The long-time slogan for Razer’s suite of gaming accessories has been “By gamers, for gamers” and that tagline has often reflected their ability to channel an insight into the needs and tastes of their target audience into their products, and that’s something that’s made all the difference when it comes to Razer’s gaming headsets.
Older efforts like the Barracuda and even the Kraken overcame more professional high-end audio offerings by compensating through design in areas where Razer’s ability to compete on a purely-technical level might have fallen short.
The ManO’War feels like the culmination of this development. From the packaging to the shell-like design to the advanced 7.1 virtual surround sound engine, it feels fairly safe to call this the best set of consumer-ready gaming headphones Razer have ever brought to market.
In terms of aesthetics, the ManO’War feels a little more understated than gaming headsets tend to be (especially where Razer is involved). It’s a black beast that blends metal and plastic into an interlocking shell-like design.That approach proves itself a welcome change here, making for a more inconspicuous product that avoids the pitfall of being all style and no-substance.
It feels right at home with the rest of Razer’s product lineup but this streamlined design ensures it won’t stick out among those who prefer a less-uniform library of tech. That said, those looking to make use of the Chroma lighting tech running through the rest of Razer’s range might be disappointed at its apparent absence here.
The microphone built-into the ManO’War makes similar gains when it comes to understated design. It delivers in-game communication that is both clear and easy to control via a small dongle built-into the cabling. When not in use, the flexible plastic microphone slips into the plastic shell surrounding the earcups and when muted, a small LED on the ManO’War changes colors to clearly convey it.
This microphone is also integrated into the wiring for the headset itself so that the whole package only accounts for a single 3.5mm headphone port, regardless of whether you’re using it with a PC, Mac or dedicated gaming console.
Overall, the ManO’War’s form factor strikes a balance between durability and flexibility. The ManO’War doesn’t feel fragile but nor does it feel like it would stand up to much of a beating. The swiveling latches on the ear-cups hang may look a little loose and come off as clumsy-to-handle at first but in practice they make the ManO’War an exceptionally comfortable headset to wear.
In contrast, the upper part of the frame doesn’t feel particularly flexible but the earcups compensate with comfort here. The padding around the ear-cups and both on the inside of the frame helps ensure ensures a pretty high-standard of comfort when in use and, from our time with it, that quality experiences holds up both for long sessions of use as well as shorter ones.
The emphasis here comes in the results: gaming experiences filtered through the ManO’War’s neodymium audio drivers sound incredible. It’s more of a case of noise-isolation than it is true noise-cancelling but in the heat of the moment, that difference isn’t too significant. Depending on what you’re playing, the ManO’War readily enables gaming experiences both cinematic or immersive.
I’m not quite ready to hail it as the best gaming headset available, but it’s definitely up there.
Available in four variations – wireless, wired, Overwatch Orange and Razer’s own luminescent green – the ManO’War is pretty much the pinnacle of Razer’s efforts in the gaming-focused audio space to date. It’s no Sennheiser, but Razer’s latest is definitely one to watch out for.
The Razer ManO’War retails for an RRP of AU$204.95