SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless Review
An excellent high-end gaming headset
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless may not be the top model in SteelSeries’ latest line of gaming headsets, but it’s definitely a capable choice. It looks good and offers solid noise isolation, as well as providing well-balanced audio. The microphone here offers some good body and clarity too, which should make it a great all-round option.
- Great soundstage and all-round audio
- Tactile buttons feel solid
- Super comfortable
- Construction is somewhat plastic
- Retractable mic is a little odd
- UKRRP: £174.99
- USARRP: $178.99
- 40mm drivers:The Arctis Nova 7 Wireless features some 40mm drivers, which should help provide immersive all-round audio
- Retractable microphoneIt has a handy retractable microphone that slots into the headset’s body
- 38-hour battery life:The Arctis Nova 7 Wireless also features a solid 38 hours of battery life
The brand ‘SteelSeries Arctis’ is one that’s synonymous with any lists for the best gaming headsets of the past few years, with every revision offering a slight refinement to make things even better.
In 2022, the brand launched a whole new range of Arctis headsets – the Arctis Nova line – which provides a more premium and refined experience.
The headset I have for review, the Arctis Nova 7 Wireless, is perhaps the second in command, and at £174.95/$179, it falls right in the mix with some of the more premium gaming headsets I’ve tested.
Design and features
- Sleek and refined aesthetic
- Plastic construction feels a little cheap
- Great connectivity options
Compared to Arctis headsets of old, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless refines a few aspects, and compared to the higher-end models in the line-up, arguably cheapens things too. It’s made entirely of shiny plastic that feels hard-wearing, although it can be a magnet for greasy fingerprints, detracting from the otherwise sleek and minimalist aesthetic.
The reason I say it’s perhaps a little cheaper in terms of feel and look compared to other premium headsets is that there’s a lack of metal construction and leatherette earcups. Instead, SteelSeries has opted for a patterned breathable fabric on the earcups, more akin to Razer’s headsets.
The earcups are nice and plush and, therefore, comfortable. Moreover, they are also especially roomy, which helps maximise the comfort factor. With a weight of 325g, it’s on the heavier side of headsets I’ve recently used, but it doesn’t feel like it’s going to crush your skull – unlike the tighter-fitting Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 Max I took a look at a few months ago.
Design tweaks, compared to other Arctis headsets, are most notable around the headband. As opposed to offering a ski-goggle style band, this new headset opts for a semi-elastic suspension strap that’s held in by pins. It offers a looser fit than the more standard headsets I’ve tried, but not one that’s so loose it feels like it’s going to fall off your head at any moment.
The dedicated multimedia controls are well distributed across both earcups and take the form of tactile buttons and wheels. This is a welcome change from some of the harder-to-use multifunction dials and sliders favoured on more premium devices.
On the right-hand side, you’re greeted with controls for turning the headset on, as well as for Bluetooth pairing and a tactile dial for game/chat audio mixing. On the left-hand earcup, you’ll find a volume dial and a button for muting the microphone. Intriguingly, the volume dial on the headset works independently of the system-wide volume, so you’ve got that little bit of extra control.
Connectivity takes the form of a USB-C receiver – which can be used with PC, PS5 or Nintendo Switch – Bluetooth 5.0, and a 3.5mm audio jack. It’s especially good to see that last option as a lot of other wireless headsets, regardless of their price, omit a wired means of connecting them to your devices.
There is also USB-C charging. The Arctis Nova 7 Wireless is part of a rare breed of gaming headsets that feature fast charging – like headphones normally do. A 15-minute fast charge provides six hours of runtime, which is an excellent return. This headset will last for around 40 hours before needing to be recharged fully. My testing actually demonstrated the Nova 7 Wireless to exceed SteelSeries’ own claims of 38 hours of go-juice, which is still good for a headset. Of course, it’s no HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless – but there’s enough capacity to offer a working week’s worth of use.
Furthermore, if you want to use the power of dual connectivity over both the wireless receiver and Bluetooth for two devices at once, the Nova 7 Wireless allows this, with the penalty being a 14-hour drop in runtime compared with single use. But even taking this to account, 26 hours is still good.
Audio & mic quality
- Great all-round audio
- Low-end emphasis is welcome
- Retractable microphone offers good body
The most integral thing for a gaming headset is how it sounds, and I’m pleased to report the Arctis Nova 7 Wireless sounds pretty good.
There is more of a low-end emphasis, which is a typical profile for gaming headsets, but it doesn’t feel overpowering compared with the mids and highs. There were instances, such as during a listen of Yes’s Roundabout, where Chris Squire’s rolling bassline may have sounded a little more prominent than Jon Anderson’s vocals, for instance. But for the most part, the Nova 7 Wireless offered an enjoyable and energetic listen.
The slightly larger earcups also allow for a wider soundstage and a decent sense of placement, which proved handy during my customary runs of Sniper Elite 5. Even with this good sense of placement, I did still end up getting outclassed by the AI, but that definitely wasn’t the fault of the hardware!
In terms of its software, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless uses SteelSeries’ clever GG suite, which offers good levels of customisation and configuration for things such as the EQ settings – so you can get the audio balance just right – as well as general volume levels for game or chat audio.
This headset also works with SteelSeries’ newer dedicated audio software Sonar, which allows for an even greater range of customisation for audio-specific EQs, as well as enabling spatial audio (which works a treat), even down to adjusting microphone noise reduction.
The microphone here is the retractable sort that pulls in and out of its little cubby-hole on the front left-hand side of the headset. During testing, it offered decent body and didn’t sound too tinny. It proved to be perfectly usable for day-to-day chats with friends over Discord for some FIFA 23 fun and had a good level of volume. The only issue I found is that it didn’t reject background noise too well, so the sounds of me typing on my keyboard were pretty audible in the audio samples I captured. But other than that, it’s pretty good.
Should you buy it?
You want a comfortable and solid-sounding headset: The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless both looks and sounds great, and it’s definitely a great all-round headset to consider.
You want a premium-feeling headset: While the Arctis Nova 7 Wireless looks and sounds great, its construction is a tad plastic for the price.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless provides a welcome update to one of gaming’s most revered headset lines. While there may be only stylistic changes for the majority, the fact remains that they work in the Arctis Nova 7 Wireless’s favour to make it a great all-round headset for gaming.
It looks great, and also sounds good, with a low-end emphasis that makes gaming a joy. In addition, the microphone sounds solid, with decent body and clarity, while it must also be noted that the battery life here is some of the best you’ll find besides the HyperX Alpha Cloud Wireless.
How we test
We test every headphone we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Tested with real-world use
Tested for several days
Tested the microphone
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SteelSeries claims the microphone has a AI-Powered noise-cancelling microphone, although our tests seem to suggest it isn’t great at filtering out background noise.
Yes, the Arctis Nova 7 supports both Bluetooth and a wired 3.5mm connection for use with phones.