Last year Razer unveiled their new flagship headset – The Nari Ultimate. This headset was well received by the PC and PS4 communities, thanks largely to their new innovative Hypersense technology. Xbox One owners however, were less than impressed. Xbox owners were forced to use the 3.5mm headphone port as the headset didn’t support Xbox One’s wireless frequency — not ideal for a flagship product. Fast forward 12 months and there’s finally some good news for Xbox One owners as Razer has expanded the Nari family to include the new Nari Ultimate for Xbox One.
The Nari Ultimate for Xbox One continues on from the momentum built from last year with one key objective– to change the way Xbox One owners play games. It’s everything you can expect from a Razer product- innovation, atheistics, and performance. But is the Razer Nari Ultimate for Xbox One worth $199.99USD ($349.95AUD) price tag? Let’s find out!
I’ll admit that at first, I was skeptical. A headset that features haptic feedback couldn’t be decent, let alone good, could it? I thought it would be nothing more than a gimmick to justify a premium price tag, but I quickly learnt one thing, Razer Hypersense is no gimmick. Sure, the concept of having magnets quickly oscillating between fixed coils next to your ears doesn’t sound appealing, but the results are something you need to experience.
Razer Hypersense utilizes two advanced L5 haptic drivers that convert audio signals into a dynamic feedback sensation. This is achieved in real-time and without the need for any software. How is this possible? I’m glad you asked (If you didn’t, too bad). Hypersense detects audio shapes and frequencies of in-game audio and transforms them into real-time lifelike sensations. You’d be forgiven to associate this the vibration feedback that is now standard with gaming controllers, but the technology Razer and partner Lofelt have developed is far superior.
Gaming controllers provide haptic feedback over a narrow, fixed frequency (typically 20Hz or 200Hz). Meaning that all vibration feedback more-or-less feels the same, regardless if you fall off a cliff or experience a rocket to the face (we’ve all been there). Hypersense uses dynamic digital signal processing to provide a dynamic frequency range (20Hz to 200Hz) that provides a much more natural, lifelike sensation to accurately reflects in-game events. Suddenly, you’ll feel slight vibrations of an enemy’s footsteps in the vicinity, the increasing feedback as a tank approaches, or the high-frequency feedback of that rocket to the face. Essentially, Hypersense immerses gamers like never before.
I can honestly say that Hypersense is not a gimmick. I played a variety of games on both Xbox One and PC to get the full experience and despite some varying results, the overall conclusion was that I was felt more immersed in each game I played than ever before. Gears 5 allowed me to feel the impact each explosion and gunshot recoil like never before. The haptic feedback almost adds a fourth dimension to the game, as you suddenly feel like you’re present ij the game itself. Forza Horizon 3 and 4 (Love my Aussie muscle cars in FH3) allowed me to appreciate every cube of my big block 56 Bel Air. As my RPM increased, I could feel my brain shake inside my skull, exactly how my windows shake when I hear the roar of a big block streaming down the street. NHL 20 actually surprised me. I thought sporting games may struggle to provide impactful haptic feedback. I was quickly proved wrong after I quickly body-checked my first player to hospital — you couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. In general, FPS games appeared to benefit most from Hypersense technology- Overwatch, CS:GO and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare were all incredible. I honestly believe that haptic feedback has the potential to become the standard in gaming headsets.
Games that aren’t as audio-focused such as Dota 2 and Age of Empires II struggled to justify the premium price tag. The Nari Ultimate slightly increased my immersion for both games, but I had to adjust the in-game sound levels to suit. Unwanted sound effects such as multi-kill announcements, in-game chat and background music constantly prompted unwanted haptic feedback. I found this frustrating and annoying as it interfered with more critical audio cues.
Speaking of music, I simply cannot recommend the Nari Ultimate as a pair of audio headphones. Not only is there the glaring issue of no 3.5mm headphone port, but the inconsistent haptic feedback during such a deserve range of songs, genres, eras, and recording qualities meant that I was constantly adjusting the feedback intensity. I found that the haptic feedback was interfering too much, especially where low levels were prominent. This almost felt like the haptic feedback was constantly on at a dull level. In the same sentence, the punchy, high impact bass from a double-kick from a Parkway Drive breakdown or a bass drop from Skrillex felt like my mind was going to explode. However, a combination of no 3.5mm headphone jack and the inconstant results that haptic feedback provides, it’s safe to conclude that the Razer Nari Ultimate for Xbox One is designed for exactly as its name states — for the Xbox One.