The second generation Razer Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds for 2021 features a number of significant upgrades over its predecessor while remaining a more affordable option versus the higher end Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro. Here’s our Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 review where we put it to the test!
Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 vs 2019 differences
The upgraded version of the original that launched in 2019, the revamped 2nd generation Razer Hammerhead True Wireless for 2021 notably has a different charging case design.
Compared to the earlier 2019 version, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 has a flatter and more squarish form factor that’s designed to lie flat on its side versus the original that had a lozenge shaped design that opened upwards like a treasure chest of sorts. The 2021 version also stacks the earbuds differently with the stem pointed downwards into the case whereas the earlier version has it lying sideways.
Design notwithstanding, the biggest updates for the 2021 refresh are slightly smaller but more precisely tuned 10mm drivers versus the original’s 13mm drivers, almost double the battery life, the addition of active noise cancellation (ANC) along with a new ambient mode. Seeing as this is Razer-issued gear, they’ve added RGB Chroma lighting on each earbud to show your L33T gamer credentials to all and sundry.
Its pricier sibling the Hammerhead True Wireless Pro that we reviewed a while back looks rather similar, sporting an identical charging case design and non-RGB enabled earbuds that have a matte finish but it edges out with THX certification, superior sound quality as well as superb sound staging. The Pro variant also features a whopping 7 ear tips to choose from to ensure a good fit though all these perks means that it costs somewhat more at RM949.
The charging case for our Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 review unit features a matte black finish though the earbuds are done up in a shiny, slippery plastic paint job with changeable silicone ear tips. The main draw for the earbuds and its most distinguishing feature is the addition of the Razer triskelion logo on each earbud that features customisable RGB chroma lighting. The logo also doubles as the touch control surface for the ear buds.
Overall build quality is pleasantly sturdy without any creaking. The matte finish on the charging case combined with its narrow form factor makes it easy to open one handed though the slippery earbuds are surprisingly hard to grip and remove from the case. Fortunately, the ear buds have an IPX4 water resistance rating so they’re splashproof and can survive a jog in the rain.
The packaging itself is fairly minimalist with the earbuds stored within the charging case itself, two additional pairs of silicone ear tips in larger and smaller sizes to swap out for a better fit, a USB-C to USB-A charging cable, a Razer sticker, a welcome note from Razer’s CEO and a small instruction manual.
Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 Specifications
|Headphone input power||5mW (max input)|
|Headphone frequency response||20Hz – 20kHz|
|Battery life||6.5 hours (earbuds) + 26 hours (from case) up to 32.5 hours with lighting and ANC off |
4 hours (earbuds) + 16 hours (from case) up to 20 hours with lighting and ANC on
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 Review – Setup and Controls
Getting my Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 review sample up and running was a fairly straightforward process.
Once you get it out of the box, you’ll first have to give it a full 60 minute charge. Before you start using it, it is well worth the trouble to ensure that the ear tips are the right size to form a sufficient passive audio seal in your ears. In my case, the medium sized ear tips were an ideal fit.
Once that’s sorted, you’re able to easily pair it up with almost any other item of kit like a laptop, tablet or smartphone via Bluetooth v5.2 and the earbuds also have Google Fast Pair support. Once I popped the charging case open, it was able to rapidly identify and pair up with a Windows 10 laptop and a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra without issue.
In terms of controls, Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 employs the quaint control system employed on the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro that we reviewed earlier. Instead of the typical array of rapid single, double and triple taps typically used in other wireless earbuds, the Razer earbuds employ a combination of ‘tap and hold’ gestures to navigate the controls.
A single tap and release lets you answer, end or play media. Tapping and holding for two seconds before releasing on either earbud cycles you through ANC and ambient mode, reject incoming calls or power it off altogether.
To activate pairing mode, you’ll have to tap and hold an earbud for four seconds. To control volume, you’ll have to perform a rapid double tap and hold the last tap for two seconds with the left earbud reducing volume and the right increasing volume. A triple tap goes back one track whereas a triple tap and holding onto the last tap either enables or disables Gaming mode.
The new control system takes getting used to, especially the need to hold down and release the control surface though Razer’s control scheme system does have its advantages as it helps to minimise accidental touches.
