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Razer Hammerhead earbuds are one of the rare USB-C earbuds on the market. They are specially made for Razer gaming phone but they are also compatible with some other USB-C smartphones (unfortunately not with all of them). In this review, we will discuss our impressions about these earbuds but we will also try to explain this relatively new connection type and figure out why manufacturers stopped using the good old 3.5mm jack and decided to replace it with USB-C.
USB-C port is supposed to be the next big thing, especially when it comes to smartphones, notebooks, computers, and of course, headphones and earbuds. Theoretically, this port should become universal and should replace most of the other ports on your devices including HDMI and VGA ports, charging ports, other USB Type-A and Type-B ports, and our dear 3.5mm audio ports. This port was introduced in 2014 and first devices with USB-C port were released a year later. During the last three years, many popular smartphone manufacturers (Samsung, Sony, Motorola, Huawei, Xiaomi, HTC) have made one or more flagship models with USB-C ports. In some cases, these ports are used for charging and data transfer only but some manufacturers decided to ditch AUX port and replace two ports (micro USB and AUX) with only one USB-C port. Today, you can find a bunch of phones with USB-C ports but the situation with USB-C headphones and earbuds is not so great. In fact, it’s pretty sad. There are only a few decent models and none of them can be considered great. None of the famous headphone manufacturers has even tried to enter USB-C headphone market and make USB-C headphones/earbuds.
Some smartphone manufacturers have made their own USB-C headphones/earbuds in cooperation with audio equipment manufacturers. HTC made Reflect Aware earbuds in cooperation with JBL, Google collaborated with Libratone and made Libratone Q-ADAPT USB-C earbuds, and Razer made its own Razer Hammerhead USB-C earbuds and Hammerhead USB-C ANC earbuds for its Razer gaming phone. The biggest problem with all USB-C headphones/earbuds is the compatibility.
It’s incredibly ironic how all those manufacturers managed to make a universal port proprietary. The fact that your phone has USB-C port and that some earbuds have the same port is not enough for them to work together. In some cases, USB-C headphones/earbuds will work, in other cases, they won’t. The same thing applies to Razer Hammerhead USB-C earbuds and we will discuss this issue later.
Razer’s Hammerhead USB-C earbuds, just like any other Razer product, look like a piece of gaming gear. The design and the color selection are very recognizable and lighted earbud ends with the Razer logo look really cool. The build quality is not an issue. The sound signature is bassy and if you are into bass-heavy music, you are going to love them.
When it comes to negatives, there’s the compatibility issue. The earbuds are not going to work with all the USB-C phones. They are fully compatible with Razer phone and a few others, and partially compatible with a few more phones. Also, we were not completely happy with the comfort and we’ve had some issues with bi-flange ear tips but also with the design of the earbuds.
- USB-C port compatible with Razer gaming phone
- Recognizable Razer design and color selection (neon green and black)
- Great build quality
- Bass-heavy sound
- Great noise isolation with bi-flange ear tips
- In-line controls with a built-in mic
- Compatibility issues
- Comfort issues with bi-flange ear tips
- Slightly overpriced
In our honest opinion, Razer Hammerhead USB-C earbuds are the most convenient solution if you have Razer phone or some other compatible smartphone. Also, they definitely are one of the best USB-C earbuds on the market, but you should have in mind that the competition is not huge. Are they worth the money? Well, they might be a bit overpriced but compared to other branded USB-C earbuds, they are a good buy. Still, you can save a lot of money and get similar performance if you buy some USB-C to AUX dongle. That’s more inconvenient option but you should still consider it.
What’s in the box?
Razer worked hard on the presentation and the result is very nice and attractive packaging. Along with the headphones, you will get a hard carrying case, 3 pairs of regular ear tips in three different sizes, 1 pair of bi-flange ear tips, short user manual, and 1-year warranty.
|Razer Hammerhead USB-C Specifications|
|TYPE||In-ear, wired USB-C earbuds|
|DRIVERS||10mm Neodymium drivers x2|
|MATERIALS||Metal, rubber, silicone|
|OTHER TECHNICAL DETAILS|
|Frequency response||20Hz to 20kHz|
|Max input power||10mW|
|Sensitivity||102dB +/- 3dB|
|Mic sensitivity||42dB +/- 3dB|
|ADDITIONAL FEATURES||3-button in-line controls|
Custom tuned DAC
As we have already said, the design is very recognizable. The earbuds are black with a green lighted logo on the outer end (it lights up when you plug them in). The cable is Y-shaped, it’s flat and tangle-free. It’s 4ft long and it features in-line controls with a built-in mic.
