Razer’s budget bet is a decent pair of standard gaming headphones that does not turn heads but gets the job done.
The video gaming market has steadily been one of the biggest markets in the world. And this $178 billion industry isn’t showing signs of slowing down; with the US accounting for almost a third of that figure.
In line with that, the demand for gaming headphones has been on a steady rise as more people try to get their hands on headphones to aid their gaming performance. That’s why the gaming headset market has now adjusted to cater to every type of gamers — new or old, fancy or not.
Now, gaming headphones do not have to cost a lot. And if you have been looking for budget options, chances are you have come across the Razer Kraken X already. However, if you want something lighter and more affordable, then you should consider getting its slightly toned-down version: the Razer Kraken X Lite.
But is the Razer Kraken X Lite good enough? Or should you just splurge a bit more for the standard Razer Kraken X? Read on for our full gaming review.
The brand was catapulted to fame in the early 2000s when it released a soon-to-be-legendary gaming mouse, the Razer Boomslang. Since then, Razer has been a household name in the PC gaming industry with continuous releases of iconic products such as the Razer DeathAdder and the Razer BlackWidow.
In 2011, Razer entered the gaming headphones arena by introducing the first pair of headphones with True 7.1 Surround Sound — the Razer Tiamat. Through the years, Razer has continuously improved its mastery of sound technology which was solidified with its acquisition of THX Ltd. in 2016.
- Form: Over-ear, Closed-back
- Drivers: Custom-tuned 40 mm drivers
- Impedance (Ohm): 32 Ohms
- Frequency Range: 12Hz – 28kHz
- Maximum Input: 30mW
- Speaker Sensitivity: 109dB
- Mic: Yes – Bendable Cardioid
- Mic Sensitivity: -45±3dB
- Ear Pads: Plush Memory Foam
- Source Plug: 3.5mm
- Removable Cable: No
- Cable Length: 4.27 ft.
- Weight: 230g
- Compatibility: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox One S/X controller, Nintendo Switch/3DS, PSP, Tablet, Mac, iPad, Laptop, PC, Mobile Phones
The black and green cardboard box that the Razer Kraken X Lite come in is bulky yet lightweight. Inside, the headphones are placed in a grey styrofoam bag resting in another pull-out carton box.
I must admit that I expected a bit more from Razer packaging-wise. It didn’t have customized slots for any of the items inside so you’d definitely hear all the clutter if you shake the box. But I guess that’s one of the trade-offs Razer had to do to cut the cost.
This is something I won’t take against Razer, though. To me, it was a gentle reminder that the Kraken X Lite are one of the most affordable products from the brand and that expectations should be managed moving forward.
In the box
- Razer Kraken X Lite
- Audio splitter extension cable
- Stickers for earcups
- Printed 7.1 Surround Sound activation code
Razer did not deviate much from the usual Kraken Range look for these headphones. I got the classic Black Kraken X Lite and they really looked like a pair of Razer headphones right out of the gate.
Both of the ear cups and the middle part of the headband feature around half-inch plush memory foam paddings. I must say, the Kraken X Lite looked nothing less comfortable and I just felt like diving straight to wearing them. They also feature a non-detachable cardioid mic and a non-detachable 3.5mm cable.
All in all, the Kraken X Lite sports a simple yet seamless design. There are no exposed stitches and every part of it is well-fitted. I also appreciated the small numbers indicating the levels inside the headband that you’ll see when you adjust the headphones.
The loss of the mute button and volume dial can be a dealbreaker to most players, though. This means you have to go to your device settings every time you need to mute the mic or adjust the volume. It can definitely disrupt anyone, especially in intense gameplays.
Because of this, I sometimes find myself just leaving the mic on all the time, even though I would usually mute them in some circumstances, just because I didn’t want to bother adjusting the settings. I also couldn’t adjust the volume fast enough when my teammates start screaming too loud or when the game sound just becomes too intolerable.
The Kraken X Lite feature a 1.3-meter cable which is roughly 4.27 ft. The package also includes an audio splitter extension cable that extends the cord to 2 meters. Razer did not disclose the material they used as an insulator for the cable but it’s some sort of rigid nylon that feels flexible and durable to an extent.
