BERLIN – Razer has Chroma fever, and it seems that the company won't rest until every single one of its popular devices gets a rainbow-themed refresh. The gaming peripheral manufacturer is currently hard at work on new versions of its popular Diamondback and Orochi mice, as well as colorful mobile version of its bestselling Kraken headsets.
I met with Razer at IFA 2015 to play with the new mice and headsets firsthand, and the devices were exactly what I've come to expect of Razer's Chroma series. Each one felt extremely familiar, but had colorful new features as well as one or two hardware upgrades that are hard to see, but could make a huge difference during gameplay.
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A few years ago, the Diamondback was one of Razer's premiere gaming mice due to its long, sleek design and ambidextrous nature. Now, the Diamondback will return with 16.8 million-color Chroma backlighting and a brand new optical sensor that reaches 16,000 dots-per-inch (DPI) sensitivity. The redesigned Diamondback features textured rubber grips on both sides, and has a total of nine programmable buttons.
During my time with the Diamondback, I noticed that it seems ideally suited to palm-grip players, thanks to its long, low profile. I also found that the rubber grips did an equally good job of keeping my hand centered, whether I played with my left or my right. Gamers can pick up the Dimondback for $90 in October 2015.
Next up was the redesigned Orochi, Razer's go-to mobile wireless gaming mouse (which now connects via Bluetooth rather than wireless dongle). Although the Orochi lacks the Diamondback's LED strips, it still featured a full-color scroll wheel which, like the Diamondback, can sync with other Chroma products (like the BlackWidow keyboard, Kraken 7.1 headset or Firefly mousepad). I used it primarily with a claw grip due to its small size, and got to feel its new metal shell, which should keep it protected during transit in cramped bags.
Razer highlighted the Orochio's versatility when it came to battery life. In addition to a rechargeable battery with plug-and-play USB capabilities, it also houses two AA batteries, meaning that it can continue to play long after players exhaust the standard lithium ion. Razer claimed a standard charge will last it 60 hours with regular use, although we will have to test that ourselves. The Orochi will launch in October 2015 and cost $70.
Finally, I got to go ears-on with the Razer Kraken Mobile headset, which is a stylish take on Razer's standard headset specifically for iOS and Android devices. The Kraken Mobile is identical in appearance to its PC cousins, but comes in six colors and allows users to swap between an inline mic and volume control cable for iOS and Android systems. (The iOS cable comes standard; the Android one will cost extra, although Razer has not named a price yet.)
I tried out the Kraken with a racing game (on the PC, not a mobile device) and liked what I heard. The roar of my car's engine and the squeal of the tires as I wound through hairpin turns sounded crisp and clear to me. The sound quality was not quite up to snuff compared to a full-featured gaming headset, but sounded like it would be fine for mobile applications. The Kraken Mobile will launch later this month and cost $90.
The two keyboards will operate with the Razer Synapse 2.0 software, while the Kraken Mobile does not require any special programs. Expect full reviews on these products as we get them in.