The original Razer Blackshark V2 Pro wireless gaming headset earned itself a place on our best gaming headset list thanks to its combination of comfort, ease of use, and great sound quality. Now Razer has released the Razer Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 that swaps out the micro-USB charging port of old and replaces it with a more up-to-date USB-C port. Bluetooth has also been added, along with a host of other smaller tweaks. The result is an esports-focused gaming headset that should have wide appeal, though its price isn’t cheap.
Razer Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 new features
What hasn’t changed with the Razer Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 is its overall design. The shape, headband and earcup adjustment, coloring, and feature set are all very, very similar. Even the boxes of these two headsets are near impossible to tell apart.
Despite these glancing similarities, though, the new Razer Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 does have many small updates. For one, the headband has slightly deeper padding, plus it opens out more easily than the previous headset, making the headset simpler to take on and off. The earcups also have very slightly deeper padding.
The sliding mechanism that adjusts the height of the earcups has also been improved. It’s now smoother yet slightly more secure, making the earcups less prone to sliding down, though that does still happen.
The volume control on the left earcup also now has a digital control – so you see the volume dial in Windows adjust as you move the dial – rather than an analog dial as before. In addition, the arrangement of the power and mic mute buttons on the left earcup has been switched around so the power button is now the lower of the two. There’s also a new button on the right earcup that’s used to adjust sound profiles.
These features join the addition of Bluetooth support to the headset – along with the 2.4GHz wireless connection – and the switch to a USB charging port. Note the headset doesn’t support USB audio and no longer has a 3.5mm jack input for wired audio – this is a wireless-only headset.
Razer Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 design and comfort
The Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 design has a retro quality to it, with its bulbous earcups hanging from metal prongs, the wire for each earcup hanging loosely, and its prominent volume dial sprouting from the left earcup. The microphone also comes with a foam wind protector that is far from subtle, though the foam and the whole microphone arm can be removed.
Despite this chunky look, the headset is quite compact, though. Its headband is relatively slim, the earcups slide up their prongs to be quite compact, and the whole thing weighs surprisingly little, making it comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
Also helping comfort is the reasonably deep memory foam headband and earcup padding that help reduce pressure points. The earcup padding isn’t the absolute best we’ve encountered, but it’s pretty good. Meanwhile, the clamping force of the headset combined with the fabric – rather than leather/pleather – covering of the earcups means this isn’t the most secure headset. There’s a little bit of sliding of the headband as you lean forward and back. However, the headset didn’t fall off in our tests, unlike some we’ve tested.
The earcups sit in a fixed position so can’t be rotated to fold flat, making them less convenient for travel but while Bluetooth and a removable mic do make this headset somewhat portable, it’s fundamentally an at-home esports-centric headset, so travel isn’t a priority. Moreover, non-rotating headsets are much more preferable when it comes to ease of putting them on and taking them off – rotating earcups can be a faff.
The headset is only available in two colors at the moment: all black or mostly white but with a few bits such as the earcup padding still finished in black. A pink, cat-ear-topped version is not yet available.
Razer Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 controls
We particularly like the ease of access and ease of use of the Razer Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 controls. The prominent volume wheel falls easily to hand and its stiff but smooth rotation makes you feel in control – it’s a far cry from the unresponsive wheel of the otherwise superb EPOS H3Pro Hybrid.
That said, we actually preferred the older analog volume wheel. You could set it and forget it for the most part and the little detent that marked the halfway point of the dial’s range was an easy way to reference your volume level.
In contrast, the digital dial requires either visual feedback from the Windows volume indicator or from the actual sound from your device – something that can catch you out if the volume was previously very high. The dial moves in increments of four on the Windows volume indicator, so it’s not the most granular control either (though most digital dials offer the same granularity).
