The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) is a refresh of the already-excellent headset, but one that promises many a great thing - particularly many advancements on its predecessor. And I’m immediately intrigued. For context, I’m pretty sure the regular, wired, BlackShark V2 was the first five-star score I ever gave on GamesRadar+ - yet even then we were all immediately pining for a wireless version. That came soon after and was very good. Now it’s back - and even better - it's likely to storm up the internet’s best gaming headset and best wireless gaming headset lists.
However, will the retail price of $199.99/£199.99 mean that it struggles to find a spot in today’s crowded wireless market, and does it offer enough to warrant its place in it - and even justify its own refresh? I’ve been hands-on with it for a while and have interrogated all that it offers, from audio to its new features and enhancements. Let’s get into it.
|$199.99 / £199.99
|2.4Ghz, Bluetooth 5.2
|50mm Razer TriForce Titanium
|12hz - 28kHz
|Unidrectional Razer HyperClear Super Wideband with 32kHz sampling rate
|Volume, mic mute power, profile/Bluetooth,
|Up to 70 hours
|PC, PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, mobile
- Cool helicopter-pilot design
- Lightweight build
- Detachable microphone
This should be one of the simplest design overviews I’ve ever written. Broadly speaking, if you remember the original V2 Pro, the 2023 version looks basically identical to that. There, done. However, not everyone will be familiar with that previous headset, so let’s detail it a bit closer. It’s an all-black, chic helicopter-pilot-style headset that is in line with the rest of the BlackShark V2 range and it looks very cool in its traditional Razer-style matte black finish.
The steel headband sliders offer a sturdy frame, a sleek connection between the cups and the headband (fully padded and very comfy), and flexibility for the cups. Said cups have the same memory foam cushions as the previous unit and are incredibly soft and comfortable. I’ve come to prefer them over the leatherette cups of many others (aside from the super-plush leatherette of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless). I noticed some very moderate slipping from the steel sliders, but not enough to be annoying - just something to be aware of when putting the set on at the beginning of a session or meeting.
The mic is detachable again and is a simple attachment to the left cup. It’s light, flexible, and can easily be bent in and out of position as you so wish. So much so that I just leave it connected now, even when just hanging on my gaming desk, when not in use. The left earcup also houses the volume dial, power button, and mic mute button, along with the USB-C port. On the right, you’ve got Bluetooth and profile/EQ button only. Simple and straightforward stuff.
As a result, all in, it’s not only very similar to its wireless predecessor but the first reboot of the series, the ‘original’ Razer BlackShark V2. It’s a light (0.71lbs / 320g), well-built, cool-looking, comfortable, and robust Razer headset.
- Excellent, enhanced Razer HyperClear super wideband microphone
- 70-hour battery life + quick charge function
- Razer TriForce Titanium 50mm drivers
Now, this is where it’s less identical to its predecessor, and the advancements and enhancements on offer become much clearer.
First up, the mic has been enhanced. Instead of a 16khz sampler rate mic, we’re now looking at a 32khz sampling rate super wideband mic. That means this new version of the Razer HyperClear mic is double that of its predecessor and, on paper, can capture your voice better than competitors, and deliver rich voice quality.
Next, there’s been big improvements to the battery life. Razer claims that you’ll get up to 70 hours from the 2023 version compared to 24 hours in the original V2 Pro. For most of us, that’ll be more than we ever, ever need - being ruthless with battery life, all most folks want is something that’s going to last two or three long sessions at a time before having to charge it again. However, the BlackShark series is largely grouped and marketed by Razer as being esports focused. So, if you are competitive, being able to charge this once, throw it in the bag and have it last more than a weekend for a trip, tournament, or long weekend session with friends is definitely an attractive plus point. Add in a new fast charge feature - getting 6 hours from 15 minutes of juicing - and the all-around battery life package is very attractive.
There have been big changes in audio profiles too. The headline is that you can now load profiles onto the headset and then never have to rely on software again. Therefore, you can use any of the custom-made FPS profiles, alter the other EQ presets, or create your own and then just load them onto the headset to keep them there - even if you change platform or don’t boot up Synapse ever again. Given that Synapse can, truthfully, be a bit finickity at times, this light reliance on the app or software is welcome, and the ability to tweak a headset to your liking and know that it’ll be the same on PS5 or another platform is great.
I’d also add that connectivity is another notable change for the 2023 model as it has been improved and multiplied. The 2023 BlackShark V2 Pro now offers 2.4ghz and Bluetooth 5.2 as opposed to just the 2.4Ghz on the original. There’s also a USB-C port now, instead of a micro USB. Both alterations are welcome improvements for gaming in 2023. Finally, compatibility-wise, the headset will play nice with PC, PS5 and PS4, Switch, and mobile.
- Superb audio for all media
- Easy connection and customisation
- Astounding mic quality
Here’s the chase that a lot of us want to cut to. The audio provided by the BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) is probably some of the very best I’ve ever had from a Razer headset; and some of the best across the wireless headset board.
