Razer Kaira Pro Wireless Xbox Gaming Headset Review
2020’s Best Xbox Wireless Headset?
NOTE: Razer graciously sent me a retail unit of this headset to review at my discretion alongside marketing assets and technical information. They also had a short online meeting with me to discuss its features. I don’t receive a kickback if you decide to buy one, and none of the links in this article are affiliate links. I wasn’t sponsored to write this, and I had full editorial control over this article.
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Once again, Razer has surpassed my expectations with a surprising new headset. The Kaira Pro is an exciting new design that packs in all the features I’d expect from a premium gaming headset, and it’s also a far cry from the market trend of recycling an old model with Xbox connectivity shoved in.
Xbox Wireless support is still not a common feature in the gaming headset world. Microsoft based the wireless system in both the older Xbox One and newer Series X|S consoles on Wi-Fi Direct. Their proprietary protocol means that companies need to pay a licensing fee and go through a certification process in order to release a wireless headset for Xbox consoles. There’s two typical design routes that tech companies can choose from. They can either license a secondary USB dongle as a virtual Xbox controller (as controllers have audio support built-in), or go the tougher route and integrate the Xbox Wireless hardware directly into their headset.
In order to help mitigate these extra licensing costs, companies will often recycle an existing headset design for their Xbox version. They also sometimes pass the licensing costs on to the consumer, which inflates the price of Xbox headsets compared to PlayStation or PC models.
Razer did things differently with the Kaira Pro, their new Xbox headset that sells for $149.99 (official site here). This is a brand-new design, based in part on the excellent foundation of the BlackShark V2 series and the Razer Opus. It’s a closed-back design with both Xbox Wireless and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, Chroma RGB lighting that’s customizable with a new Xbox app, a detachable boom microphone, and a second built-in microphone for things like taking calls.
The Kaira Pro charges over USB-C, and Razer says it’ll take about four hours to charge a completely dead battery. The USB-C port is a bit recessed into the ear cup, and the divot is more square-shaped than most of the USB-C cables I own, so you may have to use the included cable to charge it. It’s a nice braided cable, similar in quality to the one included with the Xbox Elite controller. Battery life is rated at 15 hours with lights on and 20 hours with them off…and I consistently beat those numbers by a few hours in my testing, so that’s great.
Sound is handled by Razer’s “TriForce” drivers, which use a triple chamber design and are coated in titanium. These same drivers are inside the BlackShark V2 and BlackShark V2 Pro, and a non-titanium-coated version was used in the BlackShark V2 X (one of the year’s best budget headsets). The design allows Razer’s engineers to fine-tune the sound of the drivers more precisely, and the results are remarkable.
Bass is energetic and thumpy without any hint of bleed into the rest of the audio. Mids and highs are both clean and detailed, with just a hint of extra energy up top that should help with positional accuracy. Soundstage is wider than the average closed headset, too. This is all with the Kaira Pro set to its “default” EQ, which is one of four available settings. There’s also a bass preset and an FPS preset, which you can toggle to by double-tapping the Xbox pairing button. The final preset slot is fully customizable through the Razer Headset Setup app.
That app is wonderful, allowing the type of tweaking usually reserved for PC headsets. You can set up your custom EQ, adjust the lighting effects, adjust the EQ of the microphone (which is awesome), and also activate mic monitoring. The app is available in both the Xbox and Windows 10 stores, and will sync your settings instantly.
The Kaira Pro is first and foremost designed for Xbox gameplay, and it uses a dongle-less design that syncs directly to your console just like a controller. This means that once you’re synced to a console, you can also use the headset to turn the machine on. I used mine extensively with my Xbox Series S, playing hours of games I’m familiar with like Control, Borderlands 3, and Watch Dogs Legion. The headset handled the complex soundscapes of these games with ease, whether I listened in standard stereo mode or with Windows Sonic spatial audio turned on.
I also checked them out on PC, since I have an Xbox Wireless adapter. I used them for voice chat and Borderlands 3 multiplayer gameplay with a friend as part of a regular weekly online gaming session, and he said the mic sounded wonderful and was nigh-indistinguishable from the wired mic on the Razer BlackShark V2 X. Like that model, Razer has employed their “Hyperclear” microphone here, and it sounds incredible thanks to the enhanced bandwidth provided by the Xbox wireless connection. It uses a huge-for-a-headset 9.9mm cardioid mic capsule with great background noise reduction. Here’s a quick mic test I recorded with my PC.
