Razer’s First Try at a Set of “Lifestyle” Headphones Is Pretty Sharp

Rating: 8/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $199

Here's What We Like

  • Very comfortable
  • Excellent ANC
  • Long battery life

And What We Don't

  • Sound quality isn't as good as some of the competition
  • ANC affects overall audio quality more dramatically than some other cans
  • The app could use more options, especially for a custom EQ

The Opus is Razer’s first foray into “lifestyle” headphones. With a surprisingly understated design, these are made to wear anywhere and anytime. They have ANC, are THX-certified, and cost $199. Overall, they’re solid—but if sound quality is your primary concern with headphones, they may leave you wanting.

To look at the Razer Opus is to know exactly where the inspiration for them came from They have a similar aesthetic to the Sony WH-1000MX3 everyone loves—the ANC and power buttons are even in the same place. They also come with a very similar case and fold up in a very similar manner to fit in said case.

Of course, there are plenty of differences between the two. But it’s hard to look at both sets without at least making some comparisons.

Speaking of button placement, here’s the rundown. The left cup is where the power and ANC buttons are, along with the 3.5mm jack (for wired play) and the USB-C charging port. The right cup houses the volume +/- buttons, with a play/pause button snuggled in between them. You can also use this to switch tracks: a double-click moves forward one track; a triple-click goes back.

Sony WH-1000mx Razer Opus

Left: Sony WH-1000MX3; Right: Razer Opus

My biggest annoyance here is with the volume buttons—the button towards the front lowers the volume, the one to the back raises it. That feels backward to my dumb brain, and I get it wrong every time. The headphones also feature autopause when you take them off.

Once on my skull, the Opus are impressively comfortable. The ear cups are around-the-ear, so they don’t smush the top of my ear into the side of my head. They’re also comfortable with glasses on, which I appreciate because I have to wear those stupid things when I’m working so I can, you know, read. The band and cups are both made of a “plush leatherette foam” according to Razer. I agree—it’s plush as hell and equally as leatherette. They’re comfy.

The earpads on the Razer Opus
Cameron Summerson

And then there’s the sound quality. It’s been a while since I’ve used the Sony WH-whatever, but can remember the big, bold, full sound quality they produced. Well, the Opus doesn’t have that. They sound good, but I wouldn’t call them great—especially not with ANC turned off. There’s a noticeable change in sound quality when you toggle ANC, and it’s honestly sort of jarring. To the point that, if I didn’t know better, I would think I was using a totally different set of headphones.

With ANC off, there’s a spike in the midrange and a drop in the low end, making these sound “rounder” than I’d like. Toggle the ANC on and the low end jumps dramatically, almost to the point where they sound muffled. What’s interesting is that this is a temporary spike—it seems to level out after about 10-15 seconds, but still retains a much more defined low end than with ANC off. This peak and valley transition is a subtle change, but it’s something I definitely noticed every time I enabled ANC. So, to be clear, I think they sound much better with ANC on.

Speaking of, the ANC on these headphones is very good. It’s easily on par with or better than everything else I’ve tried in this price range (or even higher). It does a great job of blocking out a wide range of frequencies. No complaints there. Razer says you can get 25 hours of battery life from the Opus with ANC active, which falls in line with my tests. I imagine disabling ANC would bump this to the 30-35 hour figure, though your mileage will vary depending on volume level and the like.

The Razer Opus app The settings menu in the Opus app

There’s also a dedicated Opus app that allows you to toggle the EQ with a series of presets:

  • THX: This is the preset designed specifically by THX for the most accurate and balanced overall soundstage.
  • Amplified: This offers a bump in the lower midrange, which I personally hate. But if you like low mids, then you’ll like this setting.
  • Vocal: Bumps the 350 Hz and 3k Hz ranges to amplify the human voice.
  • Enhanced Bass: This bumps the 100 Hz and 300 Hz ranges quite a bit, as well as the 10k Hz range just a bit. This amplifies the low end while also balancing the treble a bit. To my ears it just sounds more muffled.
  • Enhanced Clarity: A massive bump to the 1k, 3k, and 10k Hz ranges, with a drop in the 100 Hz range. Basically, more treble, less bass.

The biggest downside is that there isn’t an option to manually set the EQ. Hopefully this is something Razer can build into the app in the future, because I’d love to be able to drop the 1k range just a little bit. Overall I feel like these are too heavy on the midrange across all settings, so I’d like the option to cut some of that out.

The Razer Opus folded and lying flat
Cameron Summerson

All in all, the Opus is an interesting product from Razer, as they lack any of the branding that you’d normally find on a Razer device—there isn’t a triple snake logo in sight. I like the understated look, and while the sound quality isn’t great, it’s still quite good. If Razer tweaks the apps to allow user EQ settings, that would help.

The $199 price tag is nice, as it undercuts the $349 MSRP of the Sony WH-1000MX3 by a good margin. That said, you can often catch the Sonys for $275 on sale (we’ve seen them as low as $230). If sound quality is your primary concern, then it may be worth waiting until you can grab the Sonys for the lowest price. But if you’re in a hurry, the Opus are far from a bad choice—and if Razer makes the EQ tweakable in the app, they’ll be even better.

Rating: 8/10
Price: $199

Here’s What We Like

  • Very comfortable
  • Excellent ANC
  • Long battery life

And What We Don't

  • Sound quality isn't as good as some of the competition
  • ANC affects overall audio quality more dramatically than some other cans
  • The app could use more options, especially for a custom EQ

Cameron Summerson Cameron Summerson
Cameron Summerson is the Editor in Chief of Review Geek and serves as an Editorial Advisor for How-to Geek and LifeSavvy. He’s been covering technology for nearly a decade and has written over 4,000 articles and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times. Read Full Bio »

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