Last year Razer unveiled their new flagship headset – The Nari Ultimate. This headset was well received by the PC and PS4 communities, thanks largely to their new innovative Hypersense technology. Xbox One owners however, were less than impressed. Xbox owners were forced to use the 3.5mm headphone port as the headset didn’t support Xbox One’s wireless frequency — not ideal for a flagship product. Fast forward 12 months and there’s finally some good news for Xbox One owners as Razer has expanded the Nari family to include the new Nari Ultimate for Xbox One.
The Nari Ultimate for Xbox One continues on from the momentum built from last year with one key objective– to change the way Xbox One owners play games. It’s everything you can expect from a Razer product- innovation, atheistics, and performance. But is the Razer Nari Ultimate for Xbox One worth $199.99USD ($349.95AUD) price tag? Let’s find out!
I’ll admit that at first, I was skeptical. A headset that features haptic feedback couldn’t be decent, let alone good, could it? I thought it would be nothing more than a gimmick to justify a premium price tag, but I quickly learnt one thing, Razer Hypersense is no gimmick. Sure, the concept of having magnets quickly oscillating between fixed coils next to your ears doesn’t sound appealing, but the results are something you need to experience.
Razer Hypersense utilizes two advanced L5 haptic drivers that convert audio signals into a dynamic feedback sensation. This is achieved in real-time and without the need for any software. How is this possible? I’m glad you asked (If you didn’t, too bad). Hypersense detects audio shapes and frequencies of in-game audio and transforms them into real-time lifelike sensations. You’d be forgiven to associate this the vibration feedback that is now standard with gaming controllers, but the technology Razer and partner Lofelt have developed is far superior.
Gaming controllers provide haptic feedback over a narrow, fixed frequency (typically 20Hz or 200Hz). Meaning that all vibration feedback more-or-less feels the same, regardless if you fall off a cliff or experience a rocket to the face (we’ve all been there). Hypersense uses dynamic digital signal processing to provide a dynamic frequency range (20Hz to 200Hz) that provides a much more natural, lifelike sensation to accurately reflects in-game events. Suddenly, you’ll feel slight vibrations of an enemy’s footsteps in the vicinity, the increasing feedback as a tank approaches, or the high-frequency feedback of that rocket to the face. Essentially, Hypersense immerses gamers like never before.
I can honestly say that Hypersense is not a gimmick. I played a variety of games on both Xbox One and PC to get the full experience and despite some varying results, the overall conclusion was that I was felt more immersed in each game I played than ever before. Gears 5 allowed me to feel the impact each explosion and gunshot recoil like never before. The haptic feedback almost adds a fourth dimension to the game, as you suddenly feel like you’re present ij the game itself. Forza Horizon 3 and 4 (Love my Aussie muscle cars in FH3) allowed me to appreciate every cube of my big block 56 Bel Air. As my RPM increased, I could feel my brain shake inside my skull, exactly how my windows shake when I hear the roar of a big block streaming down the street. NHL 20 actually surprised me. I thought sporting games may struggle to provide impactful haptic feedback. I was quickly proved wrong after I quickly body-checked my first player to hospital — you couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. In general, FPS games appeared to benefit most from Hypersense technology- Overwatch, CS:GO and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare were all incredible. I honestly believe that haptic feedback has the potential to become the standard in gaming headsets.
Games that aren’t as audio-focused such as Dota 2 and Age of Empires II struggled to justify the premium price tag. The Nari Ultimate slightly increased my immersion for both games, but I had to adjust the in-game sound levels to suit. Unwanted sound effects such as multi-kill announcements, in-game chat and background music constantly prompted unwanted haptic feedback. I found this frustrating and annoying as it interfered with more critical audio cues.
Speaking of music, I simply cannot recommend the Nari Ultimate as a pair of audio headphones. Not only is there the glaring issue of no 3.5mm headphone port, but the inconsistent haptic feedback during such a deserve range of songs, genres, eras, and recording qualities meant that I was constantly adjusting the feedback intensity. I found that the haptic feedback was interfering too much, especially where low levels were prominent. This almost felt like the haptic feedback was constantly on at a dull level. In the same sentence, the punchy, high impact bass from a double-kick from a Parkway Drive breakdown or a bass drop from Skrillex felt like my mind was going to explode. However, a combination of no 3.5mm headphone jack and the inconstant results that haptic feedback provides, it’s safe to conclude that the Razer Nari Ultimate for Xbox One is designed for exactly as its name states — for the Xbox One.
