Manufacturer: Razer
MSRP: $59.99
Sound Produced: Stereo
Type: Wired
Primary System: Mobile
Also Compatible With: PC/Mac
Connection Method: 3.5mm

 

Basic Description

The Razer Electra is a headset designed for people on the go. With it’s simple black look (also available in traditional Razer Green), you’re going to blend in with every other bridge and tunnel commuter who just wants to be left alone to nap on the morning ride in. Whether you are using the Electra for your 3DS or PlayStation Vita, your MP3 player or your mobile phone, it’s a comfortable, simple to use peripheral that sounds great.

 

What’s in the Box:

Headset, 3.5 mm to 3.5 mm audio cable, 3.5 mm to 3.5 mm audio cable with in-line microphone.

 

Aesthetics and Durability

The Razer Electra is designed to take a beating. The hard outer plastic has a nice, sturdy feel that is complemented by the extremely soft leatherette ear cups. The headband is also wrapped in leatherette on the three exposed sides, with a soft mesh fabric the underside. The Razer name appears on the top of the band, and the logo appears on each ear cup. The effect on the black unit is stealthy, and you’ll likely only be able to find the branding if you’re looking for it.

The adjustments are the same hard plastic as the external part of the ear cups. They remain firm, but don’t require an excessive amount of pressure to extend or contract. For safety, the connection port on the underside of the left cup requires the cable to be screwed in. It’s a simple process, so changing between the audio-only and in-line microphone cable still only takes a couple of seconds. It does provide a but more security, ensuring that the cable can’t fully detach and get lost in your bag.

The earcups fold up (extend both adjusters first), for a compact profile. This is handy for commuters. I never had a problem with the headset folding unintentionally. Again, Razer has done a great job of balancing form and function.

 

Ease of Setup and Use

Since the Electra was designed for mobile devices (specifically those with a 4-pin connector that supports in-line microphones), your mileage may vary. I used the Electra with my PlayStation Vita, iPhone, iPad and Mac with no problem. There are no complex cables; just plug and play. Macs support the 4-pin connector, so you can use the in-line microphone to record and chat right out of the box. If your PC requires two separate ports for incoming and outgoing sound, you’ll need to purchase an adapter from Razer ($14.99).

 

Sound Quality and Performance Notes

Using our test sample, the end credits track for Mass Effect 3, I got a great sense of the highs, lows and clarity that this headset provides. Put simply, I’m damn impressed. The Electra does a great job of noise isolation (in fact, it is largely blocking out the loud mechanical keyboard while I write this). All told, for those looking for a great sounding, attractive headset that also offers the additional benefit of use on a PC in a pinch, the search can stop right here.

I was surprised at the quality of the omni-directional in-line microphone (as you can hear in the sample). It was clear, but given that it is designed to pick up a voice from further away than a uni-directional boom mic found on most gaming headsets, there is the risk that you will pick up ambient noise. There is no mute or call answer button on the microphone, which may limit the Electra’s appeal as a PC gaming headset. Does it work? Yes, in fact better than expected, but it isn’t ideal. It wasn’t made with PC gaming in mind, but it does work for that purpose.

Recording Sample

Razer Electra Recording Sample

 

Comfort

Again, the Razer Electra surprised me. I typically do not like leatherette ear cups for extended wear, but given the lightness of the entire unit, this headset is extremely comfortable. I had no problem finding the correct adjustment point for my head. The ear cups are not rigidly held in place and are allowed to swivel a bit up and down, which also aids in finding the best fit. There isn’t an excessive amount of padding on the underside of the headband, but there doesn’t need to be given the low mass construction.

 

Differentiating Features

The Razer Electra is the first mobile headset we’ve reviewed, and it was solid one to start with. The price point ($59.99) might be off putting for someone looking for a headset for train and subway use, but you get what you pay for. The microphone is of a better quality than I’ve found on even more expensive mobile headsets and allows for clear calls.

 

Accessories Recommended/Required

For PCs that require both a microphone and headphone connection, you’ll want to purchase the Audio/Mic Splitter Adapter ($14.99).

 

Conclusion

Once again, Razer has balanced sleek aesthetics with high quality performance. The Electra is comfortable, compact and perfect for gamers on the go. It won’t hold up against headsets designed especially for PC use, but it’s not really supposed to. The PC compatibility (with the $14.99 splitter, if necessary) is just an added bonus. If you are a commuter or just prefer to game on your phone, tablet or portable handheld, this is a great place to start your search for a high end headset.

 

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