Update: A new version of this headset is now available, adding Bluetooth support, extending battery life, and tap controls. Check out our full Razer Barracuda 2022 review for more information.
The Razer Barracuda X steps back from the complexity of many of the latest gaming headsets. Instead, the wireless headphones simply provide excellent audio to a wide range of devices easily and without faff.
Razer is targeting everyday players with a $99.99 price tag, rather than packing extra features onto a highly tuned professional set of cups. The result is a stripped-back experience, but one that will satisfy far more users with its plug-and-play approach.
Console players are particularly well served here. A USB-C receiver is pre-paired with the headset and works with PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and Android phones straight out of the box. A 3.5mm cable will connect you to an iPhone (with a lightning adapter) or an Xbox controller as well. It's a shame there's no wireless support for Xbox consoles though, you'll want to consider the SteelSeries Arctis 7X for a wireless gaming headset that truly covers all bases.
That simplicity may not be to everyone’s taste. PC players who need a little more control over their audio profiles may be better off spending more on a Synapse-enabled piece of equipment. However, with the best gaming headsets (opens in new tab) on the market running you around $200, those who have resolved not to break the bank won't be sacrificing much to drop down to this price point.
The design of the Barracuda X is as one might expect from such a simple headset. A clean matte black plastic covers two flat cups, with a soft cushion inside. The entire device weighs in at just 250g - that’s 28g lighter than the Logitech G733, a headset billed as one of the most comfortable on the market.
The padding is pleasantly spongy but not too thick as to heat up over longer periods of use. The cups also form a comfortable seal over the whole ear without cramping the space, even after a five-hour session.
Our only niggling fear comes in the form of that USB-C dongle. It’s small enough to discreetly slot into a phone, tablet, or PS5, but the lack of included case makes it a little easy to lose. That’s especially true if you’re using a Nintendo Switch on the go. We found the best solution was to pop it into the USB-C slot on the headset itself when not in use.
Perhaps one of the best features of the Razer Barracuda X is the fact that there are very few to speak of. Take the headset out of the box and you’re ready to plug and play. It’s an ease of use that seems to have been forgotten by bigger gaming brands in recent years, as they chase the needs of eSports professionals without considering the budgets of their everyday fans.
You’re getting a set of stereo speakers that can channel software-based surround sound with aplomb, barebones power, volume, and mic controls along the left cup, and a detachable cardioid mic. Your average weekend player doesn’t need more than that.
That said, PC players are losing the depth of control over EQ and mic settings that more premium PC gaming headsets (opens in new tab) tend to offer. The Barracuda X isn’t compatible with Synapse software which may prove too big a hurdle for those looking to create their own profiles and tweak the out the box setup.
For all the simplicity on the outside, it’s clear Razer hasn’t skimped on the internals. The overall sound profile is nicely balanced, with plenty of scope in the mid ranges for finer details in an open world landscape like The Last of Us Part II.
The bass is slightly emphasized, but nowhere near the overblown buzz of many headsets in this price range. Blasting our way through a cache of heavier Borderlands 3 weapons yielded a satisfying rumble, with enough clarity to hear the differences between our favorite launchers. Wolfenstein Youngblood received the same treatment on Nintendo Switch, offering a surprising depth to each reload and gunshot.
However, it was in the finer details of Switch game soundtracks that I was particularly taken aback. The intricate melodies of Super Mario Sunshine twinkled through in luxurious detail, showcasing a delicate handling of upper ranges while still maintaining a solid bassline. This was replicated across Dragon Quest Builders, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, and even pushed through the muddier sounds of SteamWorld Dig.
This sound profile also lends itself particularly well to music. Never mind the thunder of Doom Eternal, we were also pleasantly surprised by the handling of more delicate Hanging Valleys and Tall Heights tracks. Some of the higher ranges are dulled slightly, but it was only noticeable during particular sparse moments. Transferring this success over to Fuser on Nintendo Switch was just as pleasing, with my mixes coming out at crisp and dynamic as the Switch could output them. Plus, the subtle design and low profile cups mean you’ll fit in just as well on the train as you would in an RGB-clad streaming studio.
You’re still getting a strong 7.1 surround experience on PC, and compatibility with Tempest 3D on PS5 as well. Booting up Spider-Man: Miles Morales and it’s clear that the Barracuda X is playing nicely with Sony’s audio system. Finding the location of an enemy shout is still instinctive even if the 3D isn’t as pinpoint precise as you might expect from the more expensive PS5 headsets (opens in new tab).
Overall - should you buy it?
The Razer Barracuda X is a first step in a far more affordable, consumer-friendly direction. Everyday players can pick up high-quality audio in a comfortable package, and play on any device they wish to. Multi-platform players will find the ease of use particularly worthwhile here, however, those who refuse to flinch in the face of a late-night session will also take particular pleasure in the level of comfort.
By comparison, the Logitech G733 (opens in new tab) has been designed around the same long play sessions and sits at $129. However, the Razer offers an even lighter form factor, clearer bass tones, and a wired connection for $30 less. It's certainly one of the best Razer headsets around for the price.