Bottom line: Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) is a comfortable and lightweight earbuds that sound good and even have Razer Chroma RGB lighting. It even has Active Noise Cancelation, low-latency gaming mode, and multiple silicone ear tips.
Comfortable and lightweight
Good sound quality for the price
Active Noise Cancelation, Ambient, and Gaming modes
Customizable through companion Razer apps
Lighting effects with Razer Chroma RGB
Doesn't auto-pause when removing one earbud
Touch controls take time to adjust to
No fast pair for iOS, only Android
No wireless charging
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When Apple AirPods launched several years ago, we've seen many other brands go the truly wireless earbud route. This includes the popular gaming brand, Razer. While many of us think of Razer as the cool gaming company known for peripherals like gaming mice and keyboards, it has been expanding more and more into the lifestyle market. This is made evident by some recent products, like the Opus X and even Kraken BT Kitty Edition headphones.
Razer is no stranger to the wireless earbud market despite having more over-ear headphone styles on the market. Two years ago, they launched the first Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds, which were the company's version of AirPods. They followed it up with the Hammerhead True Wireless Pro buds, which was supposed to be like the AirPods Pro. And now we've come full circle with the 2nd-generation Hammerhead True Wireless (2021), which is a new-and-improved version of the original, now with Razer Chroma RGB. That's right — these wireless earbuds have the RGB lighting that Razer is best known to include on all its products.
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021): Price and availability
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) is available from Razer's website, Razer Stores, and authorized retailers like Best Buy. It only comes in a black color at the moment. These earbuds cost $129.99.
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021): Good sound, ANC, and of course, RGB lighting
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) comes in a wide charging case similar to the AirPods Pro versus the pill-shaped original Hammerheads. Razer made the case with a matte plastic material, so while it looks sleek, it is prone to fingerprints and smudges quite easily. The inside features a custom groove cutout that perfectly fit the earbuds, and a charging indicator light can be found on the front. At the bottom of the charging case is a USB-C port — unfortunately, there is no wireless charging.
While Razer included a new Google Fast Pair feature for supporting Android devices (think AirPods with iPhones), it will need to connect to an iPhone the old-fashioned way. The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) uses Bluetooth 5.2, so it's pretty easy to connect — flip the lid open on the charging case, then select the earbuds from the iPhone's Bluetooth menu. Once paired, you'll see the battery level and use the companion Razer apps for customization.
The Razer Audio app lets you adjust EQ presets, remap controls, and more for your Razer audio products.
If you have wireless Razer audio products with RGB, customize the lighting effects with this app.
The original Hammerhead earbuds were a half in-ear form factor that I honestly did not find comfortable at all, similar to the regular AirPods. The new Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) switches to a completely in-ear design with silicone ear tips that I find much more secure and comfortable than the old design. By default, it comes with the Medium tips installed, but you also get Small and Large size tips included in the box.
As far as sound quality goes, these are pretty good. It has 10mm, speaker drivers inside, and the default settings sound great for the price. However, when combining the iPhone's EQ settings with the other EQ presets in the Razer Audio app, you can fine-tune the audio to what you prefer. There are five EQ settings (Amplified, Default, Enhanced Bass, Enhanced Clarity, and Vocal) in the Razer Audio app, and you can create a custom one too.
With Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021), you now have feedforward ANC mics that focus on canceling everyday external ambient noises. These sounds can include the hum of planes, as well as urban environmental noises. When I tested out the ANC feature, it blocked out most of the ambient noise in the house, but I could still hear a bit of the Vornado fan that I use at my desk when it's on the high setting. It isn't as up to par as AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, but I'm not expecting top-of-the-line ANC here, considering the price point. For most people, this would probably be considered "good enough."
You can turn off ANC if you don't want it through the app, and you can also switch to Ambient Mode, also called Quick Attention Mode. With Ambient, it lets outside noise if you need to listen for your name or pay attention to certain environmental noises like cars. To quickly toggle Ambient Mode or ANC, just tap-and-hold for two seconds on either earbud — audio feedback will confirm when you activate either mode.
Since Razer is a gaming peripheral company, there have to be some gaming features for these earbuds, right? Of course! The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) has a low-latency Gaming mode, which can be activated by a triple tap and hold the last tap for two seconds, or you can toggle it via the Razer Audio mobile app. With Gaming mode, you'll switch out to a lower-latency 60ms or less connection that means less lag when playing games, whether it's on your iPhone, Android device, consoles (separate adapter needed), or desktop. However, Gaming mode will require a super-close distance between the earbuds and paired device (around two feet or 60 centimeters); otherwise, the audio may drop or skip. I've used Razer's Gaming mode feature on a few different products now, and it is always spot-on and handy to have, especially if you do a lot of mobile gaming.
