SteelSeries Arena 7 Review
A gaming sound system with a subwoofer
If you’re after a solid set of gaming speakers that also look the part, the SteelSeries Arena 7 are a great choice. They add a great deal more immersion to your gaming experience with the added subwoofer offering some extra low end oomph to add to the overall clarity of the main units. They also look sleek, especially with a smattering of smart RGB lighting, and for £300 or so, are pretty good value for money, too.
- Stylish design
- Great connectivity options
- Solid, clear audio
- Large subwoofer may be hard to accomodate
- UKRRP: £299.99
- USARRP: $299.99
- SubwooferThe Arena 7’s main speakers come with a 6.5 inch downward firing subwoofer
- Wide range of connection optionsIt can also connect via wired and wireless means such as optical, Bluetooth, and by a 3.5mm jack
- SteelSeries GG SoftwareThe Arena 7 is also configurable with additional software
It seems to be the case that now that firms can put the word ‘gaming’ in front of basically anything as a bit of a buzzword. Well, now with the SteelSeries Arena 7, if you’ve ever wanted gaming speakers, then here you go!
They’ll run you £299.99, which is a little bit more than the Razer Leviathan V2, but for the outlay you’re getting a stereo pair of desktop speakers and a 6.5 inch subwoofer for a more complete setup.
It’s about the same price as many of the best cheap soundbars out there, to give you an idea of the competition, but is the SteelSeries Arena 7 worth your hard-earned cash? Let’s find out.
- Smart looks and sold build quality
- Subwoofer is rather larger
- Great wired and wireless connection options
SteelSeries doesn’t do things by half measures across their excellent range of peripherals and gaming accessories. From headsets to keyboards and mice, it generally opts for an aesthetic that doesn’t scream ‘gamer’ at you.
It’s much the same story with these SteelSeries Arena 7 speakers with a toned-down, all-black plastic construction. It is a bit of a glossy plastic, so things can get a little shiny if you handle them with greasy hands, but they’re a good looking set of speakers with an unassuming box to go with them in the form of a subwoofer.
The general quality of all the components involved with the Arena 7 is excellent. There’s a reassuring heft to the speakers themselves and especially the subwoofer. In terms of their design also, the speakers don’t offer the sharp edges you might expect and instead offer more of an elegant and modern style to them. They’re pretty compact for the amount of power they provide and sit atop a solid stand that can also aid in angling the speakers up by 30 degrees.
There isn’t much in the way of buttons or lights on the speakers themselves, apart from a status light on the right-hand speaker that will flash blue when the Arena 7 is connected via Bluetooth. Otherwise, it flashes green. Speaking of Bluetooth, there’s also a recessed button in the stand of the right speaker; hold it down for a few seconds and you’ll initiate the Arena 7’s pairing mode for Bluetooth and wireless operation.
Well, I say there isn’t much in the way of lights. I mean, useful lighting that serves a purpose, and isn’t purely aesthetic. The Arena 7’s speaker units do come with pulsating RGB that cycles through a spectrum of colour as soon as you turn the speakers on. I’m usually not the biggest fan of RGB lighting on peripherals, but it’s tastefully done on the Arena 7.
The subwoofer is quite a large cube capable of offering some low end oomph and add an extra channel of audio. Given its size, it’s likely to need to sit beside your desk, as even under my desk it was a bit of a tight fit, admittedly. On the point of placement, as the speakers are wired directly into the sub itself, you may not be able to place things exactly where you want, but given the cable’s pretty long, you do get a good amount of flexibility.
The subwoofer also houses all the ports and necessary interface stuff from which the SteelSeries Arena 7 works. There’s of course the two ports for the speakers, as well as a power cable to go into the wall, a USB-C cable for plugging into your PC, a 3.5mm out and even an optical in or out, so you could theoretically use these desktop speakers with a TV if you wanted. Most clever of all though is the dial on the back of the subwoofer that allows you to regulate and choose how much bassy punch you’d like.
