Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro Review: Good, but expensive
Hello, it’s me again, Mr. Earbuds. I’ve come to you today to review – you guessed it – earbuds! This time it’s the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro, which is quite a name. These are Razer’s second-gen in-ear true wireless earbuds, with a lot of improvements over the first generation. They’re also pretty expensive, coming in at $200. Are they actually worth the price? Let’s find out!
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro: Specifications
|Specification||Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro|
|Active Noise Cancellation||Hybrid|
|Microphones||2 (1 feed-forward, 1 feedback)|
|In-The-Box||Charging case, charging cable|
Razer did a pretty good job with the presentation here. While the box may be a little overkill for what’s inside, everything’s packaged neatly and is easily accessible.
The charging case is nice and narrow, which Razer says is to make it easier to fit into tight pockets. It’s also easy to open, and the earbuds are easy to remove, which is something that a lot of other manufacturers can’t seem to get right.
As for the earbuds themselves, I’m not really a fan of the AirPods stem style, but at least the Hammerhead True Wireless Pro aren’t direct knock-offs. They do may look a little bulky, but they’re still plenty lightweight and comfortable.
If the preinstalled earbud tips don’t fit your ears, that’s no problem. You can pick from 6 other pairs of tips in 3 different sizes. There are two styles of rubber tips–one for better comfort and one for better noise isolation–and one pair of memory foam tips. The foam tips come in medium, but they’re foam, so they should fit any ear.
Moving onto setting the earbuds up, it was thankfully pretty easy. While I didn’t have the correct app when I get my pair (since it hadn’t been released), I was able to use Google’s Quick Pair to, well, quickly pair my phone.
Feel & Fit
By default, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro come with fairly large rubber tips, and didn’t fit in my ears very well. Luckily, there are also 6 other pairs of tips available, in 3 different sizes. There’s a set of 3 pairs of tips meant for exercise, another set of 3 pairs meant for general usage, and finally a pair of Comply-brand foam tips. I ended up replacing the tips with one of the small-size rubber pairs. And they’re pretty comfortable. Even though the earbuds themselves aren’t exactly small, they’re pretty light, and stay in my ears without much trouble.
Battery & Charging
You may have noticed that I didn’t mention anything about wearing the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro for a long time, and there’s a reason for that. Unfortunately, the advertised battery life is only about 4 hours per charge, with an “extended” total of 20 hours with the charging case. Now, this estimate is based on usage with active noise cancellation enabled, so you can probably bring the time up to 5 or 6 hours by disabling that feature.
While 4-6 hours is pretty standard for true-wireless earbuds, both with and without noise cancellation, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. For the price Razer is asking, longer battery life would have been nice.
As for charging, it’s nothing special. Razer won’t even commit to an estimated charging time. Their excuse is that, since there isn’t a wall adapter in the box, people will use different adapters with different power outputs, causing different charging times. That hasn’t stopped other manufacturers from advertising charging times at specific amperages, though, so it’s weird logic.
Being Bluetooth earbuds, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro connect through Bluetooth. But they also have some fancy features and some fancy problems.
One advertised feature is the ability to pair with up to three devices at once and switch among them without having to enter pairing mode each time. They also come with Quick Pair, so as soon as they enter pairing mode, all of your Android devices are going to yell at you to connect to them. It’s certainly more convenient than going into your Bluetooth settings and waiting for the device search to find them.
Quick Pair also lets you “track” the earbuds in Google’s Find Device app. The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro don’t have GPS in them or anything like that, but Google can track the location of your phone when the earbuds were connected last.
But the connectivity with these earbuds isn’t all good. For one, the connection range is pretty small. It’s not as bad as the Amazfit PowerBuds, but I can really only get maybe 10 feet away before the audio starts dropping out. That’s not exactly a big issue, but if you work in a large-room environment and move around a lot, you won’t be able to use the Hammerhead True Wireless Pro without bringing your phone or computer around with you.
