Update, October 3, 2020: This review was updated to include a microphone poll, and to compare the headset to other competitive gaming headsets.

Using your TV’s speakers while playing video games gets the job done, but not very well. Dedicated gaming headsets recreate a realistic sense of sound, giving you an edge over competitors. With the $50 Razer Kraken X, you don’t have to go into debt for a fine pair of gaming headphones.

Who should get the Razer Kraken X?

A picture of the Razer Kraken X wired gaming headset against a computer monitor.
Lily Katz / Android Authority
  • Gamers should pick up Razer’s economical gaming headset. It might not have flashing lights or (bloated) software, but it gets the job done on a tight budget.
  • Remote workers will benefit from the microphone quality afforded by the external boom mic. While it’s not the best gaming headset microphone we’ve tested, it’s better than your standard embedded mic system.

What is the Razer Kraken X like to use?

A picture of the Razer Kraken X wired gaming headset with the RAZER logo on the outside of the headband.
Lily Katz / Android Authority

While it lacks the ostentatious RGB lightning included with most gaming headsets, the Razer Kraken X is clearly marketed toward a gaming audience. The flexible cardioid boom mic is non-removable, and it includes an audio/mic split cable for computers with dedicated channels.

If you’re a bespectacled gamer, the Kraken X is one of the best gaming headsets available. Razer engineered hidden eyewear channels to alleviate temple pressure. The lightweight (250g) form factor and unseen design work wonders. I was able to wear these for hours on end without temple pain.

A picture of the Razer Kraken X wired gaming headset headphone controls on the back of the ear cup.
Lily Katz / Android Authority

The synthetic, memory foam-padded ear cushions are comfortable and more breathable than expected. They aren’t user replaceable. If anything damage occurs, you’ll have to contact Razer to cash in on the limited two-year warranty. Adjustments, like increasing headband length, are easy though. The sheathed slider reveals numbered tick markers for precise changes.

Controls are limited. You get a volume dial and mute toggle, both of which cohabit the left ear cup. The former is very sensitive, which often resulted in a much louder volume than I intended.

Is the Razer Kraken X good for gaming?

A picture of the Razer Kraken X wired gaming headset cables.
Lily Katz / Android Authority

Yes, these headphones are great for gaming. The headphones work across virtually all platforms, making them a versatile option. If you intend to use the Kraken X with a phone sans-headphone jack, you’ll need a dongle because these are wired-only.

The 40mm dynamic drivers present a natural recreation of three-dimensional space. It’s easy to tell where an enemy is approaching from, which can improve your reaction time and accuracy. If you want to take complete advantage of the 7.1-channel surround sound, though, you need a PC operating Windows 10, 64-bit.

Does the Razer Kraken X have a good mic?

For a budget headset, this microphone is surprisingly good. The microphone tends to amplify voices, but you can adjust the boom mic to be further from your mouth if this bothers you. If you’re in a particularly noisy environment, though, be aware that it can’t effectively combat disruptive ambient noise like a friend cooking a few meters away.

Razer Kraken X microphone demo:

How does the Razer Kraken X sound?

Razer Kraken X frequency response chart depicting amplified upper bass notes.

The Razer Kraken X headphones sound good given the $50 price. Bass notes receive the most emphasis, which is a hallmark of budget gaming headsets. That said, vocal frequencies are also emphasized. This makes in-game dialogue and teammate conversations more audible. There is significant de-emphasis from the 1.0 to 6.5kHz range, which isn’t vital to gaming. However, on the off chance that you use these for music, you’ll notice the lack of perceived detail and clarity from instrumental resonances.

The Razer Kraken X works with virtually any platform, making it a high-value contender.

Isolation performance is okay, but low-frequency sounds can still be heard with the headset on. For instance, I warmed dinner in the microwave and could hear it rumble for the full four minutes. Its hum was effectively filtered out upon playing music through the Razer Kraken X though.

Razer Kraken X vs. Razer Kraken Pro V2: What’s difference?

The Razer Kraken Pro V2 has larger drivers (50mm compared to 40mm) than the Razer Kraken X and an open-back design. This renders a more realistic sound, making it easier to have a natural sensation of spatial awareness compared to the Kraken X. The headband and earpad padding are much more substantial on the Kraken Pro V2, plus the boom mic is retractable for easier storage.

Razer Kraken Pro V2 microphone demo:

Aside from said retractable mic, you aren’t afforded many features over the Kraken X which is a shame seeing as its $25 more expensive. If you’re just getting into the gaming world and don’t care for an open-back sound signature, then the Razer Kraken X is a better option.

Should you buy the Razer Kraken X?

A picture of the Razer Kraken X wired gaming headset with the boom mic facing frame-right.l
Lily Katz / Android Authority

The Kraken X marks a new era for Razer: All of its more recent gaming headsets offer 7.1 surround sound. This headset is a reliable budget pick for casual gamers who want to improve audio and microphone quality without making a huge financial investment. If you want a basic pair of gaming headphones to work across devices, the Razer Kraken X is a smart plug-and-play option.

This Razer Kraken X review comes from the audio experts at our sister site SoundGuys. Check out their in-depth take on the Razer Kraken X.