Razer Carcharias review: bargain price, premium sound

When I hear “Razer,” I think “dedicated gamer.” The two are almost synonymous. This headset brushes by this brittle but crucial association. The Razer Carcharias slogan reads “Command in Comfort.” and rightfully so. This is a headset that delivers a reliable experience well worth exploring. It’s designed and priced for the gaming crowd with a budget who still need an immersive, quality gaming experience. It’s both PC and Xbox 360 compatible and great for co-op games. Its products scream “hardcore gamer”.

What sets it apart?

If there is such a thing as an entry-level gamer headset market, this device definitely fills that gap. But it only costs US$69.99, and can any product under US$100 label itself as a “quality audio” device? On top of its low price, the Carcharias also caters for both your PC and Xbox 360. You don’t need to buy an extra extension cable for legacy or current-gen Xbox. It’s also been designed to be very comfy, making it an easy buy for your run-of-the-mill gamer (which seems to sadly exclude the PS3 crowd).

Appearance and materials

The device’s whole body is black except for green razer logos illuminating on the sides of both ear cups. On the left-hand side you’ll find a 270 degrees-capable microphone boom that can be tucked away next to your head, and out of sight. The headset itself supports a comfortably padded and adjustable headband holding together the soft, almost velvet-like ear cups. It’s also quite light and won’t wear your neck down after long gaming sessions.

Follow the 3.5mm headjack down and you’ll find the Carcharias’ volume remote. It has both audio and voice dials on the one side, with a microphone mute switch and bass dial on the other. This inline remote is a very handy, time-saving feature for the headset.

Setting up is effortless. It’s a plug-and-play device meaning no annoying software and no product registrations required. It connects using USB 2.0, 3.5mm headphone and a microphone jack. You’ll find an extension cable in the box with which you can connect the Carcharias to your Xbox console using a 2.5mm microphone cable.

Experience and usability

The Razer Carcharias is an example of where affordability meets performance. This headset is designed for someone seeking a more comfortable than default experience. Of course, compared to its siblings and given its cost, the device won’t knock your socks off. It will however, fulfill your basic needs as a gamer. The price is definitely worth the experience though. Its older brother, the Chimaera 5.1 which goes for more than three times the price, brings you 5.1 channel surround sound.

Well tested

I tested out the microphone on Skype (at both ends of the line) and found absolutely no fault as the voice quality was crisp and clear, even with background noises. I then bashed in some brains in Dead Island and believe you me, the sound definitely enhances your zombie killing experience.

The device is lightweight and the easiest way to describe it would be “friendly”. It’s intuitive,  physically comfortable and delivers great sound quality. Though you won’t find DJs compiling tracks using the Carcharias. Blowing up trucks is enhanced with thumping bass tones and zombies seem scarier with their high-pitched screams and moans.

Maybe a combination of poor eyesight and a poor lit room, I did occasionally have trouble finding the right volume dial on the in-line remote. So wanting to pump up the bass during a good track, I find myself accidentally adjusting the volume dial instead. Either way the inline remote is extremely useful when jamming games or watching movies.

This headset is definitely one of Razer’s crowdpleaser products. Does it scream “Hardcore Gamer!”? No. Does it deliver the wants of a hardcore gamer? I don’t think so. Does it deliver the needs of a hardcore gamer? Of course it does. This is what makes it such a great product – the fact that it’s an all-rounder and that it fits the heads and ears of many budget gamers, PC and Xbox alike. On top of that, the cost does not compromise the quality.

Verdict: For US$69.99, the Razer Carcharias represents excellent value for money in a neat, 2.1 stereo package. 

Score: 8/10



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