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Review: Razer Chimaera Stereo Headset

by Nicholas Holden (Holden ZA)  Posted Monday, February 11, 2013 1:22:00 PM

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The Razer Chimaera stereo headset is one of the products from the Razer brand which has branched itself away from the PC accessories and equipment and into the console arena. The Razer Chimaera, however, is not a full conversion to the world of console gaming as the headset only provides support for the Xbox 360, leaving PS3 players that require Bluetooth on the sidelines. The move towards console accessories for Razer has had relative success in the early stages, with products such as the Razer Onza having some success early on.

Razer now will be facing the problem of trying to force themselves into a tightly contested market of headsets, by providing both quality and substantial performance. This is turn will see them as a potential for runner or just a headset in the shadow of higher performing products.

One of the first things you will notice when picking up the headset packaging of the Razer Chimaera is its sheer weight, which is definitely on the heavier side of the scale. However, this shouldn’t be of too much concern as the headset wireless, which means that all your cables will need to feed into a base station. That is done in the form of a docking station that shaped in the form of an upside down ‘T’.

The docking station acts as a rechargeable area for your headset which uses ‘AAA’ batteries. I, however, will recommend that you buy yourself your own recharge kit as to swop batteries when they eventually go flat, but we will get to battery life in a minute. The initial setup of the docking station is easy an efficient as the structure itself doesn't look too bad either.

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Design and Build

Moving on to the headset itself, the basic design of the headset is on the bulkier side which I didn’t mind at all. As the headset has a solid feel to it and movement of the head doesn’t cause the headset to be off set. This is largely thanks to two key features: the ear cups and adjustable headband. Starting off with the inner ear cup has a snug feel to it which covers the entire ear, but also allows for enough "breathability" to ensure that the ear doesn’t become uncomfortable.

With regard to the adjustable headband, there is good and bad. The headband itself has a solid feel to it, with two padded areas underneath to ensure that the top of your head isn’t rubbing on to the hard exterior. One of the let downs are the adjustable bands which are extremely sticky. Moving from one height to another seems more of a chore than a compliment to the headset. The silver adjustable mounds are also flimsy, so when they are fully extended they could be prone to bending, as the metal strips on either side are extremely thin.

Usability

When it comes down to the accessibility of controls on the headset, you are provided with 6 features. Volume control of chat volume and game volume are on the back left and right of the headset respectively. The power and mute microphone function are on the left side of the headset where as on the right there is the ‘sync’ and  mute game sound function on the right. These buttons are all easily accessible and are easily memorable thus making changes on the fly extremely easy.

Moving on to the microphone, which is unfortunately non-removable. It, however, can flip back easily to leave your peripheral vision unhindered. Early on I struggled with the positioning of my microphone as team mates constantly reminded me that i was speaking too softly. The microphone is described as adjustable, but it barely accomplishes that by giving slight movement in either direction.  I constantly have to remind myself to adjust my microphone before play as the inflexible microphone tends to straighten itself out over time.

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Audio Performance

Now to the part that interest most of us, the sound and performance of the headset. When talking about stereo sound we have to remember that it is just picking up sound from two sources being left and right. This means that when it comes to headsets being able to do well as a stereo headset it how it defines those two audio channels.

With the Chimarea I noticed that it was rather easy to determine whether an opponent was sneaking up to my right hand side or my left. However, this movement could not accurately be determined due to the fact that the movement would often be generalized by the headset. Noting that I must say I was impressed with the sound quality of the when you could pick up the slight changes as well as the major audio events throughout the in game events. In which the sound was good for stereo but not groundbreaking.

The Razer Chimarea offers stability, comfort and is also one of the few stereo headsets to offer a wireless option. The sound quality is that what you would expect from stereo headset and doesn’t manage to break that mould. That said it fits comfortably as a standard stereo headset and provides allot of comfort which allows for long playing times. This is also complimented by the fact that battery life on the headset is extremely good when fully charged, around +/- 10 hours.  A good headset, especially if your looking for a wireless option, just not ground breaking. 

Pro's

1) Great comfort, allows for extended periods of game time without fatigue.

2) Accessible features, doesn't require you to remove headset when changing in game volume or muting mic. 

3) Good exterior design, sleek look of headset as well as docking station

4) Wireless option

Cons

1) Adjustable headband piece, sticky and flimsy

2) No PlayStation 3 compatibility, making the market very specific.

3) Price is on the steep side with a recommended retail price of R1399

Rating

Looks: * * * * 

Value: * * *

Durabillity: * * *

Usabillity: * * * *

Overall Rating 3.5/5 Stars

Recommended Retail Pricing: R1399

Available via Musica


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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd



Gallery

front.jpg  chimaera51-4.jpg  razer_chimaera_5-1_wireless_gaming_headset_1.jpg  razer_chimaera_5-1_wireless_gaming_headset_2.jpg  razer_chimaera_5-1_wireless_gaming_headset_3.jpg  razer_chimaera_5-1_wireless_gaming_headset_4.jpg  razer_chimaera_5-1_wireless_gaming_headset_5.jpg 

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