Razer Seiren V2 X

Razer Seiren V2 X: Two-Minute Review

While writing this Razer Seiren X V2 review, I gave some serious thought to the other desktop microphones I’ve tested in the past. Out of the box, the Seiren X V2 feels great; the build quality is robust, and the new design feels more modern than the original Seiren X’s tube-shaped casing.

Visually, it reminds me of the fantastic Blue Yeti, which has long been one of the best microphones available for streamers and podcasters. The new pill-shaped design, with a simple USB-C plugin at the back and a simple button and dial on the front, looks stylish and modern.

Unfortunately, the Razer Seiren X V2’s performance doesn’t live up to its new appearance. While it’s easy to set up and start using, it doesn’t represent much of a generational step forward compared to its predecessor; it’s still got a 25mm condenser inside the microphone head, offering the same frequency response, sample rate, and single ‘supercardioid’ polar pattern.

Given that the V2 X is the same price as the first Seiren X, I would’ve like to see more than just a physical redesign. There is a higher bitrate and slightly better sensitivity here, but these aren’t improvements that the average user will notice.

More to the point, the low base means that unless you’re willing to lean close to the mic or invest in a boom arm, the Seiren V2 X doesn’t pick up sound well enough without increasing the gain, which means an increase in background noise. There’s no included pop filter either, which is a shame.

Lastly, anyone who knows me will be aware that I don’t like Razer Synapse very much – or any proprietary peripheral software, really. But Synapse is at least good to use with Razer keyboards, like the Razer DeathStalker V2 Pro. Here, though, it clashes with the audio settings in Windows 10 and generally doesn’t offer enough to mitigate the Seiren V2 X’s drawbacks.

Razer Seiren V2 X USB microphone on a wooden desk, plugged into a Razer Blade 14 laptop.

(Image credit: Future)

Razer Seiren V2 X: Price and Availability

Tech Specs

These are the specs on the Razer Seiren V2 X sent to TechRadar for review:

Connection: USB Type-A
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Sample Rate: 48 kHz
Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
Bitrate: 24 bit
Max SPL: 120 dB
Weight (with stand): 

  • Standard model costs $100
  • No included pop filter or boom arm
  • Available direct from Razer and major retailers

The asking price for the Razer Seiren V2 X is $99.99 (£99.99, AU$169.95), which isn’t outrageous for a USB desktop microphone, but is undeniably quite expensive when you consider what it offers. The vastly superior Blue Yeti sits in the same price bracket, while Razer’s own Serien V2 Pro is significantly better at $149.99, and the pint-sized Seiren Mini costs just $49.99.

There’s no pop filter or boom arm – both things you’re likely to want here – available from Razer, so you’ll have to take to Amazon to find third-party ones. The V2 X uses the same threaded screw base as other Razer Serien mics, so it’s not hard to find a boom arm that will support it (though be careful not to cheap out here, as there are plenty of rubbish knock-offs around).

The Seiren V2 X is available in all supported regions directly from Razer, as it ostensibly represents the default option of the brand’s Seiren range in its current generation. If you want to shop sales, it’s available from most major retailers (Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy etc.) too.

  • Price and availability: 3/5

Razer Seiren V2 X USB microphone on a wooden desk, plugged into a Razer Blade 14 laptop.

(Image credit: Future)

Razer Seiren V2 X: Design

  • Robust casing and weighted base
  • Basic (though functional) controls
  • Only comes in black

Unlike the compact Razer Seiren Mini, which is available in the brand’s Mercury and Quartz (read: white and pink) color schemes, the Seiren V2 X only comes in that classic Razer black. Fortunately, this dark casing isn’t like the black metal finishes found on Razer’s Blade laptops, so it doesn’t constantly pick up fingerprints.

The base contains a weighted metal disc with a grippy foam pad on the underside, to keep the mic from moving around while it’s atop your desk. The base features a ball-and-socket design that lets you tilt the mic head in any direction by about 30 degrees. The outer casing is entirely plastic, but it’s quite durable with a nice matte finish that doesn’t feel cheap. The mic head is a domed woven metal grille that feels much better than the perforated surface of the original Seiren X.

On the front, there’s a single button to mute the mic input (which lights up bright Razer green while the mic is hot, and a dimmer red when muted) and a textured plastic dial for controlling the microphone gain. I found the dial a little small and stiff, meaning I had to grip it quite firmly with my thumb and forefinger to turn it. The mute button works fine and doesn’t produce any sound that the mic could pick up when pressed.

