Razer demonstrated that it can make a solid pair of wire-free earbuds with the Hammerhead True Wireless. Those $99 earphones faithfully follow the lead of Apple’s AirPods, but at a lower price and with a more gamer-centric design.
They sound quite good, but they share many of the same weaknesses as their more affordable siblings, and their underwhelming noise cancellation circuitry simply isn’t worth the extra money.
Hammerhead True Wireless Pro Design
Just like the Hammerhead True Wireless earphones mimic the bud-and-stem structure of the AirPods, the Pro model takes that design and add in-canal eartips, like the AirPods Pro.
The addition of these eartips is good for audio quality, as the regular Hammerhead’s simple in-ear design has no seal against the ear canal, which can result in inconsistent sound (the same is true of the standard AirPods).
Razer includes three pairs of SecureSeal translucent silicone eartips in different sizes, designed to fully block off your ear canal for better sound. You also get three differently sized pairs of SmoothComfort opaque black silicone eartips designed to be more comfortable to wear over long periods of time, and a medium pair of Comply foam eartips that can really form to and seal off your ear canal.
While Razer includes an impressive seven pairs of eartips, it doesn’t include any earfins or other stabilizers. The eartips help keep the earpieces in place, but they can be dislodged easily; some sort of earfin would really help the fit, especially if you want to use the earphones while exercising.
Speaking of exercise, the earphones are rated IPX4, which means they’re modestly water resistant and should stand up to sweat, but you don’t want to get them seriously wet.
Each earpiece has a touch-sensitive panel on the back, with a green Razer logo on it. Tap once to answer/end calls and play/pause media, tap twice to skip to the next track, tap three times to go backward, and tap and hold for two seconds to cycle through ANC modes, manually power on the earpiece, or activate your phone’s voice assistant. You can also triple tap and then hold for two seconds on the last tap to enable Gaming Mode, which Razer says improves lag between the earphones and the connected device.
The panels are awkward to use, sometimes not registering taps or accidentally triggering when you adjust an earpiece. Each earpiece has the same functions, so there’s no volume control; you need to use your phone or other connected device to adjust volume. Between the inconsistent touch panels and the lack of volume control, these are among the more disappointing true wireless earpiece layouts we’ve seen lately.
Charging Case and Battery Life
The charging case is a rounded rectangle flip-top charger with an indicator LED on the front and a USB-C port on the bottom. The earphones slide stem-first into their recesses, which makes removing them from the case a bit awkward, especially if you have big fingers. I fumbled repeatedly trying to get the earphones out, often accidentally triggering the touch controls in the process.
According to Razer, the earphones can last up to a mediocre four hours on a charge, with the charging case carrying an additional 16 hours of listening time. This will vary based on your volume levels and use of ANC.
Noise Cancellation and Audio Performance
The noise cancellation here isn’t particularly impressive, especially in this price range. It produces a slight hiss when no music is playing, and doesn’t tamp down much in the way of outside noise. The AirPods Pro do a much better job of blocking out sound, and even the less expensive Panasonic RZ-S500W and Sony WF-SP800N can better muffle rumbling and hums. These aren’t earphones for anyone looking for strong noise cancellation; getting a good fit on the eartips (and perhaps using the Comply tips) will do more to passively block out noise than the ANC circuitry.
When it comes to bass, the earphones offer a respectable level of power. They handled our bass test track, The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” at maximum volume without any distortion, and the kick drum hits came through nicely rounded and thumpy.
The opening acoustic guitar plucks of Yes’ “Roundabout” have good low-mid resonance through the Hammerhead Pro, while letting solid string texture come through the high-mids. The higher frequencies don’t receive quite as much clarity and finesse as we like to hear for really crisp notes, but they still sound good. When the track properly kicks in, the bassline gets plenty of presence, but the guitar strums and drums can be clearly discerned in the mix, and the vocals are clear, for an overall balanced sound.
The Crystal Method’s “Busy Child” sounds full and exciting, with the deep sub-bass notes getting lots of ominous force. The backbeat drives the track powerfully, while the synth riffs and vocals come through over the thumping. It’s a lows- and low-mids-focused sound, but the higher frequencies get enough presence to keep their place in the mix.
Like the standard model, the Pro earphones feature a low-latency gaming mode that Razer claims reduces lag. Perhaps this feature can be useful if you want to use the earphones as a gaming headset, but ultimately it feels like a gimmick, and we recommend using a wired connection or a USB wireless transmitter for gaming audio instead of Bluetooth.
Too Pricey for What You Get
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro earphones are a decent upgrade from the Hammerhead True Wireless, but at far too high a premium. They offer good sound quality, but only modest ANC, and that simply isn’t enough to justify the increase in price. In the $200 range, there are a number of alternatives with better sound quality and noise cancellation, including the Jabra Elite 85t and the Technics AZ70. If you’re willing to spend more and you’re an iPhone user, we recommend the AirPods Pro. And if you’re looking for the absolute best noise cancellation you can get in a true wireless form factor, the $280 Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are worth the extra money.
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro
The Bottom Line
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro earphones offer good sound quality, but are held back by lackluster noise cancellation that does little to justify their high price.
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro Specs
|Active Noise Cancellation||Yes|