The Razer Opus is an odd release – Razer has always seemed to live by the creed "for gamers, by gamers", with a wealth of gaming mice, keyboards and even some of the best gaming laptops we've ever used. However, the Opus looks to branch out further: it's a pair of noise-cancelling headphones meant more for your daily commute than your daily deathmatch in Halo 2.
It's surprisingly affordable for what it brings to the table: for $199 (£199, AU$330), you're getting a surprisingly stylish pair of headphones that will cancel out outside noise, with plenty of quality of life features that will make them appealing to people who may have never engaged with the brand. Surprisingly, to our ears, the ANC is pretty similar to what we expect from the $350 (AU$499, about £330) Bose QC35 II headphones we generally wear on our daily commute – even if they're not quite as comfortable.
This lack of comfort may vary for some users, however. If you happen to have kind of large ears like we do, the ear cups won't quite cover them like the Bose QC35 II do, pressing down on the outside of their ears. This wasn't a huge deal, but it is something to be aware of if you have larger ears. And, unfortunately, you can't pull the ear cups off and replace them with something larger.
Elsewhere, though, this headset fits like a glove. When we were briefed on this headset, Razer was practically bragging about how it had got the clamping force down perfectly, and after taking it out on many walks through our noisy New York City neighborhood, we'd have to agree.
As far as ports go, you have USB-C for charging (thank goodness), along witha 3.5mm headphone jack – which means you can use this headset with everything. Playing Animal Crossing with ANC on? Totally possible.
The button layout is similarly simple, with just a power button and a toggle for ANC on the left side and volume controls and a button that will summon whatever voice assistant lives inside of your device.
Aesthetically, the headphones are way more subdued than we expected, with a monochromatic design that frankly looks amazing. There is a Razer logo on either side of the headband, but it's super tasteful, and doesn't have the garish design elements that the manufacturer is known for. You'll also get a hardy carrying case and all the cables you need to fully take advantage of the headset.
Even under the subway tracks, the active noise cancellation works like a charm. It's not so good as to completely negate the sound of a train speeding down the tracks above our heads, but it's good enough to blunt the noise enough to comfortably keep walking.
It's able to do this thanks to four microphones located on the outside of the headphones, which will intelligently cancel outside noises, so you can focus on your podcast (opens in new tab) or music.
But, of course, none of that matters if the headphones don't sound good. Luckily, Razer has worked to bring THX certification to these headphones – and it's paid off.
We've used a ton of Razer headsets in the past, and none of them sound this well balanced. Typically when listening to music on one of its headsets, bass is especially heavy, which makes sense when you consider that they're tuned for gaming, rather than sitting back and enjoying the latest Charli XCX single.
No matter what type of music we're listening to – either listening to Nine Inch Nails' The Fragile on a midnight stroll through the empty New York City streets, or blasting Charli XCX's "how i'm feeling now", the Razer Opus has no problem keeping up, with every part of the music coming to life.
There's also an app that you can download for either your iOS or Android device that will let you alter the soundstage of the headphones, but you can't go in and manually tinker with the sound settings – only pick between a number of presets. We were told that this functionality might come at a later date, but who knows when that would happen.
The only real issue here is that they don't get quite as loud as the Bose QC35 II that we're used to. But, again, that's a headset that costs significantly more – and doesn't have some of the cooler features.
Still, the Razer Opus may end up becoming our daily driver thanks to one feature: auto-pause/auto-play. Being able to just pull our headphones down around our neck and not have to worry about having to pause what we're listening to is such an amazing feature – and it works so well. It's a quality of life feature that we'd be hard-pressed to give up, even if it means we have to live with headphones that aren't quite as loud.
Then there's the battery life, which deserves all the praise in the world. Razer claims that this headset has up to 25 hours of battery life, and while we couldn't measure that down to the minute, we totally believe it. We've had this headset for about two weeks, and haven't had to charge it once, and that's with taking an hour-long walk each night with the headphones on.
This is largely thanks to that auto-pause functionality, which will also, you know, turn the headset off when you're not using it – imagine that. Especially if you're not using this headset 24/7, you're only going to have to charge it maybe once a week with heavy use. Whenever we need the Razer Opus, it's there with enough juice to get us where we're going.
Buy it if...
You need affordable ANC headphones
ANC headphones are typically a bit on the pricey end, but at $199 (£199, AU$330), the Razer Opus is very affordable.
You have small ears
The ear cups on the Razer Opus definitely aren't the biggest in the world, but if you find that other headphones have too much room, these might give you a snug fit.
You watch a lot of movies on the go
Because of the partnership with THX, movies and TV shows really shine on the Razer Opus, with crystal-clear audio.
Don't buy it if...
You want a gaming headset
We get it, Razer is a gaming company, but this isn't a gaming headset (opens in new tab). You can plug in a 3.5mm audio cable into the headphones and your PC, but it's not designed for that. If you're after a Razer gaming headset, there are plenty that will be a lot better.
You have big ears
If you have large ears like we do, the smaller ear cups might be a bit uncomfortable. Definitely not the end of the world, but if you like your ears to breathe free, it's something to be aware of.
- Looking for more options? Don't miss our round-up of the best noise-cancelling headphones