is in line with the rest of the Kraken family in terms of its looks. It’s a very minimal design when compared to most entries in the gaming audio market, with large circular cups and a simple one part headband. There are some compromises in terms of the looks when the Kraken X is compared to Razer’s higher end headsets. For one, you will find none of Razers impressive Chroma RGB on the Kraken X. Instead, the Razer logo is printed on the centre of the cups, and the LED ring usually found at the end of the mic is absent. Furthermore, the grill usually circumferencing the centre of the cup is now an embossed pattern rather than an actual grill. This results in making the Kraken X a closed-back headset.
The headband on the Kraken X is noticeably different to its more premium brothers, being mostly constructed of plastic, with leather on the underside rather than the fully covered bands found on other Krakens. There is also no swivel on the forks. This isn’t featured on most Kraken line headsets, but I still find it to be commonplace on many other headsets, especially at the budget end of the scale. Despite that, I found the Kraken X extremely comfortable and did not miss the swivel at all.
The cushions found on the cups are deep and plush, made of comfortable memory foam and covered by soft synthetic leather. They provided ample sound isolation and prevented my ears from ever touching the drivers, which is especially important due to the lack of swivel.
Overall, the design is clean and attractive, but it’s also extremely lightweight. This is possibly one of the Kraken X’s most appealing features, due to its multi-platform nature. Its not going to cause head strain during long hours sat at your setup and it’s light enough to use whilst playing on mobile or switch.
The microphone is a small gooseneck style mic, the same as seen on the Razer Kraken, though on the Kraken X the mic is not retractable, only positionable. In terms of performance, though, the mic is stellar, and there is no compromise to the performance that I could find. Noise rejection was fairly impressive and clarity was no issue at all. The only thing I struggled with was the sidetone: I found that for me to hear myself well enough to monitor my own voice, the mic had to be extremely close to my mouth. A slight boost on the sidetone would definitely be appreciated but it’s not necessary, as it’s only a minor feature I’m used to having.
Control-wise the Kraken X has only two controls present, both located on the back of the left cup. One is a mute button and the second a scroll volume control.
I’m not a huge fan of the old school scroll wheel for volume, but I love the fact the controls are on the cup rather than inline. It’s a completely subjective preference, but I always prefer cup controls over inline, as I find that inline becomes annoying bumping around on your chest.
The cable is non-detachable with a 3.5mm jack connection. This means the Kraken X is perfect for any Platform. The cable is fairly long and I found no issues in its use, but it does have an odd texture. It’s not braided, it’s made of a soft rubberized material but has a strange ridged texture. I quite liked it, but I can imagine that it will catch a lot of dirt (mainly a concern on the Mercury edition I received)
On to the most important factor of any Headset, the audio.
The Kraken X sporting its 40mm direct drivers naturally has a slight disadvantage compared to its 50mm big-brothers, but there is some clever decision making on Razer’s behalf that definitely bridges the gap to some extent.
The custom-tuned 40mm drivers are aided by the closed back design and sound isolation to make it sound more punchy. This makes the bass and low end frequencies deeper with a pleasing amount of natural but not overpowering reverb. From what I can hear, the custom tune slightly adjusts the sound to lean more towards the high and crisp side, letting the aforementioned design choices take care of the low end.
This leads to a fairly crisp sound. I found that it would stay perfectly clear with no moodiness in most situations. Even with a heck load of sound blasting into your eardrums I found it perfectly serviceable, although the tune seems to favour the idea of hearing slight details, similar to the superhuman hearing modes found in other headsets.
The only complaint I had was that the soundstage was not particularly wide, but it still served perfectly well for accurate directional audio.
The Kraken X is perfect for Mobile and Switch gaming, and it’s also excellent for taking out and about. The lightweight design makes for almost no strain and it’s packed with awesome performance. Though it lacks the iconic Razer Chroma RGB, it is still attractive looking.
The main complaints I have with the Kraken X would be the lack of swivel, the shallow soundstage and the low sidetone.
It would have also been nice to have a detachable cable so that you could opt for a longer or shorter cable, or even USB or braided options.