Wired gaming headphones would always feature lengthy cables that could, admittedly, get in the way of mobile gamers. The Kraken X Lite weren’t an exception as I also found myself fending off the cable and managing it from time to time.
At just 230g, the Kraken X Lite are 20g lighter than the already ultralightweight Kraken X which weigh 50g. But whether this bit of information is good or not depends on your preferences.
In my case, I do prefer lightweight items so the Kraken X Lite were just up my alley. For those who want a bit of weight on their headphones, though, these might not have enough in them.
At first glance, you won’t be able to tell how much plastic is used for these headphones. But once you get ahold of them, you’ll know right away that they’re made with around 90% plastic.
The plastic housing provides the Kraken X Lite with more flexibility compared to those with metal frames. If we’re to talk about overall build quality, though, these headphones definitely need more work because they really lack that premium feel.
Don’t get me wrong – the Kraken X Lite are well-made and has a very sleek design. However, the plastic build combined with its light weight just screams flimsiness as if they would snap off anytime. Ironically, they are not as weak as how they feel on the hand.
To test their scratch resistance, I simply did a few light scratches with my nails, a dull metal, and a wooden surface. None of the three seemed to have left a distinguishable mark, so that’s good.
Comfort varies from one person to another because we all have different standards for it. In my case, I do prefer overly cushioned headphones with pillow-like paddings and, I must say, that the Kraken X Lite got this one right.
Both ear cups of the headphones are lined with half-inch memory foam paddings covered in leatherette. The headband is also lined with a quarter of an inch thick of memory foam as well, and although only the top part of the headband is lined with foam, it is still as comfortable as it can be.
The clamping force of the Kraken X Lite is not heavy but it’s snug enough to stay in place. They seal naturally well but the ear cups’ foam almost nullifies the pressure you’ll feel on your ear.
I did not have a problem using these for long periods of time and I didn’t experience any ear sweats or other forms of fatigue.
With a well-thought and clean design, the Kraken X Lite definitely excels in comfort the most, compared to other areas of this review.
For those who wear glasses like me, you won’t be disappointed with the Kraken X Lite. These headphones feature a hidden eyewear channel where your glasses would slot in to ensure that you won’t feel any sliver of pain.
However, one drawback of the Razer Kraken X Lite is the lack of rotation from the ear cups. They can only rotate for around 30 degrees, which makes removing them quite challenging. They also tend to be bulky and uncomfortable when it’s hung from your neck.
The Razer Kraken X Lite have a built-in cardioid mic. The mic is not detachable but it is flexible enough to be kept comfortably on the side when not in use.
Being a cardioid mic, this can easily block out external sounds.
Razer Kraken X Lite’s microphone produces relatively clean audio for its price point. You won’t have a big problem when you’re talking in a quiet environment. The mic, however, can only isolate the noise to a certain level like keyboards and light taps so high-noise settings such as highways are not ideal.
I played a couple of games on my PC and my PS4 with these headphones and the mic quality performed up to par. My teammates still very easily understood me without the need to repeat myself. It is, however, very sensitive and wind gushes or overly loud sounds are quite common.
It’s good for indoor gaming but not at all recommended when gaming in a relatively loud environment. Although your voice will still be heard and recognized, your teammates may still be distracted from the background noise. I can say that it can noticeably lessen lower frequencies, like the rumble of an engine, but it leaves out high frequencies, which means my teammates can hear a lot of whistling wind sounds.
Here are some voice recordings I took to help you hear how the Razer Kraken X Lite’s microphone performs:
Admittedly, I wasn’t really expecting much from the Kraken X Lite and their 40mm drivers in terms of sound quality — and I was right to do so. After all, they are budget gaming headphones so, for me, as long as they produce the right sound details and proper directional audio, they would be fine.
To test them out, I played Apex Legends on PS4 and Valorant on PC. Playing mostly first-person shooter (FPS) games, I couldn’t help but notice that the Kraken X Lite provided great details. I heard the littlest clanking sounds of empty bullet shells touching the ground, enemy footsteps, and I also didn’t have a hard time hearing my team.
