Razer is a renowned brand when it comes to the world of gaming. Razer has a bunch of gaming peripherals over the years – and some of them are exceptionally well, as reviewed on our partner site, Tech Critter. Now, Razer sets foot into the world of wireless audio – specifically gaming-centric true wireless audio. Hence, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless was born.
When I saw Razer’s product page for the Hammerhead True Wireless, I was skeptical. It said “ultra-low latency” and I can’t help but to be curious – just how “ultra-low” is the latency?
We’re known as the “audio delay guys” here since we’re the ones who take extra steps out of our review process to test audio delay and come up with tangible data.
While we’re at it, here’s our review of the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless too.
Firstly, I think it’s quite a shame that Razer just used the Apple AirPods design for the “pods” themselves. Come on now – there are so many other designs that can be done. Also, I’m not calling it an “earbud” because the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless doesn’t create a seal around the ear canal. It sits on my ear, like the Apple EarPods/AirPods, hence I’m calling the Hammerhead Wireless as “pods” instead.
Upon opening the cradle of the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless, I am immediately stunned by Razer’s decision to swap the left and right sides of the pods’ positions. The left pod rests in the right slot, and vice versa.
That means if I want to take the pods out of the cradle, I’ll have to wear it in a cross pattern. And yet the pods are positioned so awkwardly in the cradle, I cannot take out both pods together at in one swift swoop. That’s a bummer.
The pods themselves are made out of some pretty okay material. It is shorter in length compared to the Apple AirPods, but the general design is still very similar. I do appreciate Razer’s addition of their logo has an indicator of where to touch.
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless does have a companion – which I think is underutilized. It just provides firmware updates to the Hammerhead True Wireless, and that’s the only purpose that it is most useful for. There are EQ preset selection – but no custom EQ.
Also, pairing to the companion app doesn’t help you pair the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless to your phone. Since we had two phones, we managed to pair the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless to one phone, while the app (on another phone) is connected to it as well.
And yes, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless has touch panels on both sides of the pods. The gestures are pretty simple too:
And the last one is what makes it the most interesting. It has two modes – normal, and “gaming” mode. There aren’t any details regarding what the “gaming” mode does – but from our guess, it does something similar to aptX Adaptive, which is to lower the audio bitrate to lower the audio delay.
Razer also mentioned “ultra-low latency” a few times if you buy this product. 3 times on the box, once more inside the box.
Audio delay benchmark
We think that the “gaming mode” on the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless is pretty simple – it sacrifices audio quality for lower latency in gaming mode.
Since we’re the “audio delay guys”, we whipped out our scientific-ish methods to test the audio delay of the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless. And here are the results that we got.
From the results, we can deduce a few things about the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless:
- In “normal mode”, it has audio delay compared to other true wireless earbuds using SBC codec
- “Gaming mode” does lower the audio delay by 28%, resulting in 406.67ms of audio delay.
- 406.67ms of audio delay is too long for most time-critical usages (like PUBG Mobile and COD Mobile)
So… does Razer’s claim of the Hammerhead True Wireless being “ultra-low latency” hold up? Yes and no.
It’s a yes because while in “gaming mode”, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless does indeed have less delay compared to other true wireless earphones using SBC codec.
It’s a no because even with “gaming mode” turned on, the audio delay is still too much.
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless does have microphones working – which is better than what we’ve tested on the aptX LL solution that we featured here. However, like any other true wireless earbuds (except the Sudio Fem that we reviewed here) has horrendous audio quality since the microphone is pointing outwards perpendicular to our head.
Here’s what I think. For anything that’s using the AirPods style of dangling on the ear instead of creating a seal on the ear canal, it’s not going to sound great especially when it’s in a noisy environment. Noise isolation is nonexistent.
However, I think the mids and vocals that come out of the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless is great. I had an enjoyable time listening to the soundtrack from Transistor, which focuses a lot on the vocals. Thanks to Darren Korb and Ashley Barrett for this beautiful soundtrack, by the way.
However, when it comes to bass, it has thumps and vibrations – but you’ll have to position it accurately because the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless lacks the seal around the ear canal. The treble is also lacking – but that is to be expected.
You can improve the audio quality somewhat by equipping the pods with the included silicon sleeve. However, it still is not comparable to any earbuds with silicone eartips. I do find it uncomfortable when wearing the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless with the sleeves installed since it is bulkier. Your mileage will vary since this is heavily dependent on your ear size.
As mentioned earlier, there are two more EQ presets in the app – bass boost and treble boost. Honestly, they don’t improve either the bass or treble. When we used bass boost EQ, it sounds more like it’s dragging down everything to seem like it’s “bass-boosted”, but the bass itself never really improved.
But despite all of that… I actually like this AirPods style of earphones because I can hear the environment while listening to my music at the same time. I don’t like having a seal around my ear because it makes my ears pain after some time. And for some reason, I usually get headaches after wearing earbuds for a few hours.
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless can only last for about 3.5 hours on a single charge at a comfortable listening volume. The “comfortable listening volume” here is at about 75% because we need to compensate for the sound leakage – which is an inherent characteristic of such “pods” style earphones.
With that said, the pods themselves don’t have particularly great battery life in comparison – but for those who wear earphones for a majority of the day, then yes – this can be a dealbreaker.
The cradle does charge both the pods for about 3 more times – which is pretty typical. It does use USB-C for charging, and that’s great.
But I realized one major flaw with the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless. If the cradle runs out of battery while the pods are inside, they’re turned on by itself and have its battery slowly drained away. For someone like me who doesn’t turn off Bluetooth because of my smartwatch – my phone was connected to the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless and was playing music without me realizing it.
Wrapping up the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless review
Then the conclusion becomes – is the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless recommended? It’s RM459 on Razer’s official Lazada store. I think it’s a bit expensive given that it is indeed an Apple AirPods clone but lacks features like auto play when wearing the pods. Let’s not forget that the companion app practically does nothing useful, too.
Moreover, Razer’s claim of the Hammerhead True Wireless being “ultra-low latency” falls flat according to our scientific-ish test. As expected, the Hammerhead True Wireless is worse than our universal aptX LL solution by more than double the delay. And yet – our solution is priced less than double of the Razer Hammerhead True wireless too.
In terms of sound quality, I think the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless is quite okay but then again – could’ve just forgone this pod-style of earphones for an earbud with silicon eartips. That way, the bass would be so much better.