SteelSeries have certainly established themselves as key players within the gaming headset market over the last decade. Their Arctis models, from the budget-friendly Arctis Nova 1 all the way through to the flagship Arctis Nova Pro, offer a wide variety of gaming headsets that truly suit all gaming needs. And now adding to their already impressive range, the new Arctis Nova 7 brings wireless multi-platform compatibility and innovative enhancements like simultaneous wireless audio and fast-charging. So read ahead and find out why this could be the only headset you’ll ever need for all your devices in our SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 review.
Arctis Nova 7 Review – Design
As with all Arctis headsets, the design strays away from the stereotypical, overdone “gamer headset” covered in flashy RGB and bright colours. Instead, you’ll immediately see that the Arctis Nova 7 chooses a more sleek, streamlined aesthetic. Sporting a metallic matte finish, black foam earcups that smoothly swivel, a hidden boom mic, and a comfortable tension band found on some other models, this understated design is suitable for use in all settings, not just gaming. And if you would still prefer a pop of colour to suit your setup, optional coloured speaker plates and headbands can be easily added (albeit at extra cost).
Several controls can be found on each earcup for quick customisation of audio without needing to remove the headset. Nestled in one earcup is a retractable boom-mic, a 3.5mm port if you feel like going old-school, a volume wheel, and mic mute button. On the opposite earcup, you’ll be able to switch on bluetooth/2.4GHz wireless represented by two buttons and LEDs, adjust the balance between game and chat audio with another wheel, and charge the headset using a USB-C port.
The headset is also paired with a USB-C Multiplatform Dongle, a small accessory that can be plugged into your console or device of choice. Lit with an LED and emblazoned with the SteelSeries logo, this slots neatly into a PC, console, or taken on the go when used on Nintendo Switch. It’s small and unassuming, but an essential part of the Nova 7’s experience to avoid any audio latency, which we’ll shortly discuss in further detail.
Arctis Nova 7 Review – Audio
Don’t be deceived by its simple and unassuming design, because the Arctis Nova 7 offers an uncompromised audio experience across games and any other media. With high-fidelity 40mm drivers and compatible with immersive 360° spatial audio, there’s no doubt your games will sound as realistic as possible when using the Nova 7. It performs impressively across all ranges, with thumping and powerful bass all the way through to crisp and clear highs, ideal for listening to music in addition to games. And if you’re using the Arctis Nova 7 on PC, be sure to take advantage of the free SteelSeries GG Sonar software, allowing powerful user-customisation of audio during any situation.
While its specs don’t afford the same degree of audio detail of the high-end Arctis Nova Pro, the difference in quality will be barely perceivable for most users. The 2.4GHz signal is reliable, with almost no latency, seldom connection issues, and a range that will probably extend beyond your entire house. The only real downside to the audio of the Arctis Nova 7 is its lack of active noise cancellation, which can be found on some headsets at a similar price bracket. While the earcups manage to filter out most background noise, ANC would have been an ideal addition to elevate this headset even further.
As for the microphone, if you find yourself streaming, chatting, or recording audio, the Arctis Nova 7 has also got you covered with its ClearCast Gen 2 boom microphone. This multidirectional mic features in-built AI designed especially to remove background audio, which works surprisingly well even in noisy environments. All microphone controls are neatly positioned on the earcups, with game/chat volume able to be altered instantly. And the microphone can be used on two separate audio channels, which is one of the highlights of the Arctis Nova 7 that certainly deserves your attention!
Arctis Nova 7 Review – Simultaneous Wireless
So what exactly do we mean by “simultaneous wireless“? Well, thanks to the Arctis Nova 7 utilising both Bluetooth and a 2.4GHz signal through it’s wireless dongle, you’ll be able to connect this headset to two devices at the same time, a functionality available in some other modern wireless headsets. Bluetooth and the 2.4GHz signal can be switched on individually, giving you the option to connect the Nova 7 to your PC/console, your mobile phone/tablet, or even both simultaneously without interrupting the audio of either. It’s as easy as pressing the press of a button!
No need to Switch back and forth between devices.
This functionality is ridiculously useful, far beyond what you might initially imagine. On multiple occasions I found myself connecting to a console and to my phone, controlling music through the convenience of my phone over Bluetooth while connected to the low-latency signal on my console. It becomes even more practical if you’re particularly busy or sociable, as taking phonecalls won’t halt the audio stream from your console or PC.
Arctis Nova 7 – User Experience
As I’ve previously mentioned in headset reviews, comfort is essential. If you’re investing in a decent quality headset, you want to ensure you’re able to wear it for hours on end without it resulting in discomfort or tension headaches from a poor fit. Thankfully, SteelSeries are back once again with their adjustable tension band, which makes the 325g weight of the Nova 7 feel like practically nothing. Over the course of this review, I would have worn the Nova 7 for approximately 100 hours, and not on a single occasion did I experience any discomfort at all. This is a supremely comfy headset, especially for users with melon heads like myself.
Check out my favourite band.
Being a wireless headset, users also need to consider the battery life, as nobody wants to be plugging their headset in constantly mid-session. You won’t find yourself doing this with the Nova 7, as it features up to an impressive 38 hours of use on a full charge. If the headset becomes fully depleted (which never happened to me once), the addition of USB-C fast-charge via a port on the earcup will give 6 hours of play-time after a mere 15 minutes of charging. You’ll be back in the game before you know it!
There’s really only one very minor downside to the overall user experience of the Arctis Nova 7, and that’s the design of the wireless dongle. This is absurdly simple to connect to, and actually syncs to the headset as opposed to the console, meaning you can readily move the dongle around between consoles if you’re playing across PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, or PC. However, the width of the dongle means that it may occasionally block off nearby ports (like when plugged into the front of a PlayStation 5). Though this is alleviated by using a USB-A to USB-C cord that’s bundled with the headset.
With perfect compatibility across all modern consoles and devices, coupled with crystal clear audio from bass to highs, you really can’t go wrong with the Arctis Nova 7. Impressive battery life and simultaneous wireless audio offer an ideal user experience that’s got you covered regardless of the platform you’re playing on. So if you’re in the market for a single headset that will suit all of your needs and can justify the RRP of $399AUD, the Arctis Nova 7 is a near flawless one stop audio shop.
So, why should you buy it?
- Streamlined compatibility across all modern devices
- Innovative simultaneous wireless audio
- Crystal clear audio from thumping bass to crisp highs
- Whopping 38 hours battery and USB-C fast charge
- Possibly the best wireless headset for Nintendo Switch.
But why shouldn’t you buy it?
- RRP of $399AUD isn’t within your budget
- Lack of active noise cancellation is a deal-breaker
- Willing to spend slightly more? Grab the Arctis Nova Pro instead.
A review unit was kindly provided by SteelSeries Australia for the purpose of our SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 review. And if you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out more of our hardware reviews and news and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date.