Recognizable Razer design and colors
In-line controls have three buttons – two volume buttons (+ and -) and one multifunction button in the middle (play/pause/answer and end calls/change track).
In-line controls with a built-in mic
Razer Hammerhead earbuds are made of aluminum and look really strong and durable. The cable is made of rubber and it also looks very durable. The only thing that doesn’t really look sturdy and strong are in-line controls. They are kind of flimsy and plasticky.
Razer Hammerhead earbuds are made to last
The earbuds come with one pair of bi-flange ear tips. They are similar to the SpinFit TwinBlade ear tips that come with Optoma NuForce BE Sport3 There are no different sizes and if they don’t fit your ears, you have no other option but to use those regular silicone ear tips. Bi-flange tips provide better noise isolation and better (more secure) fit but you really have to push them deep inside your ears.
Bi-flange ear tips are supposed to provide better fit and noise isolation
Razer Hammerhead USB-C earbuds have magnetic ends and can be clipped together and worn around your neck when you are not using them.
Earbuds are magnetized
Razer decided not to adopt industry standard 6mm drivers. They used slightly larger 10mm Neodymium drivers in order to improve bass response. They had to enlarge the earbuds in order to install these 10mm drivers, but they managed to do that without making them look too bulky.
Bigger drivers for bigger sound
Inside each earbud, there’s a small DAC device. You might wonder why but it’s pretty simple. Since these are USB-C earbuds, the audio signal sent from your phone doesn’t have to be analog (it has to be analog if the old-school 3.5mm jack is used) and it doesn’t have to be converted from digital to analog on your phone. In order to prevent any signal distortion, digital signal is sent from your phone to the USB-C port, and then through the audio cable, to your earbuds. The signal is converted from digital to analog in the earbuds, and as a result, you will get better clarity and high-res audio. At least in theory…
We have already mentioned the in-line controls and microphone. These are not absolutely necessary but they are definitely appreciated.
The first thing we are going to discuss is compatibility. This is probably the biggest issue. We are not talking only about Razer Hammerhead USB-C earbuds but also about all the USB-C headphones and earbuds on the market. In our experience, none of the currently available earbuds are compatible with all the USB-C smartphones (or at least with the most popular ones).
Razer Hammerhead earbuds are made for Razer phone but they are also fully compatible with HTC U11, Xiaomi Mi 6 and Mi Max2, and OnePlus 5.
Razer Hammerhead earbuds are made for Razer phone but they are compatible with other popular USB-C phones
The earbuds will work with some other smartphones, too but you won’t be able to use all the features (you won’t be able to use the microphone but you can use them for listening to music). Some of these smartphones are Google Pixel and Pixel 2, Huawei Mate 9 and Nexus 6p, Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, Motorola Moto Z, etc.
Razer Hammerhead USB-C earbuds might be compatible with other USB-C smartphones but you will have to check the compatibility on your own. All the previously mentioned phones are confirmed as fully or partially compatible by Razer, and you can find the list of compatible phones in the user manual.
Controls are simple and easy to use but there are too many functions assigned to only one button. You have to use the middle button to play, pause, answer calls, play the next song (press twice), or play the previous song (press three times).
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When it comes to comfort and fit, we can’t really say that we are perfectly happy with those bi-flange ear tips. They do provide better and more secure fit but you really have to push them deep. If you have sensitive ears, these ear tips are going to hurt. It’s not unbearable but it’s not pleasant either. Those regular silicone tips are more comfortable but they are not as stable and don’t isolate the noise equally well.
The built-in mic works but you won’t be amazed. Since there is no noise canceling, the microphone will pick up a certain amount of ambient noise (wind, chatter, traffic) and it will muffle your voice. We’ve had no problems using the microphone in a quiet room.
