Whether you’re working on a passion project or on a professional venture, collaboration is the key to success. Razer, a famed gaming company, teamed up with THX for the latest addition to its portfolio, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro. These noise cancelling earphones merit THX Certification, and you can hear it.
Let’s find out if sound quality alone is enough to distinguish these buds from the competition.
Editor’s note: this Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro review was updated on December 9, 2020, to update the ANC chart and scoring.
Who should get the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro?
- Mobile gamers can take advantage of the 60ms latency, which can increase your reaction time and give you the edge.
- People who stream videos from their phones or tablets will benefit from Gaming Mode too, because it virtually eliminates audio-visual lag.
- Anyone can use these active noise cancelling (ANC) earphones. Sure, it’s not the best ANC we’ve tested, but it works well enough and can quiet your commute a bit. Plus, the IPX4 rating makes these durable, and an option for athletes.
What’s it like to use the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro?
All true wireless earbud interaction begins at the charging case, and this plastic case wasn’t made with butterfingers in mind. I fumbled the case many times when removing it from my pocket. Its textureless black exterior looks nice, but I prefer grippier designs like the Jabra Elite 85t case over Razer’s clean design. Suffice to say, good luck opening this single handedly.
A metal reinforced hinge joins the lid to the rest of the case, and magnets keep the lid shut—even if you drop it. Tactile buttons aren’t welcome on the case, or the earbuds for that matter, and only a USB-C input and single LED adorn the case. The LED indicator glows red when the case is charging, and green when fully charged. When unplugged, the LED emits an orange glow if the battery is low, and a red glow to illustrate near depletion.
The earbuds look nearly identical to the original Hammerhead True Wireless, but this time, Razer redesigned the ear tips—they actually exist with the Pro version. Aside from THX, Razer also partnered with Comply, an ear tip manufacturer, to include a pair of premium memory foam tips for optimal comfort and isolation. You also get six pairs of Razer ear tips, three of which are standard silicone, and three of which are a bit grippier. I preferred the latter when exercising, because they secured the buds a bit better.
The oblong ear tip design is superior to the standard circular design, making the Hammerhead True Wireless Pro very comfortable.
Razer retained the stemmed design of its original earbuds, which is good and bad. The stems make it easy to insert and remove the buds, but they also get caught easily on things. Whenever I toweled off after exercising, the towel caught the buds and flung them out of my ears. This also happened whenever I removed my mask after a walk, which was a bit frustrating, but not a dealbreaker.
Can you remap the touch controls?
|Play and pause media||N/A|
|Tape and hold for 2s||Toggle/disable ANC and Quick Attention modes||Voice|
|Power on the selected bud||Voice|
|Reject incoming call||Voice|
|Activate smart assistant||Tone|
|Tap and hold for 4s||Activate pairing mode for selected bud||Voice|
|Double-tap||Accept incoming call or switch calls||N/A|
|Skip tracks during media playback||N/A|
|Triple-tap||Return to previous track during media playback||N/A|
|Triple-tap and hold for 2s||Enable/disable Gaming Mode||Voice|
|Clear paired devices (while in pairing mode)||Voice|
Razer really nails the customization part of its headset, and once you download the companion app, you can control almost everything directly from the touch panels. I wish there was a way to adjust volume output from the earbuds, but that feature can easily be added in an update. Automatic ear detection works exceptionally well. Removing either earbud immediately pauses playback, and inserting it immediately resumes it.
Should you get the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless app?
You need the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless app in order to receive firmware updates, and to remap the touch controls. The app also has a few EQ presets for you to choose from, and you can even create your own from the custom equalizer module. Otherwise, your options are:
- THX (default)
- Enhanced Bass
- Enhanced Clarity
The app also allows you to quickly enable Gaming Mode for low-latency streaming, and switch quickly between previously paired devices. This setting is useful since the earphones don’t support Bluetooth multipoint. It’s not quite as seamless as using Microsoft Swift Pair with the Samsung Galaxy Buds series. You can also take a test to see how the ear tips fit your ears, this is similar to Apple’s fit test in iOS, and takes just a few moments.
