Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) review: Now with ANC, longer battery life, and Chroma RGB

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Back in 2019, Razer entered the TWS earbud game with the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless. Last year, they followed up with the much better but pricier Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro earbuds with ANC, THX, Comply eartips, and more.

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

Razer has just released an updated version of the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless — this time with ANC, low latency Gaming Mode, Razer Chroma RGB, and more. Read on for our full review!

Specifications

The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) we reviewed has the following features and specifications (original Razer Hammerhead True Wireless and Pro included for comparison):

Hammerhead True Wireless (2019)Hammerhead True Wireless Pro (2020)Hammerhead True Wireless (2021)
Wearing styleHalf In-earIn-earIn-ear
Headphone frequency response20 Hz – 20kHz20 Hz – 20kHz20 Hz – 20kHz
Impedance32 ± 15% Ω 16 Ω 16 Ω
Headphone sensitivity91 ± 3 dB @ 1 kHz91 dB @ 1mW / 1 kH
Max input power8mW5 mW (max input)
Drivers13mm10mm10mm
Supported codecsSBC, AAC SBC, AAC SBC, AAC
Low Latency Gaming Mode60ms60ms60ms
Active Noise CancellingNoYesYes (Feedforward)
Signal-to-noise ratio≥ 55 dB64 dB65 dB
Microphone sensitivity (@1 kHz)-42 ± 3 dB-26 dBFS-26 dBFS
Pickup patternOmnidirectionalBeamformingOmnidirectional
ControlsOn-ear TouchOn-ear Touch On-ear Touch
Music controlsPlay, pause, skip, previous Play, pause, skip, previous
Call controlsAnswer, reject, switch, endAnswer, reject, switch, end
General controlsPair, power, activate smartphone virtual assistant Pair, power, activate smartphone virtual assistant
Battery lifeEarbuds up to 4 hours and 12 hours additional with charging case Earbuds up to 4 hours and 16 hours additional with charging case Earbuds up to 6.5 hours and 26 hours additional with charging case (with lighting/ANC off)
Charge timeUp to 1.5 hoursUp to 1.5 hoursUp to 1.5 hours
Razer Chroma RGBNoNoYes
Google Fast PairNoNoYes
Water resistanceIPX4IPX4IPX4
ConnectionBluetooth 5.0Bluetooth 5.0Bluetooth 5.2
CompatibilityDevices with Bluetooth audio capability Devices with Bluetooth audio capability Devices with Bluetooth audio capability
Smartphone appAvailable for Android™ 8.0 Oreo and iOS 11 (or higher) Available for Android and iOS Available for Android and iOS
Approximate weight45g53g53g
MSRP (USD)$99.99$199.99$129.99

What’s in the box

  • Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Earbuds
  • Charging Case
  • Charging Cable (USB-A to USB Type-C)
  • Silicone earbud tips (S, M, L)
  • Razer stickers
  • User guide
  • Two-year warranty
What's included with the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) earbuds
What’s included with the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) earbuds.

Design

Like the previous iterations, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Earbuds are of the stick-shaped variety. Gloss black in colour, the stick portion is about an inch long. On the bottom of each stick are two small contacts for charging and a microphone.

Attached to the top of the stick is the actual earbud. Unlike the 2019 version, the 2021 version follows the Hammerhead Pro style with a more in-ear design than the half in-ear design. I do prefer this as it fits more comfortably and feels more secure in your ear when worn. Located on the earbud are two more microphones for ANC, one on the top and one inside just beside the actual ear speaker. On the inside of the stem is an L or R to indicate which ear that earbud goes in. Razer has included three ear tip sizes (S, M, and L), so you should be able to find a proper fit for your ears.

Another design change over the previous version is the addition of Chroma RGB support, because why not? The Razer Snake logo on the outer circle of the earbud, which doubles as the touch control, is an LED that can be adjusted and controlled by an app.

The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) earbuds feature Razer Chroma RGB
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) earbuds feature Razer Chroma RGB.

The case is slightly different as well. Instead of a smaller pillbox where the earbuds lay in the case, the matte black charging case is larger, and the earbuds are inserted stem first for charging. The front of the case has a small LED light to indicate charging status. A USB-C charging port is on the bottom of the case. The Razer wordmark is stamped into the top.