With the Razer Audio app installed and the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 paired to your smartphone you’re able to tweak the equaliser settings to taste or select from a selection of presets and slightly alter the control scheme somewhat by changing what each combination of ‘Tap and hold’ gestures does. However, you’ll need Razer’s RGB Chroma app which is an entirely separate download to be able to alter the pattern and colours of the colours on the earbuds.
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 Review – Performance
When it comes down to brass tacks, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 is a massive improvement over its predecessor from 2019. It uses 10mm drivers in each earbud, supports ‘feedforward’ ANC, features an ambient mode and has a 60ms low latency Gaming mode.
By default, our Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 review sample came with a flat audio profile though the equaliser settings can be fine-tuned to taste in the Razer Audio app on our phone or toggled to a predefined setting with emphasis on bass, clarity, vocals or a general Amplified setting that bumps all the audio up louder.
In terms of overall performance, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 is a fair hand at all genres with a relatively balanced sound profile with a fair amount of bass, better than average treble and good left/round sound staging. It handled Taylor Swift’s ‘Wildest Dreams’ and its bass and synth heavy opening well with fair separation between her breathy vocals and the background track. Pink Floyd’s classic ‘Time’ and its opening medley of chimes showed good left/right sound staging as well.
In Gaming mode, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 did exceptionally well with its low 60ms latency and there wasn’t any discernible lag in Call of Duty Mobile across multiple firefights. Rounds fired gave an immediate report. There was also an audible distinction of footsteps within the game and incoming rounds from different small arms each sounded unique which helped a bunch.
Voice quality was good as well across both ends of the divide with reportedly clearer vocals from the receiving end during several test calls and also via in-game voice chat in CODM.
The ANC did well in tandem with the secure passive seal offered by the silicone ear tips, allowing the earbuds to mute out most background noises like the whirring of a desk fan in the background and the typing on a rather clicky keyboard in the test lab.
When tested with a white noise track of a busy coffee shop in the background, it was able to mute out most of the dull background noise like the murmur of conversation though some distinctly loud, sharp noises like the clatter of the coffee machine were still audible.
When Ambient mode is triggered, the earbuds allow a modest amount of background noise which comes in handy if you’re outdoors where you need to be aware of potential hazards like oncoming traffic.
These characteristics make the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 a competent generalist for general purpose duties with an emphasis on entertainment and gaming as well as for voice calls be it for school or for work.
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 Battery Life
In terms of overall comfort, the earbuds proved to be excellent without any discomfort even after a marathon six hour session of movie watching and gameplay. It’s also fairly secure and managed to stay in my ears even with several jumping jacks in succession for several minutes.
In terms of battery life, our Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 review sample performed close to spec and managed four hours of battery life with ANC, Chroma RGB on and 60% volume. If you need to eke out additional battery life, you can elect to disable the Chroma RGB and ANC which stretches the endurance out to about 6.5 hours. Pragmatically disabling just the Chroma RGB gets you about 5.5 hours or so.
Charging it is a chore though and once you’ve drained it dry, it takes the whole affair a good 1 hour and 30 minutes to recharge and lacks any fast charging support so you’ll need some amount of patience.
Should you buy the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021?
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 proves to be a worthy upgrade to the original that debuted in 2019 with a slew of enhancements across the board that include Chroma RGB lighting, longer battery life and ANC while serving up good sound quality for its price. Unfortunately, there’s no way to alter the quaint ‘hold and release’ control interface but if you can overcome the learning curve, this proves to be an excellent pair of ANC-enabled buds for gaming and movies.
If you’re seeking better audio quality and superior sound staging, you’ll appreciate the pricier and more powerful THX certified Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro.
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 review unit courtesy of Razer. Available for purchase online at their official Razer online store.
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021)
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) Review
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless second generation update brings the brand’s characteristic Chroma RGB bling along with decent sound quality and good active noise cancellation though the finicky control system requires a learning curve to master.
Decent bass and fair detail
Has RGB Chroma bling
Good active noise cancellation
Paired app allows for customised sound
Earbuds look plasticky and are fingerprint magnets
Control scheme is finicky
No fast charging
Needs two separate apps for full functionality