The Razer Opus is Still My Favorite Bluetooth ANC Headphone
But make sure you buy the right one
When I first reviewed the Razer Opus last year, I was blown away. It combined excellent accurate sound with impressive noise cancelling in a package that came in at $100 less than the traditional market price point for wireless ANC headphones. At a time when Bose and Sony were trading yearly blows over the $300 price category, Razer nearly matched them on features and build, and beat them on sound quality, for just $200.
Of course, they also launched during a time when I couldn’t really go anywhere to road test them since everything was locked down. Noise cancelling headphones are often marketed at the listener on the go, and if no one is on the go, the market proposition isn’t quite as clear. Last fall, Apple threw their own wrench into the game by launching the comically overpriced AirPods Max. Their ANC tech is slightly better than all the industry stalwarts, yes, but is that worth a wallet-destroying $550? No. No it’s not.
That Apple price is made even more absurd by the quietly excellent performance of the Opus. Now that I’m able to go to loud coffee shops again, I’m all the more confident in my declaration that the Opus is the perfect blend of sonic accuracy, features, build, and price point. It has the exact right list of headphone features you need as we all emerge into whatever life outside is now, and beautiful sound that will probably surprise even the most jaded audiophile.
Since the original Opus launch, Razer has made some small adjustments to the product line. They seem to have abandoned the original midnight blue color which is too bad, but they still produce the black model as well as a limited design created by A Bathing Ape that has bright green accents.
They also recently announced a cheaper “Razer Opus X” model that comes in three fun colors, but cuts a number of the features I consider essential to the headphone. Yes, the new one only costs $99, but they took out the 3.5mm headphone jack, downgraded the noise cancelling system to a basic model, cut the auto-pause function, and removed the THX-certified speaker drivers in favor of a more standard option. The Opus X does feature a lower latency Bluetooth listening mode designed for mobile and PC gamers, so that’s cool…but I’m not sure that it’s worth sacrificing so many of the features that made the original Opus so special.
Still, I’m glad that Razer is keeping the Opus brand alive, and I hope that the arrival of this cheaper revision means that someday soon they’ll also release new colors of its bigger brother, or maybe even a proper full sequel. Razer does sometimes launch the cheaper version of a new product first, so perhaps an “Opus 2.0” with the low latency mode and new color options is coming down the road? Perhaps.
If you’re looking for a great consumer-styled Bluetooth ANC headphone that has perfectly-tuned sound, you still can’t do better than the Opus. It makes the proposition of paying Sony or Bose $100+more questionable at best, and easily calls out the absurd anti-mainstream-consumer “luxury” of the AirPods Max. Plus, to my knowledge Razer has never exploited children for three years just to build some USB ports.
So that’s good.
And before you get all angry and rush to the replies to say I must have been paid by Razer to write this…no. I was just excited to see that the Opus performed as well in the “real world” as I expected it would now that I’ve been able to safely emerge from my apartment after fifteen months. Razer and I did have a brief professional critic/PR relationship where they sent me the Opus as well as the Kaira Pro to review, and while they were very gracious during both those review processes…I’ve had no contact from them since. I suspect that my click-through rates were on the smaller end for their huge marketing empire. I’m probably not doing myself any favors for getting review samples in the future with my skepticism about the Opus X in this very article, or the fact that I eventually named the Stealth 700 Gen 2 a better overall choice than the Kaira.
So, in spite of them sort of ghosting me I still love these headphones, and I’d happily be a paying customer if they ever release a revision of the “big” Opus. I’m sharing my honest opinion with you here, otherwise I see no point in writing stuff online. The Razer Opus consigned my other ANC headphones to a dusty corner of my closet, both for the noise cancelling and the excellent sound performance. I’ve never heard another ANC headphone that sounds so good with no EQ tweaks, and they even measure well up against the “mighty” AirPods Max.
Don’t get conned out of your money by flashy marketing and inflated prices. Headphones are one of the worst product categories for that sort of shady business, so any time that I can highlight someone who is doing it right and being honest with their customers, I’m going to do it.