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Razer Barracuda Pro review: Finally, a gaming headset that won’t embarrass you

razer barracuda pro review gaming headset
Razer Barracuda Pro
MSRP $250.00
“The Barracuda Pro makes some unfortunate sacrifices to create a discrete gaming headset, but it makes up for it with strong audio quality.”
Pros
  • Discrete design
  • Balanced audio
  • Versatile connectivity
  • Long battery-life
Cons
  • High price
  • Loose fit
  • Weak microphone

Razer’s Barracuda Pro is a gaming headset that asks an important question: What if being a gamer wasn’t completely embarrassing? As someone who enjoys games but not the loud “gamer” aesthetic that comes with it, I can’t stand most products and accessories marketed toward gamers. Ridiculous chairs, obnoxious RGB lights, gaudy headsets — it’s hard to play games without having some sort of loud statement piece in your home.

Though Razer is very much an instigator of that trend, the Barracuda Pro is aimed at people like me. Rather than creating a futuristic headset with glowing green accents, Razer’s latest is as unassuming as a pair of Bose or Sony wireless headphones. It’s an attempt to fuse the specific qualities of a gaming headset into a more lifestyle-friendly design. It’s an admirable pitch, though sometimes those two ideas are a little at odds with one another.

The Barracuda Pro is a solid option for players who want a more multi-purpose gaming headset with a discrete look. It just comes with a few key trade-offs and quirks, including poor microphone quality and a high price tag.

Design and comfort

Perhaps the most important feature of the Barracuda Pro is that it looks like a perfectly normal pair of headphones. It’s a solid black pair of cans with no glowing accents and minimal decals (the Razer logo appears on each side, but it’s extremely subtle). My initial reaction when unboxing them was “thank God.” It’s simply nice to have a good gaming headset that I could wear out in public without drawing attention to myself.

It’s a comfortable fit, with oblong earcups that are exceptionally soft. Though it’s a relatively loose fit too, at least on my head. If I nod my head forward, I notice that the headband slides down the top of my head rather easily. By comparison, the Razer Kaira Pro is a tighter fit with firmer cups and it doesn’t wiggle around nearly as much. Just be wary if you’re a headbanger.

A Razer Barracuda Pro headset sits in a case.

The headphones come with a compact carrying case too, which is a nice touch. It includes a small compartment that holds its various dongles and wires. That presentation helps make the Barracuda Pro feel more like a premium product rather than a high-end toy for gamers. It’s not something you’ll want to haphazardly toss on your desk after you’re done wearing them.

Sound quality

At this point, Razer knows how to create a gaming headset, so it’s no surprise that audio quality is a strong point. During my tests, I found that the audio mix was fairly balanced across a range of games thanks to the powerful bio-cellulose 50mm drivers. Most notable is its lower range, which allows it to produce thumping bass quite well. That’s key, because the Barracuda Pro isn’t just a gaming headset. With its lifestyle design, Razer is hoping you’ll use it for other purposes too, like music listening. That balanced default sound profile helps make it more effective as a jack-of-all-trades, even if it doesn’t excel in any specific category.

I’ve found that it does struggle a bit with mid-range tones. When playing Xenoblade Chronicles 3, which features chaotic battles filled with clashing attack tones, I could feel the audio peaking a bit. That’s an extreme example (I’m not convinced Xenoblade’s battles sound good on any headset), but I did find it a little harsh to listen to in that setting.

The Razer Barracuda Pro's earcups are shown up close.

Luckily, you can change the equalization using the Razer Audio app, which I’d recommend doing. The app also lets you tweak mic noise cancellation, enable do not disturb mode, and more. It’s a nice companion app, though I personally would have liked to see a few sound profile options on the headset itself to make some quick tweaks when the mix gets harsh.

One nice onboard customization option the Barracuda Pro does provide is hybrid noise cancellation. With the press of a button, I can easily toggle Active Noise Cancellation on or off. I can also turn on Ambient mode, allowing some outside noise if I want to be aware of my surroundings — again, a useful addition for those who want to use their headset for more than just gaming. I can absolutely hear the difference between each mode as I cycle through the options, with ANC cutting out a fair amount of background noise. However, some ambient noise does still make it through even with ANC on, so don’t expect a perfectly isolated experience.

Your voice is going to sound like it’s coming out of an old landline telephone’s answering machine.