Finally, the RGB lighting is the real meat of the magic with the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021). There aren't many wireless earbuds on the market with lighting effects (this is something you see more of on headphones, though), so these new Hammerheads are one of the few. Each earbud features the signature Razer logo on the outside, and this is the part that lights up with LED lighting. You can choose from four different RGB effects in the Razer Chroma RGB app: Audio Meter, Breathing, Spectrum, and Static.
Audio Meter basically responds to the audio you're listening to, Breathing pulsates on and off, Spectrum cycles through all colors, and Static lets you choose a single color. The brightness of the lighting can be adjusted in 10% increments, with the lowest setting at 10% and maxing out at 100%. Of course, since these are earbuds, the lighting effect is much more subtle than, say, the Kraken BT Kitty Edition. But having the RGB lighting on with the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) is going to make you stand out among the crowd.
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021): It's affordable but missing some features
Even though I'm a fan of matte things, I don't particularly like the charging case of the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021). It's too easy to get fingerprints and smudges on it, and it doesn't look as good as it did when I initially took it out of the box. I'd recommend putting a case on this to alleviate the problem. Another issue with the charging case is that it doesn't support wireless charging, just USB-C.
During my testing with the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021), I wasn't a fan that the audio does not pause if you take one earbud out — the music kept going. You're going to need to pause your music before taking an earbud out if that matters to you.
Speaking of playback, the touch controls on these do take a bit of time to learn. Since it has a few different modes and playback options with zero physical buttons, all the controls rely on touch. You have the standard tap, double-tap, and triple-tap, but you also have the tap-and-hold gestures. Once you get used to it, the controls aren't bad, but it has a little bit of a learning curve. I'd recommend giving the manual a look before trying them all out. At least you can remap the controls through the Razer Audio app.
Finally, I'm sad that iOS doesn't get the Fast Pair feature Razer added for supported Android devices, but I suppose this can't be helped. After all, Apple reserves that kind of fast pairing experience for AirPods, but I just thought it was worth mentioning - you'll need an Android device to experience the power or Google Fast Pair technology.
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021): Competition
There is no shortage of the best true wireless earbuds on the market right now. The biggest competitor with the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) are the AirPods Pro. With AirPods Pro, you'll get fast and seamless pairing, even better ANC and Transparency modes, and even Spatial Audio support. Plus, it is super easy to switch between Apple devices with AirPods Pro, while the Razer Hammerheads will need to be manually paired and connected to each device. Of course, the AirPods Pro are more expensive, but it's overall better if you're an Apple-centric user. But of course, you'll be missing out on RGB lighting.
If you aren't a big fan of earbuds and prefer over-ear headphone style, then another good affordable option from Razer is the Opus X. It's comfortable and lightweight, has ANC and Quick Attention Mode, low-latency Gaming mode, and comes in multiple colors. Unfortunately, it won't have the RGB lighting effects, but it has most of the other Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021). If you want RGB lighting for headphone style, and don't mind cat ears, then take a look at the Razer Kraken BT Kitty Edition.
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021): Should you buy it?
You should buy this if...
- You want affordable true wireless earbuds with ANC
- You want RGB lighting
- You like the Razer brand
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You don't prefer in-ear earbuds
- You want something that works seamlessly with Apple devices
- You are on a budget
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) is definitely a big step up from the original Hammerhead earbuds that came out a few years ago. Thanks to the in-ear design with silicone ear tips, I found them comfortable to wear, even for long periods. The sound quality is good for the price paid, and I enjoy that it comes with ANC and Quick Attention Mode. The low-latency Gaming Mode is particularly nice if you plan to use these earbuds while gaming because it decreases audio lag. And I love the fact that it implements Razer's Chroma RGB lighting because there really aren't many earbuds that have LED lights, and we all know that RGB lighting effects make everything better, right? Don't forget that you can customize the audio and RGB settings with the companion apps, too.
As much as I like these earbuds, though, they aren't perfect. Unfortunately, the touch controls do take some time to adjust to, and the audio doesn't automatically pause if you remove an earbud from your ear. And while Razer has Google Fast Pair for Android devices, you'll have to connect these the old-fashioned way for iOS, without seamless device switching. The charging case is also quite prone to fingerprints and smudging and doesn't have wireless charging. Still, for the cost, it's a good pair of wireless earbuds that work with all devices, not just Apple's.
Bottom line: Tune out the world with these new lightweight and comfortable earbuds from Razer. They sound good, have ANC with Quick Attention Mode, and even have customizable RGB lighting.
Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.