Ears-on With the Star Wars: The Old Republic Gaming Headset
At a Glance
Razer Star Wars: The Old Republic Gaming Headset
Razer’s new gaming headset is loaded with features, but it’s probably more than most gamers need.
Imagine for a moment that you’re a really huge Star Wars fan (this may be easier for some of you than others). You’ve kept the faith through the prequels, and pre-ordered Bioware’s massive (even by MMO standards) new game, Star Wars: The Old Republic. Money is no object when it comes to the Universe that George Lucas built.
Well, have I got a pair of headphones for you. Razer’s Star Wars: The Old Republic Gaming Headset has everything you’d want in a gaming headset: great sound quality, a fantastic mic and slick design that feels right at home in the Star Wars universe. But at $130, they’ll be a hard sell for all but the most ardent fans and gamers.
This is a premium product that does everything you could ask a gaming headset to do. Sound quality on both the microphone and the headphones is fantastic. If you ever feel the need to tweak the audio, Razer’s Synapse software is easy to set up, and features a ton of options (the ability to constantly rotate the color of the LEDs being the coolest, if least functional one). While wearing them I did, in fact, feel way more immersed in the game during my Old Republic play sessions – the Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound support helps that along.
The microphone does a great job of filtering outside noises, especially handy if you’re using Ventrilo or another voice chat service. There are two sets of physical buttons on the headset – one controls the volume levels on the mic, the other controls the general audio level. This is a handy feature, which means you don’t have to worry about switching out of the game to tweak your levels. The headset is also well-padded and comfortable, while still staying light enough to never bother your neck even after using them for several hours.
There are a a few extra bells and whistles in store for Star Wars fans, to really set that “galaxy far, far away” vibe. The design fits right in with the Star Wars films – I’d almost swear they’re modeled off of some of the headsets the Rebels were wearing on Hoth. Razer has also packed in a code for a unique color crystal that soups up weapons in the Old Republic, so you can show off to people who can’t even see your nifty headset.
As befitting Razer gear, there are lights. Multi-color LEDs grace the undersides of each ear, lending a nifty halo effect to your shoulders. You can configure those lights and the headset’s equalizer settings with Razer’s Synapse software. The software also syncs your settings into the cloud, so you'll be able to log in and standardize your preferences across as many gaming machines as you own. The headset also comes with an interchangeable set of Republic and Empire medallions, that you can easily swap out to show your allegiance.
If you aren’t quite as obsessed however, the headset becomes a harder sell. For all the great features, I just can’t bring myself to overlook their one real downside: the Razer headphones cost twice as much as a run-of-the-mill gaming headset. Unless you’re the kind of gamer that’s been annoyed in the past by mic and headphone sound quality, it’s hard to justify the extra expense.
Another minor quibble: the backlight for the interchangeable Republic and Empire symbols on the sides of the headset aren’t color changing LEDs, so even if you’re using the Empire medallions the backlight remains yellow. If you’re a) a huge nerd b) an Empire player and c) someone who believe the canonical Empire color should be red and not yellow, this can be mildly annoying. Caveat emptor, fellow Sith.
For many gamers, Razer’s Star Wars:The Old Republic headset is going to be an expensive pair of headphones loaded with features you don’t need. That said, all of the games I played (World of Warcraft, Skyrim, and Batman: Arkham City) sounded fantastic -- this is a great, all-purpopose piece of audio equipment. Still, if you enjoy Star Wars or gaming enough to consider spending $130 on an audio accessory, don’t let me stop you. You’ll certainly be getting a great headset.