We were not amazed by the sound quality. It’s good for the price but it’s not spectacular. We have expected a little bit more because of all the hype. The truth is that you can probably find better sounding wired earbuds (with an old-school 3.5mm jack) at this price point.
The emphasis is on the low-end reproduction while the lower midrange is slightly recessed. The vocals are pretty clear and highs are nice and detailed. The earbuds can get really loud and you don’t really have to crank up the volume to the max. The distortion becomes noticeable at high volumes (above 90%) and the bass reproduction suffers the most.
To conclude, Razer Hammerhead USB-C headphones are made for bass heads. They don’t deliver an audiophile experience and you should try some other earbuds if you prefer more balanced sound.
Libratone Q ADAPT
Libratone Q ADAPT earbuds are significantly pricier than Razer Hammerhead earbuds but these are ANC earbuds, which is the main reason for such a high price.
Q ADAPT earbuds are made for Google Pixel and Pixel 2 and they are compatible with other Google USB-C devices, but might not be fully compatible with other USB-C phones.
They look a bit bulkier then Razer Hammerhead but they are still very comfortable. Probably more comfortable than Hammerhead earbuds with bi-flange ear tips.
Q ADAPT earbuds are IPX4-certified (splash-proof) while Razer Hammerhead earbuds don’t feature IPX rating.
Both earbuds have in-line controls and microphones but they look and perform better on Q ADAPT.
Libratone Q ADAPT earbuds deliver more balanced and fuller sound.
Acessorz USB-C Earphones
This is one of those cheap generic brands. Acessorz earbuds are significantly cheaper than Razer Hammerhead.
They are fully compatible with Google USB-C devices, HTC 10, U11, and U12, Huawei smartphones (10, P20, and Pro), and Essential phone. They are also partially compatible (only music playback) with Samsung USB-C phones, Razer phone, and Motorola USB-C smartphones.
Acessorz earbuds are larger than Razer Hammerhead but still very comfortable.
They both have in-line controls and built-in microphones.
Acessorz earbuds deliver a better balance between lows and mids, but the highs are lifeless and dull.
Essential earphones are slightly cheaper than Razer Hammerhead.
They are specially made for the Essential phone and they are fully compatible with it. They might be compatible with some other USB-C devices but the manufacturer doesn’t offer this info.
The earbuds are small, lightweight, and very comfortable.
Just like Razer Hammerhead, they have in-line controls with a built-in mic, but the controls have only one button.
The sound quality is not on par with Razer Hammerhead earbuds. Essential earphones are too bassy, mids are muffled, and highs are too harsh.
|Libratone Q ADAPT||N/A||104dB|
|Essential Earphones||16 Ω||112dB|
Razer Hammerhead earbuds are one of the best USB-C earbuds on the market but that doesn’t mean they are great. They are one of the best mostly because there are only a few good USB-C earbuds on the market. Hammerhead earbuds offer decent performance and sound quality for the price, but you can also buy some wired earbuds that perform better for that kind of money. Also, you can buy some Bluetooth earbuds with similar performance for less than $80.
To conclude, Razer Hammerhead USB-C earbuds are a good buy but they are not your only choice. You can always go wireless or buy a simple USB-C to 3.5mm dongle and use your old wired earbuds.
Hello, my name is James Longman.
I’m a writer and editor at AudioReputation. I disassembled my first portable AM/FM radio when I was only 8. At the age of 11, I burned the circuit board on my old boombox cassette player. I’m not going to explain how but it was reckless and stupid.
Since then, I have become much more careful around radios, boomboxes, and other audio devices (at least, I like to think so) but I have never lost the passion for audio equipment. Throughout 20 years of my professional career, I’ve been working for various audio equipment manufacturers and even started building speakers on my own in my little workshop.
I love the work we do here at AudioReputation. Testing, comparing, and evaluating all kinds of audio devices (speakers, soundbars, headphones, home theater systems, etc.) is something I truly enjoy. I try to be unbiased and give you my honest opinion on every piece of equipment I test. Still, you should take my reviews with a pinch of salt and always be just a little bit skeptical. The fact that I liked some speaker or soundbar doesn’t mean that you are going to love it. If you have the opportunity, you should test it/hear it before buying it.