Razer ManO’War review
Delivering solid bass and a 7.1 channel surround sound experience, the Razer ManO’War is one of the best wireless gaming headsets I’ve ever tested. With virtual reality raising the bar for immersive gaming, this $169 (about £154, AU$329) headset is just the thing you’ll need to enhance the experience.
The ManO’War is massive. From the round ear cups to the thick headband, everything about Razer’s latest wireless headset is big.
Instead of going with sculpted ear cups as seen on other headsets, like the Corsair Void or Logitech 993 Artemis Spectrum, the ManO’War features large and circular cups designed to fit all types of ear sizes. On the one hand, universality is great, but I wish they were a bit smaller than Princess Leia’s hair buns.
On the plus side, both ear cups light up in any color you want with customization in the Synapse application.
In between the massive set of cans is an equally large headband made of a flexible, but hard, plastic that thankfully doesn’t creak. While the thick headband is substantial, the ear cups actually retract and extend along two pieces of metal. They’re thin but seem sturdy enough to last through years of usage.
At first glance, the ManO’War doesn’t look all that comfortable. When you pick it up, the frame feels rigid and there isn’t a cushiony air gap built into the headband. Instead, you’ll find a thin leatherette band embossed with the Razer logo on one side and the smallest layer of padding on the other.
This same center piece actually presses into the top of your head as you pull the sides of the headband apart and put the gaming headphones on.
Despite sounding like the world’s least comfortable gaming headset, it actually works surprisingly well. The ManO’War fits snuggly on your noggin, but not to the point wherein it feels pinching. It’s also lightweight and well vented, letting me game on for hours at a time.
Unfortunately, the ManO’War only work well so long as you’re wearing them exactly as Razer intended. Pull one ear cup to the side, and you’ll feel it pressing into the side of your head.
Even putting them around my neck doesn’t really work well, as the headband is so thick that it ends up rubbing against the back of my head. Razer also designed the ear cups to rotate at a 45-degree angle, which means they end up bumping between both my throat and collarbones.
Stow and go
Razer made some smart decisions to ensure this headset was extremely portable and self-contained.
You’ll find all of the controls on the gaming headset itself including a power button and two knobs to adjust the volume level for whichever your game you’re playing as well as voice chat. There’s also a decent sounding microphone, which is built into the frame and extends out to a long flexible rod when you want to use it.
The most convenient aspect of the ManO’War is you only need to plug in a single 2.4GHz dongle into a USB 3.0 port. Setup is much easier and simpler than plugging in multiple audio cables or a big mix amp. And, just like every other feature on this headset, the dongle stows away neatly inside the its frame – there’s even a magnet to help pull it inside.
Altogether, this makes it incredibly easy to pack up the ManO’War and bring it wherever you need serious surround sound. Just tuck in the microphone and slip the dongle back inside, and you’re ready to go off to your next gaming tourney. Now, if only Razer could include a carrying case for it.
Simulated surround sound
In the world of surround sound headsets, you either get a set of cans with multiple drivers built into them or audio devices that simulate the effect virtually. The ManO’War falls into the latter camp, using an extra-large 50mm driver to essentially cover your ear and project directional soundwaves.
Although the headset only produces a virtualized surround sound space, it’s actually just as good as the Razer Tiamat 7.1 – which actually has multiple drivers – I’ve owned for the last few years. While running around the ruined streets of New York in The Division, I could hear a car alarm go off in the far north west and gun fire from the south.
Aside from gaming, the ManO’War is also pretty decent for listening to music. Of course, it’s also perfect for watching movies without needing to buy a sound bar or a surround sound system for your home theater.
And more importantly, it offered a completely lag free audio experience. Razer promises up to 14 hours of battery life. I can personally back up these claims as I got through two six-hour gaming sessions on the weekend before I needed to plug in the micro USB cable.
Although it’s not the world’s most comfortable gaming headset, there’s a lot to like about the Razer ManO’War. It’s simplistic setup and bumping audio quality easily makes up for its flaws.
Priced at $169 (about £154, AU$329), it’s also fairly affordable compared to the $199 (£169, AU$279) Logitech 993 Artemis Spectrum and a few other wireless 7.1 gaming headsets in the world. All said, the ManO’War is among the all-in-one gaming headsets to beat.