Small, quality soundbars aren’t easy to find. And PC gamers know this well. Generally, if you want truly booming, nuanced sound from a soundbar, you need a large rig (think: anything from Bose, or one of Sonos’ fantastic devices). But that large rig still isn’t properly optimized for PC gaming — and it certainly won’t fit in quite the way you want it to when you sit down to the mouse, monitor, and keyboard of your ideal gaming rig.
Enter the Razer Leviathan V2, a soundbar that’s optimized for the PC gamer — and not just any PC gamer. It’s optimized for today’s PC gamer specifically, with a variety of key features that will let the PC gamer truly own their rig. And even though it’s not perfect, it’s quite simply the best PC gaming-focused sound setup you’ll find, thanks to a modern, multidimensional feel on what the PC gamer wants and needs.
As its name suggests, the Razer Leviathan V2 isn’t a wholly new product. It’s actually an updated (make that very updated) version of Razer’s soundbar, which debuted back in 2014. That device remains one of my favorite dorm-room or bedroom gaming rig setups, a steady, functional soundbar that delivered underrated sound.
But Leviathan V2 ups the ante, in part because much has changed since 2014. Today’s PC gamer doesn’t simply game; there’s more content than ever to consume on streaming services, and there are games to watch (via Twitch) these days instead of just play. You listen to music on your computer more now, too, and watch Instagram and YouTube videos in addition to the standard Netflix and Hulu and Apple TV.
So you need a modern soundbar that can deliver more than booming grenade explosions from Call of Duty and Halo. And you need more customization. And Leviathan V2 delivers on both fronts, despite a super-sleek package. You get the soundbar and a solid down-firing wired subwoofer. The bar itself is approximately the size of the old Leviathan (19.7 inches long, just 3.6 inches tall), although it’s ever-so-slightly lower to the ground then its predecessor. It also delivers a bit of visual customization: LEDs line the bottom and deliver that classic Razer Chroma rainbow hue, completely customizable via Razer Synapse, perfect for a teenager’s bedroom or a college dorm.
The package is versatile. I could easily set the Leviathan V2 up within a two-monitor desk setup (for work), and it worked just as well adjacent to my laptop. All devices connect easily via the USB-C port on the back — though this is the Leviathan’s greatest new problem. Why? Because that USB-C port is your only wired connection option. The previous iteration let you connect via either a 3.5mm jack or an optical port, to common standards for sound solutions. Limiting things to a USB-C port essentially positions this only as a PC accessory. If you’re thinking of connecting this to a small TV in a cramped bedroom, you might have to pass. At least one mainstream sound solution (optical port maybe?) would have been great to include.
Still, as that PC accessory, the Leviathan V2 works fantastically, delivering magical sound from the get-go. This tiny soundbar delivers impressive sound detail, and it strikes that special balance between booming and nuanced. You’ll want the nuance for songs like Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” where you’ll get a solid base thump while also getting to appreciate the details in Jackson's voice.
The Leviathan V2 also works well for movies. Many smaller soundbars struggle to balance explosions and dialogue in the same film, but the Leviathan V2 acquitted itself well during “Avengers: Infinity War.” That’s critical in today’s era, and it was nice to see Razer’s soundbar own the situation. And as a gaming device, the Leviathan V2 is even more stellar; I could distinctly hear footsteps well in "Metal Gear Solid: Guns of the Patriots" (yes, sometimes I play older games on my PC), and as well as the subtle emotions in Kratos’ gravelly voice in "God of War."
That versatility gets even better thanks to a Bluetooth connection. The Leviathan V2 may fall short on the hookups you need for easier console and more versatile TV connectivity, but it compensates with easy connection to phones, tablets, and laptops via Bluetooth. The connection also delivers very little lag, so the voices and sounds sync perfectly to what you see on-screen.
The end result is the finest gamer-focused soundbar on the market. Yes, I very much wish the Razer Leviathan V2 had an optical port or a 3.5mm jack. But honestly, that’s partly so I could use the device even more. In its current role, as the king of laptop and desktop surround sounds, it’s been that good.
3 out of 5 stars©2022 New York Daily News. Visit nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.