Around to the rear, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack for in-situ audio monitoring, along with a USB-C slot for connecting it to your PC. The included cable is six feet long and braided for improved durability, which is great, but it’s a shaped port that prevents you from using non-proprietary cables, which is not so great

  • Design: 4/5

Razer Seiren V2 X USB microphone on a wooden desk, plugged into a Razer Blade 14 laptop.

(Image credit: Future)

Razer Seiren V2 X: Features

  • Slight improvements over the previous model
  • Software is just okay
  • Stream mixer works, but isn’t revolutionary

In terms of physical features, there’s not a huge amount to discuss here. The Seiren V2 X has a lot of the same internals as the first Seiren X, with the only changes of note being a new 24-bit bitrate to improve the audio quality received by your PC and a slightly higher Max SPL to handle loud input sounds.

The ‘supercardioid’ pickup pattern used by most Razer microphones can’t be changed, so bear in mind that this mic is only really designed to pick up audio from one speaker (or maybe two people sitting very close together). The supercardioid pattern suppresses sound from the back and sides of the mic head, and I can’t help but feel that while the new design looks better, the old Seiren X’s monodirectional head made it clearer to users that the mic had to point towards them.

One of the big selling points for the Seiren V2 X is how much it can do with Razer’s Synapse software (which isn’t really a good thing, in my opinion). While the Seiren Mini is more of a plug-and-play affair, the Seiren V2 X benefits from a gain limiter and a stream mixer, as well as the usual selection of input and output tweaks.

The former of these two main features works automatically, dropping the mic gain very briefly in response to loud sounds. It’s actually pretty good, preventing audio distortion if I suddenly shouted ‘SNIPER!’ into the mic during a heated match in Apex Legends. The stream mixer works fine for mixing different audio sources, I guess – but you’re generally going to be much better off using third-party streaming software, like the excellent OBS.

  • Features: 3/5

Razer Seiren V2 X USB microphone on a wooden desk, plugged into a Razer Blade 14 laptop.

(Image credit: Future)

Razer Seiren V2 X: Performance

  • Good maximum input volume
  • Picks up keyboard clatter too much
  • Gain dial is overly sensitive

First thing’s first: the maximum gain on the Seiren V2 X is great, enabling it to pick up your voice from several feet away if you speak clearly – although speech does sound a little flat. Unfortunately, it picks up a lot of background noise if you do this, so ideally you’ll want to dial down the gain and purchase a boom arc to position the mic close to your mouth. Speaking at lower gain with your mouth less than a foot away gives a nice, clear level of vocal clarity that should be great for streams or solo podcasts.

At medium gain with the mic standing on my desk to the left of my linear red mechanical keyboard, the mic was still picking up a small amount of clatter when I typed. Speech clarity is generally decent here, but if you’re a fan of clicky blue switches, you’ll want to avoid this mic.

More distant background noise is fine; on one of the days I was testing the Razer Seiren V2 X there was some noisy building work going on outside my house, which the mic didn’t pick up at all. It did, however, faintly register my dog barking and my partner talking downstairs at higher gain levels.

Part of the problem here is quite how sensitive the gain dial on the front of the mic is. There’s no LED lighting or even basic notches to measure input, and while the dial can rotate infinitely in either direction, it only requires a small adjustment to go from ‘barely registering my voice’ to ‘I have no eardrums now’.

  • Performance: 3/5

Razer Seiren V2 X: Should you buy it?

Buy it if…

Don’t buy if…

Also consider

XSTRM: Report card

Value Good quality, but somewhat expensive and doesn’t include a boom arm or pop filter. 3 / 5
Design An improved durable design that looks great and should last for years. 4 / 5
Features Razer Synapse is functional but unimpressive, generational improvements are small. 3 / 5
Performance Good in certain ranges, but picks up keyboard noise and has overly-sensitive gain control. 3 / 5
  • First reviewed August 2022

How we test

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained – regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it’s on our radar.

Read more about how we test

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Oppo clamshell foldable: Everything you need to know

Oppo already has a foldable device on the market, with its Find N being one of the standout foldables of the year, but sadly exclusive to the Chinese market. Now, rumours suggest that the company could be working on a clamshell design that would not only bring a flip-style device to the catalogue, but also at a more affordable price than its expensive stablemate.

Here’s all we know so far about the Oppo clamshell smartphone.

When will the Oppo clamshell foldable be released?

