Razer Barracuda X: Specs
Compatibility: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, mobile
Drivers: 40 mm
Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
The Razer Barracuda X is an admirably straightforward wireless gaming headset. It connects via a USB-C dongle, which means that it works with Android phones, laptops, PS5s, and Nintendo Switches in handheld mode right out of the box. You can also connect it to desktop PCs, PS4s and Nintendo Switches in docked mode via a USB-A adapter. It has no software to manipulate, and no superfluous buttons. You turn it on, you hear your game, and you turn it off when you’re done. It costs $100, which is a good price for such a versatile wireless peripheral.
There are admittedly a few reasons why the Barracuda X isn’t as good as some other recent Razer outings, such as the Razer Kaira Pro, or the Razer Blackshark V2 Pro. The Barracuda X’s sound quality is decent, rather than excellent. Furthermore, the headset doesn’t exactly break new ground in terms of design or fit, while the lack of software options proves to be a double-edged sword.
Still, Razer’s goal in creating the Barracuda X was to produce a simple, straightforward headset that works wirelessly on a variety of platforms. By those metrics, it’s arguably created one of the best gaming headsets you can buy – at least if playing on a Switch is a big concern. Read on for our full Razer Barracuda X review.
Razer Barracuda X review: Design
The Razer Barracuda X’s appearance won’t turn any heads. That’s good, since you can wear it out and about without getting any undue attention from strangers. That’s also bad, though, since it means the headset looks unremarkable overall.
It has a black plastic chassis with barely noticeable Razer logos on each side, a padded headband and a few buttons on the left earcup. The Barracuda X doesn’t look cheap, exactly, but it does look surprisingly generic for a company that usually makes bold gaming gear.
Everything you need to control the Barracuda X is on the left earcup. There’s a mic mute button, a volume dial, a power button, a 3.5 mm audio jack, a USB-C charging port and a removable, flexible mic. Each button, dial and port feels distinct, so you can tell them apart by touch easily. Just be aware that the mic’s windscreen is incredibly poofy, even by gaming headset standards, which might look a little silly if you need to take a call in public.
Razer Barracuda X review: Comfort
With an adjustable steel headband and lots of padding, the Barracuda X feels comfortable overall. Since the headband doesn’t have any notches or numbers, finding your perfect fit can be tough, particularly if you plan to share the headset with family members or roommates. It also means that your fit is likely to be “pretty good” rather than “perfect.” The earcups are a little on the snug side, but I never found them painful, since they’re pretty soft and have a lot of give.
It’s worth noting that the Barracuda X’s earcups fold flat, making the headset easy to transport in a backpack or suitcase. The device seems durable as well, although only time will tell whether the chassis gets brittle, or the steel bends.
Razer Barracuda X review: Performance
At the risk of damning the Razer Barracuda X with faint praise, it sounds fine. As mentioned above, Razer’s other recent headsets sound much richer and more nuanced – but those headsets are also considerably more expensive. In the $100 price range, it’s probably not reasonable to expect a wireless, multiplatform gaming headset with perfect sound quality.
Still, the Barracuda X gets the job done, particularly while gaming. I spent the majority of my time with the Barracuda X on the Switch, since the headset’s wireless USB-C dongle is a major selling point. Connecting the Barracuda X to the Switch is effortless: just plug it in, wait about a second, and you’re done.
I spent hours with the Barracuda X replaying The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The headset provided a respectable soundscape, balancing music, sound effects and voicework. Paragliding through the kingdom of Hyrule, I could hear the flap of my glider, the cries of distant monsters and the atmospheric piano soundtrack with perfect clarity. Like other gaming headsets in this price range, it’s a little treble-heavy and doesn’t convey much musical richness. But if you’re looking for clear, intelligible sound on the go, the Barracuda X gets the job done.
Thanks to its USB-C connectivity, the Barracuda X also works seamlessly with PS5s and newer gaming PCs. I also tested the Barracuda X with Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart on the PS5, Age of Empires III: Definitie Edition on PC, and Octopath Traveler and Yakuza 4 via Xbox Cloud Gaming, and found the sound to be just as balanced and clear as on the Switch. I had the same experience with Tales of Crestoria on Android.
The only real caveat here is that music, TV and movies sound a little flat, thanks to the gaming-optimized soundscape. Listening to music, the bass always seemed a little muted, and the instrumentation seemed a little muddy. TV shows likewise had a straightforward, dialogue-heavy quality to them, although that’s not necessarily a big deal for everyday viewing.
Razer Barracuda X review: Features
The Razer Barracuda X seems geared toward console players more so than PC gamers. One easy way to tell is because the headset has no Razer Synapse connectivity. Razer’s software suite usually lets players adjust equalization options, assign profiles for individual games and apps, toggle surround sound and more. Instead, while the Barracuda X works fine with PCs, there are no customization options at all.
This setup has both pros and cons. On the one hand, I appreciate how straightforward the Barracuda X is. There’s no extra work to do, no matter which platform you choose. On the other hand, being able to set up equalization profiles would have made a big difference, particularly when switching between games and other forms of media. Having a way to monitor the Barracuda X’s battery level also would have been nice.
Speaking of battery, Razer claims that the headset gets about 20 hours, which matches up with my own observations. That’s a decent battery life, somewhere in the middle of the 15-30 hours that most gaming headsets can claim. The headset takes a few hours to recharge, and you can keep using it while it does.
The Barracuda X’s mic sounds clear, and cleans up a lot of background noise. Since it’s removable, it’s also easy to stash out of sight if you’re focusing on single-player titles.
One thing to note is that you can connect the Barracuda X to Xbox consoles and older gear via its 3.5 mm audio jack. This setup can be a bit cumbersome, but it’s nice to have the option.
Razer Barracuda X review: Verdict
The Razer Barracuda X is a solid wireless gaming headset from a trusted manufacturer. It sounds decent, and it connects very easily to a wide variety of gear. It’s not the be-all, end-all of console gaming headphones, but it’s a worthy contender in that space.
If you can spare $150, the SteelSeries Arctis 7X has better audio quality, and is also compatible wirelessly with Xbox consoles. If you can’t, the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless also costs $100, and lets you manipulate a variety of software options. The Arctis 1 Wireless is probably a better headset all around, but the Barracuda X is simpler to use. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether that simplicity is worth sacrificing a few bells and whistles.