If asked to name companies specialising in gaming peripherals, there's no doubt that Razer would be pretty high up the list, rivalled only by perhaps Steel Series and Logitech. Normally said peripherals would be in the form of either Keyboards or mice, but the serious gamer knows that a decent headset can also make a tangible difference to their gaming experience.
Of course, Razer wouldn't want to make just any old headset, oh no, so instead the company has produced the Piranha Gaming Communicator - naming aside it is, oddly enough, just a set of headphones with a boom microphone attached. Still, the pretty sleek-looking packaging promises "true-to-life" audio quality and explains that the Piranha is "engineered for the most discerning of gamers" and purely in the interests of journalism, I donned my ‘discerning audiophile gamer' cap and set to work.
First things first, as stylish as the Piranha's packaging looks, getting the 'Gaming Communicator' out of it is a less than simple affair. It's a small gripe, but is there really any need to wrap the cable around the moulded-plastic tray the headset sits in? Surely just coiling the wires up in a recess would be simper and, possibly, cheaper for Razer. Further to that, having pulled the Piranhas from their cardboard and polyethylene womb, the initial impression left isn't perhaps what you might expect.
While the headset certainly doesn't look cheap, neither does it exude the air of quality you might hope for a Razer product that usually leave little to be desired on a design front. Adding to, or detracting from, the overall look depending on your preference, the Piranhas also sport a pair of glowing blue logos on the sides and on the in-line volume wheel. These are powered over USB and, indeed, are the only use of that connector on the headset. While I can't say I dislike their addition, I don't think these lights add anything and if you're short on USB ports it's just another cable adding to the inevitable clutter behind your machine.
Of course, all a headset has to do it sit on your head and I think I'm in the norm of people who don't regularly pause their games to go check their look in a hand mirror so while the aesthetics are a consideration, they're not the main one when it comes to evaluating a set of headphones. Unfortunately for the Piranhas, comfort is a pressing issue, a phrase I use with some irony because that is exactly what the headset did to my head. After a short while of use the steady push of the headset becomes rather uncomfortable and while taking them off for a couple of minutes resolves the problem, it's not an ideal solution.
Further to that, I also found that the headset was just a bit too small for me, so that the padding on the headband that's designed to rest on the top of the head, actually sat around half a centimetre off it. Passing them around, various other people in the office also commented that the Piranhas were fairly uncomfortable. After a couple of days I did actually find that the Piranhas became much more usable and no longer caused any physical discomfort, which suggests it may just be a case of getting used to the greater pressure on my ears than found with the Sennheisers I was previously using. Obviously comfort is a very subjective issue anyway, and your mileage may vary, so as we always recommend with such products, if possible, try before you buy.