Although I prefer the matte black of the previous version, the style and fit of the latest Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Earbuds are much improved.

Ease of Use

If you have an Android device, pairing is easier than ever. As soon as you take the earbuds out of the case, you should get a notification on your phone (if you have Google Fast Pair enabled) asking if you want to pair the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless to your device. Tap OK, and after a few seconds, you’ll be good to go. If not, the first time you take them out, they should enter pairing mode. Open the Bluetooth settings on your device and select Razer Hammerhead TWS (2nd Gen) and, again, after a few seconds, you should be good to go.

Once paired, several touch controls are available for controlling the earbuds. The complete list of controls include:

  • Tap: Answer or end a call, play/pause current media track
  • Tap and hold for 2 seconds: Cycle between Enable ANC, and Enable Quick Attention Mode, power on the corresponding earbud, reject incoming call
  • Tap and hold for 4 seconds: Activate pairing mode for the corresponding earbud
  • Double tap: Accept incoming calls or switch calls, skip to the next media track
  • Double tap then hold the last tap for 2 seconds: Decrease volume (left earbud), increase volume (right earbud)
  • Triple tap: Return to the previous media track
  • Triple tap then hold the last tap for 2 seconds: Enable/disable Gaming Mode, clear paired devices while in pairing mode
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) on the left compared to the 2019 version
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) on the left compared to the 2019 version.

As with almost any earbud with touch controls, it can take a while to remember all the taps and holds. While the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2nd Gen earbuds are easy enough to use, the tap and hold for certain functions will likely have you keeping the manual nearby. Fortunately, the default gestures can be remapped in the Razer Audio App.

Software

While the first-gen Razer Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds used the Razer Hammerhead app, the second-gen uses two apps: Razer Audio and Chroma RGB.

Razer Audio

It appears the Razer Audio app is taking over for the Razer Hammerhead app. You have a list of Razer devices to connect to when launching it, including the Razer Anzu Smart Glasses. Once you’ve selected the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless, you’ll see a home screen that displays the current battery level of the left and right earbud. On this screen, you can access an Equalizer, ANC settings, Remap menu, toggle Gaming Mode, toggle the Chroma Effect on or off, or access other settings.

The Equalizer menu lets you choose between Amplified, Default, Enhanced Bass, Enhanced Clarity, Vocal, or Custom. As for ANC, you can set it to off, on, or Ambient mode. The Remapping menu lets you change what is assigned to the left or right touch controls when you single, double, triple tap, or the various tap and hold settings.

Screenshots from the Razer Audio Android app
Screenshots from the Razer Audio Android app.

One thing I did notice is that the app seemed to lose connection and reconnect often. This could be because it was a pre-release version or the fact that I was running it on Android 12 Beta.

Chroma RGB

The Razer Chroma RGB app is pretty straightforward. Once connected, the home screen lists your available devices. In addition to the Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds, you can control the lighting on the Razer Kraken BT Kitty Edition. The app allows you to choose between Audio Meter (either a single colour or colour spectrum cycling that reacts to your currently playing audio), Breathing mode, colour Spectrum mode, or a Static colour. You can even adjust the brightness of the RGB lights to your liking.

One issue with the Chroma RGB app is that it continues to run in the background on your smartphone (at least on Android) after closing it. A persistent notification is present. Expanding the notification tells you the app is running, and tapping the notification will stop it. Upon stopping the app, the Chroma RGB on the earbuds continues to function just fine, so I’m not sure the reasoning or logic behind keeping the app running.

Screenshots from the Razer Chroma RGB Android app
Screenshots from the Razer Chroma RGB Android app.

Sound Quality

While I found the 2019 Razer Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds a bit lacking for music playback, I have to admit the 2021 version is much better. I believe that the change in design from the half in-ear to full in-ear style makes a big difference. Typically, I find the default settings on earbuds hit and miss. However, in the case of these, I found the default setting on these to be more than suitable, even with my tendency to like a bit more bass than others. Every genre, from hip hop to rock and even classical, seemed fairly balanced. As mentioned above, the Razer Audio app does include some Equalizer presets and the ability to set a Custom EQ setting suited to your musical tastes.

