How well does the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless stack up in an industry filled to the brim with headsets claiming they’re the real deal? Find out what you need to know as I go hands-on with the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless gaming headset.
In This Article
I’ve reviewed a lot of different SteelSeries headsets in my time and the one constant is the company’s ability to understand flatness properly. When it comes to headphones for music, you want the lows, mids, and highs to permeate collectively. With gaming headsets, you can’t and shouldn’t do that.
Picture this: You’re in a game, hiding inside a house, and you hear the floorboards creak above you. Should that creaking sound be the same level as voice lines? How about the same level as a distant bullet? The answer to both is no, because if there’s someone near you, you need to have the information in the easiest-to-digest way possible.
That’s what SteelSeries and the Arctis 7 Wireless are all about. It’s that instant information you can hear precisely and, in turn, react to. By making overall sound slightly flatter when compared to headphones, video game audio cues become much easier to pick out. That creak I mentioned earlier will stand out like a solo player running out in the open because it overtakes what it needs to be heard.
We all know how this goes. SteelSeries has some of the best microphones in the business and the Nova 7 Wireless is no different.
The ClearCast tech is in a league of its own. Voice clarity is clear thanks to the AI algorithms that can remove most outside noise. If you’re clicking your controller or grabbing a drink, the microphone won’t pick up those sounds. But the moment you speak, the AI silencing is removed and your teammates can hear you clearly.
I’m also a big fan of how the mic has been implemented. If you’re gaming offline, you don’t want a gangly mic always in your view. The Arctis 7 Wireless knows this and features a retractable mic that’s easy to pull out and doesn’t look out of place when it’s retracted.
It’s a smart design and, honestly, I think this is exactly how it should be done.
Look and Feel
Set up is a pain-free process. Plug the wireless receiver into the device and turn it on. You can’t get more simple than that.
If you’re connecting via Bluetooth, then it’s just a case of holding the power button down until you hear some beeps. After that, head into the Bluetooth device settings and the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless will show up ready to be paired.
The feel of the Arctis Nova 7 Wireless is a bit of a mixed bag. In terms of comfort, SteelSeries struck gold with the Comfortmax headband. It’s comfortable, easy to adjust, and extremely lightweight. I’d even go as far as to say it outright beats my personal favorite the HyperX Cloud Mix. It’s as simple as they come but it gets the job done effortlessly.
I do, however, have to discuss the design of the Arctis Nova 7 Wireless. SteelSeries decided that instead of building on the outside of the main cups, a secondary angled, inverted pot would house the volume, chat mixer, and power buttons.
It’s a weird choice, and while it’s not intuitive, it does work. It takes some getting used to that’s for sure, but once you’ve adjusted to the frankly bizarre button placement, it starts to feel natural.
That’s not to say I think any other products should be using this design, but it’s not nearly as bad as it looks. It’s just, as I say, a bizarre way of doing things.
As for the ear cushions, they’re great, but SteelSeries has had this formula down for a while now. The AirWeave Memory Foam adds enough pushback to let sound rattle in the right way without building up any kind of pressure.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless works with PC, PlayStation, Switch, Mobile, and the Steam Deck.
The Steam Deck isn’t listed as compatible, but I tried hooking it up via Bluetooth anyway and it works brilliantly.
SteelSeries says the Arctis Nova 7 Wireless should provide up to 38 hours of battery life. During my testing, I averaged 37 hours and 20 minutes. The slight difference could be to do with how I’m using the headset – namely it wasn’t directly designed for the Steam Deck – so the claim of 38 hours is an accurate one.
For comparison, the Razer Thresher gaming headset comes in at a similar price but only offers up 16 hours of battery life. The HyperX Cloud II Wireless, meanwhile, also sits in a similar price ballpark but improves on the Razer Thresher with up to 30 hours of uptime. Neither, however, can hold a cancel to the Arctis Nova 7 Wireless’ 38 hours.
Alternatives to Consider
Alternatives will always come down to two areas: Cost and quality. There are alternatives to consider within this price bracket, but you won’t be able to get this level of audio superiority at a cheaper price.
That’s not to say some of the cheaper headsets like the HyperX Cloud II are bad, either. But the industry-leading gaming headsets operate on a scale; the more they cost, the better the sound profile. Or at least that’s the theory.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless comes in at $179.99. In that price bracket there’s competition from the Razer Nari Ultimate Wireless ($199.99), the Corsair HS65 Wireless ($119.99), or if you want to go really high-end, there’s the Audeze Penrose for an eye-watering $299.99.
Let’s break it down some. The sound profile of the Corsair HS65 lacks the same warmth as the Arctis Nova 7 Wireless. The Razer Nari Ultimate Wireless is great, but for comfort, I’d give it to the Arctis Nova 7 Wireless in a heartbeat. That leaves us with the Audeze Penrose.
The Penrose still has one of – if not the – best sound profiles out there thanks to its planar magnetic drivers. But it’s not a comfortable headset. And the fact you can’t turn it into a wired headset with an AUX cable really lets it down. At $299.99, these kinds of problems shouldn’t exist.
So, in this price bracket, I’ve got to give the Arctis Nova 7 Wireless its props. The sound profile is killer and the comfort levels beat out the competition with ease.
How I Tested
A review unit was sent to me by SteelSeries. I then fully charged the device and tested it across several PS5 games – both online and offline to get an idea of how sound works in different games – alongside a timer on my phone to measure the battery life. I also took it for a spin on PC, Switch, an Android Chromebook, and Steam Deck.
Once the device was low on battery, shown by a beep from the ear cups, I charged it to total capacity and restarted all the tests to make sure the battery life matched the first reading.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless is designed with gamers in mind. It’s not trying to reproduce pounding beats or thumping bass like a set of high-end headphones. The goal of the Arctis Nova 7 is to create an environment that permeates gaming audio in a way that’s readable to the listener.
It’s as clean as they come. If there’s a sound to be heard, you’ll hear it. And while the ear cups may be fiddly at first, this minor problem is easy enough to overcome.
The Bottom Line: If it’s precision and comfort you’re looking for, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless comes easy to recommend.