Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 Headset & DeathAdder Elite Mouse Review
When you’re playing the field of particularly competitive games, you might not imagine just what a good set of equipment can do for your style. Truly, the difference can be night and day between splitting thousandths of a second of reaction time to make a play or hearing every footstep and shuffle that will ensure you’re never caught off guard again. That said, when it comes to gaming intensive PC peripherals, budget can be a serious problem. Not every League of Legends Platinum tier hopeful is looking to drop a month’s paycheck to roll just a little bit closer to that next sweet rank. Luckily, Razer has some new options on the market for both your clicking finger and your ears that will perform quite admirably and won’t gouge your bank account for the experience.
First up on the bill is the Razer Kraken 7.1 V2. This is a USB wired headset featuring true 7.1 surround sound experience with 50mm audio drives built for balance between in-game audio and communication. On the communication end, the headset has a built-in microphone with active noise cancellation to offer help create a clear line of communication even in loud and rowdy settings. The microphone is fully adjustable, has a one tap mute setting and is fully retractable into the headset and out of your way if you’re not feeling chatty. The whole thing is built on a bauxite aluminum frame that is meant to provide a durable, yet lightweight feel with ear cushions that can be interchanged easily with a simple twist for oval or circular options.
The star attraction here is definitely the 7.1 surround sound. The V2 offers a pretty dynamite audio system for what you pay. We took it to task in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, which most definitely puts a hefty amount of reliance on being able to communicate with your team and listen carefully for the directional presence of enemy combatants. This headset’s audio drivers did a great job of keeping us clued into our whole aural situation while keeping a balance between game audio and team chatter. Even in games where sound isn’t of utmost importance or just regular old listening to music or programs, the V2 does a pretty good job of supplying a crisp, quality audio experience that will outdo or match most headsets of this price range. Not to mention, the ear cups will almost completely block out any sound outside of them that might deviate from your experience.
The mic on the V2 is an active noise canceling system built for players that are expecting to be in a room full of loud people. We did a few tests in silence as well as putting up various background noise to see how the mic would perform and it did pretty well. The sound quality on its own in a quiet environment is crystal clear. That said, the noise cancel won’t silence everything in the background, but it will ensure that no matter what horrible clutter you’ve got going on around you, when you’re talking, you’re what anyone on the other line is going to hear. The fact that the mic mutes and unmutes with a simple tap on the back of the audio input and the whole thing retracts neatly into the headset is a very convenient icing on the cake here.
The Kraken V2 is mostly made for PC and that’s where it will work best. The wire is about 8’and wrapped in a heavy-duty, non-tangle braided cord. That said, the headset states it will also work with PlayStation 4 and that’s true, but it’s not the best experience. First off, the input is USB, so if you’re not always sitting close to your PS4, it’s already sort of a deal breaker right there. Secondly, the 7.1 surround sound quality is not compatible on PS4. You’ll just be getting stereo sound out of it. As nifty as the compatibility might be, there are a few too many drawbacks to put it up over similarly-priced wired 3.5mm jack or wireless options.
Moving onto the DeathAdder Elite, we’ve got a nifty mouse here with a bevy of options to suit those picky about the accuracy of their devices. The DeathAdder Elite claims one of the world’s most advanced optical sensor, able to run up to 16,000 DPI should you wish. It features a USB cord like the Kraken’s, comfortable ergonomic right-handed grip, seven responsive mechanical switches, a heavy duty scrolls wheel and on the fly sensitivity adjustment at the touch of a couple buttons.
The sensitivity adjustment of the DeathAdder Elite is most definitely the best part of it. Out of the box and plugged in, you can toggle up and down just how much ground you want the mouse to cover with just a few button presses. It’s really a great little thing for when you need to make adjustments on the fly, are playing between one kind of game or another or just want to do something where you need a little bit more honed accuracy. Playing with the adjustment of sensitivity in game was an absolute boon as we discovered what worked best for us and the ability to switch the sensitivity down when we were just doing some simple browsing on the net was nice to have without having to access a menu or get technical in any way.
The DeathAdder Elite feels reactive in a really great way, too. If you know League of Legends, then you know you’ll be clicking a lot when you’re playing it. Over many gaming sessions and probably well over thousands of clicks, every button on the DeathAdder Elite gave solid feedback and felt wonderfully responsive. It’s hard to say what this mouse will feel like in a few months when we’re well into the wear and tear, but for now, it feels very comfy to palm or hold claw-grip and moves about as smooth as silk. For less than a hundred bucks, it feels like a fantastic physical experience.
The DeathAdder Elite has only a handful little things holding it back from a perfect recommendation. Firstly, it appears to come in only a right-handed model and with the buttons located firmly on the left inside grip of the mouse for a right-handed thumb. Lefties are out of luck with this one. Furthermore, though it does feature seven buttons, two of them are the regular left and right click, two are adjustment switches, one is the mousewheel and only two extraneous buttons remain on the side. You can remap the center adjustment buttons but you lose out on versatility and sensitivity customization there. Those looking for a mouse that they can map most of their game’s controls to are going to find the DeathAdder Elite a bit lacking.
One of the things that put both the Kraken 7.1 V2 and the DeathAdder Elite a step above a lot of gear is just how much you can customize the experience with the Razer Synapse companion app. Built to serve any Razer device, the Synapse has some great tools and options very specific to each device. With the V2 headset you can calibrate your surround sound experience until it fits your needs perfectly or set some mixer settings which will auto detect and either heighten or fade audio volume on any program set up in the app.
With the DeathAdder Elite, Razer Synapse offers the kind of options that just might make the perfectionist in you cry tears of joy. You can readjust and remap all mouse buttons to specific settings, including the sensitivity adjusters, and set program-specific settings that will remap as soon as that program is launched. If you’re not thrilled with the sensitivity options, you can also fine-tune what DPI your mouse will switch to when you change settings. All-in-all, you can change and tweak nearly everything each device can handle down to the very color that glows on their lit-up areas when they’re turned on.
The Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 headset and the DeathAdder Elite mouse have a ton of great functionality at a less than soul-destroying price for what you can do with them. Under various testing, both devices performed quite well and left us in sheer awe of just how many options we could play with on both until the experience perfectly met our needs. It’s a shame they have to be tethered to whatever you happen to be playing or interacting with, but for the price it takes to get both, Razer has produced some extremely passable and enjoyable gear here.
The Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 Headset is available for $99.99 and the Razer DeathAdder Elite Mouse is available for $69.99, through the Razer Online Store and other retailers. The Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 Headset and DeathAdder Elite Mouse were provided for review.