The overall design of the Nari Ultimate for Xbox One remains relatively untouched from its sibling, except for a splash of green accents underneath the headband and inside both ear cushions and personally, I love it. It breaks up the all-black appeal of the original Nari Ultimate while keeping true to both Xbox and Razer’s iconic colors, something I’m sure fans of both companies will appreciate.
The other slightly less noticeable difference is the controls integrated into the headset. The addition of a toggle-switch that enables on-the-fly adjustment of haptic feedback intensity or volume level by the easy of a wheel, which is a welcomed addition. Last year’s release required Razer Synapse software to adjust the intensity of haptic feedback, so Xbox One owners will appreciate the subtle upgrade there. For those unfamiliar with the Nari Ultimate, other controls available on the headset include your typical on/off push-button, which is slightly on the small side, and another toggle-switch and wheel for Game/Chat Balance. This function controls balance of in-game and chat audio, along with the ability to mute the microphone. The microphone is fantastic on the Nari Ultimate for Xbox and is almost identical as the original Nari Ultimate. This unidirectional retractable microphone is one of the best attached microphones you will find on a headset from my experience.
You’ll also notice a micro-USB port, make sure you get familiar with this port as you’ll be charging this headset quite a lot. You can expect about 6 hours (and around 20 hours with Hypersense disabled) of gameplay from a full charge, which is respectable considering Hypersense requires a decent amount of energy. The major issue I have is that Razer decided to stay with Micro-USB rather than take advantage of USB 3.0’s superior charging properties. Again, not a deal breaker, but spending 4 hours to fully charge the headset for only 6 hours of game play is something you should consider.
One of the major advantage or disadvantages depending on how you look at it, is that there is no support for any software. This means that you can’t customize aspects such as RGB lighting and THX Spatial Audio, such has therefore been replaced with Windows Sonic. This may not affect the majority of gamers, but for the minority that enjoy tweaking their virtual surround sound calibration will obviously be disappointed. This lack of software support is primary due to Xbox’s wireless frequency operating on a different frequency compared to your traditional 2.4Ghz seen on last year’s Nari Ultimate. This change of wireless technology allows the Nari Ultimate for Xbox One to connect to an Xbox One via the same process as pairing a controller, but it also means a Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows 10 is required for PC compatibility.
Under the hood, so to speak, the Razer Nari Ultimate for Xbox One is pretty much the same as the original — custom-tuned 50 mm drivers with Neodymium magnets, 32Ω impedance, 20 to 20,000 Hz frequency response, 10m wireless range (down from 12m), and Cooling-Gel Infused ear cushions that feature eyewear relief cut-outs. This ensuring maximum comfort for our
four-eyed glasses wearing friends. I actually really enjoyed the Cooling-Gel ear cushions because as we all know; gaming is hard work. So, after an hour of raging from frustrating teammates owning, the relative cooled sensation is a welcomed feeling. Any longer than an hour of gaming and the Cooling-Gel begin to become ineffective. This is due to the gel absorbing your heat and increasing its core temperature. This is usually a good sign that you’re due for a break. But who am I to judge! As I was saying, the Nari Ultimate is one of the most comfortable headsets I’ve worn. Everything from the soft memory foam cushions, to the auto-adjusting headband are well engineered and are a welcomed addition. I’ve predominately used Audio-Technica headphones as my primary gaming headset, so to compare the comfort of these clams to my personal favorite ATH-AD700’s is a real compliment to Razer.
I began this article with a question ‘is the Razer Nari Ultimate for Xbox One worth the $199.99USD ($349.95AUD) price tag?’, my answer is yes, yes, they are. Razer’s Hyersense technology is much more than a gimmick and has the potential to become the standard in gaming headsets. The headset isn’t perfect, but for Xbox One gamers who want a unique and innovative headset, the Razer Nari Ultimate for Xbox One headset is one of the best headsets currently available.
Razer Nari Ultimate
- PERFORMANCE - 95%95%
- BUILD QUALITY - 88%88%
- FEATURES - 93%93%
- VALUE - 88%88%
The Razer Nari Ultimate for Xbox One is simply the best headset on the market for Xbox One owners. Hypersense technology adds a new dimension to gaming experiences and has the potential to introduce haptic feedback as the standard in gaming headsets.
For more on Razer, check out our previous coverage.