Razer Nari Ultimate.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Haptic feedback has been a part of console gaming for so long that it almost feels as if PC gamers are missing out. We’ve seen some attempts with gaming mice, but Razer opted for a different approach: headphones.

With 50mm drivers and inch-thick cushions, this closed-back, over-the-ear model is certainly chunky. The pleather is nice though I’m not too confident of its longevity. Thankfully, the portion that’s actually making skin contact is made from a different material, and are apparently “infused” with a cooling gel too. They’re comfortable, but my ears still felt warm within 30 minutes of office use.

Other than inward rotating cups, most of the Razer Nari Ultimate’s build is fixed. The self-adjusting headband is adequately padded and has about 1.5-centimeters of give, and the whole thing doesn’t feel heavy despite weighing just under 430 grams. The clamping pressure feels just right, too, so in many ways these are great when it comes to fit.

Style-wise they’ve definitely hit plenty of right notes. There’s a great complement of black and grey tones to be found, with the only color coming from the Razer Synapse powered RGB Razer logo on either cup.

I like how they’ve played with the textures in particular, moving from pleather to textured plastic, braided cable, and smooth metal to come across as as premium product. The Nari Ultimate won’t look too out of place among other “serious” headphones and I love them for it.

While it doesn’t bring DualShock 4-levels of clattering — which I think we can all agree is a wise move — the haptics on these headphones boast a surprising amount of finesse. They achieved this While it doesn’t little feat by partnering with Lofelt, and the big cherry on top is that the actuators do not require software to work. You can get 2.4GHz wireless freedom through the USB dongle (which has its own garage slot on the right earcup), or plug them into a 3.5mm jack.

Otherwise, not much else differentiates it from the Razer Kraken: Tournament Edition. You get the same THX Spatial Audio integration, the same extendable microphone, and the same game/chat balance scroll wheel. That being said, the Kraken has a wider frequency response and a cheaper price tag, making it the more appealing gaming headset.

So the question then becomes: are those Lofelt actuators worth the added cost?

Having physical motors means you won’t have to crank the volume or overdo the EQ to “turn up the bass.” You do lose quite a bit of detail in the low-ends with haptics enabled, but I think the benefits outweigh that loss. These cans shine when it comes to electronic music, emphasizing the punchy bass notes many have come to love. In the absence of actual sonic vibrations from a massive subwoofer, these actuators approximates the effect surprisingly well. Plus, you can use these late into the night, too.

When gaming, THX Spatial Audio heightened the Black Ops 4 experience considerably, though it’s the haptics that takes center stage here. Intensity varied on the weapons used, with the M1897 Trench Gun and Blundergat topping the “satisfyingly badass” list. The PS4 also recognizes the Nari Ultimate as a USB headset, and the headphones easily danced along to Shoji Meguro’s jazzy compositions. There was a good mix of energetic and laid-back beats to draw out the Lofelts’ performance, and I was surprised to learn that they didn’t feel obnoxious for the latter.

Forget watching movies though, I found the haptics unnecessarily distracting and headache-inducing past the 45-minute mark.

There aren’t any major hardware shortcomings, though you’ll want to be very careful with that USB dongle as you can’t get a replacement piece. Razer says it’s because the components are uniquely paired, but surely there’s a better option than forking out hundreds for a brand new unit.

The Razer Nari Ultimate looks and sounds great for a headset, the haptic feedback making for a neat way of “spicing up” games and certain musical genres. The fact that you can get those haptics to work with any device through a 3.5mm connection really helps to sell that feature for core gamers, who may be playing across multiple devices. At just over $300 though, just note that half of its price tag is going into the the Lofelt actuators.


Read more at GAME AKIS.com


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