Razer Barracuda X review: A resounding success
There’s nothing complicated about the Razer Barracuda X. This multi-platform gaming headset is as simple as it gets, which isn’t how I’d usually describe a product from a company that makes £250 gaming keyboards. But the Barracuda X is designed to appeal to pretty much anyone with a passion for gaming, and to that end it performs miraculously well.
This isn’t the perfect gaming headset, but for the money, I’ve not encountered anything that sounds this good or works this well.
Razer Barracuda X: What do you get for the money?
At £100 on the dot, the Barracuda X is a fairly inexpensive wireless gaming headset that connects to your device via a 2.4GHz dongle with a USB-C connector. The dongle is flat and wide, meaning it won’t get in the way if you choose to plug it into your Android phone or Nintendo Switch.
The Barracuda X is also compatible with PlayStation 5 – simply plug the dongle into the front-facing USB-C port. The Barracuda X comes with a USB-C to USB-A adapter, too, so you can plug the dongle into anything with a suitable USB-A port (like a PC, laptop or PS4).
There’s no Bluetooth support, nor Xbox Wireless support, however, so you will need to wire the connection if you’re playing on the Xbox One or Series X. The headset supports 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound and you can upgrade to THX spatial audio for $20 – a service available across a variety of Razer headsets.
Housed inside the earcups are a pair of 40mm “TriForce” audio drivers similar to those found on the excellent Razer BlackShark V2 wired gaming headset. On the left earcup you’ll find volume, mic mute and power controls, plus ports for the USB-C charging cable, 3.5mm cable and the microphone itself. Battery life is rated at 20 hours.
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Razer Barracuda X: What do we like about it?
This is a good-looking headset. To my eyes, it barely registers as a gaming peripheral, which is no bad thing at all. There’s no RGB lighting to speak of and the entire product is matte black with the Razer logo embossed subtly on each ear. The only other detailing of note sees the brand name positioned across the headband. If you were looking for a discreet headset you could take with you on the commute, this is just the ticket.
The plastic construction gives away the low price, but it also keeps the weight down to just 250g. Combined with the blissfully soft foam ear cups, this is definitely one of the more comfortable headsets I’ve tried this year – on a par with the Logitech G733 Lightspeed.
Given that the Barracuda X doesn’t have a pairing process, I found it very simple to use. It spent most of its time connected via the 2.4GHz dongle to either my Android phone or my Nintendo Switch Lite console, which feels like the headset’s intended purpose. It works just fine with PC and PS5 (both with and without the USB-A adapter), but the lightweight, comfortable design and long battery life suit on-the-go use best. In fact, as Nintendo’s consoles don’t currently support Bluetooth audio devices, the Barracuda X was definitely built with the Switch in mind.
I didn’t notice the lack of Bluetooth support: I suppose you might miss your phone’s charging port, but as smartphone batteries reach new highs I’m not convinced that’s enough of an issue to warrant criticism.
This headset also lasts for what feels like an age on a single charge. Twenty hours is a fair claim, based on my anecdotal experience, but the point is simply that the battery life is great. I have rarely had to charge the Barracuda X, and I’ve used it fairly constantly for a couple of weeks.
And of course, the sound quality is marvellous. I should clarify: this isn’t what you’d call an audiophile-grade headset, but for £100 I was taken aback by the noise the Barracuda X’s twin 40mm TriForce drivers produced. These drivers apparently have distinct sections for bass, mids and treble; to my ears, at least, the Barracuda X produced a sound that had good depth, detail and clarity from the low end to the high.
Microphone quality is good, rather than great, but that’s to be expected from a no-frills product like this one. It does a decent job of blocking out unwanted noise, though, and has the advantage of being both highly poseable and detachable.
Razer Barracuda X: What could be better?
There’s little to fault about the Barracuda X, particularly given the price, but the headset isn’t totally flawless. In choosing to cater to the mobile/console audience, Razer has binned off any form of software support, meaning the Synapse desktop application won’t recognise the headset at all. This rules out any EQ customisation or battery life management on PC or Mac, which is a baffling oversight.
It’s also a bit of a pain that the Barracuda X won’t work wirelessly with Xbox, particularly since the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless for Xbox – a virtually identical product – does. Wiring the connection isn’t disastrous, but it feels like a blot on the record.
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Razer Barracuda X: Should you buy it?
If you don’t want to spend a fortune on a jack-of-all-trades wireless gaming headset, buy the Razer Barracuda X. Razer’s decision to pare the Barracuda X down does have its drawbacks, but the headset makes up for it in other ways. The comfortable, discreet design, low weight and long battery life combine with impressive audio quality to produce an excellent headset that you can take everywhere.