Back to the good stuff, and the rearrangement of the power and mic mute buttons is a smart move. The power button falls more to hand and although the mic mute button might be used frequently by some users, there are several other ways to mute your mic (keyboard shortcuts or onscreen buttons), so it’s generally the power button we feel should be the easiest to reach. The mic arm that is fixed in place but bendable has also been slightly strengthened compared to before and stays in place well – some bendable arms tend to spring back to being straight.
Another positive is that the headset automatically powers down after a set time to save battery, but then the power button brings it straight back to life when it’s held down for a moment. And, once powered up, there’s no delay in the audio recommencing. In contrast, the EPOS H3Pro Hybrid has fancy auto sleep and start modes that constantly fail to work properly, making it more inconvenient than the simpler method Razer has implemented. Powering up is marked by a voice command telling you the headset is up and running.
Razer Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 sound profiles
On the right earcup is a new audio profile button that lets you cycle through the headset’s four audio presets: Game, Music, Movie, and Custom. Game drops bass and boost mids to enhance some game details, music gives a smaller boost to bass and mids for a warmer tone while Movie gives a big boost to bass and enhances treble for booming explosions but clear dialogue. Custom you can change using Razer’s Synapse software, which offers a 10-band EQ, from 31Hz up to 16KHz.
As well as these more standard profiles, this headset’s big new trick is the addition of game-specific audio profiles that highlight the headset’s esports focus. There are profiles for Apex Legends, Call of Duty, CS:GO, Fortnite, and Valorant, each of which has been tuned by respective esports pros for each game. The players were tasked with manually fine-tuning the software’s EQ to find the settings they feel give them the best advantage in each game. It’s not currently clear if more games will be added to this list.
The settings can’t be switched to on the fly by holding down the profile button for three seconds. They can’t perform miracles but do genuinely work, with our tests using Apex Legends in particular clearly highlighting enhanced pickup of footsteps and other key audio cues.
The overall effect can start to get a little muddled if you also use Razer’s otherwise impressive THX Spatial Audio mode that creates a virtual surround effect in the headset, but the option’s there for you to chop and change between stereo, virtual surround and a flat audio profile or a game-enhanced one.
In theory, the profiles are just software enhancements so there’s no reason Razer can’t also add the feature to its older headsets via Synapse. However, the Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 can also store the profiles on your headset so you can still choose between them when on a PC without Synapse. The only exception Spatial Audi, which is a software-only toggle.
Razer Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 Synapse software
Other features included in Razer Synapse available to this headest are bass boost, voice clarity and sound normalization EQs, as well as a Do Not Disturb mode that blocks incoming calls when you have the headset connected both to your PC and to your phone. A mic EQ is also included along with a mic gain control and the option to feed your microphone back to your headset (side tone).
The time it takes for the headset to automatically power off after being left idle can also be adjusted from 15-60mins.
As well as having the EQ options for different games (which cleverly also show what the frequencies correspond to in those games, such as footsteps or gunfire) in Synapse, the software can also recognize a whole host of games and apps and automatically change settings for when those games or apps are launched. So you can have the headset switch to Spatial Audio with Valorant EQ when that game launches or load the movie profile when you startup VLC.
Synapse is quite insistent on suggesting you signup for a Razer account to get the best from the software but you can run it as a guest and still access all its features.
Razer Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 sound quality
The Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 sound quality is by and large decent, as it was the older version of the headset which sounds almost identical. Its 50mm drivers deliver plenty of bass power, mid-range warmth, and top-end detail when called upon and depending on the EQ setting you’ve chosen. Notably, though, the headset comes out the box with the Game profile enabled and it sounds pretty terrible when listening to music – there’s no bass heft or mid-range warmth at all, making for a breathy, weedy sound.
Switch to the Music EQ though and the headset warms up nicely, making for an easy-listening headset. It doesn’t come close to rivaling the EPOS H3Pro Hybrid for top-end detail and overall clarity but is noticeably a step up from cheap headsets. That said, for its price, we might hope for a bit more raw sound fidelity – this is not a cheap headset, after all.