There is no official word on when the new clamshell device from Oppo will be released. However, GSMArena has reported that Oppo has trademarked the names Find N Fold and Find N Flip with the EU Intellectual Property Office, and believes that they could be coming to international shelves this fall.

We would assume that the Fold and Flip would correlate with the Samsung foldables of the same name – with the Find N Fold being a successor to the book-style Find N, and the Find N Flip competing with the likes of the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and the Motorola Razr.

This is also correlates with reports from Chinese tech reporter Digital Chat Station that says the new phone will use the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, which would put the Oppo Flip for a Q3 2022 (July-September) launch at the earliest.

How much will the Oppo clamshell cost?

As with the release date, Oppo has yet to confirm any details about pricing (or even the existence) of its upcoming flip-style phone.

Turning to the rumours once more, we’ve seen several reports (possibly all generated by the initial post from Digital Chat Station) that the new device could be around the $1,000/£800 mark. This would make it a competitive prospect when up against other current flip phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 Motorola Razr 5G, and Huawei P50 Pocket, which are priced as follows:

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3:

  • 128GB: $999/£999/€1,099
  • 256GB: $1,059/£1,059/€1,159
  • 256GB Bespoke Edition: $1,139/£1,099/€1,199
  • 512GB: $1,179/£1,199/€1,279

Motorola Razr 5G:

  • £1,399/$1,399/€1499

Huawei P50 Pocket:

  • 8GB RAM + 256GB: €1,299 (£1,100/$1,389)
  • 12GB RAM + 512GB: €1,599 (£1,355/$1,700)

What are the Oppo clamshell foldable specs?

At the moment we remain very much in the realms of speculation in terms of how the Oppo Flip will be equipped. Rumours have been doing the rounds that, as we mentioned before, the processor will be the new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, which will be the flagship silicon from Qualcomm in 2022. Aside from this, all we know is that the fold in the screen will be horizontal rather than vertical, as is the norm with the flip format.

Hardware-wise, the Oppo flip will have to be pretty high-end if it wants to best the Huawei P50 Pocket which impressed us recently. That device comes equipped with headline components such as these:

  • 6.9in Full HD+ (2790×1188) foldable 120Hz OLED display
  • 1.04in (340×340) 60Hz OLED cover display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 4G octa-core processor
  • 8/12GB RAM
  • 256/512GB internal storage
  • 40Mp, f/1.8 main camera + 13Mp, f/2.2 ultra-wide camera + 32Mp, f/1.8 ultra spectrum camera
  • 10.7Mp, f/2.2 selfie camera

Where the Huawei falls down is the lack of 5G and Google apps, all due to the ongoing sanctions imposed on the company by the US government. With this in mind, Oppo would steal a march by not suffering from these restrictions.

Samsung are the current top dog in the flip-phone smartphone stakes, with the Galaxy Z Flip 4 thought to be arriving in August 2022 and rumoured to feature a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, 8GB memory, 128/512GB storage and the usual selection of excellent cameras. So, the Oppo Flip (if that’s what it’s called) will certainly have its work cut out if it wants to take the top spot. Hopefully, we’ll find out soon what both have to offer.

Until then, be sure to read our rumour roundups of the new
Motorola Razr (2022),
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and
best phones coming in 2022.

Smartphones

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Intel Meteor Lake CPUs could be more like Raptor Lake than we expected

Intel’s Meteor Lake processors, which will follow next-gen Raptor Lake CPUs, are the subject of fresh speculation regarding how powerful these chips might turn out to be.

As Wccftech spotted, we’ve seen a couple of tweets appear on Meteor Lake, from Raichu (see below) and another renowned leaker Harukaze5719, the latter of which further points to rumors from Coelacanth Dream pertaining to info gleaned from Intel’s open source database.

1/xAbout Meteor lake.MTL focus on how to improve the efficiency of the instruction execution, it will not widen the microarchitecture crazy like Alder lake.May 18, 2022

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The upshot is that based on digging around for model IDs for the cores of Intel’s CPUs, it seems that the move from Raptor Lake to Meteor Lake will involve an all-new architecture for efficiency cores, but not for performance cores (stick your finest skeptical hat on here, of course, as this is just a rumor).

As you’ll doubtless recall, with current-gen Alder Lake, Intel switched to use hybrid tech with a mix of these two different types of cores in its processors. Performance cores are standard (full-power) cores, whereas efficiency cores are, as the name suggests, less performant cores which are designed for power-efficiency.

