The best headset I have ever owned was the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. They were incredibly comfortable, sounded good, and the hub allowed me, as a streamer, to listen to my microphone with near zero latency (at least enough to not become a speech jammer). Years have passed without a worthy successor, but finally, the heir has arrived in the form of the Steelseries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless.
The Arctis Nova Pro Wireless has a lot of similarities to its predecessor. It’s a wireless headset with a removable, rechargeable battery, a retractable microphone and, la pièce de resistance, the hub, which connects you to your computer (plus a number of other devices) and gives you all kinds of control over your sound. It connects to your hub and a Bluetooth device simultaneously.
What we need to talk about, however, is the list of improvements that the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless has made. The microphone retracts to be flush with the headset, so when it is not in use, there is nothing sticking out. It just looks like a pair of headphones which, if you are using them to stream, you are not using the mic anyway. The on-headset controls are as great as ever. Full volume, microphone mute and Bluetooth connection are on the earpieces.
The headset itself is very comfortable. The Leatherette ear cups feel more luxurious than typical memory foam cups and the elastic across the top adjusts nicely and feels great on the top of your head. You can also customize your headset by purchasing new elastics and magnetic plates in several colours.
“Years have passed without a worthy successor, but finally, the heir has arrived in the form of the Steelseries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless.”
The noise cancellation is next level. Small microphones at the top of each earpiece and on the opposite side of the microphone take in and remove. I am sitting at my computer, with a washing machine and an air conditioner running (not quietly by the way), but when I turn the headset on, the sounds of those two noisy appliances disappear to the point where I assumed my laundry was done.
The Nova Pro Wireless now houses a smaller battery, which means the hub itself is also a bit smaller (since it charges the battery). The hub design is also much sleeker, and not as boxy as the original. The knob, in addition to controlling audio, can be pressed in to activate the menu to switch between sources and adjust settings. Controls within the hub include switching sources, changing your wireless connection sources between Bluetooth and 2.4G, changing the mix between game and chat, customizing your EQ and so much more.
The back of the hub for the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is far more streamlined than that of the Arctis Pro Wireless. First, the new hub doesn’t require a separate DC plug. It is powered via USB-C, while the original has optical in/out and line in/out plus a USB connection for the PC. The Nova Pro Wireless has a line in/out and two USB-C Inputs. That’s it. It’s as simple a setup as you can hope for with as much compatibility. Connect it to your PC and your PlayStation and seamlessly switch between the two sources.
“Changing the batteries was a bit more of a pain in the Nova Pro Wireless due to the smaller battery size…”
Where the list of improvements is large and impressive, there is still a small list of issues with the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless that don’t live up to the predecessor. The Arctis Wireless Pro had a 3.5 mm output on the headset to share what you are listening to with another person. The jack in the Nova Pro Wireless is an input only. Given the multiple ways one can connect wirelessly to access their sound, the input feels a bit counterproductive.
The battery life is good and better if you remember to turn it off. It does turn off automatically after a time if it is playing no sound, but the time seems to be increased from its predecessor, so you can definitely kill the battery faster if you are not paying attention.
Changing the batteries was a bit more of a pain in the Nova Pro Wireless due to the smaller battery size for my less than nimble fingers. You get used to it over time, but the experience is a little more rough nonetheless. Also, the magnetic plates on the sides of the headset need to be very precisely placed to stay on, which can slow down the quick switch process.
Another noticeable difference between the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless and the Arctis Wireless Pro is a more noticeable latency when listening to an external microphone. It isn’t so bad that you can’t use it as a streaming/podcasting headset, but it isn’t quite what it was with the original. This one is a little nitpicky, but when you get a new generation of a device, you don’t want to see any steps backward.
A price of $349.99 USD is a big ask for a headset. It is one of very few wireless headsets that gives you simultaneous USB and Bluetooth connections, the ability to listen to your microphone and a ton of control at the tip of your fingers. If your list of needs doesn’t match up to what it offers, I wouldn’t spend the cash. If it does, however, there are few options that can even come close.