We've looked at various PC headsets recently, all of which boast their own unique features. But the Carcharias headset from Razer, a company noted for its high-end PC-gaming products, has no special feature that separates it from the rest of the pack. That said, the Carcharias, available for around £75, is one of the best PC-gaming headsets we've tested.
The Carcharias boasts a stylish all-black design, from the headband down to the boom microphone. The earcups are large and padded, and easily fit over our ears. The soft foam headband makes for an even, more comfortable experience, while the adjustable wire-framed sliders helped to mould the headset to our head. The outer earcups are covered in slick, dark metal grilles with the Razer logo emblazoned on each side. While the Carcharias headset is the largest of those we've recently tested, it's surprisingly lightweight, allowing us to enjoy extended gaming and chatting sessions.
On the left earcup, you'll find the protruding boom microphone. It can swivel 270° and be put completely out of sight if you like. We really like the cloth-braided wire that extends out of the left earcup as well. Measuring in at around 3 metres, the cable provides more-than-ample length for just about any activity. An in-line clothing clip and remote provides easy access to the volume control, in addition to a microphone mute toggle. The cable terminates into two 1/8-inch jacks -- one for audio and one for the in-line microphone input.
We ran the Carcharias through a series of tests, first examining its performance during a chat-based gaming session. We were slightly uncomfortable with the positioning of the boom microphone initially, as the boom itself isn't as adjustable as some of those on headsets we've tested in the past. That said, we had solid results in all of our Counter-Strike matches, with our teammates sounding loud and clear. We were very pleased with the audio performance in-game, and felt immersed in the multiplayer combat action. We were able to locate other players' locations easily, as the sound of gunfire and footsteps was clear.
During a Skype session, we were told that we sounded clear and that audio quality was on a par with a mobile-phone call. We then tested out the noise-filtering feature on the device by playing some music in the background at a low volume. The Carcharias was able to filter out most of the ambient sound, but our Skype partner complained about the noise once we increased the music's volume. We noticed that the headset did a better job of filtering out noise coming from in front of us, rather than from behind.
The Carcharias is also a solid set of headphones. We were really impressed with the overall sound quality when listening to various music samples and movies. The headset did a great job of balancing the treble and bass in tracks from Girl Talk's Feed the Animals album and performed well with the heavier rock of Thrice's The Illusion of Safety. The sound was also vibrant and rich when we tried out selected scenes from the movie Cloverfield. You should keep in mind that you aren't getting true 5.1-channel surround sound, but the Carcharias should be more than sufficient for most listening tastes.
The Razer Carcharias PC gaming headset is one of the most comfortable and best-sounding devices we've tested. Serious PC gamers who use voice chat need look no further. If you're going to be using your headset primarily for VoIP and you'd like to go wireless, we'd recommend looking at the HS-1200 or the .
Additional editing by Charles Kloet