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Razer Nommo Chroma review: Cylindrical 2.0 PC speakers with RGB lighting

Christopher Minasians
19 Mar 2018
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
150
inc VAT

These cylindrical computer speakers provide customisable RGB lighting to illuminate your desk

Pros 
Excellent integration of RGB lightning
Overall design and build quality
Simultaneously playback of USB & 3.5mm sources
Cons 
Poor sub-bass extension
Closed soundstage
No Bluetooth connectivity
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Razer is a company best known for its colourful PC peripherals and, latterly, it has branched out into laptops and even smartphone production. Surprisingly, though, it hasn’t delved (in a big way) into the realm of speakers. The firm had the Leviathan soundbar in its range and a smaller Bluetooth unit, but its main focus on the audio front has been gaming headsets. The Nommo speaker range, from which we've reviewed the Chroma here, changes that, expanding the company's choice of PC speakers from one to four in a single blow.

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Razer Nommo Chroma review: What you need to know

As you might expect from Razer, these are speakers aimed at gamers and PC users. They’re designed to be used on your desk, positioned to the left and right of your screen and keyboard and, in terms of the audio setup, they’re a pretty straightforward stereo pairing in that there’s no subwoofer to reinforce the bass.

They’re not as basic as they look, though. As the name suggests, you get a series of coloured lights to indicate the volume and bass levels. Plus, the speakers connect to your PC or laptop via digital USB link, which means the digital to audio conversion is handled by the speakers rather than the device they’re connected to – and that means less chance of interference.

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Razer Nommo Chroma review: Price and competition

The Razer Nommo Chroma is available for around £150. The non-Chroma Nommo variant, which is the same but without the lighting, is £100. Elsewhere, its closest competitors are the £130 Logitech Z625 and Creative Sound BlasterX Kratos S5, which both come with a subwoofer and a full array of inputs, although the Logitech system doesn’t have RGB lighting – the horror.

Up the price and, for around £200 there’s the all-new Logitech G560, which features customisable RGB lighting and a dedicated subwoofer. If you're an audiophile, you'll have heard of the impressive AudioEngine A2+, and for something a little more different, there's the Creative Katana soundbar for around £240, which sits beneath your desktop monitor.

Razer Nommo Chroma review: Design and features

The Nommo Chroma speakers look striking. They have a cylindrical plastic enclosure that measures 170mm in length and 107mm in diameter. The drivers are held up by a plastic support that raises the speakers to a height of around 215mm and a circular RGB strip sits under the speaker’s base, which you can customise through software.

On the right-hand speaker, there are bass and volume knobs and you can switch off the speakers by pressing down on the latter. At the rear, there are inconveniently placed 3.5mm input and headphone output jack which allow you to hook up analogue sources and headsets.

Impressively, the Nommo Chroma can play back two separate sources at the same time. A useful feature if you want to listen to music from your smartphone and simultaneously hear in-game sounds from your PC. Unfortunately, there are no Bluetooth, coaxial or optical S/PDIF inputs.

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Razer Nommo Chroma review: Software

As with the company’s multi-coloured keyboards, you can customise the way the lights on the Nommo Chroma work using Razer’s Synapse 3 software.

Here, it’s possible to customise how the speakers behave; you can manually select certain areas of the speakers to illuminate, set different patterns and synchronise the speakers with other Razer Chroma-enabled products. The RGB lighting customisations are good, but I didn’t find a way to synchronize the lights to the output sound.

The Synapse software is also used to tweak the way the speakers sound but, somewhat surprisingly, there’s no custom EQ. Instead, you have to rely on the predefined Default, Game, Music and Movie profiles. Default has the most all-rounded sound signature. Game is overly bassy. Music is a little too sibilant and lacks bass, and Movie has a bit too much reverb for my liking.

Razer Nommo Chroma review: Sound quality

The Razer Nommo Chroma is a straightforward stereo system with no subwoofer and two 3in full-range drivers. If you want thunderous bass on a Razer system you’ll need to fork out for the £500 Nommo Pro or buy one of the rival systems mentioned above.

First, let’s talk about volume. I had no problems cranking up the speakers to the max. There’s no audible distortion and at maximum volume the speakers are loud enough to fill a bedroom. But that’s their limit; they’re specifically designed for a desktop setup, and struggle to fill larger spaces. That’s what they’re designed for, though, so I’ve no complaints on that front.

As for sound quality, that’s more problematic, and it’s the lack of a subwoofer and the 50Hz cut-off that prove the Nommo’s undoing. By comparison, the Logitech Z625 and Creative Sound BlasterX Kratos S5 provide thunderous bass.

Naturally, this hinders the speakers’ overall sonic capabilities for music, too. In The Weeknd Often (Kygo Remix) and Kanye West Flashing Lights (TWRK Remix), there’s little bass extension. In fact, it cuts off quite abruptly, which is a shame, because the mid-bass reproduction is accurate, not overpowering and is reasonably well controlled. In my tests, I found that setting the bass to around 50% gave the best overall balance.

The mids are slightly recessed, predominantly in the upper mids. In Michael Jackson’s P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing), the singer’s voice is pushed back and, compared with rival PC speakers, the Nommo Chroma aren’t as engaging.

The highs extend relatively well but only shine when the speakers are set to Music mode through the Synapse 3 software, although those with sensitive ears might find the sound piercing and sibilant. In this setting the Nommo’s mid-bass impact is somewhat reduced, too.

For me, the speakers’ biggest flaw is its soundstage, though, which lacks both width and depth. This is important because the Nommos struggle big time when it comes to accurately reproducing positional cues, especially in games. I’d suggest sticking to your headphones if you rely on your ears to warn you when someone’s sneaking up on you from behind.

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Razer Nommo Chroma review: Verdict

I don’t want to be gloomy about the Razer Nommo Chroma but at around £150 there are PC speakers that offer better sound than these and don’t suffer on either the features or design front either.

For around £130, you can grab yourself the Creative Sound BlasterX Kratos S5 or the Logitech Z625, which both offer much better bass and a wider soundstage. The Kratos S5 even have RGB lighting. And, if you can stretch the budget a little further, the AudioEngine A2+ is a worthy pick, too.