After updating the firmware on PC, I used the BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) to play a bunch of games on PC that I use for testing as well as those I’m playing through now. Dawn of War III may not be the most demanding game audio-wise, but it never sounded better. Every unit’s callout and acknowledgment was crisp, busy combat was crunchy and articulated, and the thud of every deployment and structure’s building was satisfying. The post-apocalyptic world of Stalker was a great experience too, with the headset seeming to single-handedly elevate this older game’s audio into 2023 with beautiful execution of spooky atmospheric sounds, bright and punchy gunfire, and even delightful crackling of fires. Using the dedicated profile for the game, Apex Legends, was excellent too. Locating enemy gunfire and footsteps was easy and clear, shooting itself was an audible joy, and characters' callouts rung out atop cacophony splendidly. - even the lobby music had an extra groove to it, it felt like.
On PS5, Red Dead Redemption 2 was a joy. The environment of the old west felt alive and breathing, with every sound of the landscape delivered perfectly to my ears - the flutter of leaves, the thuds of animal and horse hooves, and even the sounds of trains and civilization in the distance were beautiful. It might be the best audio experience in that world I’ve ever had. Ghost Recon Wildlands was also brilliant, and the busiest gunfights combined with my teammates’ chatter was a terrific, always-crisp experience. From the Bolivian silence being interrupted by the boom of an unsilenced sniper rifle, to the busies and chaotic encounters, the BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) was a superb gaming companion in this, and all other, games.
The mic was truly brilliant too. My teammates reported that the mic made me sound like I was actually in the room with them; it was “super crisp” - and probably the best mic I’ve ever used with them (I play with these guys once a week and have been testing different headsets regularly with them since early 2020.) It was so good and clear, it made me sound “like a well-mixed audiobook and the mic was easily good enough for podcast recording”.
On the note of podcasts, and as expected really, the BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) is brilliant for all other media. Voices in meetings are clear as day, and music is fantastic, no matter what your listening too. The cushioned ear cups also do a pretty good job of naturally stopping exterior noise entering your ears too.
To wear and use for a long period of time, the headset was brilliant too. Its lightweight build meant I was barely noticing it was on half the time, and it’s incredibly comfortable with its plush padding. The small bit of slippage I noticed when putting it on was never a continual problem - but it also means that it does readily slide out of position when being taken off and being put on, which is a slight grip in a $200/£200 headset.
As a final note on performance, in practice, that ability to load presets onto the headset to take over to the PS5, or another platform, is genuinely brilliant too - even though the out-of-the-box audio is as excellent as it is, this extra versatility is excellent.
Should you buy the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2023)
The 2023 version of the BlackShark V2 Pro is a tremendous wireless gaming headset. And it’s one of a few headsets that’s dangerously close to getting a full five-star score. The audio is probably the best I’ve heard in a Razer headset, the microphone is definitely the best I’ve used in any wireless headset, the flexibility with profiles and settings is superb - loading them on for use on PS5, for example, is a great enhancement - the design and build are cool and robust, and its got brilliant battery life. While it might be targeted and categorised by Razer as an esports headset I wouldn’t pigeonhole it like that - this is a great wireless gaming headset for pretty much every setting and scenario (Xbox aside).
Caveats are quite small in the grand scheme of things. The lack of Xbox compatibility is a shame, as having a truly multiplatform headset of this quality could elevate the BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) even higher. Another wish list item would be having built-in mics, like in the Razer Barracuda Pro - adding a dual system like the Astro A30 Wireless would be the icing on the cake.
In terms of value, the BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) treads a tight line but, I think, just about justifies its price tag - depending on what you’re upgrading or going from. If you need your first wireless headset for PC and PS5, or you’re upgrading from a very old model, then you’d be hard-pressed to find a better wireless headset to serve both platforms in the price range. If you’ve got the original V2 Pro, or something similar from recent years, then it’s not worth it.
And on a wider value note, the competition is hot for the BlackShark V2 Pro (2023). There are terrific options from other big players from the last couple of years - the aforementioned excellent Astro A30 Wireless, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7, the Corsair HS80 RGB Wireless, and the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 MAX - all of which offer broadly similar, and excellent, wireless experiences for around the same price - sometimes less. But equally, the BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) is still cheaper than some other premium wireless sets like the Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT and the recent Turtle Beach Stealth Pro. Therefore, while it’s an investment, I think it warrants its price tag. Also, the availability of the original V2 Pro (being phased out, but still available at retailers) does mean you’ll be able to pick up that version probably for a discounted price. That’s definitely worth a look if you’re not fussed about the advancements the 2023 version offers.
The BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) is simply a superb cord-free gaming headset, and it's quite possibly a brilliant one-and-done wireless answer for PC and PS5 if those are your two main platforms given how it serves both those platforms beautifully.
How we tested the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) headset
I used the BlackShark V2 Pro as my daily driver for work, leisure, and gaming for a couple of weeks, putting it through various paces for this review. I tested it on PC with games such as Dawn of War III, Apex Legends, and Stalker, and on PS5 with Red Dead Redemption 2 and Ghost Recon Wildlands. It was also my go-to set for work meetings and family calls, and I also used it for music and streaming to test it with those media. I was also fortunate enough to be able to test the headset alongside the new Razer Nommo V2 Pro speakers, while also comparing it directly to the Astro A30 Wireless headset that I was using before the BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) arrived.
If you are looking for something that will play nice with Microsoft’s console then check out our guides to the best Xbox Series X headsets, the best Xbox One headsets, and the best Xbox Series X wireless headset.