How good is the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro’s noise cancelling?
The Hammerhead True Wireless Pro does a good job attenuating some low and midrange frequency sounds. It can’t quite stack up to the likes of Sennheiser or even Panasonic, but it’s much better than the Comply foam tips alone. The ANC is good enough to quiet the loud music that your vertical neighbors like to play. As with all noise cancelling headsets, the Hammerhead True Wireless Pro leave high-frequency sounds unaffected, because these sounds tend to be less predictable and therefore harder to combat.
Become an expert: How do noise cancelling headphones work?
To achieve optimal noise cancelling performance as the chart depicts, you must find the best ear tips for your ears. Thankfully, the Comply memory foam tips make this easy. Most listeners should be able to find a good pair of tips after a few minutes of testing, and you can even take the actual fit test in the Razer mobile app to check your work.
What Bluetooth codecs does the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro support?
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro operate via Bluetooth 5.1 and support two Bluetooth codecs, SBC and AAC. iOS users can enjoy consistent high-quality streaming over the AAC Bluetooth codec, but Android users may experience some trouble.
Android struggles to efficiently encode the AAC codec, which results in inconsistent streaming quality across devices. If you notice poor audio quality, you may need to manually force SBC streaming from your device’s developer settings. I took the earbuds outside, and they stayed connected whether I was listening in mono or stereo mode, something that can’t quite be said for the Bluetooth 5.1 Bose Sport Earbuds.
How do you pair the Hammerhead True Wireless Pro?
There are three basic steps to pair Razer’s true wireless earbuds to your mobile device.
- Open the charging case, and leave the buds inside.
- Enable Bluetooth on your desired device and select the razer Hammerhead TWS Pro from the list of available devices.
- Wait for the connection to establish.
To pair another device, hold either touch panel for four seconds.
What is Gaming Mode?
We saw Gaming Mode in the original Razer Hammerhead True Wireless, and it remains unchanged. When you enable Gaming Mode either from the Razer mobile app or the onboard controls, you benefit from low-latency streaming at 60ms, which is good since AAC can lag quite a bit on certain Android devices. Our testing revealed that the minimum latency for AAC on the Google Pixel 3 XL is just shy of 300ms.
Admittedly, I’m not an avid mobile gamer, but I didn’t perceive a huge difference when Gaming Mode was enabled. However, latency was reduced when streaming video from a Google Pixel 3 with Gaming Mode enabled. Ultimately, Gaming Mode is nice to have, but it’s unlikely to be the reason you buy the Hammerhead True Wireless Pro.
How long does the battery last?
We subjected the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro to a constant 75dB(SPL) output until the batteries depleted, and the earbuds lasted 4 hours, 7 minutes on a single charge with ANC enabled. You get an extra four charge cycles form the USB-C carrying case, so battery life shouldn’t be much of an issue unless you board an international flight. The USB-C case doesn’t support wireless charging, so you can keep your Qi charging mat in the desk drawer.
How do the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro sound?
Razer was smart to partner with THX for the Hammerhead True Wireless Pro, as sound quality has vastly improved over Razer’s inaugural true wireless earphones. The Hammerhead True Wireless Pro boast a relatively accurate frequency response across the auditory spectrum. Whether you enjoy classical music, hip-hop, rock, or all of the above, your favorite tracks will sound great with Razer’s earbuds. Bassheads can crank up the low-end in the Hammerhead True Wireless app, or choose from any one of the preset sound profiles.
Learn more: How to read charts
Lows, mids, and highs
The song All that and More (Sailboat) by Rainbow Kitten Surprise opens as Ethan Goodpaster plucks individual notes on the high-E and B strings. The harmonics from the high-E string remain audible, even as the lower notes are plucked from the B string. Sam Melo and the band’s vocals begin at 0:22, and it’s easy to identify that the other vocals aside from Melo’s lead.
