While SteelSeries didn’t blow me away with the Siberia 800 due to its extensive set- up options and high enthusiast price point, the techies in their lab have certainly learned how to pack more bang for buck in their latest line of headsets with the Arctis 7. Gone are the days of RGB lighting gimmicks that the user can’t even see, as well as the uncomfortable sharpness and pointy protrusions that make our heads look as if they were encapsulated inside alien technology. The Arctis family strips away these stereotypes of traditional gaming drivers for a more casual and comfortable design that any modern user can appreciate.
Retailing for $150 USD, the Arctis 7 takes the mantle as the wireless representative of its family. I find it interesting how SteelSeries has approached this line of drivers, as each of the three members uses the same core design and feature set. It’s all up to the user how much they want to spend to gain access to the gimmicks they desire, such as RGB lighting or wireless functionality, or they can pay less for pure performance.
The Arctis 7’s are quite simply the most comfortable headset I’ve used to date. The ingenious use of ski goggle material for the headband and the softness of SteelSeries’ airweave cushions has successfully created a headset I can use for hours without my head feeling compressed or indented by the end of a gaming session. The S1 audio drivers deliver great sound quality for their price and feature 7.1-surround sound for a more impactful cinematic experience across all AAA titles. Every audio and chat-enhancing feature is handled on board via dials and switches, but they are smartly integrated into the back of the set so the appealing modern design of the Arctis 7 isn’t harmed. Lastly, the retractable ClearCast microphone is a nice inclusion, isolating the voice of the user and eliminating pesky background noise due to its bidirectional design. This is the perfect audio device for users who don’t want to exclusively use their headsets for just gaming, but their daily commutes as well.
Wireless connectivity is always a mixed bag with gaming headsets due to latency issues, dropped connections or terrible battery life, but SteelSeries has managed to deliver the same wireless experience as the Siberia 800 in a more affordable package. The secret to how the Arctis 7’s perform so well is through the included low latency transmitter. Simply plug and pair the transmitter into a compatible USB device and the user obtains a solid 30 ftft. range of consistent audio performance for upwards of 13 hours off a single charge. The only catch I could find was with devices that were actually compatible. While the majority of gaming platforms are covered the only surprise I found absent was the Xbox One, which can only be handled through the 3.5mm analog jack in the controller. This problem persists with the USB connectivity of the Arctis 5 as well.
If you’re a user who prefers a wireless gaming experience then the Arctis 7 is a great candidate in its price bracket. The only headset line comparable in quality off the top of my head would be the Hyper X Cloud’s, which sound identical and feel almost as nice, but lack the depth of audio controls and wireless connectivity. However, users who have no interest in wireless, but love the design of SteelSeries’ Arctis family, can instead pick out a more performance oriented model and enjoy the same audio quality and comfort as I did for even cheaper.