Other than that, there is also a noticeable spike in the mids and highs for these headphones. The treble is quite exaggerated and although there is bass present, it tends to get overpowered by other sounds.
With the bass overpowered by the highs, the gunshots and explosions had more crisp to them but lesser impact overall. While I personally prefer more bass on my headphones, the balanced mix of a tight ear seal and the overpowered bass alleviated a lot of pressure from my ears.
The Kraken X Lite are closed-back headphones with a soundstage that really isn’t the widest of all. For FPS games, there would be a tendency to feel more constricted since the sounds would feel extra closer. However, Razer compensates well for that with one of the best aspects of these headphones — spatial audio.
The Kraken X Lite’s 7.1 surround sound allowed me to accurately pinpoint the direction and distance of my enemies in-game. The audio wasn’t just simply blasted through the left or right ear cups and the headphones used volume control masterfully to indicate proper positioning. As a result, I was able to react better, face threats more accurately, and move more efficiently.
Despite being a budget bet, Razer chose to include their proprietary surround sound feature because they know that their market will be looking for it. Razer rightfully gets the credit on my book for this one.
With all these, I was able to bear long hours of gaming and, to some extent, was also able to hear the directions of the sounds without the distraction of any impactful bass.
The Razer Kraken X and the Razer Kraken X Lite are often compared to each other. With the Kraken X Lite being the lighter and more affordable counterpart of the already lightweight and affordable Kraken X, you could expect a couple of trade-offs.
The regular and standard Kraken X only have three key differences. First, the Kraken X has two nifty features — a mute button on the left ear cup and a volume dial under that. These two small additions may not amount to much, but they are extremely helpful and convenient especially in gaming setups. It’s a lot easier to simply toggle these buttons instead of going through your console settings every time you need to mute the mic or adjust the volume.
Aside from that, the Kraken X and its Lite version also weigh differently. At 250g, the Razer Kraken X are 20g heavier than the lite version but, quite frankly, you probably won’t even feel the difference in weight.
Other than the regular Kraken X, the MPOW Air SE are also a great matchup for the Kraken X Lite. These two headphones are in the budget category and they were both made for those who are looking for lightweight gaming headphones.
When it comes to durability and build quality, the MPOW Air SE have the upper hand — and it’s by a mile. MPOW’s budget bet feature metal clamps on their ear cups and they generally feel a lot more premium than the Kraken X Lite.
In terms of sound quality, though, the Kraken X Lite are the ones you would want to go for. It has better surround sound and you also get a relatively wider soundstage with them for a more natural but still immersive gaming experience.
I’m also a big fan of the Kraken X Lite’s seamless and featherweight design that really lessens the tendency for ear fatigue and sweating. I also found the Kraken X Lite more comfortable and I really appreciated their adjustment locks — a feature that isn’t present in the Air SE.
The mics on both are equally underwhelming, but effective nonetheless. They are both simple headphones that get the job done but Kraken X Lite’s 7.1 Surround Sound gives them a slight edge in terms of usability.
Where to Buy
Razer’s tagline is “For Gamers. By Gamers.” and they have been true to their word with the Kraken X Lite. These headphones may not be as remarkable or as outstanding as other headphones under the same brand but they are great as who they are — budget gaming headphones.
The Kraken X Lite may not stand out that much, but they do manage to get a lot of things right.
The build quality and the overall premium feel are severely lacking with these headphones. But that’s a trade-off I can live with considering the surround sound feature and their optimum comfortability. Plus, with only costing around $50, what more can I ask for?
However, whether you should settle for the Kraken X Lite are go for the standard Kraken X variant is debatable. The standard Kraken X are 20g heavier because of two additional features — the mic mute button and the volume dial. If your budget is around $50, you may as well spend a few more for these features.
Career gamers would probably appreciate the effort that Razer has done for the Kraken X Lite, but it will undeniably fall short of their gaming gear shopping list. But, for casual gamers and those just starting to test the waters for gaming headphones, the Kraken X Lite would surely be a great place to start.