With the same Gaming Mode option as its predecessor, which offers a pretty low 60ms latency when enabled, gaming was just a solid. I could more accurately hear the direction of footsteps and gunshots in games like Call of Duty: Mobile. When playing games on Xbox Game Pass, like Forza Horizon 4, the ambient and car sounds filled the stage nicely. Even Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was a treat with its whispering voices that definitely sounded like they were coming from inside your head.

For the most part, I was able to use the earbuds with ANC off and still not hear much of my surroundings due to the passive noise cancellation. When enabled, however, I could definitely tell the difference as I was hard-pressed to hear my typing on a mechanical keyboard. Even mowing the lawn with these in and ANC enabled relegated the mower to a dull hum.

Even though they only sport 10mm drivers (like the Hammerhead Pro) and not the 13mm drivers of the previous version, the audio seems just that much better than the first iteration of these earbuds.

Reception

With Bluetooth 5.2 on board, I had no issues with reception on these earbuds — outside or indoors. At work, I could be on the other side of the open showroom floor with no issues. I had no issues at home when leaving my phone in the kitchen and going to the basement or the second floor. Outside work was just as successful with my phone on the deck, even when I was 40-feet away in the back corner of the yard.

Microphone/Call Quality

Microphone audio on the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds was decent enough. During my test call, the other party said I sounded fine, and they couldn’t hear much background noise. While gaming, I could chat just fine with other party members without being told I was speaking too quietly or being asked to repeat myself.

Battery Life

The first-generation Razer Hammerhead True Wireless and Pro earbuds only have “up to” 4 hours of battery before needing to be recharged. While I don’t have an issue with that as it gets me through the morning or afternoon with a recharge at lunch or overnight, other earbuds offer a much longer battery life before needing to be charged. The 2021 Razer Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds offer up to 6.5 hours on a single charge with 26 more (four full recharges) from the included charging case. Of course, this is with ANC and Chroma RGB disabled and at 50% brightness. With ANC on, Razer states you can get about 4.5 hours, and with ANC and Chroma RGB (Breathing) enabled, about 4 hours.

The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) earbuds with included charging/carrying case
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) earbuds with included charging/carrying case.

During our testing, I did confirm each of these. I was able to get just over 6 hours with ANC and RGB off at about 70% volume, close to 4.5 hours with ANC enabled, and just about 4 hours with ANC and Chroma RGB enabled. Depending on your usage, you can see that there is plenty of leeway for extending (or reducing) your battery life on these earbuds.

Once depleted, it takes about an hour-and-a-half to fully recharge the earbuds in the included charging/carrying case.

Price/Value

With an MSRP of US$129.99, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds are a bit pricier than the initial version but not as pricey as the Pro version with THX audio. Given the sound quality, improved battery life, and Chroma RGB integration, I find these are fairly priced and a happy medium between the first generation and Pro versions.

Wrap-up

If you’re looking for a pretty decent pair of true wireless earbuds with ANC and don’t mind a bit of flashy RGB, the 2nd-Gen Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Earbuds are a pretty solid consideration. Chroma RGB can be enabled or disabled, the app includes EQ settings, they are IPX4 rated, and they have longer battery life than other Razer earbuds.

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Last Updated on August 11, 2021.

Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021)

US$129.99

Design

9.5/10

Ease of Use

9.0/10

Software

9.0/10

Sound Quality

9.5/10

Reception

10.0/10

Microphone/Call Quality

9.0/10

Battery Life

9.0/10

Price/Value

9.0/10

Nailed it

  • Better, in-ear design fits snugly and comfortably
  • Improved, balanced audio over 2019 version
  • ANC and Gaming Mode features
  • IPX4 rating
  • Chroma RGB support
  • Better battery life
  • Touch controls

Needs work

  • Takes a while to get used to all the default touch control mappings
  • Chroma RGB looks gimmicky when certain modes enabled
  • Requires two smartphone apps (Audio and Chroma RGB)
  • Razer Audio app spotty, could be because it was a pre-release version/used with Android 12 Beta
  • Chroma RGB app runs in background after configuring, even though it's not needed
  • No wireless charging
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds (2021)
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