What’s more, with the old headset, you could if you were so inclined plug the headset into a high-end headphone amp and get much better sound than the onboard D/A converters and amp could provide. However, with the removal of an analog input, that’s no longer an option with this headset.
More outright impressive is the headset’s new condenser microphone which has a much broader frequency range than the previous Blackshark V2 Pro and offers a 32KHz sampling rate compared to the typical 16Khz limited of most headset mics. This results in a much fuller, deeper, and more lifelike-sounding microphone that makes voice comms far clearer. It’s well short of a dedicated streaming or recording microphone but is much better suited for a wider range of microphone use (meetings, video chats, phone calls, etc) than many gaming headsets.
Razer Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 Bluetooth
Hold down the profile button on the Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 and it will switch into Bluetooth mode, letting you use the headphone and microphone with any attached Bluetooth devices.
With the microphone removed the headset just about passes for use as a setup of travel headphones but there’s no active noise cancelling and passive noise isolation is only modest. Plus, the headset doesn’t include an internal microphone for calls.
Razer Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 battery life
A massive improvement from the older Blackshark to the new Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 is far longer battery life. The headset does a much better job of conserving power, boosting the Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 battery life to 70hrs using the 2.4GHz connection and 90hrs using Bluetooth. That compares to just 24hrs over 2.4GHz for the older headset. Moreover, the headset will regain six hours of life from just 15 minutes of charging.
These figures also compare well to other rival headsets. Indeed, there seems to have been something of a step change in headset battery life recently, no doubt due to new more efficient chips being brought out. Roughly 24hrs use was typical until recently but we’ve seen a few headsets now push to similar levels to this new Razer model. Nonetheless, 70hrs is still the exception rather than the rule.
In use, we found the headset didn’t require charging during over a week of all-day wearing (though not necessarily all-day listening), which is as long as we’ve yet had the headset. That compares to needing to charge the previous version roughly twice a week even with fairly light use.
Razer Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 pros and cons
- Useful 2.4GHz and Bluetooth wireless connections
- Smart design
- Decent sound quality
- Long battery life
- No wired connection
- No internal microphone
Razer Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 specs
The Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 specs list is:
|Connections||2.4GHz wireless, Bluetooth, USB-C charging|
|Sensitivity / sound pressure level||100 dBSPL / mW @ 1 kHz by HATS|
|Mic frequency response||100 Hz – 10 kHz|
|Mic sensitivity||42 ± 3 dBV / PA, 1 kHz|
|Battery life||70 hours on 2.4GHz wireless, 90 hours on Bluetooth|
|Extras||Detachable mic arm, USB-A extension cable, sound profile button, mic mute button, auto power off, game-specific sound profiles|
Razer Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 price
The Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 price is $199.99, making it an expensive wireless gaming headset. It’s good quality for the price but not overly packed with features.
Price: Expect to pay $200 / €230
Razer Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 review conclusion
The Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 is in most ways the ideal update to the original Blackshark V2 Pro. The addition of USB-C charging and Bluetooth make it more up-to-date and versatile, respectively, while the massive improvement to battery life is also a huge boon.
The Razer Blackshark V2 Pro 2023 also remains a comfortable and decent-sounding headset with great virtual surround spatial audio, and genuinely useful game-specific sound profiles.
However, when it comes to travel, this headset can’t hold a candle to the only slightly more expensive EPOS H3Pro Hybrid, which includes an internal microphone (as well as its detachable boom mic) and active noise canceling. The removal of any sort of wired input – whether USB or analog – is also sad to see.
Nonetheless, we do still like this headset a lot and it will prove a great tool for esports gamers looking to free themselves of wires. For that reason, it earns itself a place on our best gaming headset list as the best eSports gaming headset.
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Comfortable and with great sound quality, the Blackshark V2 Pro gets the basics right while its wireless connection, Bluetooth and long battery make it versatile and convenient.