The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) is a wireless gaming headset that offers a sleek design, a comfortable fit, long battery life and a superb microphone. It’s an updated version of the original BlackShark V2 Pro from 2020, with notable improvements and changes.
While I never got my hands on the 2020 BlackShark V2 Pro, the new model is a solid upgrade over my daily drivers — the 2020-released BlackShark V2 X. Both headphones fall in the same gaming category and look similar at first glance, though subtle changes under and over the hood make the 2023 BlackShark V2 Pro a solid upgrade option if you’re rocking an older gaming headset.
The design is similar yet different
At first glance, the 2023 Razer BlackShark V2 Pro looks similar to several of Razer’s other gaming headsets. The build quality on the 2023 BlackShark V2 Pro, however, is significantly more premium than the BlackShark V2 X and other older Razer headset models.
For starters, the headphones sliders on each side feel sturdier and slide in and out easier than older models. With the BlackShark V2 X, I always felt like the headphone would fall apart if I used the sliders with strength. However, on the 2023 V2 Pro, Razer has somehow reinforced the sliders to feel sturdier, a welcome addition, in my opinion. It’s worth noting that despite the sturdier sliders on the side, the headphone doesn’t sit too tight on my head, and wearing it for extended periods of time didn’t feel uncomfortable to me.
They’re a little bit heavier than the headphones I’m used to wearing. The BlackShark V2 X weighs in at 240g, while the new BlackShark V2 Pro weigh roughly 320g. The extra weight definitely would have mattered if I was talking about a gaming mouse; however, with the headset, the increased weight is negligible.
The top of the headband is made of a leather or leather-like material with Razer written on it, while its underside is made of a soft fabric with a lot of padding inside it. On the BlackShark V2 X, both the top and underside of the headband featured a plastic material. The earcups are made of plastic with a matte finish that gives the headphones a premium look. The earcups also feature the Razer snake logo on each side. As for the ear pads, they’re made of a squishy fabric-covered memory foam material that rests comfortably over your ears.
I don’t normally wear my headphones when I’m working, and I usually only wear them for roughly two hours during the night when gaming. During those two hours, I don’t find the earpads to be uncomfortable, and they’re surprisingly breathable. The earcups are also large enough to easily accommodate someone with big ears. However, one disadvantage here is that the earpads can not be taken off. With the Razer BlackShark V2 X, I could easily twist off the earpads and clean them if they ever got dirt, though that won’t be possible with the 2023 V2 Pros.
The left earcup is where most of the V2 Pro’s controls are located, including the on/off switch, the mic and its mute button, a USB-C port for charging and the volume knob. The primary complaint I have here is the lack of stoppers in the volume knob. The knob on the Razer BlackShark V2 X had stoppers, so it would stop rotating when it reached the minimum/maximum volume. However, on the 2023 BlackShark V2 Pro, you can rotate the knob infinitely and be greeted by a loud beep when you reach the minimum/maximum volume. The headset also doesn’t feature a 3.5mm aux jack, and Razer has completely done away with wired connections on the BlackShark V2 Pro. More on that later.
On the right earcup sits a single button that is used to switch between 2.4GHz and Bluetooth and audio modes.
A wireless-only headset
The 2023 BlackShark V2 Pro, unlike its predecessor, is a wireless-only headphone. It offers a 2.4GHz wireless connection and Bluetooth 5.2 wireless connection, though there are no options to use the headphone in wired mode. The two wireless modes allow you to pair the BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) with multiple devices simultaneously. However, you cannot use both connections at the same time, so you have to switch between them manually with the button on the right earcup.
It’s worth noting that the headphone can be plugged into your PC for charging and be used in wireless mode simultaneously, though the lack of wired audio might be a bummer for a few. For example, If I wanted to use the headphone with my smartphone, and my phone was running low on battery, I’d prefer to turn off Bluetooth to conserve battery, while still being able to game/listen to music wired. Further, having wired connectivity is a helpful option in case the 2.4GHz connection breaks down for some reason and you need to troubleshoot.
The 2020 version of the BlackShark V2 Pro featured aux support because it lacked Bluetooth. With the inclusion of Bluetooth on the 2023 model, it seems like Razer felt that the headset would be better without an aux port.
The headset comes with a 2.4GHz wireless dongle, a 5-foot (1.5m) USB-C to USB-A cable, a 5-foot (1.5m) USB extender. The 2.4GHz Hyperspeed wireless connection on the 2023 BlackShark V2 Pro was reliable up until two rooms away before it started cutting off, and the same goes for the Bluetooth connection.
