Razer Hammerhead Pro mobile headset review

[Originally posted to my column at Examiner.com]

Razer’s Hammerhead Pro mobile gaming headset promises big bass in a tiny, stylish package. But does it really deliver?

Features & Design

The Hammerhead Pro features 9mm drivers and an inline, omni-directional microphone. There’s also a thin inline controller with a single button that can be used to answer calls or pause music. And it’s all in Razer’s stylish neon-green (the cables) with black accents (the microphone/controller/earbuds).

The Hammerhead Pro also comes with a total of 4 pairs of rubber earbuds of different sizes to help ensure a good fit, a 3.5mm stereo/mic Y-cable adapter, and a 3″ diameter hard carrying case to stuff it all into.

Sound Quality

Razer is really proud of the Hammerhead’s bass—so much so that they give it top billing in its features list and press release. “…the headsets produce a sound signature packing strong bass while maintaining crystal clear mid-levels and highs,” the Razer press release tells us.

And it is true, at least as far as the mid-levels and the highs—but I wasn’t really impressed with the bass.

It could just be that Razer is over-selling their hand a bit here (typical for press releases) or maybe I’m just jaded. Of more than 35 headsets I’ve reviewed over the years, very few were in-ear sets, so I’m primarily accustomed to headsets with larger, thumpier 40-50mm drivers. I can hardly expect the 9mm drivers in the tiny Hammerhead to compete.

Regardless, I still wasn’t impressed with the bass, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good mobile headset.

I really liked the Hammerhead’s ‘ancestor’, the Razer Moray, and frequently used it as my go-to mobile headset until my wife (a walking stress-test for in ear headphones) broke it. But the Hammerhead and its inline microphone is a perfect replacement, and I like the flashier green cable color. I used it quite a bit with my new Samsung Galaxy S4 for calls, listening to music, and some laptop gaming.

Aside from the bass, the only quibble I have with the Hammerhead Pro is its carrying case, which is harder than the Razer Moray’s but not as big. It’s a very sturdy case and very travel-friendly, but I think it should be a little bigger. I found myself having to smoosh up the headset and cables a little more than I’d like to get it to fit inside the case; the Moray’s was much larger and had more space for all the extras.

Overall

The Hammerhead Pro will serve you well for phone calls and mobile applications, though in my opinion the bass response isn’t quite as good as Razer would have us believe. A bigger carrying case would be appreciated but it’s hardly a deal breaker.

Product features:

  • Machined lightweight aluminum body
  • Advanced passive noise isolation
  • Interchangeable ear-tips with bi-flanges
  • Powerful drivers for supreme audio fidelity with extreme bass
  • Compatible with iPhone, Android and mobile devices
  • Omnidirectional microphone
  • Audio/Mic splitter adapter for PC connection

Headphones

  • Drivers : 9 mm Neodymium Magnets with CCAW
  • Frequency Response : 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Impedance : 16 Ω
  • Sensitivity @ 1 kHz : 106 dB
  • Input Power : 1 mW @ 126 mV
  • Cable Length : 1.3 m / 4.27 ft
  • Approximate Weight : 12.5 g / 0.03 lbs
  • Connector: Analog 3.5 mm Combined Jack (Headphone and Mic)

Microphone

  • Frequency response : 50 Hz – 10 kHz
  • Signal to Noise Ratio : 55 dB
  • Sensitivity (@1kHz) : -42 dB +/-3 dB
  • Pick Up pattern : Omni-Directional
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