The second issue I’ve noticed is that they seem to have trouble with Windows PCs. Watching videos or listening to music on either of my laptops, I’ll notice the occasional blip of distortion. It doesn’t matter if I’m 2 or 10 feet away. And if the earbuds disconnect from the computer, they really don’t like to automatically reconnect. These problems don’t exist on Android as far as I can tell, but if you use earbuds with Windows a lot, it’s something to keep in mind.
App & Controls
Like any good (or bad) pair of true-wireless earbuds these days, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro come with an app. It lets you update the earbuds’ firmware, gives you tutorials, allows you to change options like what the touch controls do and which equalization you have applied, and helps you through the initial setup of the earbuds. There’s honestly not too much to say about it; it’s there and it works fine.
The controls are where things get interesting. Each earbud has a touchpad on the back of the driver. You can hold, tap, tap-and-hold, and hold even longer to send different actions to your device. Something that annoys me about a lot of true-wireless earbuds is the lack of gesture options. Luckily, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro have plenty. You can even enter pairing mode without the case, by holding down on either earbud for 4 seconds.
So far that all sounds pretty standard. But the single-tap gesture is special. While most true-wireless earbuds I’ve used will execute a single-tap action as soon as possible, the Hammerhead True Wireless Pro require you to hold down for about half a second. I was annoyed at this at first, but then I realized there’s a pretty good reason for it. Usually, when I adjust true-wireless earbuds in my ears, I end up brushing the touchpad, which triggers the single-tap action. Having a delay before recognizing a single tap means I can adjust the Hammerhead True Wireless Pro without worrying about accidentally pausing my music or picking up a call. It’s pretty great.
Razer is pretty proud of the THX certification on the Hammerhead True Wireless Pro, but does it actually mean anything?
All signs point to yes. The default audio profile uses THX’s own equalization, and it sounds pretty good. There’s plenty of bass, but it doesn’t drown the other frequencies out. Things from music to movies sound clear and, well, good. If I had to complain about the audio, I’d say it sometimes sounds almost hollow, as if the mid-high frequencies are boosted a little too high.
I’m personally fine with the THX equalization, but for those who aren’t, you can use the app to choose among different equalizations, including setting your own.
Now it’s time to talk about active noise cancellation. The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro aren’t the Galaxy Buds Live, so the noise cancellation is at least effective. It’s also pretty good. I’d say it’s about on par with the OPPO Enco Q1 earbuds, and both do a good job of canceling out steady ambient noise. It’s obviously not perfect, since they’re not over-ear headphones with extra noise isolation engineering, but it works well.
If noise cancellation isn’t your thing, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro let you cycle among it and two other modes: ambient and normal. Ambient mode uses the external microphones to feed sound directly to you, effectively bypassing the noise isolation. This could be useful if you’re crossing the street or on a bike ride, where you need to hear what’s around you. The sound quality isn’t amazing, but it comes through with almost no noticeable delay, which is a problem I’ve encountered with other ambient modes.
And normal mode is normal mode. There’s no audio passthrough or cancellation, just the basic passive noise isolation provided by the rubber tips.
On top of the audio quality and noise cancellation, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro also have a low-latency gaming mode. Razer says this mode reduces the audio delay to only 60ms. But honestly, I haven’t needed it. I’m not really an avid quick-time gamer, so it’s possible it’ll be useful for some people, but the standard latency is low enough that I don’t notice it.
If there’s one area where wireless earbuds tend to fall short, it’s in the microphone quality. I’ve used earbuds that sound terrible, or whose microphones can’t pick up my voice at all.
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro have neither of those issues. In fact, they sound pretty great. They do a good job at picking up voices while ignoring background audio, and they don’t sound tinny.
Pricing & Availability
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro are available for $200 in the US.
Overall, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro are pretty good earbuds. I’d personally be happier with them if the battery life were better, but the sound quality is good, there’s very low latency, and the controls are reliable.
For $200, though, I have a hard time recommending them to most people. $200 is a lot for a pair of earbuds, and there are options out there with much better value. If you’re a Razer fan, though, or you really want a pair of nice-sounding earbuds, you probably can’t go wrong with the Hammerhead True Wireless Pro.