Different modes give the audio a boost
Like with all other Razer devices, customization, enhancements, audio modes and mic setting can be adjusted in the Razer Synapse app. The app lets you customize the sound settings and profiles of the headset. You can choose from different EQ presets or create your own, as well as adjust the microphone settings and the THX Spatial Audio features.
The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) has great sound quality that works well for different types of games and media. The headset uses 50mm drivers with Razer’s TriForce Titanium technology, which separates the audio frequencies into three parts: highs, mids, and lows. This results in a balanced and clear sound that delivers crisp background audio details, rich vocals, and powerful bass.
The bass is significantly more powerful than the 2020 BlackShark V2 X, though the mids and high are almost identical. An in-app option for ‘Bass Boost’ can further increase the bass, though I felt that to be overkill.
The headset also supports THX Spatial Audio, which creates a realistic 3D soundstage that enhances your spatial awareness and positional accuracy while playing games. It can also be customized using Razer Synapse software, with different equalizer presets for gaming, movies and music.
The highlight of the software, however, is the pro-tuned equalizer presets for different games. These presets, according to Razer, were tuned by top eSports players to highlight the frequency most important in the specific game to give you an edge. Audio presets in the Synapse app include Apex Legends, Call of Duty (likely all COD games because the software doesn’t mention a specific one), CS:Go, Fortnite and Valorant. The presets can also be customized according to your preference, which means, you can tone down, or increase any of the preset frequencies depending on your needs.
It’s worth noting that you don’t always need to go to the Synapse app to change the game or audio modes. You can do it on the fly while gaming by pressing the button on the right earcup, as mentioned above.
While the headphones don’t feature noise cancelling, the memory foam earpads do a good enough job of cutting out ambient noise, and also preventing audio from the headphone from leaking out. The seal that the earpads form around the ear also somewhat helps in audio clarity.
Microphone and battery life are both top tier
Razer’s HyperClear Super Wideband Mic shines. The company has tuned the mic to deliver crystal clear voice communication with a wider frequency range than its previous headset mics and less distortion to be heard clearly. The mic runs at an unusually high 32kHz sampling rate, which is twice as high as most gaming headsets. This means it can capture more details and nuances in your voice, making it sound more natural and realistic.
The mic features a built-in pop filter alongside an external one, which means that although the mic is wideband, it doesn’t pick up ambient sound from your surrounding. Pair that with the ‘Mic Noise Cancellation’ mode in the Synapse app, and the BlackShark V2 Pro’s mic is easily one of the best mics on a gaming headphone.
Other mic modes in the Synapse app include an option to control the mic volume, volume normalization and vocal clarity. Mic Equalizer modes include ‘Mic Boost,’ ‘Broadcast,’ ‘Conference’ and a ‘Custom’ mode.
The mic is also detachable and flexible so that you can adjust it to your preference, a feature that was missing on the 2020 BlackShark V2 X.
One of the main drawbacks of a wireless-only headphone is its battery life. While the 2020 BlackShark V2 Pro featured a 20-24 hour battery life, the 2023 BlackShark V2 Pro triples that, offering 60-70 hours of 2GHz play time per charge. This means you can enjoy longer gaming sessions without worrying about running out of juice. The headset also features a USB-C charging port, which is more convenient and future-proof than the micro-USB port of the previous model.
The battery life of the new BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) is one of the best among wireless gaming headsets, and it can last for even weeks when the headset is used moderately. For reference, I only game for about 2 hours a day. It’s been over two weeks since I last charged the headset to 100 percent, and it is still sitting at half the battery life.
The headset also supports fast charging, which gives you 6 hours of battery from a mere 15-minute charge. You can check the battery level using the LED indicator on the left earcup or the Razer Synapse app on your PC 24. The headset also has a power-saving mode, which automatically turns off the headset after a specific amount of time that can be set from the Synapse app.
Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) is a solid wireless gaming headset that offers a premium design, a comfortable fit, a long battery life, and an excellent microphone, making it a suitable upgrade if you’re rocking an older gaming headphone. However, the lack of wired connectivity, the absence of stoppers in the volume knob, and the inability to remove the earpads are some disadvantages. Additionally, the absence of an aux port may be a bummer for some users.
The 2023 Razer BlackShark V2 Pro is available to buy now in Black and White colourways from Razer’s website for $274.99.