The Kaira Pro also provides Bluetooth 5.0 support through a separate pairing button. It doesn’t support any enhanced codecs like AptX, but it still sounds clean and crisp in this mode. You can use both connections simultaneously, if you want to bring in music and notifications from your phone, or something like that. You can also use the Bluetooth mode while on-the-go or away from your Xbox. The headset will seek an Xbox connection upon startup, but after a few minutes it’ll time out and fall back to Bluetooth mode only. It’s worth noting that if you’re in range of your synced Xbox, it will power the console on, and if the Xbox goes to sleep the headset will turn off.
That makes it potentially challenging to use the headset in Bluetooth-only mode if you’re just hanging out around your house. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, but right now I live in an area under virus restrictions and I’m not spending any time in coffee shops or wandering outside my apartment. When I was synced to my PC’s Xbox adapter, this wasn’t an issue, since the adapter can’t turn on the PC, and I was able to check out the Bluetooth functions for several straight hours without my Xbox shutting down the headset. It sounds just a tiny bit more compressed, but the multi-function button responds well for the many different functions it is burdened with, and the built-in ear cup mic was clear when I tried it in a call.
Aside from two pairing buttons on the right cup, there’s also a handy game/chat balance dial. This functions only on Xbox, and allows for quick adjustment of audio balance with a beep at each extreme. The left cup has a volume knob and a mic mute switch that are both easy to find with your thumb.
As far as I know, this is the first Xbox headset to have full proper RGB lighting. It has all the same features you might expect from Razer’s Chroma RGB, including different effects (breathing, spectrum cycling) and a wide gamut of selectable colors. As it’s controlled with its own unique app, it won’t sync to your other Synapse-based devices, but it’s awesome to see this level of lighting control on a console headset. When the lights are off, the Razer logos practically blend into the headset, which is great for those that care about subtlety. I enjoyed leaving them on.
Comfort and build and both just as exceptional as the sound performance, and essentially best-in-class. The ear cushions use Razer’s “FlowKnit” mesh sports material to reduce heat build-up, and are filled with a nice memory foam. The headband feels a little stiff at first touch, but it perfectly spreads the weight of the headset across my head and I had no discomfort even in multiple three hour sessions. The ear cups have plenty of swivel and strong clicky numbered adjustments. I have two extra clicks of room on my large head so it should fit most heads fine, and my ears don’t touch anywhere inside the cups thanks to angled drivers and ample space.
Most of the headset’s frame is plastic, though there’s some prominent metal reinforcement where it counts right near the ear cup swivels and through the adjustments into the headband. I’ve had no squeaks or creaks after several days of heavy use, and I don’t expect that to change over time. The design language is more subtle than Razer’s pre-2020 headsets and headphones, aside from the green color accents. The colors perfectly match the Xbox Series X. The plastic has a nice matte texture to it, and it’s a little bit thicker and more premium than I was expecting.
This is a wonderful headset overall, and I have only one small caveat to mention that’s due to both the underlying tech and the space I used them in. As Xbox Wireless relies on Wi-Fi direct, wireless interference can cause some small issues. My apartment building is a nightmare field of 2.4ghz interference, and a handful of times while using the headset, I heard some brief static noise as it changed channels to find a cleaner signal. This didn’t happen often enough to frustrate me, and it doesn’t affect the Bluetooth connection. But if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing, be aware it can happen. Also, make sure to install the firmware update the packaging material encourages you to install!
If you don’t need the RGB and Bluetooth functions, and don’t mind a permanently attached microphone and slightly shorter battery life, Razer also sells a cheaper standard version of the Kaira for $99. It’s awesome to see them hit that low price point with this level of performance for Xbox users.
I’ve tried a lot of Xbox Wireless headsets over the past few years…from the bad (Stealth 700 Gen 1) to the good (Rig 800, CloudX Flight, Astro A20). This is my personal favorite so far. The Kaira Pro excels in every category. It combines excellent sound performance for gaming and music with an awesome microphone, all-day comfort, decent battery life, seamless Xbox support, a cool new app, and a solid backup Bluetooth connection. If you’re an Xbox gamer who also owns a Bluetooth device you want to listen to, it’s an easy recommendation. It’s also a good PC headset, though you will need a separate adapter, and Razer sells plenty of great alternatives for that platform that tie more directly into their ecosystem.
Between their acquisition of THX, the release of two truly great budget headsets in the BlackShark V2 X and the Kraken X, the excellent performance of the Opus, and now the premium Xbox and Bluetooth experience of the Kaira Pro, Razer has done a lot to excel in the audio space over the last couple of years. Their hard work is paying off.
I think it was really smart to release a new headset alongside the new Xbox consoles, and it’s an easy choice to go for whether you’ve upgraded to a new machine, or you have one of the older consoles and you’re looking for a better audio experience. This is the new gold standard by which other Xbox Wireless headsets will be judged going forward.
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