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro sounds much better than its forebearer, the Hammerhead True Wireless.
The kick drum waits until 1:13 to kick in, but it sounds great with the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless. The bass emphasis is barely past the threshold of human hearing (3dB), but the extra oomph is appreciated and avoids any notable auditory masking. If I’m to be extremely picky, the bass notes mask the B note’s harmonic resonances as Goodpaster picks the high-E string.
Can I use the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro for phone calls?
You certainly can use the Hammerhead True Wireless Pro to field hands-free calls, but it isn’t your best option. Friends informed me that I sounded too loud, and that my voice clipped multiple times throughout our calls, which can get annoying fast. The chart above depicts the raw frequency response, which looks great on paper, but it can’t quite capture the amplification issues that run amok during real world use. To hear that, take a listen to our audio sample below.
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro microphone demo:
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless vs. Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro: What’s the difference?
There are two immediate differences between the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless and the Hammerhead True Wireless Pro, and the first difference enables the other.
The original Hammerhead totally wireless earbuds have an unsealed design, meaning they fit like the original AirPods. This allows in plenty of external noise, which negatively impacts sound quality. There is an upside to this design: it keeps you constantly aware of your surroundings, which is paramount if you live in a city. Razer graced the Pro variant with actual nozzles and ear tips that seal to the ear, which is key for effective ANC.
If you want the assurance of THX Certification, you’ll want to get the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro. It’s true that the Pro earbuds feature smaller (10mm) drivers compared to the original Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds’ 13mm drivers, but the frequency response is much more accurate.
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless microphone demo:
The Hammerhead True Wireless Pro includes a vertical charging case, while its predecessor includes a horizontal one. The latter is more compact and pocketable, but the former affords improved on-the-go battery life, and is perfectly fine for most all pockets. Both cases charge via USB-C but neither case supports fast charging.
Both sets of earphones warrant an IPX4 rating, but the Pro buds are easier to exercise in since they actually stay in when you’re moving. While Bluetooth codec support is identical, you have to pony up for the ANC variant if you want Bluetooth 5.1 firmware, which enables more efficient power consumption.
Noise cancelling performance aside, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro are the better earbuds, and are a much more worthwhile investment over the Hammerhead True Wireless, unless you prefer an open-type fit.
Should you buy the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro?
If you don’t need the best noise cancelling earphones around, and value other features like accurate audio quality, a water-resistant build, and comprehensive onboard controls, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro is a great headset.
Razer didn’t remedy all the issues that afflict the original Hammerhead True Wireless, though; the plastic still feels cheap and the case is very slippery, but the company learned from its previous true wireless venture, and that’s promising. True wireless earbuds at large still struggle to maintain a solid connection, especially when outside, but Razer did a great job with the Hammerhead True Wireless Pro, which never skipped a beat.
What should you get instead of the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro?
There are quite a few worthy noise cancelling true wireless earphones around, and if you have an iPhone, the obvious choice are Apple’s AirPods Pro. Regardless of your opinion on Silicon Valley’s favorite Apple, the AirPods Pro are a huge success. Noise cancelling performance is much better than Razer’s earphones, and sound quality is very good. Plus, Apple has its own DSP, which automatically equalizes your music for optimal audio reproduction. Both headsets have an IPX4 rating, but the AirPods Pro’s stems are less cumbersome and don’t get caught on objects as easily.
The Sony WF-1000XM3 earbuds are another leading option, particularly for Android users. The noise cancelling is bang-on, especially for the price as these are easy to find under $200 USD. While the ear tips don’t have the same ergonomic features as Razer’s buds, Sony includes a wide range of size and material choices, so you can find the best fit. These are among our favorite noise cancelling earphones, and they support fast charging, which is absolutely necessary for long flights.