- Connectivity is simply plug and play, including Bluetooth
- SteelSeries Engine offers great customisation
When it comes to their features, there isn’t half a lot to rattle through with the SteelSeries Arena 7. You can connect them via wired means with USB-C out to a PC, or via optical out. But, you can also use a 3.5mm cable, as well as Bluetooth for wireless means.
In testing the USB-C output to my PC, it’s as easy as plugging in the Arena 7 and Windows 11 recognises it and you can then choose to output audio to those speakers. It’s much the same story with Bluetooth too – just enable it on the speakers so the status light flashes blue, search for the speakers in your device’s connectivity settings, and hit Pair.
It’s inside SteelSeries Engine (which is now contained with SteelSeries’ all-in-one software tool, SteelSeries GG) where you can really unlock the full potential of the Arena 7. Inside, you can enable the speakers’ spatial audio for more immersive sound, as well as fiddle with EQ settings to get everything just right. It’s also inside Engine where you can configure the speakers’ RGB lighting effects with a decent selection of presets involving the usual rainbow of colours.
There are some interesting options, such as the ‘Reflect’ setting which attempts to match the lighting to mimic what’s on screen while you’re using the speakers. It’s a clever idea, although considering the small delay between on-screen action and the RGB lighting kicking in, the ‘Reflect’ event does feel a little bit useless.
- Great clarity with a wide soundstage
- Dialogue also handled well
- Consistent sound quality across all inputs
As much as the SteelSeries Arena 7 speakers both look good and offer a great set of features, the real kicker is as to how they sound. After all, they’re about the same price as a moderate soundbar (think Sonos Beam/Polk React) sort of territory, so it’s also about whether they’re versatile enough to deal with all kinds of content.
Well I’m pleased to report the Arena 7 performed admirably with whatever I threw at it. In playing a host of different music through Spotify and from my own local files on my PC over the wired USB-C connection, it offered great soundstage with a clear and precise sound across the frequency range.
The 6.5 inch subwoofer arguably takes a lot of the credit for such great audio, especially given it offered good extension and a nice bassy punch to any audio that was outputted. The fact there’s the ability to dial the bass up and down as you see fit is excellent, especially if you don’t want to wake the neighbours.
The Arena 7 offers room-filling audio that made games and music feel a lot more impactful, especially with more cinematic moments. In watching the latest Grand Tour special on Amazon Prime video, dialogue was handled well, with a great sense of separation, too, especially helped along by the fact there are dedicated channels for left and right audio, as opposed to with it being all in one, as with a soundbar.
Handily, sound quality didn’t seem to drop too much over wireless means as it did over wired. There were no real dropouts in the Bluetooth connection between my Galaxy S21 Ultra running Spotify and the Arena 7. Sure, it may not be the most convenient of solutions, but if you’re sat at your desk and just want to rig your phone up to play some of your favourite tunes with ease, then you definitely can do that with the Arena 7.
Should you buy it?
You want excellent audio: The SteelSeries Arena 7 offers great all-round audio for a set of gaming-oriented speakers, and handle everything from music to dialogue with gusto.
You don’t have space for a separate subwoofer: While the Arena 7 looks the part and offers good audio, the subwoofer is quite large. If you haven’t got space for it, you may want to look for units without a dedicated sub to save space.
Gaming speakers aren’t necessarily something I’d have considered adding to my setup in the past, but the SteelSeries Arena 7 sound system may make me rethink that decision. They’re especially good looking, and offer well-rounded audio that also has some nice low-end oomph thanks to the subwoofer, and come with a wide range of wired and wireless connectivity options that make them attractive to not only gamers but also generalists, too.
The £299.99/$299.99 price might seem a little expensive for a set of PC speakers, considering the market is awash with cheaper and more compact models, but you definitely get what you pay for considering a subwoofer is included.
How we test
We test every speaker setup 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.
Tested over several weeks
Tested with real world use
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Yes, the SteelSeries Arena 7 is made up of two speakers and a subwoofer.