If you need a wired pair of earphones - glares at Nintendo Switch - without the bulk of over the ear headphones, the Razer Hammerhead Duo may fit the bill.
Gaming audio on the go is much better than it used to be. Today, there are many choices of high-end, over-the-ear headphones that produce amazing sound for just about anybody’s budget. There are the occasional times where you’ll find yourself in need of a pair of wired earbuds, however. Perhaps, you don’t have the room to carry around bulky headphones, or the device you want to game on just doesn’t support Bluetooth – what’s up, Nintendo? It is these situations that Razer has created the Hammerhead Duo earbuds for, and I’ve put them to the test over the past few weeks.
The Razer Hammerhead comes in a variety of versions. There’s a wireless Bluetooth enabled version, a USB-C powered one with active noise cancellation, and the Duo, which I tried out. The Hammerhead Duo itself comes in a standard version and a Nintendo Switch specific one, with the major difference being the inclusion of a carrying case and different inline control buttons for the latter.
On first glance, the Hammerhead Duo looks unassuming in its matte black aluminum design with the trademark green Razer logo on the earbuds. The in-ear design allows you to swap out the ear tips for a variety of different sizing options, and the cable is braided for better durability. A small but welcome design choice is the right-angle 3.5mm connector which makes for a less bulky experience when actually gaming. There are no additional supports to keep the earbuds in your ear, so depending on your ears, your experience during vigorous activities may vary. I used the earbuds mostly while sitting down but also spent several hours with them attached to my Oculus Rift S while acting out my super spy fantasies in Defector.
High Quality at a Price
The term Duo in the Razer Hammerhead Duo earphones refers to its dual driver design. Each earpiece contains custom-tuned dual drivers allow for more effective sound separation and clearer and louder audio than single driver designs. At least Razer claims that’s what they do. What I can confirm is that the fact that the two distinct drivers can share the workload between rich deep bass and bright, high-frequency details. This does lead to very crisp audio, especially in gaming. I didn’t notice a huge difference between these earbuds and my much bulkier and more expensive Bose headphones that I typically use when on the go with my Rift S or Nintendo Switch.
One problem typically associated with wired earbuds is noise generated by the movement of the audio cable itself. There’s nothing more annoying when you’re deeply immersed in a game, a VR one particularly, and the cable transfers noise from you accidentally bumping it. Due to the nature of the Hammerhead Duo’s braided cable, I found very little of that, which made gaming feel very smooth and comfortable.
The earpieces themselves are very sturdy and feel very durable, which also makes them feel a bit heavier than plastic alternatives. Whether this bothers you is a personal preference. For me, I didn’t mind a little bit of extra heft in exchange for feeling like I wasn’t going to break them immediately upon balling them up and sticking them in my pocket.
The Razer Hammerhead Duo costs USD 59.99, which might be a little pricey when compared to its competition. There is value here, no doubt, but it depends on how much the extra audio fidelity means to you when this will likely not be your only gaming related headphones.
Great Companion Earphones
My time with the Razer Hammerhead Duo earphones was pleasant and I will undoubtedly return to them any time I need to something portable with excellent sound quality. If you’re in need of a lightweight, durable set of earbuds to support your gaming on the go, then you can’t go wrong here. If you’ve already got a pair of high-quality headphones for 80% of your gaming needs and merely need something for the occasional ultra-mobile activities, then the price may be a little much to ask.