2020’s Best Bluetooth Headphones
Brilliant THX sound, active noise canceling, and plush comfort in a sleek wireless package
Razer has been a major player in the audio space for a long time. They helped define the concept of a “gaming headset,” and their products have true mainstream visual appeal. However, their sound signatures have been stuck in the realm of powerful bass and fun over accuracy for years now, lacking the detail and nuance of some of the other big audio brands.
That’s all in the past now.
2020 is the year that Razer truly excelled in sound, transforming from a maker of fun and exciting gaming headsets into a true all-around audio powerhouse. Their current slate of products has incredible, accurate sound performance backing up their impressive and fun industrial designs. And with the Razer Opus, my favorite Bluetooth headphone of the year, they’ve taken a proud swipe at other consumer tech brands like Sony, Apple, and Bose and easily bested them where it counts most.
The Razer Opus sells for $199.99, and it’s available in both Midnight Blue and Black. Here’s a link to their official site. That’s not an affiliate link, as I believe those have no place in tech reviews. Its price puts it up against a huge swathe of ANC Bluetooth models, but the Opus has audio performance that I prefer over any other wireless headphone on the market, and indeed over most wired headphones.
Opus’s THX-engineer-tuned audio is, in a word, neutral. It’s precise and accurate to the source audio you feed into it, whether you use a wired or wireless connection. The sound signature is very much like the AKG K371, one of the most impressive studio pairs I’ve ever heard. Nothing that any of the other big wireless headphone companies makes comes close on sound performance, to my personal ears. If you don’t like its exemplary accuracy, Razer’s Opus mobile app allows you to choose from other EQ profiles, so you can tweak the sound to your own tastes.
The build, battery life, and feature set are closer to the $300+ category than the $200 models the Opus is priced against. It uses the slightly older Bluetooth 4.2 connection protocol, but it does support both AAC and AptX codecs for higher quality wireless sound. Battery life is just over 25 hours with ANC turned on, and several hours more with it off. The headphones feature a full set of physical control buttons, and include the ever-popular “listen to the outside world” feature, as well as an adequate mic for taking phone calls, and wired 3.5mm connection support. You get a nice hard shell carrying case in the box and all the cables you’ll need.
On the noise canceling front, Opus blocks out unwanted sound nearly as well as the big names in the space, with one small caveat. ANC systems use “anti-noise” to mute the outside world, and this comes with one of two trade-offs thanks to the magic of physics. Engineers can choose to either exert some gentle pressure on your ears, or allow you to hear some soft white noise. Razer chose the latter. So, when the ANC is on and your music isn’t playing, you’ll hear a gentle distant whooshing sound, like there’s a fan on at the other end of the room.
As long as you can put up with that, and you don’t mind that it can only connect to one Bluetooth device at a time (unlike Bose’s models which support two connections), then you’re getting one heck of a package here. The Opus has world class high quality audio performance, a lightweight “all-day” comfortable fit even while I’m wearing glasses, and an excellent price point for its large feature set.
You no longer have to give up sound quality to get a wonderful noise canceling wireless experience. This is one of my favorite-sounding headphones, regardless of connection type, and I’m hard-pressed to think of anything they could do to top it outside of upgrading it to Bluetooth 5 at some point down the road, and maybe releasing some new colors. If you’d like to read even more detail about the Opus, check out my full review here.
Razer has established themselves as a premiere player in high quality audio this year, not just in design but also in performance, and the Opus is one of the most pleasant surprises to cross my review desk in a long time. I’ve enjoyed many of their products in the past, but it’s a true delight to be able to say that they’re making sound quality a top priority. If you consider yourself an audiophile you might be skeptical, but once you hear the Opus you’ll likely be as shocked as I was.