Gadgets for humans

Razer made a surprisingly classy pair of $200 noise-cancelling headphones

They sound great and are comfortable too


I’m always a little skeptical when there’s a new challenger to the noise-cancelling headphone market because the current popular options — Sony and Bose, primarily — are so good. But Razer may have just figured out the formula for a good noise cancelling headphone at a decent price. For $200, the new Razer Opus is a whole lot of headphone.

Granted, I’ve only had the headphones for a few days, so this isn’t a full review yet. But the Razer Opus have impressed me with their sound quality, design, and comfort in these few days.

For one, the headphones are THX Certified. That may not seem like it means much considering Razer bought THX back in 2016, but THX is known to have some fairly stringent certification standards — most of Razer’s own existing headphones and speakers don’t even earn the certification. THX says it has certain frequency response and distortion goals a headphone must clear before it can achieve certification.

So far, the headphones have impressed me with their sound quality. They sound like a proper audio high-quality headphone, with a tasteful balance of bass, mids and treble, without much emphasis in any particular region. There’s no overbearing bass as in many gaming headphones, nor gimmicky surround effects built in. Nonetheless, the soundstage is more expansive than I expected for a pair of noise cancelling headphones, and the sound is tuneable via the Opus’ dedicated app.

If it weren’t for a bit of audible hiss during silent passages, I’d say they were positively hi-fi. That, and the fact the headphones sound different when noise cancelling is off; I prefer it when headphones are tuned to sound nearly identical in both modes. As it stands, the Dali IO-6 remain my favorite high-end noise cancelling headphones, but the Opus performs surprisingly well in its price bracket — including effective noise cancellation.

Moreover, the headphones look classy too. There’s no gaudy green snake logo here, just a stylish, comfortable headphone that comes in matte black or dark blue. Physical buttons means there’s no fiddling with touch controls, a 3.5mm headphone jack means you needn’t rely on Bluetooth, and Razer is claiming a solid 25 hours of playback with noise cancelling on.

And though the build is predominantly plastic, they are light weight, feel sturdy, and comfortable to wear for hours on end.

The Razer Opus is available from starting today. We’ll follow up with more extensive thoughts once we’ve had the chance to spend more time with the headphones, but so far, so good.

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Published May 19, 2020 — 15:20 UTC

Opus on Razer