There is one area where audio quality is sorely lacking. As part of its sleek design, the Barracuda Pro doesn’t feature an attachable boom microphone like most gaming headsets. Instead, it opts for an in-line one, which creates a key decision for buyers. The lack of a microphone dangling out in front helps it retain that lifestyle look, but at the cost of sound quality. Your voice is going to sound like it’s coming out of an old landline telephone’s answering machine. It’s a harsh digital quality that’s not exactly ideal for team communication. As a result, the Barracuda Pro is probably best suited for solo players.

Connectivity

The Barracuda Pro has some neat tricks up its sleeve when it comes to connectivity, though a notable blind spot too. Its most impressive feature is its Smartswitch dual wireless connection. That allows the headset to be hooked up to a device via Bluetooth and connected to another, at the same time, via 2.4GHz. For example, I connected my headset to my Steam Deck via Bluetooth, but simultaneously connected to my PS5 thanks to the USB-C dongle that comes with the headset. With a quick double tap of a button, I could switch between both systems effortlessly.

The Barracuda Pro can connect to a wide range of devices out of the box.

I did run into a slight problem with that setup when I unplugged the dongle from my PS5 while connected to it. After doing that, I found I was unable to get back to my Steam Deck audio unless I disconnected and reconnected. Similarly, I ran into the same issue when I accidentally switched over to 2.4GHz mode (without having the dongle plugged into anything) while connected to Bluetooth. I don’t think these are use cases many users will really run into, but there is a little bit of fuss to the process. Other than that, the Smartswitch tech works quite well and makes it easy for me to answer a phone call while playing a game without taking my headset off.

Because of its hybrid approach, the Barracuda Pro can connect to a wide range of devices out of the box. I could get it hooked up to my Nintendo Switch, PS5, Steam Deck, and iPhone without struggle. Xbox is the odd one out, as the Series X doesn’t have native Bluetooth support nor a USB-C port (as a rule of thumb, I’m always opposed to USB-C dongles, as the port isn’t common enough yet to be universal). That makes it feel a touch incomplete as a perfect gaming headset, even if there are workarounds.

A Razer Barracuda pro USB-C dongle plugged into a PS5.

Note that the Bluetooth option does come with some latency issues. In my tests, I caught a noticeable audio lag when playing on Switch, as the sound of switching cycling mention options in games didn’t properly line up. For a lag-free connection, 2.4 GHz is a safer bet.

Battery life

Razer notes that the Barracuda Pro lasts about 40 hours, and that tracks with my tests. Naturally, there are variables in either direction, but I found I could get through a long gaming session without having to worry about my headset dying on me. The headset auto-powers off when not in use too, which helps conserve some battery.

I did encounter two pain points when it comes to battery. It’s just a touch disappointing that there’s no wired option for the Barracuda Pro. While it does include a USB-A to USB-C charging cable, you still have to connect wirelessly no matter what. Far more annoying is the headset’s low battery indicator, which constantly interjects with a vocal warning — sometimes for hours on end due to how long the battery is. It’s the same annoyance I’ve had with my Razer Kaira Pro and I’m shocked it carries over into this more “high-end” model.

If it sounds like I’m nitpicking on a lot of these points, it’s for a good reason: These cost $250. At a higher price point like that, I don’t just want a headset to look the part of a premium product. A few missing touches here and there add up, making it clear that Razer isn’t quite ready to fight Bose or Sony as a lifestyle brand. This is a gaming headset first and foremost; it’s just one that you can wear outside without raising eyebrows if you need to.

Our take

The Razer Barracuda Pro is a good all-around headset for players who can’t stand the loud design of most gaming accessories. Its discreet design, long battery life, and balanced audio make it a strong option whether you want to game at home or listen to music on an airplane. Its hefty $250 price tag makes some of its issues stick out more than they would, though. Problems like its weak onboard microphone make me feel like the high cost is more about maintaining the illusion of a gaming headset turned prestige lifestyle product.

Is there a better alternative?

For a solid gaming headset with a low-key design, the Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless is comparable in price and has a better microphone. For a comparable lifestyle headset, check out the Jabra Elite 85H.

How long will it last?

The battery can last up to 40 hours on a charge, which means it’ll last any marathon gaming session. The built quality itself is solid and its carrying case should protect it from long-term damage.

Should you buy it?

Yes. If you just want a less embarrassing gaming headset, it’s a perfectly good option. Just be prepared for some quirks.

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