What this means is that while the efficiency cores will benefit from a whole new redesigned architecture, the performance cores – which are known as Redwood Cove for Meteor Lake – could essentially be just another refinement to Alder Lake’s performance cores (Golden Cove, which will be honed to become Raptor Cove in the next-gen CPUs).


Analysis: Expect more multi-core grunt and efficiency, then?

What does this mean for those thinking about waiting for Meteor Lake, which represents Intel’s drop down to 7nm finally (and will require a new socket and motherboard, which next-gen Raptor Lake won’t, as the latter is simply a refresh of Alder Lake)?

Well, as Raichu explains in the above Twitter thread, Intel may not be introducing any revolutionary architectural changes at a fundamental level with Meteor Lake’s performance cores, but Team Blue will still be doing plenty to pep up how powerful these cores are. Like working on improving the overall efficiency of executing instructions, branch prediction, and other technical bits and pieces to mean faster performance for the end user, even if these cores aren’t built on a new architecture.

On the other hand, efficiency cores will be rebuilt from the ground up with a new architectural take, although of course, this is all just theorizing and should be taken with a hefty amount of seasoning.

As Raichu envisages, this could mean 14th-gen processors won’t be upping the stakes massively with single-core performance and clock frequencies compared to Raptor Lake, and instead what we’ll get is more oomph to provide better multi-core performance, and power efficiency improvements.

That tack and focus on multi-core going forward also makes sense in light of other rumors which have already pointed to Intel keeping on with its current strategy for Raptor Lake of major increases with the efficiency core count (with performance cores sticking at a maximum of eight).

As to when we’ll actually see a new architecture for Intel’s performance cores – which are, after all, the main cores capable of doing a lot more heavy lifting – that won’t happen until Lion Cove, the rumor mill reckons, which will be the following generation after Meteor Lake (Arrow Lake).

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This 165Hz Dell gaming monitor is just $300

Looking for a high refresh gaming monitor? You’re in luck. Dell is selling the Dell S2721DGF monitor for $299.99. That’s a savings of $150. It measures 27-inches with an aspect ratio of 16:9 and a viewing angle of 178-degrees, which is the perfect size for a home office. Let’s get into the specs and features, yeah?

This Dell monitor has a refresh rate of 165Hz, a one millisecond response time, and a resolution of 2560×1440. For ports, it has two HDMI, one DIsplayPort, four USB Type-A, and one USB Type-B. That’s a wide range of connectivity options right there. It’s also G-Sync and FreeSync compatible, which should help reduce any screen tearing. This is a fantastic screen for first-person-shooter games, where every second counts. It’s a phenomenal deal, so you better swoop in now before it’s gone.

Get the Dell S2721DGF monitor for $299.99 at Best Buy

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The macOS installer for Zoom installer could let hackers hijack your device

Zoom has patched a serious security flaw that could have allowed hackers to take over a macOS device running the video conferencing software. 

The move came after Mac security specialist Patrick Wardle demonstrated how a threat actor could abuse the way macOS handles software patches to trigger an escalation of privilege and essentially take over the device. 

Initially, he said the vulnerability leveraged multiple flaws, and that the company addressed most of them. One remained, however, and that one was patched on a later date to finally fully mitigate the issue.

Tricking the updater

The problem lies in the way macOS handles updates. When a user first tries to install an app or a program on the endpoint, they need to run with special user permissions, often given by submitting a password. After that, auto-updates run indefinitely, with superuser privileges. 

In Zoom’s case, the updater would first check to see if the company cryptographically signed the new package, and if so, proceed with the update. However, should the updater get any file with the same name as Zoom’s signing certificate, it would run it. In other words, an attacker could slip in any malware through the updater, even if it meant giving a third party full access to the device.

The flaw was later identified as CVE-2022-28756, and was fixed in Zoom version 5.11.5 for macOS, which is available now to download.

Even though at first Wardle described the flaw as relatively easy to fix, even he was surprised at the speed at which Zoom addressed the issue: “Mahalos to Zoom for the (incredibly) quick fix!” Wardle tweeted afterwards. “Reversing the patch, we see the Zoom installer now invokes lchown to update the permissions of the update .pkg, thus preventing malicious subversion.”

Via: The Verge

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How to control WhatsApp ‘Last seen’ and ‘Online’ status

WhatsApp is the world’s most popular messaging app, and its approach to privacy is one of the key reasons for this. 

