Gamer-friendly in-ears that’ ll light up your listening, Hyper
Gamer-friendly in-ears that’ ll light up your listening It’s the gamer dilemma. You’ ve got a fancy headset that sounds fantastic when you’ re racking up high scores in front of your PC or games console – but it’s too big and bulky to take on the move. Meanwhile, those dull-as-dishwater earbuds that came free with your phone hardly tell the world you’ re a l33t online warrior. That’s why you need a pair of Razer’s latest draped around your neck. The Hammerhead BT cuts the cord, but has the unmistakeable green LED glow of gamer-friendly gear. There’s more to it than that, of course. And I’ m not just talking about the cables, which also follow Razer’s trademark colour scheme. Look beyond the branding, though, and this is a decent set of neckband in-ears that sound great for the price. That’s partly down to the build, with Razer opting for metal instead of plastic. Each earbud feels reassuringly sturdy, so you can sling ‘em into a bag when you’ re not listening and they’ ll come out unscathed. Or you could neatly tidy them back into the bundled carry case, which also holds a matching green and black microUSB cable. Rather than squeeze the battery into a chunky inline remote, Razer had moved it further down the cable, and added a magnetic clip to keep it secure at the back of your neck. Once this is hooked onto a shirt, your buds aren’ t going anywhere – even when you’ re exercising. OK, so this might make the Hammerhead BT a little heavier than other wireless earbuds, but you’ ll soon get used to it, and appreciate the extra stability. The flat cables managed to stay tangle-free the whole time I was testing, too – they’ re a lot better than regular, round cables if you’ re constantly taking your buds in and out of a bag or pocket. And of course, you can’ t help but notice the colours. They’ re difficult to miss, but then that should also mean you won’ t lose ‘em in a hurry. Pairing takes a few seconds, with a long press on the inline remote. Once you’ re connected, the Hammerhead BT’s 10mm drivers produce a warm, clear sound with plenty of low-end rumble. Hardy surprising, when Razer’s tagline is “hammering in the bass”. This is not a set of audiophile in-ears, so if you’ re after something with a neutral sound signature, you’ ll need to look elsewhere. Bass-heavy genres have huge presence, but the high-end isn’ t drowned out either. If you don’ t mind a slightly overpowered low-end, these buds can still deliver crisp cymbal hits, hi-hats and decent vocal clarity. With four sets of rubber ear tips in the box, you won’ t struggle to get a comfortable fit, and while you don’ t get foam Comply tips, there are dual-flanged tips that do a better job of sealing away outside noise. There’s no sound leakage, either, so you won’ t irk your fellow commuters even when you’ ve cranked up the volume. Battery life is respectable, too, lasting for around eight hours of music before needing a charge. That meant I could wear them all day, and not have to plug them in until I got home. Unless you’ ve got a serious Spotify addiction, or want something to last an entire transatlantic flight, this should be plenty. The green LEDs shift to red when you’ re running low on charge, and start to beep when you’ re nearly empty. You’ ll need to plug in for two hours to get back up to full. At a penny under $170, the Hammerhead BT looks like pretty good value. It’s a well-made set of in-ears, with excellent wireless range, decent battery life and with sound quality to match. No, the bass-heavy tuning won’ t keep audiophiles happy, but then they probably wouldn’ t have got past the green LEDs, anyway. That’s the biggest problem, really: if you’ re not a fan of the styling, I’ m not going to convince you to pick a pair up. You’d be better off with Soundmagic’s cheaper E10BT. If you don’ t mind wearing your gaming pride on your sleeve (or in your ears) though, these are better made, and have a better-designed battery than the SoundMagic. Or maybe you just like green LEDs – and don’t mind paying extra for the priviledge.