Last year’s Barracuda X from Razer impressed us with its fantastic value for a wireless gaming headset. For $99.99, it offered a comfortable fit, a solid build, good sound quality, an excellent mic, and plenty of connection options thanks to its USB-C transmitter. The only thing it truly lacked was Bluetooth connectivity, and despite this the headset still earned our Editors’ Choice award. Razer tweaked the 2022 Barracuda X with one major change: Bluetooth. That means it can now connect to your phone, PC, Nintendo Switch, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device without the transmitter. That’s all while keeping the same performance, price, and design. With that in mind, it easily earns our Editors’ Choice recommendation for budget-friendly wireless gaming headsets.
The Same Look and Feel
The updated Barracuda X—available in black, pink, or white—is physically identical to the previous version. It’s Razer’s most unassuming headset, with plain, oblong plastic cups with flat backs, adorned with nearly invisible embossed Razer logos. The left earcup holds all of the headset’s connections and controls along its bottom edge. These include 3.5mm connectors for the boom mic and included aux cable, a USB-C port for charging, a power button (now marked with 2.4 and BT labels to indicate that it toggles the different wireless modes), a volume wheel, and a mic mute switch.
The earpads are memory foam covered in breathable fabric, with just enough material to provide proper padding without making your ears too hot. The headband’s underside is also padded with memory foam, but covered with faux leather. These elements provide a comfortable, light fit that doesn’t feel tight or stingy on foam, though it isn’t doesn’t feel quite as luxurious as the $199 Razer Kraken V3 Pro and other pricier, heavier gaming headsets.
Barracuda X Accessories and Connectivity Options
Razer is generous with cables with the Barracuda X, including a USB-A-to-male-USB-C cable for charging, a USB-A-to-female-USB-C cable for connecting the USB-C transmitter to a USB -A port, and a 3.5mm headphone cable for using the headset in wired fashion. The transmitter is a small, rectangular, plastic tab like the Barracuda Pro’s transmitter. Unfortunately, Razer doesn’t include a carrying case or even a pouch with the Barracuda X, so you must juggle the cables and the transmitter on your own. The Barracuda Pro’s clever, zip-up case might have been too much for the inexpensive Barracuda X, but a cloth bag would have been nice just for keeping everything together. This is a common complaint for gaming headsets with USB-C transmitters; they’re so small that they’re easy to lose if you don’t have a place to store them.
The Barracuda X is designed for use with PCs, the Nintendo Switch, and the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 through its 2.4GHz transmitter. It also works with any Bluetooth-equipped device without the adapter, and supports 3.5mm wired connections. According to Razer, it can last up to 50 hours on a charge.
Although it works with a PC, the Barracuda X doesn’t integrate with Razer’s Synapse software, so it lacks an equalizer or any other sound settings when connected to your computer. However, you can enable simulated 7.1-channel surround sound by installing the Razer 7.1 Surround Sound app for Windows. You must create a Razer account and register your headset, and the app doesn’t offer any controls besides a toggle for the surround sound mode. (Typically, headsets that offer spatial audio through Razer Synapse or the separate, pay-for THX Spatial Audio app have EQ and other control options.) Oddly, you don’t get an EQ on PCs with the Barracuda X, but you can access a 10-band equalizer on your phone with the Razer Audio app. This doesn’t enable any simulated surround sound on your phone, it just lets you tweak its audio profile.
Great Sound for the Price
The Barracuda X has the same boom mic as its previous version, which is good news. It sounded excellent before, and you can expect the same performance with this model. It works with voice calls and streaming in a pinch, but we still recommend getting a dedicated USB microphone if you’re serious about content creation.
The Bluetooth-compatible Barracuda X is sonically identical to the previous, 2.4GHz-only version. It’s capable of strong bass performance, handling our bass test track, The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” at maximum volume without a hint of distortion, despite offering a good sense of not-quite-subwoofer thump.
Yes’ “Roundabout” sounds good on the headset. The opening acoustic guitar plucks get a good sense of string texture and resonance. It isn’t as crisp as the audio we enjoyed using the Steelseries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless and other expensive headsets, but it sounds quite good for the price. When the track properly kicks in, the busy mix sounds nicely balanced, with the bassline, guitar, drums, and vocals all getting enough attention.
The 7.1-channel surround sound isn’t quite as precise as the spatial audio you get via Razer Synapse with the company’s higher-end headsets, but it offers satisfying directionality. Playing Fortnite, I picked up the origin points of shots, and the gunfire sounded nice and punchy when I got close to the action. I could also easily discern sounds such as footsteps and rustling grass, letting me stay aware of nearby opponents.
Monster Hunter Rise on the PC also sounds excellent. The balanced audio and simulated surround sound produces solid directional imaging, though not the most precise in this game.
You don’t get any spatial audio with the Nintendo Switch, but Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes still sounds very good using the Barracuda X. The soundtrack and effects are full without being overbearing, and the dialogue cuts through the action strongly. It’s a strong balance that maintains detail across the game’s different noises.
Just as Good as Before, Now With Bluetooth
The 2022 Razer Barracuda X follows in the footsteps of the previous model as a fantastic, flexible gaming headset that connects with nearly anything. Its USB-C transmitter works with the PC, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation, and its added Bluetooth connectivity makes using it with a phone simple and easy. It’s also comfortable and offers strong enough audio quality that it can double as a pair of Bluetooth headphones for music. It improves on the already excellent Barracuda X, earning it our Editors’ Choice for affordable wireless gaming headsets.
If you’re willing to spend (a lot) more money, the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless ($349.99) offers superior audio and surround sound, and even active noise cancellation. If you want to spend less meanwhile, the Astro Gaming A10 ($59.99) should be on your radar; it’s wired, but just over half the price while offering similarly excellent audio performance. In addition, the Razer BlackShark V2 ($99.99, though often available for less) uses Razer’s excellent THX Spatial Audio audio tech rather than the slightly inferior 7.1-channel surround sound you get with the Barracuda X, but it isn’t wireless.