End-to-end encryption is turned on by default, meaning only the sender and receiver (or group members) can ever see what you’ve written. This was extended to include backups to iCloud or Google Drive in 2021. 

But another big appeal of WhatsApp is the ability for individuals to control which information they share with friends, family and anyone who has their number. That includes when you last used the app (known as ‘last seen’) and if you’re online at any given moment. Both can feel intrusive at times, but they can be turned off completely or customised to your liking. Here’s how. 

How to control WhatsApp ‘last seen’ status

WhatsApp makes it easy to choose who can see when you were last using the app. An Android phone is used for the purposes of this tutorial, but the process on iOS is almost identical: 

  1. Open WhatsApp like you normally would 
  1. Tap the three dots in the top right corner and choose ‘Settings’. On iOS, Settings is a tab in the bottom right corner
WhatsApp control last seen step 1

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

  1. Tap ‘Account’, then ‘Privacy’
  1. Tap ‘Last seen’, the first option in the list
WhatsApp last seen step 2, 3, 4

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

  1. From here, you can choose ‘Everyone’, ‘Nobody’, ‘My contacts’ or ‘My contacts except…’ – choosing the latter will take you to a separate screen where you select those exceptions 

However, it’s worth noting that whichever option you choose will also apply to the people you’re messaging. You can’t stop people from viewing your ‘last seen’ status but still see it when messaging someone else, for example. 

How to control WhatsApp ‘online’ status (coming soon)

In August 2022, WhatsApp’s parent company Meta announced that three more privacy-focused features are coming to the service.

Arguably the most significant of these is similar controls for your ‘online’ status. Contacts see this displayed next to your name if you’re using the app at that particular moment, but it’ll be possible to change this when the feature arrives “this month” – the process is almost identical to ‘last seen’:

  1. Open WhatsApp
  2. Tap the three dots in the top right corner and choose ‘Settings’ on Android, or select the ‘Settings’ tap from the bottom right corner on iOS
  3. Tap ‘Account’, then ‘Privacy’
  4. You’ll now see a renamed option of ‘Last seen and online’ – tap it
  5. Here, you can choose between ‘Everyone’ (the only available setting previously) and ‘Same as last seen’

WhatsApp has confirmed to us that the feature will work exactly as shown in the screenshot below. Unless you want everyone to see when you’re online, it’ll have to be set to the same as ‘Last seen’.

WhatsApp privacy updates summary image

Meta

As you can see, there are two other privacy-focused features coming in the same update.

Rather than everyone in a group knowing when you leave, this will be done ‘silently’. Only the admins will be notified, but this could still be problematic if these are the people you’re trying to avoid finding out. 

WhatsApp will also block you from screenshotting messages that the sender decided you could only ‘View Once’. This is something you may have already seen when using banking apps. 

We’ll update this article once the new features are available.

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Steam makes a small change that gets lots of PC gamers overly excited

Steam has tweaked the process of grabbing free PC games or DLC to make it a bit more convenient, and it’s a change which has been met with quite the outpouring of happiness (or bewilderment in a few cases).

If you’re a regular Steam user, you’ll doubtless recall that if a game is free on Steam and you want the title, to claim it, you have no choice but to elect to hit play, which fires up the installation process. You can then cancel out of that, after a short wait while the cogs whir a bit, but this is a bit of unnecessary faffing about.

Now, Valve has introduced an ‘Add to Library’ button which can be clicked to add the product to your games library, and that’s that – no messing around canceling an installation you don’t want is required.

Similarly with free DLC, when nabbing that, the game is launched – and now rather than having that happen, you can just click to grab the content, and you’re done; a clearly easier and more convenient process.


Analysis: Jumping for joy amidst bouts of head scratching

There’s been a good deal of celebration about what’s effectively a small – but useful – tweak here. Indeed, our sister site PC Gamer spotted that this had happened and declared it was an ‘absolutely majestic’ change for the better, no less.

Others on the likes of Reddit have been singing similar praises, amidst comments that it took Valve long enough to do this, and it really should’ve happened years ago. With other gamers are scratching their heads or shrugging their shoulders about why some people are making such a big deal out of this.

As one denizen of Reddit put it: “Wait, what? I mean on one hand, why did it take so long? On the other, closing that dialogue box was that hard?”

Well, in fairness, it wasn’t an especially big deal, but this is still a quality of life improvement we’re glad to see happen on Steam, particularly when there might be a whole heap of bits of DLC to pick up (which then might mean the user doesn’t bother, rather than having to repeatedly suffer the game being started up).

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