Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) Review
A well-tuned update
This updated Razer BlackShark V2 Pro is one of the best gaming headsets for eSports players, with an ultra-crisp microphone that outshines many rivals at this price, combined with the excellent audio quality we’ve come to expect from Razer and a handful of quality-of-life improvements, . But if you’re not fussed about a broadcast-worthy mic, you’re best off saving some money with an older model
- Brilliantly clear microphone
- Generous battery life
- Comfy cushions
- Synapse app is a bother
- UKRRP: £199.99
- USARRP: $199.99
- EuropeRRP: €299.99
- CanadaRRP: CA$269.99
- AustraliaRRP: AU$350
- Crisp Microphonerunning at an unusually high 32kHz sampling rate
- Bluetoothsupport alongside a plug-in USB receiver
- Audio profilesthat can be adjusted and changed on the fly
After impressing us with the original BlackShark V2 Pro (2020) a few years ago, Razer has rolled out this updated model of the gaming headset to improve the few things that were left lacking the first go around.
Still tailored to eSports players, this latest edition isn’t a massive overhaul but makes enough substantial changes to feel worthwhile.
Coming in at £200/$200, the price has seen a hefty mark-up. If you’re desperate for Bluetooth connectivity or reckon the significant improvements to mic quality are worth splashing out for, this updated unit will see you right. Otherwise, it may be worth picking up an older BlackShark V2 Pro model to save your pennies.
Design and features
- Updated with USB-C charging port
- Reinforced steel headband
- New Bluetooth connectivity
The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) might not mark much of a visual change from its predecessors but includes a handful of useful quality-of-life changes. The microUSB charging port on the headset’s first model (an oddly outdated design choice even for 2020) has been replaced with USB-C, the spindly stainless steel sliders that connect the ear cups to the main headband have been reinforced, and extra padding has been placed around both.
There’s also a mute microphone button on the left ear cup and a chunky volume knob above it. The volume dial, in particular, is welcome. Although it was included on the older BlackShark V2 Pro models, it’s still absent from many top-price headsets and saves you the faff of having to adjust volume using in-game sliders.
As well as connecting through a USB receiver, new Bluetooth connectivity comes in handy when using the headset with a mobile phone or Nintendo Switch. But Razer’s decision to drop the 3.5mm audio jack is irritating. Even in our current age of obsessive wirelessness, a wired connection is often useful in a pinch, and its omission here makes the headset unusable for Xbox players (Microsoft still uses a proprietary wireless connection system that doesn’t work with standard Bluetooth or a USB receiver).
Battery life, however, is much more impressive. Razer claims it’ll last for 70 hours when connected through the 2.4Ghz receiver, and up to 90 hours on Bluetooth. From testing, that seems eminently reasonable. After using the headset for a week with the USB dongle, it drained less than half of its battery capacity. This is the kind of device you can happily use for weeks without charging, before juicing it up again in only a few hours.
A button on the right ear cup now lets you rotate between audio profiles, including EQ set-ups for gaming, music and movies, plus five presets tuned to provide optimum audio settings for Apex Legends, Fortnite, Call of Duty, CS:GO and Valorant. It’s hardly a game-changer, and does more to emphasise that this headset is targeted towards those who dig competitive multiplayer games. But for more intricate, manual EQ adjustments, you can use the accompanying Razer Synapse app. Synapse has never been particularly intuitive – and is still bogged down by a lot of bloat – but is far from the headache it used to be. I was able to whip up a passable audio profile in only a few minutes.
It’s also worth noting that this is one truly comfortable headset. The padding around the headband and ear cups is nicely cushioned, and it sits snugly around my head without pinching. The headband extension is also rather generous, so I imagine even those with the biggest craniums will find that it sits well.
Audio and microphone
- Improved microphone
- Same Razer Triforce drivers as the previous models
The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2023)’s big sell is its improved microphone. It’s a serious step above the previous model, as well as a lot of other top-tier headsets around this price. As a 9.9mm condenser mic running a 32kHz sampling rate, it sounds deep, warm and free from background noise. Although it’s an odd upgrade in some respects. Unless you plan to do a lot of streaming or use the headset for recording (which is definitely possible with this broadcast-worthy quality), you won’t hear the benefits of those improvements yourself.
The mic’s also got an in-built pop filter that works so well the optional Beefeater mic hat is largely unnecessary. The arm attaching the mic to the left ear cup is also stiffer, stopping it from gradually drifting away from your mouth, as some users of last year’s BlackShark V2 Pro found.
As for the cans themselves, they’re using the same Razer Triforce drivers as the previous models, and sound as glorious as ever. The mid-ranges sing, as you’d want from a gaming headset, and the audio comes through surprisingly wide for closed-back ear cups. Some of the bass is lost, but that’s no biggie, since you probably didn’t expect this to double as your go-to music headset anyway.
Play around with the Synapse EQ long enough and you can get some truly immersive setups. Demonic growls feel fittingly, well, demonic in Doom Eternal, and the eerie environmental effects of Resident Evil 8 all the more frightening. The preset audio profiles, meanwhile, are already adjusted to make every footstep in CS:GO or distant shot in Fortnite that much more audible.
But it’s hard to deny that this isn’t a massive change from the previous Razer BlackShark V2 Pro model. And with that older headset still available in stores (at least, for now) at a substantially lower price, this newest addition to the line-up isn’t a slam dunk. Unless you want a great microphone – and it is a very, very good mic – it’s probably worth saving some dosh by picking up 2020’s BlackShark rather than splashing on this newest model. When those older models are all gone, though, this is a real winner.
Should you buy it?
You want the very best Razer has to offer:
The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) is a marked improvement on its predecessors that’s great for streamers and esports obsessives
You don’t need a stonkingly good mic:
Unless you’re streaming or feeling particularly altruistic towards your friends, take the hit on mic quality and pick up an older Razer BlackShark V2 Pro model.
The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro 2023 improves upon the older BlackShark models in all the right ways. Its microphone is excellent, its audio output is tailored for multiplayer games, and the additional padding and USB-C port round it all off.
If you’re after a premium headset that’s sturdy, can be tinkered with to get your preferred audio setup, and are a big eSports fan, look no further than this.
The price is reflective of its quality. But if you’re not streaming, you may want to sacrifice top-of-the-line audio to save some dosh. Check out our best gaming headset list for more options.
How we test
We use every headset we test for at least a week. During that time, we’ll check it for ease of use and put it through its paces by using it in a variety of games, as well as playing music in order to get the full experience.
We also check each headset’s software (if applicable) to see how easy it is to customise and set up.
Use as our primary gaming headset for at least a week.
Tested with a variety of games.
Also tested with music playback.
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Nope, the BlackShark V2 Pro 2023 is a wholly wireless headset.
The biggest upgrades can be found with the microphone, although the newest model also features Bluetooth connectivity now. Check out our versus article for a full breakdown.