SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless Headset Review

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SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless
Editors Choice

Of the various headsets I’ve reviewed for CGM, my first still stands out as a hands-down favourite: the SteelSeries Arctis 9, a high-end gaming solution with dual audio. While other companies have come for the crown with audiophile options like the AudioTechnica ATH-M20xBT, the Arctis 9 has remained my standby.

Or at least, it was, until the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless upped the game.

SteelSeries has taken the audio tech that helped them win CGM’s 2021 Brand of the Year to the next level with the Nova line. The pinnacle of this series is the Arctis Nova Pro, but the Arctis Nova 7 packs most of the power of its bigger cousin into an incredibly versatile package for console gamers

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From a design perspective, the Arctis Nova 7 shows the product line’s much sleeker profiles. Its onboard mic retracts into the left earcup completely, unlike the boom mic nub left on the Arctis 9. Simple controls give you access to the essential features: volume on the left and both power buttons and volume mix on the right. They strike the right balance between easy access and discrete placement.

The whole headset is a modest black, continuing the simple aesthetic of the earcup design. If you want to get a little showier, SteelSeries now sells “booster packs” to add a flash of colour. These replacement speaker plates and headbands are easily swapped—though the plates need to be aligned correctly, or the magnets won’t hold.

“SteelSeries may have made the only headset you need this hardware generation.”

Luckily for gamers with bigger heads, the ComfortMAX system has yielded one of the most comfortable headsets I’ve worn. The PVD-coated steel headband pairs with a nylon ski goggle headband for a light yet stable fit. It’s not often that I can pop a headset out of the box and immediately find it comfortable, but I simply extended the earcups and barely had to touch it since.

The Arctis Nova 7 relies on a USB-C dongle to connect to your primary system. While this is becoming standard practice, it should be noted for those interested in using this headset with older devices—my computers don’t have exceptionally convenient USB-C ports, and unlike some other products, this one doesn’t come packaged with adapters.

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However, this dongle is a breeze to slot into the front of your PlayStation 5 or even into the bottom of your Nintendo Switch in handheld mode. The latter is one of the best innovations that the Arctis Nova 7 packs. The Switch has been somewhat behind in the wireless headset game for most of its lifespan, but now with USB-C dongle-enabled options like this, players no longer need to wrestle with cords while travelling.

The Arctis Nova 7’s Bluetooth connections are handled with the second, higher part of the power button; hold it down for a second, and you’ll hear the familiar connection jingle. This can also be set to turn on automatically upon powering up the headset by default once you’ve plugged it into a computer and set it in the SteelSeries GG software.  

“The Arctis Nova 7 met and exceeded my high standards.”

As with the Arctis 9, this is one of my favourite features: being able to immerse yourself in game audio while still being able to hear your phone notifications or even listen to something else in the background. Dual audio, fortunately, is as flawless and invaluable on this new hardware.

While testing, I used the Arctis Nova 7 on a round trip to Los Angeles, using it to listen to both the in-game audio on my Switch and a podcast from my phone. Having no wires in the tight confines of an airplane was a blessing. The dual audio kept me thoroughly occupied, the battery life held up for the whole trip, and it remained comfortable even after extended use. Now I couldn’t imagine a better companion when travelling solo.

Steelseries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless

Speaking of companions, the ChatMix dial on the right allows you to tweak the balance of your in-game audio and your team voice channel. This is a pretty standard feature, speaking to SteelSeries’ background of innovation in esports, but it’s also the one small thing missing from the dual audio system. Balancing the volume of the devices with a physical dial would be a handy gem in the feature’s crown.

If using the Arctis Nova 7 on a PC, you’ll have access to SteelSeries’ Sonar Audio Software Suite. While the Arctis Nova 7 delivers amazing sound without software, audio perfectionists and esports players could have a field day customizing their sound output with Sonar’s options. (Just keep an eye on which output Windows is using, as I’ve found it likes to hop between Sonar and the regular headset output.)

Similarly, PS5 users should definitely take a moment to fine-tune the console’s 3D Audio for the headset and their personal tastes, as the Nova line really shines in this department. Multiplayer just isn’t the same without it now.

All told, the Arctis Nova 7 met and exceeded my high standards. At $179.99 USD ($229 CAD), it’s certainly an investment—one that pays dividends with a rich experience. From listening to music while working or running errands to coordinating raids with your clan, it has all the makings of a constant, everyday companion. If you’re looking for a product that can work on multiple devices, delivers quality sound, and even has some bells and whistles, SteelSeries may have made the only headset you need this hardware generation.

Final Thoughts

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